On Vyāsa and the authorship of the Saṅkarṣakāṇḍa UPDATED

(apologies in advance for the partial lack of diacritics, I am home, ill, with no access to a unicode keyboard)

The Saṅkarṣakāṇḍa (henceforth SK, about which see here) is an enigmatic text thought to complete the Mīmāṃsā Śāstra, after the Pūrva Mīmāṃsā Sūtra (henceforth PMS) and before the Uttara Mīmāṃsā Sūtra (or Vedānta Sūtra, henceforth UMS).

As for its origin, several witnesses speak of the SK as having been authored by Jaimini (e.g., the first commentator of the SK, Devasvāmin; the Vṛttikāra’s quote mentioned by Rāmānuja, the Prapañcahṛdaya, Madhusūdana Sarasvatī and Śambhubhaṭṭa), whereas the Sarvasiddhāntasaṅgraha attributes it to Vyāsa, together with the UMS (see Kanazawa, p. 41). The Sarvamatasaṅgraha might depend on the Sarvasiddhāntasaṅgraha when it also attributes both the SK and the UMS to Vyāsa, but it adds a new nuance, that is, it states that they both deal with brahman, saguṇa and nirguṇa respectively. Vedānta Deśika refers to the SK’s author as Kāśakṛtsna, the name of an ancient Mimamsaka of whom no other work has been preserved.
In a learned and insightful study of 2012, Ashok Aklujkar has supported this attribution, on the basis of the fact that:

1. The name “Sankarsa” does not need to refer to the author and anyway all evidences mentioning such a Sankarsa mention him as the commentator of the SK, not as its author.

2. The attestations (e.g. in the Vrttikara’s quote preserved in the SriBhAsya and in the Sesvara Mimamsa) regarding the SK as jaiminiya only mean “connected with Jaimini’s PMS” and not “authored by Jaimini”.

3. Kāśakṛtsna is a suitable candidate, being an ancient Mimamsaka, and there is no other way to explain the attribution of the SK to him, given that he was neither well-known nor influential (in other words, attributing the SK to him does not resemble the attribution of the Yogabhasya to Vyasa and similar cases).

UPDATE: In favour of Aklujkar’s hypothesis it can be added that there are no (or few) explicit arguments against Kāśakṛtsna’s authorship of the SK. K.V. Sarma, the editor of the editio princeps of the SK suutras (independently of Bhāskararāya’s and Devasvāmin’s commentaries), uses the following ones: He endorses K.C. Chatterjee’s view that “though the SK is fairly early, […] it is still difficult to hold that Kāśakṛtsna is its author”. Vedānta Deśika himself did not uphold K’s authorship, as shown by the fact that he quotes the Vṛttikāra’s statement approvingly. In fact, Vedānta Deśika (see here) reuses the Vṛttikāra’s passage for his own agenda and as a further evidence in favour of the unity of the Mīmāṃsā śāstra exactly insofar as it —at first sight erroneously— states that Jaimini composed the PMS and the SK. And as for the first argument, Sarma maintains that the SK has been authored by Jaimini himself, who is also not later than Kāśakṛtsna (both are mentioned as authorities in the PMS and in the UMS).

Nonetheless, a few elements may be juxtaposed to Aklujar’s learned reconstruction (which, by Aklujkar’s own assumption, limits itself to the extant SK and does not take into account the SK-devatakanda).

1. Venkatanatha clearly needed the SK–devatakanda in his attempt to show the unity of the Mimamsa sastra and its theistic core.

2. In this connection, the attribution of the SK to Vyasa, with the underlying assumption that the same brahman was dealt with under two different perspectives might have suited him best.

3. However, his illustrious predecessor, the Vrttikara, had attributed it to Jaimini.

Hence, the forceful interpretation of the Vrttikara’s quote and, possibly, the resort to an “intermediate” position among the various ones Venkatanatha may have been exposed to at his time.

What do you think? Who was the author of the SK? And is there just one SK?

On the SK, see this post, this post and this one

Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *