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Pramana Pariksha Vigyaniyam (Epistemology)

Ayurvedic system of medicine is the applied science correlated to the medicine. Ayurvedic system of medicine lays emphasis to the validation and verification of the concepts and facts. After consulting the literature related to Ayurvedic system of medicine, it becomes clear that physicians of Ayurvedic system of medicine put emphasis on the necessity of scientific knowledge. For the thorough and true scientific knowledge, Ayurvedic scholars adopted various methods of investigation and examination and investigation. These methods of investigation and examination are known termed as Pariksha (examination) in Ayurvedic fraternity.

Ayurveda is based on peculiar fundamental principles like Tridosha theory, and Pancamahabhuta theory. Imbalance of the three humours is the root cause of the disease.

The aim of the treatment is in correcting the imbalance of the biological humors. The great seers of Ayurveda developed peculiar methods for testing the potency of the drugs. If the literature is consulted, it can be concluded that drugs like Harada, Arjuna, Atibala and Shilajeet seems to be thoroughly investigated for their medicinal activities.

The diagnosis of the disease is largely based on pulse examination. An expert Ayurvedic doctor is in a position to tell about the disease process by examining the pulse.

Detailed investigation includes:

  • Interrogation of the patient in terms of body constitution, exercising and digestive capacity,
  • Objective examination to assess the progress of the disease,
  • Examination by inference like colour of skin, urine, and state of the pupil,

For the complete and successful result of any action, it is must to go forward after acquiring the complete knowledge in all means about the subject. Thus Pariksha is a significant tool within the scope of the science. Pariksha works as important mode of investigation and examination and serves as a basis for validation and verification of scientific knowledge.

Research is basically a journey from conception of the novel idea to the hypothesis which is nothing but systematic formulation of research problem/an idea and to the final thesis which valid conclusion. In Ayurvedic system of medicine; Pramana Vigyaniyam is considered as scientific method/tool of research (basic and applied). Pramana ParikshaVigyaniyam is important place in Ayurvedic metaphysics and medicine. It is known as epistemology.

The utility of Pramana Vigyaniyam are is not only limited to Roga (Disease) and Rogi (Patient). Pramana ParikshaVigyaniyam is the evidence of the scientific approach of Ayurvedic system of medicine. To acquire crystal-clear knowledge of Ayurvedic system of medicine, it was mandatory to look for scientific methods or devices of approach. This acute scarcity led to Charaka to develop Pramana ParikshaVigyaniyam. In Ayurvedic system of medicine, Pramana ParikshaVigyaniyam refers to scientific investigation.

Pramana ParikshaVigyaniyam can simply be narrated as scientific modes/tools of research. Pramana (epistemology), which represents the ancient methods of applied research, is of great significance in studying and developing research methodology in Ayurvedic system of medicine. As per to Charaka, substances are either existent or non-existent and in order to investigate them we require application of Pramana ParikshaVigyaniyam.

Following are some of the important methods used for Pariksha in Ayurveda on regular basis:-

  • Aptopadesha or authoritative statement,
  • Pratyaksha or perception,
  • Anumana or inference,
  • Yukti or sound reasoning,
  • Upamana or analogy.

These methods used for Pariksha in Ayurvedic system of medicine are similar to those described in Indian Philosophy. The investigation methodology used in Ayurvedic system of medicine is particular as different methods of Pariksha have been adopted in different scenario and contexts as per the requirement of the topic or the subject. Aptopadesha or authoritative statement, Pratyaksha or perception, Anumana or inference, Yukti or sound reasoning, and Upamana or analogy are very much beneficial at all stages of basic and applied research (planning, operation and reporting). Pramana ParikshaVigyaniyam is proof that Ayurvedic system of medicine describes the scientific methodology in search of truth, which is based on logical reasoningand not the unscientific or arbitrary methodology. Aptopadesha or authoritative statement, Pratyaksha or perception, Anumana or inference, Yukti or sound reasoning, and Upamana or analogy can be considered as ancient Ayurvedic methodology of research which are mandatory in laying down parameters of basics of research methodology in Ayurvedic system of medicine.

Although, Aptopadesha or authoritative statement, Pratyaksha or perception, Anumana or inference, Yukti or sound reasoning, and Upamana or analogy are significant and vital for scientific understanding; the dominamce and superiorty of Pratyaksha Pramana or direct perception remains undoubtful and unchallenged. Although, Aptopadesha or authoritative statement, Anumana or inference, Yukti or sound reasoning, and Upamana or analogy more or less dependent on pratyaksha pramana.

The knowledge, perceived by the mind and sense organs is known as Pratyaksha. The means of perceiving the knowledge is known as Pratyaksha Pramana. In this case, knowledge is the result and the contact of the object and the sense organs is nothing but means of knowledge. Sushruta has direction towards combination of Aptopadesha with Pratyaksha Pramana for advancement of the scientific knowledge.

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