In our tradition, we give lot of importance to gnānam, whether it is material knowledge or spiritual knowledge, gnānam is given an important position revered as Saraswatī herself & this importance is given because, our entire lifestyle is governed by gnānam. If you study any of our activities, it involves three stages. 1) Jānāti (I know something) 2) Ecchati (I develop desires for things I know) 3) Yetadhey (Kriyā) - (and thereafter I work to fulfil that desire) Every action is backed by desire, every desire is backed by knowledge. I can never desire for something I do not know, and I can never work for something I do not desire. Therefore, gnānam, icchā, kriyā is human life. That is why we worship this 3 fold factors. 1) Gnānā Sakthī, 2) Icchā Sakthī, 3) Kriyā Sakthī. All our activities are gnānā sakthī (operation) Icchā sakthī (operation) and finally kriyā sakthī, not only these 3 sakthī's are involved, they grow in this chronological order. First knowledge is compulsory because Without knowledge, you cannot desire for an unknown thing and desire has to be before action, because action is for the fulfilment of the desire that has come and therefore first they come to know that Harry Potter 6th Volume is going to be released on such and such date (Jānāti), thereafter, Icchatī for that book, that too moment of release itself 12 midnight(Icchā) and that desire drives the whole world to relevant book shop at odd hours. So what is the order, Jānātī, Icchatī, yetathey. The operation of gnānā sakthī, icchā sakthī & kriyā sakthī is life. Therefore, life is gnānā, icchā prayatnā. This is how Nyāyā philosophy presents it, gnanae-iccha-prayatna. And since gnānam plays a very important role in every one of our activity (Religious, Spiritual or Secular) gnānam has to be given important position. Once gnānam is given an important position, the next thing is how do we gain any knowledge. Gnānam does not happen by itself, we are never born with any knowledge, we are all born ignorant fundamentally, in fact, our biggest capital is ignorance and with that alone we start our life and that means knowledge is not there from birth and it is acquired in the course of life which means there are sources from which we gather knowledge. And any source of knowledge is called a Pramānam. Therefore, every gnānam I have presupposes a source of knowledge namely pramānam also. And therefore if gnānam has a high position in human life, then pramānam must also be given high position, ina fact a higher position because the very gnānam which is important is coming from pramānam. Therefore, If gnānam is valued, the pramānam must be valued equally or should be valued more, because it is the source of valuable gnānam. Therefore, in our tradition pramānam is given even a higher position and importance compared to gnāna-icchā-prayatnā. Therefore, 4 factors are important in the chronological order. Pramānam produces gnānam, gnānam produces icchā, icchā produces yetna (efforta or action), yetna alone determines my future, my immediate future as well as remote future, as well as future jenmās all of them are governed by pramāna-gnāna-icchā-prayatnani in that order, each one of the former one is the cause of the later one. Pramāna jenyam gnānam, gnāna jenyam icchā, icchā jenyam prayatnā, prayatnā jenyam is our future and therefore, in our tradition all the āchāryās give a very high importance to the discussion of the topic pramānam. Unfortunately, in modern days the discussion on prāmana is not at all being done, the very relevance is not understood much, but in our tradition all the great philosophers, there are 12 major systems of philosophy (Pramāna Vichārahā) 6 āstika dharishanams, 6 nāstika dharishanams all those philosophers never discuss any subject matter without starting with the topic of pramānam. They always analyzed, how many, sources of knowledge are there. Very deep and advanced and wide and highly debated subjected matter, we call it pramāna vichārahā. There are certain philosophers who talk about 1 pramānam, there are certain philosophers who talk about 8 pramānams. Highest is 8, lowest if 1. And all other dhārshanikas or philosophers discuss various number in-between 1 and 8. Some accept 2, some talk about 3, some about 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Not only they enumerate they very deeply study what is the nature of each pramānam , what type of field in which it functions, and what is the validity of the knowledge gained through that, all these things are very elaborately studied and discussed, which comes under pramāna vichara topic. (Enquiry into the sources of knowledge). Some of them we have discussed in the Ūpanishād classes. Prathyakshā, Anumāna, Upamāna, Arthāpattī, Anupalabdhī, Shabdā and with regard to each pramānam we have got books and books analyzing its nature, how to operate it etc. In our tradition, all these pramānams are broadly classified into 2 types. 1) Primary source of knowledge (Upajēvya Pramānam) - Sense organs come under Upajēvya pramānam generally known as prathyāksham. Every sense organ is considered to be primary. 2) Secondary sources of knowledge (Upajēvi Pramānam). Anumānam. Between these two, there are many important differences. For e.g, Every sense organ is considered a primary source, because each one has got its own independent field, eyes function in its own field, ears has got its own field. Each one's field is exclusive. Every primary source has got a unique field. Since, the every primary source has its own field, it cannot take the help of the other pramānam because other pramānas do not have access to this, because this has got a unique field. The ears can never help the eyes in the field of colours, the nose cannot the ears in the field of sound, because the nose doesn't have to the field of the ears. Therefore, every primary source has unique field, every primary source is independent, and every primary source gives a knowledge which can never be verified by any other sources of knowledge. It is an unverifiable knowledge, the colour revealed by the eyes can never be conformed / contradicted by the ears. If the eyes says, this is Orange colour I cannot say let me verify with my ears. The ears can neither confirm nor contradict. Therefore, it is unverifiable. So, unique, independent and unverifiable and therefore it is final knowledge. What the eyes give is the final knowledge, it doesn't require further support, further corroboration, further substantiation, further validation, further verification. You need do and you cannot do. Therefore once the eyes has revealed, that knowledge is Prabhala Gnānam, it is the highest knowledge, we accept it as a fact. This is the nature of every primary source of knowledge whether it is eyes or ears or nose or tongue or skin, each one is Upajēvya Pramānam and this is accepted by scientist also, whatever has been finally revealed by Prathyaksham, proved through their experimentation, in the experimentations every theory is proved through sensory study and thereafter, it is taken as a fact. Even scientists accept the sense organs as primary source of knowledge. They don't ask for further verification. But the scientists do not know the fact that it is the primary source of knowledge, they are handling the sense organ as a primary source without knowing the significance of the primary status of that. Then what about the secondary source of knowledge. For example, inference is a secondary source. When I infer fire through smoke, the knowledge of fire is gained through inference, I have not seen the fire directly and what is the nature of this inference, it doesn't have a unique field, inference use the knowledge only in a field which Prathyāksha use. We learn about fire which is perceptible, therefore inference doesn't function in a unique field, inference functions only in the field which is common to Prathyāksha. Therefore, inference have a common field but doesn't have a unique field. CONTD..