From word meanings to sentence meaning: A workshop in Cambridge

From Word Meanings to Sentence Meaning:

Different Perspectives in Indian Philosophy of Language

The reflection on language and its structures was a major component of the Sanskritic intellectual horizon, intimately connected with the broader epistemological and soteriological concerns of different schools. This led to the emergence of various conflicting philosophical views on the nature of the cognition obtained from language (śābdabodha). In this respect, a pivotal issue is how padārthas (the meanings/referents of words) relate to vākyārtha (the meaning/referent of the sentence). During this one-day colloquium, the focus will especially be on the views set forth by the Pūrva-Mīmāṃsā philosophers (Bhāṭṭa and Prābhākara), the Buddhists, the Grammarians, and the theoreticians of Alaṃkāraśāstra, and on the reconstruction of the debate as it developed in the course of the first millennium CE.

 

Date: November 11, 2016

Time: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm

Śabara on sentences (PMS 1.1.24–26)

The discussion on the epistemological validity of sentences starts in Jaimini’s Pūrva Mīmāṃsā Sūtra (PMS) and in Śabara’s commentary thereon when the opponent notes that, even if —as established in PMS 1.1.5— there were really an originary connection between words and meanings, this would still not mean that the authorless Vedas are a reliable instrument of knowledge, since they are made of sentences, not just of words. And clusters of words are either made by human authors or are just causally put together by chance and are thus meaningless.

Are Bādarāyaṇa and Vyāsa the same person?

As part of his aikaśāstrya agenda, Vedānta Deśika wanted to prove that Jaimini (the author of the Pūrva Mīmāṃsā Sūtra) was a pupil of Bādarāyaṇa (the author of the Uttara Mīmāṃsā, aka Vedānta, Sūtra). In order to prove that, he can use a verse from the Mahābhārata referring to Vyāsa:

The Lord, the best, the benefactor, taught the Vedas, of which the Mahābhārata is the fifth, to Sumantu, Jaimini, Bailva and Śuka, his own son and to Vaiśampāyana.
They (the students) recited separately [parts] of the Mahābhārata, which had been put together [by Vyāsa] (vedān adhyāpayām āsa mahābhāratapañcamān | sumantuṁ jaiminiṁ pailaṁ śukaṁ caiva svam ātmajam || prabhur variṣṭho varado vaiśaṁpāyanam eva ca | saṁhitās taiḥ pr̥thaktvena bhāratasya prakāśitāḥ || MBh 10.57.74–5)

What remains to be done, at this point, is to establish the identity of Vyāsa and Bādarāyaṇa. This is also a wide-spread idea, but Vedānta Deśika wants to establish through a motivation of this double name:

In the island mixed with (i.e., endowed with) Badarika (jujube) tress, out of Parāśara, Satyavatī (the mother of Vyāsa) begot a child, a destroyer of foes (parantapa), Bādarāyana, the imperishable.

dvīpe badarikāmiśre bādarāyaṇam acyutam |
parāśarāt satyavatī putraṃ lebhe parantapam ||

Unfortunately, however, I could not locate the source of the latter verse. Do you know it?

I am surprised to notice that I never discussed aikaśāstrya on this blog. You can, however, read about it in my forthcoming article on the volume I will edit with Philipp Maas, a preliminary version of which can be read here.

What is the difference between nouns and verbs (according to Mīmāṃsā authors)? Diaconescu vs. Clooney

What do nouns mean? And what is the difference between nouns and verbs? Pūrva Mīmāṃsā authors are rightly known as having conceived the first textual linguistics in South Asia. In this sense, their theory differs from the Vyākaraṇa one, as it does not start with basic forms having already underwent an analysis (vyākaraṇa), but rather with complex textual units, the sacrificial prescriptions of the Brāhmaṇas.

मीमांसान्याययोः शब्दविषये विवादः -१-

पूर्वमीमांसासूत्रे सू॰ १।१।६ अरभ्य सू॰ १।१।२३ पर्यन्तम् शब्दस्वरूपविषये नैयायिकानां पूर्वपक्षाः प्रदर्शिताः (१।१।६–१।१।११) प्रतिवदिताश्च ।
१।१।६ विषयं प्रतिजानाति “कर्म एके तत्र दर्शनात्” इति । एके − नैयायिकाः मन्यन्ते, शब्दः कर्मैवास्ति, प्रयत्नानन्तरदर्शनाद् इति यावत् ।
१।१।७ सूत्रे द्वितीयो हेतुरुक्तः “अस्थानात्” इति । शब्दः कर्म, यतः शीघ्रं विनश्यति, विनष्टश्च न कुत्रचिदुपलभ्यते । सन्ति तु अर्थाः, ये सन्तोऽपि नोपलभ्यन्ते, मेरुवत् इति चेन्न । मेर्वादयः व्यवधानेभ्य एव नोपलभ्यन्ते । व्यवधानं विना सर्वमुपलभ्यमिति नैयायिकः ।
१।१।८ सूत्रेऽपि हेतुरुच्यते “करोतिशब्दात्” इति । लोके “सः शब्दं करोति” इति यावत् । किमर्थं लोकव्यवहारं प्रमाणमिति चेत्, उच्यते − यथा लोके वदन्ति तथा चिन्तयन्ति, न चानुपलब्धं किंचिद्वर्तते इति सूत्रे १।१।७ उक्तम् । तस्माद् यदुपलब्धं तच्चिन्तितं, यच्चिन्तितं च तल्लोकव्यवहारे व्यक्तमिति लोकव्यवहारः प्रमाणमिति नैयायिकः । तत्र तु −संस्कृता वागपि संकेतिका इति नैयायिकाः । अत एव संभवति यत् केवलं संस्कृतायां भाषायां “शब्दं करोति” इति व्यवहारोऽस्ति । वस्तुतश्च हङ्गरीभाषायां “शब्दं प्रमुञ्चति” इत्युच्यते, न तु “करोति” ।
१।१।९ सूत्रे यौगपद्यं हेतुत्वेनोक्तम् “सत्त्वान्तरे च यौगपद्यात्” इति । नानादेशेषु “शब्द”शब्दादयः यौगपद्येन श्रुताः । यद्येक एव शब्दो भवेत्, तर्हि एतदसम्भवम् । यथाहि ममैकः पुत्रः केवलं पाटलिपुत्रे दृश्यते, न तु यौगपद्येन पाटलिपुत्रे वारणसीपूरे च ।

किम् मन्यन्ते तत्रभवन्तः, कः कः हेतुः युक्ततमः?

शब्दस्वरूप एतत् “पोस्ट्” अपि पठितव्यम्

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