Introduction to Mimāṃsa School: Mimāṃsa – Pramānas, Mimāṃsa – Pramānyavāda, Khyātivāda

The Mimāṃsa school is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. It is primarily concerned with the interpretation and understanding of the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures. Mimāṃsa, which means “reflection” or “investigation,” aims to provide a systematic analysis of the rituals and practices prescribed in the Vedas.

Mimāṃsa is divided into two major branches: Purva Mimāṃsa and Uttara Mimāṃsa, also known as Vedanta. Purva Mimāṃsa focuses on the earlier parts of the Vedas, known as the Karma Kanda or the section dealing with rituals and actions. Uttara Mimāṃsa, on the other hand, delves into the later parts of the Vedas, known as the Jnana Kanda or the section dealing with knowledge and spirituality.

Mimāṃsa – Pramānas

One of the key concepts in the Mimāṃsa school is the concept of Pramānas, which are the means of valid knowledge. According to Mimāṃsa, there are six pramānas:

  1. Pratyakṣa (perception): Direct perception through the senses.
  2. Anumāna (inference): Drawing conclusions based on reasoning and logical deduction.
  3. Upamāna (analogy): Understanding something by comparing it to something similar.
  4. Arthāpatti (presumption): Presuming something to be true based on the absence of any other explanation.
  5. Anupalabdhi (non-perception): Knowledge based on the absence or non-perception of something.
  6. Śabda (testimony): Knowledge gained through the words of reliable sources, such as scriptures or trustworthy individuals.

These pramānas are considered valid sources of knowledge in the Mimāṃsa school and are used to interpret and understand the meaning of the Vedas.

Mimāṃsa – Pramānyavāda

Pramānyavāda is another important aspect of the Mimāṃsa school. It deals with the theory of knowledge and the criteria for determining the validity of knowledge. According to Mimāṃsa, knowledge is valid if it is based on reliable sources and is free from any errors or contradictions.

Mimāṃsa – Pramānyavāda emphasizes the importance of the Vedas as the ultimate authority and source of knowledge. It argues that the Vedas are eternal and infallible, and their statements should be accepted as true without any doubt or skepticism.

However, Mimāṃsa also recognizes the need for interpretation and analysis of the Vedas. It acknowledges that the language of the Vedas can be ambiguous and requires careful scrutiny to understand the intended meaning. This is where the pramānas come into play, helping the scholars of Mimāṃsa to derive valid knowledge from the Vedas.


Khyātivāda is a significant doctrine within the Mimāṃsa school, which deals with the nature of knowledge and cognition. According to Khyātivāda, knowledge is not a direct perception of objects but is a mental representation or cognition of those objects.

There are three types of khyātis (cognitions) according to Khyātivāda:

  1. Akhyāti: False cognition or erroneous understanding.
  2. Anvayakhyāti: Cognition of the presence of an object in a particular place.
  3. Vyatirekakhyāti: Cognition of the absence of an object in a particular place.

Khyātivāda argues that true knowledge is derived from anvayakhyāti and vyatirekakhyāti, where the cognition corresponds accurately to the presence or absence of an object. Akhyāti, on the other hand, leads to false understanding and is considered invalid.

By understanding the concepts of Pramānas, Mimāṃsa – Pramānyavāda, and Khyātivāda, one can gain insights into the intricate philosophical framework of the Mimāṃsa school. These concepts provide the tools for interpreting and understanding the Vedas, allowing scholars to delve deeper into the ancient wisdom contained within these scriptures.

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