Āpta Pramaṇa are the the ancient great authentic, time-tested, fool-proof compilations of experiences of Enlightened Sages called the Rishis, Siddhas, Munis, Incarnations (Avatars), the direct disciples and followers and descendants of Bhagavan Sadashiva, like the Saptarishis, Maharishis, including the Enlightened Ones such as Patanjali, Valmiki, Agastya Mahamuni, Abhinavagupta, Kshemaraja, Paramahamsa Yogananda, etc. The compiled experiences verify and expand further on the VedaAgamas, forming Āpta Pramana.
Bhagavan Kapila Mahamuni, Sānkhya Sutras. The āpta pramāṇa defined as the ‘word’, or the valid evidence of truth.
āptopadeśaḥ śabdaḥ || 101 ||
Evidence of truth or testimony is a declaration by the one worthy who has experienced the truth, Āpta through the word ‘śabda, the knowledge by hearing.
HDH Paramahamsa Nithyananda Paramashivam on Atma Pramana
Importance of Atma Pramana
Basically, Veda and Āgamas are considered as Śāstra Pramāṇa. It is non-controversial. Anyone who is the follower of Sanatana Hindu Dharma, accepting the superiority, authority of the Vedagamas is the basic thing. And masters who accept the authority of the Vedagamas only can be called as Aptas. Anyone and everyone cannot be called as Aptas. And all their words cannot be taken as Apta Pramāṇa. Masters who accept the authority of the Vedas, Śāstra Pramāṇa, like Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, those great beings, Patañjali, Krishna, the beings, the great masters, exemplars who accept the authority of the Vedagamas are Aptas. Their input is very much needed because time to time they make the whole thing again alive.
They bring the whole Sanatana Hindu Dharma as real in every new context. So, Śāstra Pramāṇa and Apta Pramāṇa are the authorities for Sanatana Hindu Dharma. Anybody who gets any Atma Pramāṇa, they have to acid wash their Atma Pramāṇa with Śāstra Pramāṇa and Apta Pramāṇa. Whatever stands that acid wash only should be shared with the world. See, many times, many people, they say, “Oh, it’s my experience and I don’t need to be bothered about Śāstra Pramāṇa and Apta Pramāṇa.” No. Many times, your own experience may be even good for you. I’m not saying you don’t have experience. It may be only good for you. If you want to teach it to the world, it should stand the scrutiny of Śāstra Pramāṇa and Apta Pramāṇa.
Because sometimes you might have got the Satori without knowingly practicing vegetarian, but unknowingly you lived a vegetarian lifestyle, you got Satori. If you say, I will not refer the Śāstras, you will not know vegetarianism is a prerequisite for Satori, you will not teach that to your next generation. Only if you refer the Śāstras, if you refer the Apta Pramāṇa and Śāstra Pramāṇa, you will know, yes, vegetarianism is a basic requirement and I was practicing it without my knowledge. -HDH Paramahamsa Nithyananda Paramashivam
Avatars - making Shastra Pramana, Apta Pramana & Atma Pramana as Sakshi Pramana
Those who remain with shastra pramana (scriptural authority) are acharyas (teachers). Those who spread shastra pramana and apta pramana (experience of earlier gurus) are Gurus. Those who share shastra pramana, apta pramana and atma pramana (their personal enlightenment experience) are enlightened gurus. Those who can take shastra pramana, apta pramana and atma pramana and make it your sakshi pramana (your personal experience) they are Avatars. - Living Sadashivoham Process on 10th of March 2017, by HDH Paramahamsa Nithyananda Paramashivam