liṅga

(‘sign’)

This word is commonly used to indicate the famous emblem of Śiva. See ŚIVALIṄGA for details.

How jñāna or empirical knowledge is acquired, is an important topic discussed in the Indian philosophical systems. These means of knowledge are called ‘pramāṇas’. Out of the several such pramāṇas normally accepted by these systems, anumāna or inference is an important and universally accepted one. The term ‘liṅga’ is used as a part of this anumāna.

A statement of anumāna generally has three parts: sādhya (major term); pakṣa (minor term); sādhana or liṅga or hetu (middle term).

If smoke is seen on a yonder hill one can infer from this liṅga or sign that there is fire there.

See also ANUMĀNA and PRAMĀṆAS.