From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sāmānyatodṛsṭa literally means ‘seen in a general way’.

Anumāna or inference is an important pramāṇa or means of knowledge recognized by almost all the systems of religious philosophy. The Nyāyadarśana of Gautama[1] has further categorized anumāna into three varieties:

  1. Purvavat - It means as seen earlier. It's inference that in which we infer an unperceived effect from a perceived cause as in the case of inferring future rain from the appearance of dark heavy clouds in the sky.
  2. Śeṣavat - It means from the seen effect to the unseen cause. It infers that the unperceived cause is inferred from a perceived effect as in the case of inferring of past rain by seeing the swift muddy currents in the river now.
  3. Sāmānyatodṛṣṭa - In this there is no direct cause and effect relationship as between fire and smoke. The inference is drawn from the universal experience regarding such an incident. For instance, if there is a change of place, there must have been a movement as known from our common experience. Similarly when we see the moon in different positions at long intervals, we infer that it moves, though the actual movement itself is not easily or clearly perceivable.[2]


  1. He lived in 550 B. C.
  2. Nyāyasutras 1.1.5
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore