pUrva mImAMsA question

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 8 14:43:46 CDT 1998

 Vidyasankar wrote:

>What is extremely difficult to follow is this. In the discussion under
>BU 4. 4. 21-22, the vArttika-kAra argues that if an injunction is only
>restrictive (niyama vidhi) or eliminative (parisaMkhyA vidhi), then it
>no eligible person to address itself to. In such a case, an injunction
>concerning karma (apUrva vidhi) or its fruit (which presumably accrues
>a proper adhikArin) would not be possible.

 I do not have in my possession the vArtika of Sureshvara at the
  moment. So I can only second guess at this point.

 In the tantra-vArtika of kumArila bhaTTa it is stated:

 vidhir-atyantam-aprApte niyamaH pAxike sati tatra cha anyatra
 cha prApte parisaMkhyeti kIrtyate |

 An (apUrva) vidhi is one that (is associated with) something that
 is completely unestablished (by any other means). A vidhi that
 favors one alternative (over others) is called niyama vidhi. A vidhi
 is an exclusive specification (parisaMkhyA) when (it exclusively
 specifies from among) different alternatives that establish (the same

 Regarding niyama vidhi, the mImAMsA nyAya prakAsha says :

 atashcha niyamavidhAv-aprApta-aMshapUraNAtmako niyama eva

 Therefore, in a niyama vidhi, the meaning of a sentence is the
 injunction that completes or supplies the unestablished part.

 So it is clear that a niyama vidhi does not establish something
 new. Rather it completes the establishment of something that is
 already partially established. The stock example is that of the
 vidhi "He thrashes rice (to separate the husk)" Note here that
 the vidhi is _not_ trying to establish that thrashing is a way
 of separate the husk from the rice. This is already established
 by other means, such as observation. What the vidhi does establish
 is that in connection with a specific rite, thrashing the rice is
 the method to be followed for separation of rice and husk, as
 opposed to say removing the husk with nails. (obviously quite an
 archaic example!)

 So the mImAMsaka might argue that to meditate on the Self, etc,
 is a niyama vidhi. The Self is already established. The niyama
 vidhi only supplies information on how to attain the Self.

 In return Sureshvara might argue ( I am second guessing at this
 point) that for any niyama vidhi there is a related apUrva, something
 that has been newly established. (Even in the example of thrashing
 rice, there has to be a related rite which in turn must have an
 apUrva as a result.) So it does not make sense to say that a
 niyama vidhi  exists by itself independent of an apUrva. If the
 sentence that enjoins meditation on the Self were to be a niyama
 vidhi there would have to be the apUrvatA of the Self. But it is
 known that the Self is not something that is established by an
 injunction. (Everyone agrees with this without a doubt.)
 Therefore, the sentence that asks us to meditate on the Self is not
 a niyama vidhi in the sense that the mImAMsaka uses it. The case for
 parisaMkhyA is similar. So there can be no parisaMkhyA vidhi either.

>My question is, do not even the niyama or parisaMkhyA kinds of
>presume action, and therefore, the sense of agency in the self? It
>seem that even in prescribing a restrictive action or excluding some
>of action, an intelligent agent is necessarily assumed. Or does the
>mImAMsA system (defined by jaiminI's sUtras, Sabara's bhAshya and
>kumArila's or prabhAkara's sub-commentaries) hold otherwise? Or is this
>particular argument meant only against the possibility of adhikAra, and
>not really about the basic sense of agency itself?

 All vidhis implicitly or explicitly state an adhikArin. In the
 sentence "rAjA rAjasUyena svArAjyakAmo yajeta", the king who
 desires to rule over heaven should sacrifice with the rAjasUya,
 the adhikArin is a king who desires to rule over heaven, not just
 anybody who desires to rule over heaven. Here, of course, the
 adhikArin is made explicit.

 But even if the adhikArin is not made explicit there is an implicit
 qualification in any vidhi. A common implicit qualification is
 that the adhikArin must have studied the Vedas.

 So even in the sentence AtmA vA are draShTavyaH shrotavyo ..,
 of the Br. Up., there is an implicit adhikArin, namely one who has
 studied the Vedas or in advaita terms, has the four fold qualifi-


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