2. Inference (Anumāna) | Śrī Vaishnavism


2 - Inference (Anumāna)

Now, Anumāna or Inference will be ex-pounded:

That knowledge (Pramiti) is Inferential knowledge (Anumati), which is the particular knowledge of the pervading (Vyāpaka), obtained from the consideration of the pervadedness of the pervaded (Vyāpaka).

The Instrument or Means by which such knowledge is obtained is Inference (Anumāna):

(Illustration): Knowing that smoke is pervaded by fire, the knowledge of the pervading is obtained, i.e., fire.

The Pervaded (Vyāpya) is ruled by limitedness of space and time.
The Pervading (Vyāpaka) has the Characteristic (vṛtti) of non-limited space and time.

The Pervaded is even in inseparable conjunction (with the Pervading).
The Pervading is the correlate (or Co-ordinate to the Pervaded).

The invariable fixed relation subsisting between the two is Pervasion (Vyāpti). This Pervasion, stated as: “Where there is smoke, there is fire” is admitted, from frequent (or repeated) observation.

Pervasion is twofold:

(1) Positive (Anvaya) and
(2) Negative (Vyatireka).

Where by an Inferrant (Sādhana) the Inferred (Sādhya) is attempted, that Pervasion is called Positive, for example:

Whatever is smoky is fiery“,

Where, by the denial of the Inferred (Sādhya), the denial of the Inferrant (Sādhana) is attempted, that Pervasion (Vyāpti) is Negative, for example:

What is non-fiery is non-smoky “.

Both these kinds of Pervasion are affected or circumscribed by conditions (Upādhi).

Condition (Upādhi) means where the Inferred (Sādhya) pervades, the Inferrant (Sādhana) does not pervade.

For example, where, by fire, smoke is intended to be inferred, the condition (required) is conjunction with moist firewood;

or where brownness is intended to be inferred by being the son (or sonness) of Maitrī, the condition is the circumstance of such birth (caused) by (eating) cooked greens.

Condition or Limitation (Upādhi) is twofold:

(1) Settled (Niścita) and
(2) Doubted (Śaṅkita).

The Settled is thus: -

(Assertion) “The disputed service is woeful,” (= Conclusion)
(Reason) Because it partakes of servitude,
(Instance) Like service to a king.’

In this (syllogism), the condition Upādhi) (of serving a king, which is distasteful to the servitor) is provided by (one’s) sin being the determinant.

But this does not exist in the service to God. This therefore is called the Settled condition.

The Doubted is thus: -

(Assertion) “The disputed soul, after the term of this body, attains Release (Mukti) (= Conclusion).
(Reason) Because, meditation is ripe,
(Instance) Like Śūka. “

In this (syllogism), the condition (required) is the surcease of all actions or works (Karma).

As it is doubtful whether such a condition exists or no in a problematical soul, - meditation- ripe - that condition is called the doubted.

Hence, where a connection (or relation) exists unaffected by condition (Nir-upādhika), the one which is so connected is the Pervaded (Vyāpya).

Pervaded (Vyāpya), Means or Instrument (Sādhana), Sign (Liṅga), are not of different import.

This has two forms, which are limbs (i.e., factors or elements) to Inferential knowledge (Anumati): -

(1) Pervasion (Vyāpti), and
(2) Subject-attributiveness (Pakṣa-dharmatā).

It has also 5 forms. They are: -

(1)  The being attributive to subject (Pakṣa- dharmata),
(2)  The presence in right place (Sa-Pakṣa- tva),
(3)  The absence from wrong place (Vi-pakṣa-vyāvṛtti),
(4)  Not annulled by, or inexceptionable (A-bādhita-viṣayatva),
(5)  Absence of equal antithesis (A-sat-prati- pakṣa).

Pakṣa (Subject) is the substance (Dharmī) in which the inferable attribute (Dharma) exists; such as the mountain etc., in which the fieriness (Predicate) is to be established.

Sa-pakṣa (Right Subject or Place) is the similarity to that where an attribute is to be established; such as the kitchen-hearth etc.

Vi-pakṣa (Wrong Subject or Place) is the dissimilarity to where an attribute is to be established; such as the lake etc.

Bādhita-viṣayatva (annulled thing) is the absence of what is to be surely established in the subject by strong reasons (to the contrary); such as: “the lake is fiery

Not so annulled” is A-bādhita-viṣayatva.

