UGC NET Study Notes On Anumana (Logical Reasoning)

By Sakshi Ojha|Updated : January 26th, 2023

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Anumana Pranama: Meaning and Its Types

In this post, we will discuss the new topic ANUMANA AND ITS TYPES’, which is the most complicated topic UGC NET Paper 1.

  • In this particular article, we will discuss anumana (a type of pranama) and its various types for the preparation of the upcoming NET/JRF exam. In the philosophy of reasoning or knowledge, anumana is considered rather a very important topic for understanding the reality of the world or universe.

1. Meaning of Anumana

  • Anumana is translated as ‘Inference’. The term comprises two parts- anu and mana. The prefix anu means ‘after’ and the suffix mana means ‘an apprehension or way of apprehension of the object of knowledge’. Therefore, anumana as a means of knowledge yields knowledge that is not there at the time of perception but is followed after prior perception.


  • Most schools of philosophy (except Charvaka) have accepted anumana as a valid source of knowledge. In other words, anumana is the means of knowledge or truth that one arrives at with the help of previous knowledge. In this regard, anumana is different from pratyaksha which yields knowledge with the help of perception. It relies on guessing, interpreting and analysing.
  • Such knowledge gained through inference is often called ‘anumiti’ (inferential knowledge). In the context of inferential knowledge, the other two important terms are- sadhya and paksha. Sadhya is the major term and Paksha is the minor term. For gaining inferential knowledge, the previous knowledge is utilised (knowledge of the linga or mark/sign). The linga or mark has a universal relation with sadhya or major term or is present in paksha or minor term. Therefore, anumana is a direct observation based on the knowledge of linga or sign (mark) and that of its relation with sadhya or paksha (inferred object).
  • The Vedanta school of philosophy defines Anumana as ‘the knowledge of one term of a relation which is not seen (while the other term is seen and known) as invariably connected with the first terms.” Whereas, the Naiyayika school of philosophy defines “Anumana as the means of the knowl­edge of the mark (linga) and that of its universal relation (vyapti) with the inferred object.” Similarly, there are other schools of philosophies that have defined anumana in a different context.

2. Types of Anumana: Different schools of philosophy have given different classification which we will be outlining below.

  1. Classification based on Advaita Vedanta
  • According to the Advaita Vedanta, there are two types of Anumana (inference) - that is Svarthanumana’ and ‘Pararthanumana’. This grouping of Anumana into svartha and parartha is also accepted by the Naiyayika School of philosophy as the means of valid knowledge.  
  • Knowledge is said to be svartha when the inference is done for oneself. For example: When a man sees a rope in a dingy place, he infers for himself the rope as a snake. Or when one smells smoke, one can infer for oneself that there is some fire around.
  • In contrast, knowledge is said to be parartha when the inference is done for the sake of others. For example, when a man sees a rope lying on the floor in a dingy room and infers it as a snake and urges for the safety of other people (benefit of others) in the room also, this is said to be parartha anumana. The knower uses 5 different methods to convince others of a valid argument. These five methods include pratinja, hetu, udharna, upanaya, and nigaman. This valid argument obtained through either or all of these methods goes through five stages- jijnasa (exploration or curiosity to know more), samshaya (doubt), skakyaprapti (possibility of clearing the doubt), prayojana (an effort to clear the doubt), and samshayavyudasa (finally clearing the doubt).

     b. Classification based on Nyaya Darshana

  • As per Nyaya Darshana, an inference is of three types- purvavat anumana, sheshavat anumana, and samanyato drushta anumana. This classification is based on the relationship that exists between Karana and Karya, which occurs before direct perception or in different time and space zone. Let’s give an explanation of each one by one.
  • In puravat anumana, knowledge or truth is derived using the cause and effect relationship. For example, once we see seeds (cause), we infer that it can lead to fruiting (effect). The cause here is the germination capacity of the seeds and effect is the fruit or leafing.
  • In sheshavat anumana, knowledge or truth is obtained by making a valid argument based on cause and effect relationship. For example, when we observe smoke we infer fire. Likewise, the reverse argument is true as well. When we observe the fire, we infer that this will lead to the emission of smoke all over. Such an inference is based on a valid argument and is called shesavat anumana.
  • In samanayato drshutam, knowledge or truth is obtained using the generalisation method. For example: Whenever there are dark clouds in the sky, it rains heavily in the place where you live. When you see the same kind of clouds in a different village or town, you infer rains. This kind of knowledge is based on generalising the previous experience. 

     c. Classification based on Tarka (argument) sangrah 

  • Based on this, anumana is of three types- anvaya vyateriki, Kavala anvayi, and kevala vyatireki.
  • Anvaya vyateriki or the knower becomes so based on inference wherein logical agreement (anvaya) and contradiction (vyatireki) are associated together in the perception of the knower. For example, where there is smoke, there is fire and the reverse (contradiction) is- where there is no smoke, there is no existence of fire in that place.
  • In contrast, Kavala anvayi infers knowledge based on logical agreement and knower is referred to as kevalanvayi. Knowledge or truth through such a means is obtained when we know an object through a common name such as apple, cow, pot etc. The statement ‘This is an apple’ becomes valid because we know about this object through a common name already known to us.
  • Lastly, in kevala vyatireki, the knowledge or truth is obtained through a lone factor (which is unique). For example, this includes objects like the sun, the moon, the earth and so on. These are unique objects and the knower has obtained the knowledge of such objects because of their exceptional characteristics and unique existence.

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Team BYJU'S Exam Prep.



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