Word of "Pramana"

Patanjali introduces this concept in sutra I.7 'Yogasutr':

Pratyaksanumanagamah pramanani

Leon Cyboran ['Classic Indian yoga-yogasutras ascribed to Pantajali...', PWN 1986] – interprets this sutra in the following way:

I.7.  Eye-witnessing, reason cognition, the assuming of cognition – cognitive measures

Development (mine - LM):

'Pramana'  is a process of the proper information acquisition, allowing a learner to see the objective image of the surrounding world. There are two assessment criteria of this process quality:
- the radius of so called 'sharp seeing' of the coming out to the world; the further we see, the better we get to know the world (and ourselves)
- the ability of perceiving the 'hierarchy' in the mass of information coming to us (the 'further we see', the more information floods us and we may 'drown' in it) – it is about differentiating between what is more and what is less important for us.

There also exists so called false cognition – tadrupa   (Yogasutras I.8), not based on the nature of the Reality. Senses, our tools for collecting information about the surrounding world provide us with false data about it. It is a process happening for most people we meet. It is not new for us either – it is rather familiar for each and every one of us...
'Pramana'  is divided into three types, and, at the same time into three levels:

  • direct cognition - pratyaksa -eye-witnessing
  • indirect cognition (reason) - anumana
  • assumed cognition - agama

The cognitive apparatus of everyone develops during the earnest practice of internal development techniques, from tadrupa to pramana, through its three kinds: from agama, anumana, to pratiaksha.

  • Agama   - is about using of bona fide sources of knowledge, such as books (but also other texts, also in a digital form), direct Teachers' words, the Internet...
  • Anumana   - is based on using of analogies. The knowledge which is accessible in one field, available for our perception, is transferred by way of analogy to another, similar (according to some concrete criteria) area momentarily 'covered' from our cognition. For example, some important processes of functioning of mechanics of our shoulders and arms might be the source of information about our hips and legs, through analogies resulting from close base similarity of hips and shoulders construction.
  • Pratiaksha   - a learner focuses his or her stream of mindfulness on the object of cognition, and acquires objective knowledge about it in a direct way – without any traditional information transmitters. In a sense, pratiaksha is a type of siddhi. It develops as there appears a progress of Practice/Development and its impact is particular in the initial phases of its real Progress.

It is described by the below sutras of the song Lucky Man sang in the 70s by Alan Price (the whole piece is much longer) :   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK3P97RfVaI&feature=related ):

Teachers and poets and scholars don't know it,
Temples and statues and steeples won't show it,
If you've got the secret, just try not to blow it,
And stay a happy man.

 If you've found the meaning of the truth in this old world,
You're a lucky man.
If knowledge hangs around your neck like pearls instead of chains,
You are a lucky man.

Summing up:
If you have really 'got' something – don't talk too much about it. And – at the beginning, this knowledge will be as heavy as chains on your neck...
The meaning of these 'sutras' (certainly the text has got deeper roots that, in general, direct authorship of Alan Price) refers to all those phases of pramana , and especially to pratiaksha.
In the initial phase, there will be the above mentioned heavy chains rather than pearls on your neck. Immediately, there must be a mechanism of 'keeping your mouth shut' switched on – that is, the controlling of the 'world saving' instinct with your newly discovered knowledge.
We must also realize that we are starting our adventure with time and space from tadrupa , and rather from its particular form of almost entire obstruction of our perceptive channels in the beginning of our life. Then, thanks to our efforts (really hard work), slowly those channels open. However, this perception work has got a summary character of tadrupa type-most of the incoming stimuli is falsely interpreted and we get a false image of the world.
Good karmic conditioning and a proper attitude to the world (supported by harmonious acts) offer a possibility of entering the path of Development. It is revealed through the increasing percentage of the pramana participation in the holistic process of our perception.
This process should run calmly, without turbulence (which might take place with a too fast 'leap'). Let's not disturb other learners, retaining most of information from our 'level' for ourselves...

'If you've got the secret, just try not to blow it'.