[Advaita-l] A Brief Introduction to pUrva mImAmsA - 1 (a FAQ)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Feb 17 16:49:37 CST 2004

On Mon, 2 Feb 2004, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> 5. What are the texts, and who are the proponents of PM?
> The primary text of PM is Jaimini's "pUrva mImAmsA sUtra" (JPMS). Along
> with BAdarAyaNa's "Brahma sUtra", the two books constitute the first
> exegeses of the Vedas - of the karma kANDa and GYAna kANDa portions
> respectively. Jaimini and BAdarAyaNa were undoubtedly contemporaries,
> as revealed by the fact that JPMS 1.1.5 refers to BAdarAyaNa while
> Brahma sUtra 1.3.31 refers to Jaimini. Tradition believes that Jaimini
> was a disciple of BAdarAyaNa.
> The authoritative commentary on JPMS is by ShabarasvAmin, on which two
> sub-commentaries exist by PrabhAkara and KumArila BhaTTa.

There is is also a "third way" associated with the name of Murari Mishra.
But this does not seem to have been that popular and is now known only
through quotations in rival works.

the two main schools are known as Bhatta mata (after Kumarila) and Guru
mata.  MM Ganganath Jha in his book on the Prabhakara school relates a
story about how Prabhakara Mishra who was the student of Kumarila came to
be known as Guru.  One day the teacher and pupul got into a heated
argument about some aspect of how the shraddha was to be performed. Prabhakar
was overruled.  That night Kumarila learned that Prabhakar had committed
suicide in protest.  As his body lay on the pyre, the other students asked
how after the funeral the shraddha was to be performed.  Kumarila admitted
it was according to Prabhakars' view.  Whereupon the "dead" man lept up
and said "aha!"  From then on, the amused Kumarila refered to his disciple
as Guru.  The Guru mata doesn't seem to have been as popular as the Bhatta
mata.  Advaitins follow the Bhatta mata in Mimamsaka matters.

> The school branches out in this manner:
> Jaimini (founder)
>   |
>   |-->ShabarasvAmin
>       |
>       |-->PrabhAkara
>       |
>       |-->KumArila BhaTTa (key proponent)
>           |
>           |-->Sucharita Mishra
>           |
>           |-->PArthasArathi Mishra
>           |
>           |-->Someshvara BhaTTa
> The most important and key proponent of PM is traditionally considered
> to be KumArila BhaTTa, whose vArttika consists of three parts:
> (1) shlokavArttika (1.1 of Jaimini), which gives the fundamentals of
> dharma - what it is and how it can be known, what the differences are
> between PM and the other schools, various PM theories on Self, world,
> etc. I will be using this extensively.
> (2) tantravArttika (1.2 - 3.8 of Jaimini) deals heavily with arguments
> against the Buddhists in defense of the Vedas, questioning modes of
> conduct such as wine-drinking, when and where to perform a Vedic rite,
> etc. I will only make peripheral use of this text.
> (3) tuptikA (remaining chapters 4-12 of Jaimini), which is "very
> advanced" vaidika dharma, such as the relationship between
> mantra-deity-yaGYa, how a particular Vedic rite (such as the ashvamedha
> yaGYa) should be performed, etc. I will not be using this text at all.

There are some other notable Mimamsaka works too.  In his purvashram Swami
Vidyaranya was known as as Madhava and just as his Vayasika Nyayamala is a
summary of the adhikaranas of the Brahmasutras, he has also written
Jaiminiya Nyayamala which is a summary of the adhikaranas of the PM sutras.

Gangesh Upadhyaya caused a revolution in the study of nyaya by restating
it in ultra-logical terms.  The methods of "navya nyaya" spread to other
shastras and one Khandadeva wrote Bhatta Kaustubha, Bhatta Dipika, etc. on
PM according to this method.  I am told that this is the preferred way of
learning PM in many pathashalas.

There are several small manuals to introduce novices to the subject of PM.
The most popular among these include Artha Sangraha of Laugakshi Bhaskara,
Apadevi of Apadeva and Mimamsa Paribhasha of Krshna Yajvan.  The latter
has been published with an English translation by the Ramakrishna Math.
The others are available in English too.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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