“If you can find honey on a tree nearby, why going to the mountains?”
arke cen madhu vindeta, kim artham parvataṃ vrajet
In the case of the Śyena and the Agnīṣomīya rituals, violence is once condemned and once allowed, causing long discussions among Mīmāṃsā authors. Similarly, the prohibition to eat kalañja, onion and garlic is interpreted differently than the prohibition to look at the rising sun. Why this difference?
UC Berkeley Shinjo Ito Postdoctoral Fellowship in Buddhist Studies, 2015-2016
With the generous support of the Shinnyo‑en Foundation, the Program in Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley is pleased to invite applications for a one-year postdoctoral research-teaching fellowship. The term of the appointment is July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, with the possibility of a one-year renewal.
The hermeneutic principles are the ones which regard only the Brāhmaṇa texts and whose significance could not be automatically extended outside them, e.g., to a different corpus of texts, or can be extended, but regard characteristics of language. Mīmāṃsā authors had to develop them first of all out of an epistemological concern, namely because they considered the prescriptive portion of the Veda authoritative and thus needed to distinguish the authoritative portion of the Veda.
Consequently, in order to make sense of complex texts like the Brāhmaṇas, in which it is not at all easy to distinguish what belongs to a certain ritual and what to another, Mīmāṃsā authors needed to be able to distinguish the boundaries of a given prescriptive passage. Consequently, some basic hermeneutical rules regard the identification of single prescriptions through syntax and through the unity and novelty of the duty conveyed.
In the following list I tried to enumerate the cornerstones among the hermeneutic principles.
- The prescriptive portion of the Veda is never meaningless.
- A prescriptive sentence is identified through the syntactical expectations among the words forming it and through the single purpose it conveys (PMS 2.1.46).
- Each prescription must be construed as prescribing a new element. Seeming repetitions must have a deeper, different meaning, e.g., enhancing the value of the sacrifice to be performed.
- Each prescriptive text, which may entail several prescriptions is construed around a principal action to be done.
- Each prescription conveys (only) a single piece of deontic information (anyāya ankekārthatva, ŚBh ad PMS 2.1.12; vākyabheda, ŚBh ad 1.1.1).
- No prescription can be meaningless. If it appears to be meaningless, it is not a prescription (vidhiś cānarthakaḥ kvacit tasmāt stutiḥ pratīyeta, PMS 1.2.23).
- Each prescription should promote an action (āmnāyasya kriyārthatvād ānarthakyam atadarthānāṃ tasmād anityam ucyate, PMS 1.2.1).
- The most powerful instrument of knowledge for knowing the meaning of a prescription is what it directly states (śruti), which is most powerful than its implied sense, context, syntactical connection, etc. (niṣādasthapatinyāya PMS 6.1.51–52).
- A material may achieve a result resting on an already prescribed act, like a king’s officer can achieve a certain result only insofar as he relies on the king’s authority (Vṛttikāra within ŚBh ad PMS 2.2.26).
- Any prescribed action needs to have a result. If a prescribed action seems to have no result, postulate happiness as the general result (viśvajinnyāya).
- Only what is intended (vivakṣita) is part of the prescription. For instance, in sentences such as ”Take your bag, we need to go”, the singular number in ”bag” is not intended. What is prescribed is to take one’s bag or bags, and not the fact that one must take one bag only. By contrast, the singular number is intended in ”You must take one pill per day”, meaning that one has to swallow exactly one pill per day. Whether something is intended or not is determined through its link with the sentence’s principal duty.
This post is a follow-up of this one (on logical and hermeneutical principles in Mīmāṃsā).
After the 17th c. and as a consequence of the Vaṭakalai-Teṅkalai split and of the resultant decision of the Vaṭakalai devotees to adopt Veṅkaṭanātha’s theology, the icons of Hayagrīva start to rapidly grow in number and importance in Tamil Nadu–Karṇāṭaka.
Two types of Hayagrīva are reproduced:
December 31 Deadline to Nominate Candidates for
Khyentse Foundation Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation in Buddhist Studies
In July of 2014, Khyentse Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the study and practice of Buddhism, announced the establishment of its Award for Outstanding Dissertations in Buddhist Studies. The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2014. The award will be presented to the best PhD dissertation in the field of Buddhist Studies written in Europe, including the UK, that was published during the previous two academic years. The dissertation must be based on original research in the relevant primary language, and it should significantly advance understanding of the subject or Buddhist scriptures studied.
The Mīmāṃsā school of Indian philosophy has at its primary focus the exegesis of Sacred Texts (called Vedas), and more specifically of their prescriptive portions, the Brāhmaṇas. This means that the epistemic content conveyed by the Vedas is, primarily, what has to be done. In order words, the Veda is an epistemic authority only insofar as it conveys a deontic content.
A philosopher might end up having a double affiliation, to the philosophical standpoints shared by one’s fellow philosophers, and to the religious program of one’s faith.
This can lead to difficult reinterpretations (such as that of Christ with the Neoplatonic Nous, or that of God with the Aristotelic primum movens immobile), or just to juxtapositions (the addition of angels to the list of possible living beings).
A Vaiṣṇava who starts doing philosophy after centuries of religious texts speaking of Viṣṇu’s manifestations (vibhūti), of His qualities and His spouse Lakṣmī (or Śrī or other names), is in a similar difficult situation.
The University of Bergen (UiB) is an internationally recognised research university with more than 14,000 students and close to 3,500 employees at six faculties. The university is located in the heart of Bergen. Our main contribution to society is excellent basic research and education across a wide range of disciplines.
(1) PhD Position in the project ‘Religion in Public Spaces in Mumbai’ and (2) PhD Position in the project ‘Religion and Violence in Mumbai’
How did comparative philosophy evolve in the last sixty+ years? What is the difference between intercultural philosophy and comparative philosophy? All the answers can be read in the introductory essay to the first number of a new journal dedicated to comparative philosophy, namely Confluence.