A-sat-prati-pakṣa-tva is the non-annulment by an equally strong reason.

The Vyāpya (or Inferential instrument) so described is two-fold:

(1) Anvaya-vyatireki (Present-Absent),
(2) Kevala-anvayi (Present only).

The aforesaid five-formed Pervasion (i.e., Vyāpti or Instrument) is of the Present-Absent. Thus: -

Present | anvayi:

The mountain is fiery,
Because it is smoky,
For whatever is smoky is fiery,
As the kitchen-hearth.

Absent | vyatireki:

Whatever is non-fiery is non-smoky,
Like the lake.

The same without the Vipakṣa (antithesis) is the Kevalānvayi (Present only, form). Thus:

Present only | Kevalānvayi:

Brahman is Word - expressible,
Because It is a thing,
Like the jar

Hence the Kevalānvayi is four-formed because the fifth, the antithesis (Vipakṣa) is wanting.

A Kevala-vyatireki (Absent only) form, is inconceivable inasmuch as Sādhya (predicate or major term) is nowhere. Hence a purely Vyatireki is excluded (or inadmissible).

That either the Kevalānvayi or the Anvaya- vyatireki concerns only the supersensuous objects is (thus) repudiated.

The aforesaid Anumāna (Inference), say some, is divisible into two kinds: (1) Svārtha or Self-benefit, (2) Parārtha or Others’ benefit.

Others (opine): it is of the 'self’ character alone, inasmuch as all inferences are ensuing on the power of one's own reflection, and hence useful for one’s own procedure.

The syllogism that establishes an Inference consists of 5 members:

1. Pratijñā - Assertion,
2. Hetu - Reason,
3.  Udāharaṇa - Instance,
4.  Upanaya - Application (or Deduction),
5. Nigamana - Conclusion.

In this, Pratijñā or Assertion is the sentence indicating the Pakṣa (Subject), thus: -

The mountain is fiery”.

Hetu or Reason indicates the Liṅga (Sign), thus: -

Because it is smoky”.

Udāharaṇa or Instance is indicating an example where concomitance or co-existence (Vyāpti) obtains, and this is twofold; Anvaya or Affirmation, and Vyatireka or Negation, thus: -

Whatever is smoky is fiery” is a case of Affirmative Instance.
Whatever is non-fiery is non-smoky” is a case of Negative Instance.

Upanaya or Application is the sentence which refers the Reason to the subject by a consideration of the Instance. This also is two-fold: Affirmative and Negative; thus: -

The mountain is smoky,” is of the Affirmative.
The mountain is not non-smoky” is of the Negative.

Nigamana or Conclusion is the sentence, which conclusively locates what is to be Inferred (Sādhya) in the Subject (Pakṣa), by means of the Reason (Hetu). This is also twofold, thus: -

(1)  “Therefore the mountain is fiery”,
(2)  “Therefore the mountain is non-fiery.”

This 5-membered syllogism is of the School of the Naiyāyikas or the Logicians.

The Mimāmsakas uphold a 3-membered syllogism, viz., Assertion (Pratijñā), Reason (Hetu), and Example or Instance (Udāharaṇa).

The Buddhists hold to a 2-membered syllogism, viz., Example (Udāharaṇa) and Application (Upanaya).

For some it may be five members; for some three, and two for some, but for us there is no restriction:

By Example and Application alone, Pervasion (Vyāpyatva) and Location (Pakṣa- dharmata) are established, and Inference is possible from this much alone.

That amplifications and abridgements may (severally) suit the (different) dispositions of minds, lowly, middling or lofty, place us under no restrictions whatever (as to number).

Thus a well-reasoned five-membered syllogism provides the proof for the fire (in the mountain):

Well-reasoned” is (advisedly) used in order to guard against an inferential knowledge of fire being attainable by a smoke - resembling volume of dust.

There are specious arguments seemingly valid, called: Hetu-ābhāsas. (i.e., Fallacies or Paralogisms and Sophisms). They are: -

1.  Asiddha (Impossible),
2.  Viruddha (Reverse),
3.  An-aikāṅtika (or Sa-vyabhicāra) (Superfluous),
4. Prakaraṇa-sama (or Sat-prati-pakṣa) (fluent).
5. Kālātyayāpadiṣṭa (or Bādhita) (Mistimed).

