Karana (Pramaana): Amenities For Comprehensive Knowledge

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Karanas (Pramaana) are the basic amenities or materials needed to accomplish a Karya. They are also called Upakaranas.

What is Karana?

karaNaM punaH tat, yad upakaraNAya upakalpateH kartuH kArya abhinivRttau
yattu kartradhIna vyApAre sAdhakatamaM, tat karaNam|(cakrapANi)
asAdhAraNaM karaNaM karaNam|(tarkasaMgraha)

Related terms:
Karta – The person who does the Karya is called Karta.
Karana – The ingredients or materials that he uses to accomplish a job are called Karanas.
Kaarya – The work which is done or accomplished by the Karta with the help of Karanas is called Karya.

These Karanas become responsible for causing a Karya. Therefore they are considered as Asadharana Kaaranas or Vishishta Kaaranas of a Karya i.e. Kaaranas are ‘Mandatory’ or ‘Specific / Special’ karanas (causes) of a Karya (event or work done).

Karana = amenities, ingredients needed for bringing about a karya i.e. work or effect
Kaarana = Causes which bring about an effect

Eshwara or God, Kala or time factors etc are considered as Karanas or Asadharana Kaaranas of all the Karyas (all the activities), events or works happening in the creation.

This means to tell that every karana is a specific cause (asadharana kaarana) of its karya but Eshwara, Kaala etc are considered to be the asadharana kaaranas of the whole creation. Therefore they initiate, motivate and control all the karyas of the creation.

In this article, the term karana is used with respect to Anubhava (experience) or Gnana (knowledge). If we consider the ‘knowledge or experience gained’ as Karya or effect, the amenities or tools which help the Karta (learner or doer) to get the knowledge are called Karanas.
Read related: Pramana: Definition, Types As Per Sushruta And Charaka


Types of Karana
As per Takra Sangraha –
Yathartha Anubhava – the accurate knowledge is of 4 types. They are:

Pratyaksha Anubhava

Experiential knowledge, acquired through direct perception from sense organs.
Ex. Watching a match, hearing a lecture in a class, enjoying a live concert or dance function etc. Pratyaksha anubhava is the knowledge of the event which occurs when the event occurs or happens in front of us, as perceivable by our sense organs.

Anumiti Anubhava

Knowledge gained by inference. Example, when we see clouds (kaarana) we infer that it might rain (karya), when we smoke (karya) we infer that it is caused by fire (kaarana) which might not be seen at that time.

Upamiti Anubhava

Knowledge gained by the virtue of comparison. Example, Showing a building to a friend and telling ‘My home at my town is just like this one’

Shabda Anubhava

The knowledge gained by proved and accepted theoretical references (standard and accepted references) like reference of standard books, treatises etc.

Karanas of Yathartha Anubhava

Karanas of Yathartha Anubhava
The Karanas or Asadharana Kaaranas (specific causes) of these 4 types of Yathartha Anubhavas are also of 4 types. They are –

Pratyaksha Swaroopa Karana

It is responsible for gaining Pratyaksha Yatartha Anubhava. Pratyaksha knowledge is obtained with the help of jnana indriyas (sense organs). The Jnana Indriyas are the karanas of Pratyaksha Jgnana.

Gnana indriyas help in Pratyaksha (being able to perceive the objects related to particular sense organs). Therefore Gnana Indriyas (kaaranas) are karanas of Pratyaksha Gnana (Karya).
Read related: Pratyaksha Pramana: Knowledge Perception Through Sense Organs

Utility in clinical practice: Pratyaksha gnana helps in conducting thorough clinical examination of the disease and diseased. Here the indriyas or sense organs are used as the tools of examining the human body, samples from human body (like urine, stools, phlegm etc) and the disease. Inspection (look), Palpation (feel), Percussion (feel) and Auscultation (hear) of the diseased person is the knowledge gained by Pratyaksha.
The Dashavidha (10 fold),
Shad vidha (6 fold),
Tri vidha (3 fold) and
Ashta vidha (8 fold) examination of the patient is based on the knowledge of Pratyaksha.

Anumana Swarupa Karana

The Anumiti form of Yathartha Anubhava is obtained by the power, skill and act of imagination or inference i.e. Anumana. Therefore Anumana is the Karana of Anumiti Gnana (inferential knowledge).

Utility in clinical practice: Most of the clinical findings, diagnosis and differential diagnosis are made on the inferential knowledge. The medicines given many times on the basis of ‘trial and error’ method are also chosen on the basis of inferential knowledge. Probable diagnosis made in modern day depending on the reports of radiology, biochemistry, culture etc are based on the knowledge of Anumana. Later, Pratyaksha and Shabda karanas help in making conclusive diagnosis.
Read related:

Upamana Swarupa Karana

Upamiti form of Yathartha Anubhava is the basis of similarities (Sadrushya) which can be known after comparing an object to the other objects having similar qualities or characters i.e. Upamana. Therefore Upamana is the karana of Upamiti Jnana or Comparative knowledge.

Utility in clinical practice: The knowledge gained from Upamana helps us to study a disease and its pathogenesis in comparison to another disease which closely resembles it (differential diagnosis). It also helps the physicians to analyze the action of a medicament, compound, treatment or diet in comparison to other equally competent medicines and treatment so as to access the best possible effects.

Shabda Swarupa Karana

Aaptopadesha or Shabda form of Yathartha Anubhava is the basis of theoretical knowledge. Therefore Shabda is the karana of Shabda Jgnana or theoretical knowledge.

Utility in Clinical Practice Comprehensive theoretical knowledge is essential for a good clinical knowledge and practice. They form 2 sides of the same coin. Both are complementary and a partial knowledge or approach would be dangerous. A good quality theoretical knowledge is given by well documented theories from the depth of treatises.

Clinical bed side books, sources from the blogs and internet (web based sources) etc form the cross references and ideal tools which represent Shabda rupa Karana of modern day.

Just before Finishing –
Karanas are special causes which help in accomplishing a work or effect. This article focuses on the Karanas which help us in comprehensive 4 fold learning.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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