Classical Indian Philosophy Prabhakara and Kumarika School of Purva-Mimamsa

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Classical Indian Philosophy: Prabhakara and Kumarika school of Purva-Mimamsa (Philosophy)


  • Jaimini wrote the Mimamsa-sutra.

  • His sutra has been commented upon by a number of commentators.

  • The two most important commentators amongst the list are Prabhakara and Kumarila Bhatta.

  • The two schools within the Purva-Mimamsa have been named after these two commentators, namely;

  • the Prabhakara school of Purva Mimamsa

  • the Kumarila school of Purva-Mimamsa.

  • Sabra swami’s commentary on Mimamsa-sutra has been explained by both, Kumarila and Prabhakara individually, they both share some similarity and differences on important philosophical concepts.

  • Prabhakar’s commentary is named as Brhati, which has been further commented upon by Shalikantha.

  • On the other hand, Kumarila’s work is divided into three parts;

    • Shloka-vartika

    • Tantra-vartika

    • Tuptika

Validity of Knowledge

  • Both, Kumarila and Prabhakara accept the theory of svatah-pramanya-vada.

  • According to them both, knowledge is valid in itself.

  • In other words, knowledge is intrinsically valid.

  • However, the definition of knowledge is different for them.

  • According to Kumarila, valid knowledge is anubhuti or apprehension produced by no defects and no contradiction by subsequent knowledge.

  • According to Prabhakara, valid knowledge is anubhuti or apprehension. It is immediate, direct and valid in nature.

The Pramanas

  • According to both Kumarila and Prabhakara, knowledge is of two types;

    • Mediate knowledge

    • Immediate knowledge

  • Perception is an example of immediate knowledge or direct apprehension.

  • Both accept sabda or the eternity of Vedas is valid knowledge in-itself.

  • According to Prabhakara, there are five means or sources of valid knowledge or pramanas. They are;

    • Perception

    • Inference

    • verbal testimony

    • comparison

    • postulation

  • According to him, perception is defined as direct apprehension.

  • Inference involves previous knowledge or involves the things already known.

  • Arthapatti or postulation remains inconsistent without assumption.

  • According to Kumarila, there are six means or sources of valid knowledge. They are;

    • Perception

    • inference

    • comparison

    • postulation

    • non-apprehension

    • verbal testimony

  • Perception is direct apprehension with is free from all defects.

  • Inference deals with no previous knowledge.

  • Arthapatti helps us reconcile between the two inconsistent facts.

  • Lastly, non-apprehension or abhava is an independent pramana.


1. Shloka-vartika is the work of

A. Prabhakara

B. Kumarila

C. Jaimini

D. Sabra swami

Answer: B

2. ____ accepts two kinds of knowledge; mediate and immediate

A. Prabhakara

B. Kumarila

C. Jaimini

D. Both A and B

Answer: D

3. Perception is direct apprehension with is free from all defects is accepted by

A. Prabhakara

B. Kumarila

C. Jaimini

D. Both A and B

Answer: B

4. Prabhakar’s commentary on Mimamsa-sutra is called

A. Shloka-vartika

B. Tantra-vartika

C. Tuptika

D. Brhati

Answer: D