Of these, Asiddha or Impossible is threefold:

(1) Svarūpa asiddha or Natural Impossibility,
(2) Āśraya asiddha or Local Impossibility, and
(3) Vyāpyatva asiddha or Pervasive Impossibility.

(1)  Natural Impossibility is thus (illustrated): -

The Jīva (soul) is eternal,
Because it is visible,
Like the jar

(2)  Local Impossibility thus: -

The sky-lotus is fragrant,
For it is of the lotus (species),
Like the pond-lotus

Sky-lotus is the locus and this is nonsense.

(3)  Pervasive Impossibility is of two kinds:

The one is that where the Means for pervasion is absent, the other where a condition [Upādhi) is present.

The First is thus: - “Whatever is is momentary”.

In this the Means whereby to establish an induction between the “is” ness and momentariness is absent.

The Second is thus: -  

The Agni-ṣomīya (immolation) determines demerit,
For it is of the killing (kind),
Like killing, out of the pale of Kratu

Here the conditioning comes from the prohibition.
Hence the reason of killing is conditioned.

2. The Viruddha or reverse-fallacy is that in which the reason is vitiated by the reverse. Thus:

Matter (Prakriti) is eternal,
Because it is effected,
Like time

Here the reason of “effected” is pervaded by the negation of the Inferrable.

3- The Anaikāṅtika is Savyabhicāra or Superfluous: -

This is twofold:

(1) Sādhāraṇa or Ordinary,
(2) Asādhāraṇa or Extraordinary.

The Ordinary is of the Pakṣa (Subject), Sa- pakṣa (Co-Subject), Vi-pakṣa (Ex- Subject). Thus: -

Sound is eternal,
Because it is ‘object’
Like time.

The Extraordinary is what is absent from (or non-existent in) Sa-pakṣa (Co-Subject), and Vi-pakṣa (Ex-Subject). Thus: -

The Earth is eternal
Because it is odorous

4. Prakaraṇa-sama or Fluent is that where a reason exists which proves (or infers) the negative of that which is to be proved:

God is eternal,
For He is devoid of non-eternality,

God is not eternal,
For He is devoid of eternality

This is the same as Sat-prati-pakṣa.

5. Kālātyayāpadiṣṭa or Mistimed is thus:

Fire is non-warm,
For it is a substance,
Like water

But as fire is actually associated with warmth, the argument is debarred.

Having thus expounded Inference (Anumāna,) the others Comparison (Upamāna) etc., are included in Inference.

For example, Comparison is said to arise thus:

- One, remembering the meaning of an analogous sentence, sees a form similar to that associated with cow.

Then arises the knowledge of the form (or the new object, the Cow-like Gavaya), so associated, aided by the remembrance of the meaning of the sentence (before heard).

- Mixed thus with remembrance (memory), Comparison is classable under Perception.

- Or it is classable under Inference as there is evidence of a process of induction (Vyāpti).

- Or it may be surmised as falling under the class “Word”, for it is derived from a sentence (heard).

Arthāpatti or Assumption is thus:

- A person is observed not eating in the day time, yet looks plump. The assumption is made that he eats in the night. This is classifiable under Inference.

Tarka or argument is the bringing about a non-desire (or negation) of the Pervading (Vyāpaka) by admitting the Pervaded (Vyāpya), thus:

- Supposing an Inference were stated:

The mountain is fiery
Because it is smoky

and it were objected:

- “Let there be smoke, but no fire”,

the argument would be: “If there were no fire, let there be no smoke as well.” The Means (Pramāṇas) promote this.

Niścaya (Nirṇaya) or Ascertainment, is the ascertainment of a truth by the employment of Means, favoured by argumentation (Tarka).

Vāda or Debate is unbiased discussion, (or fair discussion by people free from prejudice).

Jalpa or Wrangling is the discussion with the main view of (gaining) victory on either side.

Vitaṇḍā or Cavilling, is the being devoid of (good reason for) establishing an opinion.

Chala or Quibbling is the ascription of a different than the intended sense to an expression.

Jāti or Futility is either reviling which will re-act on oneself, or a self-contradictory reply.

Nigraha-sthāna or the one which courts one’s own defeat.

All these are but limbs of Inference; hence included in Inference.

We adopt the methods of the Naiyāyikas wherever feasible. Hence such a course is not (to be thought) erroneous.

Thus has Inference been expounded!

Thus ends Chapter 2,
The Treatment of Inference (Anumāna) in the
Light of the School of Rāmānuja,