Although absences are commonly encountered in all cognitive enterprises, Western mathematics, physics, linguistics, hermeneutics etc. seem to have presupposed them rather than focusing on them as a specific topic. Hence, although the zero may seem to today's Westerners logically entailed in the concept of number, as if the zero were the origin of numbers, it is only due to Indian mathematicians that a 'zero' (śūnya) has been assumed. Plotinus, on the other hand, viewed in the One the origin of all numbers.
Similarly, although the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika categories resemble in many respects those of Aristotles, 'absence' (abhāva) is only listed among the former ones. And the same applies to absence as an instrument of knowledge (abhāvapramāṇa).
In order to recognise an absence, the first requirement is a paradigm against which it can be checked. I cannot recognise the absence of a student from my class, unless I know who should be there. Similarly, detecting the absence of a certain ritual element in a ritual text requires that one knows what the standard ritual text should say.
Moreover, detecting an absence leads one to find a way to fill it, that is to supply an element which can fulfil the role of what is absent. Hence, all discussions on absence in hermeneutics and ritualistics will regard also these two features (standard paradigm and supplying procedures).
This might partly explain why both these functions interact in the semantic history of a key term within Indian ritualistics (Śrauta Sūtra) and Mīmāṃsā, i.e., tantra.
On tantra, see here. On the related topic of prasaṅga, see here.
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