Sâmânya laksana is the perception of universals. In other words, it is the perception of classes. According to Nyâya, the universals are a distinct class. They inhere in all the particular belonging to the same class. For example, a hen becomes a hen because it has the universal ‘henness’ inhering in it. Another example, we identify a person as ‘man’ because that person possesses the common quality of ‘manhood’ which we find among other men.
In our day-to-day life we perceive only particulars like a table, a cow, a pen etc. but not universals like tableness, cowness, penness, etc. Thus, it is admitted that whenever we perceive the particulars we first perceive the universal which inheres in it. These sorts of perception Nyâyikas treats as an extraordinary perception.
(Source: BPY005/Block 1/Unit 1/Page 10)