Pramana is evidence or proof. The term refers to sources of knowledge that are held to be valid. The three pramanas or the methods of acquiring knowledge can be broadly classified into the following three categories:
• Pratyaksha-pramanam (Direct sense perception)
• Anumana-pramanam (Theories based on evidence)
• Shabda-pramanam (Hearing from a bonafide authority)
Pratyaksha-pramanam refers to the process of acquiring knowledge by direct sense perception. Certainly it can be taken as a means of observing the truth, but unfortunately sometimes such perception is also subjected to defects and thus mistakes. Therefore pratyaksha alone is not a very good source of finding the truth.
Here are some prime examples of people who by their own small vision made statements; they would’ve wished that they could take back.
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
— Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
— Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM,1943
"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
— Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
— H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
— Bill Gates, 1981
Shabda-pramanam refers to the process of acquiring knowledge by hearing from a bonafide authority. Out of three kinds of evidences, the shabda-pramanas, or the evidences received from the
For example, in India cow dung is accepted as very pure. So in one place of the Vedic injunction you will find that "Any stool of animal is impure." That's a fact. Everyone knows. But in another place it is said, "Exception is given to the cow's stool, cow dung. That is pure." It is so pure that if you apply on some impure place, it becomes pure. That's a fact. In India, still, especially in villages, they mop the floor with cow dung, and it is so nice and so fresh.