[Advaita-l] What is abhitaanvaya-vaada and anvitaayabhidhaana-vada ?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Nov 15 12:16:15 CST 2010


A search on the internet yielded several results on the topic of the two
'vadas'.  By far, the following seems to give one a reasonably easily
comprehensible idea of the vada-s.  A lot of spelling corrections are
required in the  excerpt below.  I have corrected only the portions relevant
to the two vada-s:

5.0 The Process of verbal understanding :

The fllowing steps have been postulated in generating the verbal
vmderstanding :

Step I : The hearer acquires the knowledge of morphemic constituents

of a sentence (i.e. padajflana)

Step II : He will remember the referents from each of the respective
constituents (Padartha-Smarana)

Step III : He will come to know the relationships among the remem-
bered referents.

The step 111 is the icsnltant verbal understanding. It may be noted
that for going to Step No. IT from Step No. I, the presupposition is that
the hearer or reader already has the knowledge of relationship between a
pada and its referent (arflia).

Again, to reach the step III. from Step II, it is necessary to know the
intention of the speaker or writer. Unless that is known the hearer or the
writer will fail to decide with what intension the speaker has uttered or
the writer has written I he sentence and without the knowledge it will
remain doubtful whether the hearer or the reader has exactly understood
what the speaker the writer wanted him to understand. Thus, tatparyajtiana
or the knowledge of the intension of the speaker or writer plays an impor-
tant role in generating verbal understanding.

To concrtise the entire process, let us assume that

a + b + c -i- d is a sentence consisting of four morphemic units, and
a 1 , b 1 , c 1 and cl 1 are the respective referents of a, b, c, and
d, the vertical
line is the relation between a, b, c, and d and their respective referents,
and the horizontal line represents the relationships among the referents.
Thus, the entire process may be represented as follows :

a + b + c + d

a 1 - b 1 - c< - d 1

When one knows these horizontal lines, he is said to have understood
the sentence-meaning. Thus, these horizontal lines i.e. the relations among
the meanings are the sentence meaning.
6.0 Theories of Verbal understanding :

It may be observed above that the horizontal lines i.e. the sentence-
meanings are not referents of any linguistic element of the sentence
a + b + c -i- d, although they are the content of the verbal understanding.
Thus, nothing is allowed to appear in the verbal understanding other than
the relations among the referents. In other words, it is only the sentence-
meaning that can appear in the verbal understanding even if it is not a
referent of any linguistic unit of the sentence (apadarthah t apt vakyarthah
mUabodhebhasate). This' is the stand of the Nyava-VaiSesika System.

As a matter of fact, this issue has given rise to several theories of
verbal understanding. The question that has been raised is if a padartha
is expressed by pada, what does express vSlcyartha ?

The answers to this question have resulted into various theories. We
shall discuss here the following theories :

6.1 Abhihitaanvaya-vaada :

This theory is the result of the answer to the above question given by
the Bhatta School of Purvamimamsa. According to this theory the padas
express their arthas and by laksana i.e. by the sakti of the arthas the
sentence-meaning is understood. Thus, the relationships among the expressed
senses are established after the meanings are expressed by the individual
pada (abhihiitaanaam arthaanaam anvayah)

6.2 Anvitaabhidhaana-vada

This is the contribution of the Prabhakara School of Purvamimamsa.
The school holds that the sentence-meaning is also expressed by the
constituents of the sentence. According to the Prabhskaras, the padas not
only express their own meanings but they also express the relationship
with other meaning. (anvitAnAm padaanaanm abhidhaanam).

6.3 Tatparya-vada

This theory says that the relasionship among wordmeaning will be
established by the fource of the intension of the speaker. Jayantabhatta,
the author of Nyayamanjari has gone to elevate tatparya as a vrtti that
should account for the sentence-menaning.

6.4 Samsarga-maryada-vada

This theory is the contribution of the Navya NySya. According to this
system of Indian logic, the sentence-meaning is obtained because of the
juxtaposition of meanings. The sentence-meaning appears in the verbal
understanding in the capacity of a relation. The meanings presented to the
mind get connected as per the capacity and compatibility. This theory is
very close to the theory of the Bhauas in the sense that the meanings
themselves have the capacity to connect themselves.

7.0 Strucure of a Sabdabodha

Therere is another point that needs mention here. The content of a
verbal understanding reflects a structure. The structure is of the type of
qualiflcand qualified by a qualifier. Any acceptable sentence gives rise to
an understanding which shows its content and the content always appears
arranged in a particular form or structure, which can be divided in two
parts-qualifier (vtieja^a) and quallficand (vtiesya). If one wants to analyse

it one will find that the division observes the principles of immediate
constituent analysis which can be transformed into a tree diagram. To
i lustrate, if the content has the element a*, b', c* and d', one may analyse
it as follows :


/ \

c 1 d 1


x \

a* hi

This is very important to note.

8.0 Conclusions

Whatever we have discussed so far, it is clear that the ancient Indian
Wulosophers had paid great attention to the analysis of verbal behaviour.
ihen- entire attempt to analyse the language has been from listner's or
hearer s point of view. That is why we find meticulous analysis of the
Piocess of verbal understanding i. e. cognition that arises from a sentence
i.e. the Sabdabodha.

_ As philosophers of language, they took divergent stands-right from

h t^^" 811 " 8 ' d eS " Ot SPCak th trUth t0 Sa ^ that * c <*
but the truth through saying that it speaks both, truth and untruth.

To my mind, these divergent views paved the way for the evolution
sho > that is Jndkn PMosophy. The Nyaya Vai^esika

school contributed a lot to this development.


1. V. N. Jha, Studies in Lmgitage, L>j g i c and Epistemologv,
Pralibha Prakashan, New Delhi, 1985.

2- - - , The Philosophy af Injunction,

Pratibha Prakashan, New Delhi, 1987.

3 - - - , The Logic of Intermediate Causal Link,

Indian Books Ceatre, New Delhi, 198

4- - - , The Philosophy of Relations,

Indian Books Centre, New Delhi, 1990.

5- - ~ , Visayatavada (Introduction portion only),

Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, Univ.
of Poona, 1987.

6. B. K. Matilal, Language, Logic and Grammar

The Hague. '

7. - , Language and Reality,

Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi,.' 1986.

(end of excerpt from the website)

Regarding other clarifications on that Book, let me assure that I have
not studied it.

Best regards,

On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 10:05 AM, Srikrishna Ghadiyaram <
srikrishna_ghadiyaram at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Refer to page 42 onwards of Samkshepa saareeraka of Sarvajnaatman -
> translated
> by Prof. N. Veezhinathan:
> "There remains one important question, namely, how is the meaning of a
> sentence
> known? Two theories are put forward to answer this question, one known as
> abhitaanvaya-vaada, and the other, anvitaayabhidhaana-vada."
> I read through the text, but not able to comprehend clearly and completely.
> Would someone who has already studied this text, or someone who read these
> concepts from other texts help me understand. Would you please point me to
> some
> other place where these concepts are analyzed, so that I may get to read a
> different presentation.
> I have other clarifications to seek on Samkshepa saareeraka. But, I will
> reserve
> them to later posts.
> Thank you
> Srikrishna
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