The Validity of Knowledge in Vallabha school of Vedanta
What is the guarantee that knowledge as affected by the operation of these pramanas (means of knowledge) is valid at all? In other words, how can one be sure the knowledge, in reality, is illuminative of the real characters, specifications and form of its object? Does this certainty lie in the very nature of the produced knowledge itself or is it to be vouchsafed by future corroboration with other sources and conditions? This problem of the validity of knowledge, as cornerstone of Indian epistemological analysis, has been solved in the different philosophical systems by resorting to one of the four alternative solutions.
- Stand taken by Samkhyas: The Samkhyas believe that both the validity and invalidity of the knowledge is self-proved (svatah)
- Stand taken by Naiyayikas: The Naiyayikas believe that both validity and invalidity of the knowledge has to be verified externally and through other sources (paratah).
- Stand taken by Bauddhas: The Bauddhas think that 'invalidity' is self-evident whereas 'validity' is proved externally (paratah).
- Stand taken by Mimamsakas (both purva and uttara): The teachers of Veda, that is Mimamsakas maintain that validity is self-proved but invalidity requires external proof.
- Stand taken by Vallabha: The Vallabhite theory on the question of the validity of knowledge is like a women who is half young and half old (ardhajaratiya); the real correct answer to this problem is to acknowledge that though knowledge is inherently self-valid yet where it is caused and is under the influence of memory its validity should be decided only after corroborating its revelations with other extraneous (Ab-extra) evidences, conditions and facts of knowledge because dependence on memory and the past-samskaras very often leads not only to ineffective activity but to delusion too. Thus, the validity of knowledge about any experienceable object (mundane) should be validated by other extraneous evidences. However, since Brahman is only experienceable by sattvika senses, the only way to validate the knowledge about Him is through Vedas by considering it as self-valid.
The above stands are summarized in below chart -