As I discuss in this question, by far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy is the Vedanta school, which bases its tenets on the doctrines laid out in the Brahma Sutras, a work by the sage Vyasa which summarizes and systematizes the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads. (You can read the Brahma Sutras here.) Now as I discuss in this answer, apart from Advaitins most members of the Vedanta school believe in three Pramanas or means of valid knowledge: Pratyaksha or perception, Anumana or inference, and Shabda or scriptural testimony.
But non-Vedantic philosophical schools believe in various different numbers of independent Pramanas, as described in this excerpt from B.L. Atreya's book "The Elements of Indian Logic":
- The Charvakas recognize only one pramana, namely, Pratyaksha, as the source of right knowledge.
- The Vaisheshikas, Jainas and the Buddhists recognize two, namely, Pratyaksha, and Anumana.
- The Sankhya and Yoga schools recognize only three, namely, Pratyaksha, Anumana and Shabda.
- The Naiyayikas recognize only four, namely, Pratyaksha, Anumana, Shabda, and Upamana.
- Some Mimansakas (followers of Prabhakara) recognize five, namely, Pratyaksha, Anumana, Upamana, Shabda and Arthapatti.
- Another group of Mimansakas (followers of Kumarila Bhatta) and the Vedantists of Shankara (Advaita) school recognize six pramanas, namely, Pratyaksha, Anumana, Shabda, Upamana, Arthapatti and Anupalabdhi.
- The scholars of the Puranas (Historians) recognize eight pramanas, namely, Pratyaksha, Anumana, Shabda, Upamana, Arthapatti, Anupalabdhi, Aitihya, and Sambhava.
- The Tantrikas (students of the Tantras) recognize nine pramanas, namely, Pratyaksha, Anumana, Shabda, Upamana, Arthapatti, Anupalabdhi, Aitihya, Sambhava, and Chesta.
- Some thinkers admit all the ten Pramanas, namely, Pratyaksha, Anumana, Shabda, Upamana, Arthapatti, Anupalabdhi, Aitihya, Sambhava, Chesta and Parishesha.
I asked about who believes in ten independent Pramanas in my question here. But now I'm interested in the part in bold. It seems that the "Tantrikas", which I assume is a reference to followers of Shaiva or Shakta Agamas, believe in nine independent Pramanas. In contrast to most other schools of Indian philosophy, Hindu and non-Hindu, they recognize Chesta as an independent Pramana. Here is B.L. Atreya's definition of Chesta:
Chesta or gesture is also a source of new knowledge. For example, we know that a dumb follow is hungry by the gestures that he makes. We also come to know the thoughts and feelings of other people by their gestures and postures, i.e. by their bodily expressions. The Naiyayikas do not regard it as an independent source of knowledge. It is a kind of inference in which a sign (linga) gives us a knowledge of something else signified by it, their relation of being the sign and the signified having been discovered through repeated experience.
I agree with the Nyaya school and others that Chesta is reducible to Anumana or inference. So my question is, what are the Shaivite or Shakta arguments for Chesta not being reducible to any other Pramanas?
By the way, the Shaiva Siddhanta philosopher Arulnandi Sivacharya accepts the same three Pramanas as the Vedanta school; see this excerpt from his Shivajnana Siddhiyar. So it seems that not all Shaivites and Shaktas believe in nine independent Pramanas. Does anyone know which Shaivite or Shakta sects do believe it?
EDIT: This excerpt from Kaundinya's commentary on the Pashupata Sutras recognizes the same three Pramanas as the Vedanta school. So it looks like neither Pashupatas nor Shaiva Siddhantin believe Chesta is an independent Pramana, which makes me all the more curious what Shaivite or Shakta sect believes in Chesta as an independent Pramana.