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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Prama, PramA, Pramaa

Pramā literally means ‘the knowledge’.

Technicalities of Treatises

Philosophical treatises often use four technical terms:

  1. Pramā - The correct knowledge that is got through the pramāṇas is ‘pramā’.
  2. Pramāṇa - The means of knowledge that gives us its correct understanding is ‘pramāṇa’.
  3. Prameya - An object that has to be known is ‘prameya’.
  4. Pramātṛ - The person who knows it thus is the pramātṛ.[1]

For instance, a pot is ‘prameya’. The eye that sees it and the process of seeing is ‘pramāṇa’. The knowledge got that it is a mud pot of small size, black in color, containing water, is ‘pramā’.

Classification of Pramā

Pramā is the true knowledge which is not negated by later perceptions. If negated, like seeing a snake in a rope in insufficient light and then discovering it in bright light that it is a rope, it is only a bhrama.[2] Sometimes, false knowledge is called apramā and three more varieties of it are predicated:

  1. Smṛti - insufficient memory
  2. Sanśaya - doubt
  3. Tarka - false logic


  1. Pramātṛ means the knower.
  2. Bhrama means the illusion or false perception.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore