pratyaksha anumana agamah pramanani
pratyaksha- direct perception or cognition; anumana- inference, reasoning, deduction; agamah- authority, testimony, validation, competent evidence; pramanani- valid means of knowing, proofs, sources of correct knowing
Sutra 1.7 explains the three ways of true knowing that was discussed in sutra 1.6. There are ways to gain the correct knowledge, pramana, for self growth and cultivation of positive thought patterns. They are direct perception, reasoning, and validation. While each may be used alone, when the three converge is when you know you’ve discovered pramana.
While I know the importance of the three converging, one of my favorites is direct perception. Swami J describes it as “Seek experience, not mere belief.” Yoga is an oral tradition, and in it explains that you should not believe what you hear, but to seek out the experience directly. Only by experiencing it your self can you begin to find the truth. It’s always been part of my personal creed to find the experience with the Divine myself, instead of going by what I’m told to believe. My father instilled this in me at a young age, and I treasure the moments of direct communion with the world around me.
Reasoning comes after your experience. Reason through what you have experienced, and compare it to other experiences in your life. This way you can begin to understand your experience with your own reasoning and inference. We create our own patterns of belief through our experiences. It’s safe to reason that if you get caught in the rain once, you know that you will get wet. You’ve experienced it, and your reasoning is based on your experience.
Validating your experience and reasoning is the third way to find pramana. It is only through experiencing it first hand can you confirm to yourself the experience. This allows the sincere seeker to have each of these (experience, reason, validation) converge together for the inner journey. As Swami J says, “When you can get these three to converge, meaning that experience, reasoning, and authoritative validation all agree with one another, then you know, and you know that you know, in regard to any particular aspect of the inner journey. Thus, this sutra is an extremely practical tool for the inner journey.”