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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pramā literally means ‘the knowledge’.

Technicalities of Treatises[edit]

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[edit]

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