[Advaita-l] Theory of Language: Mimamsa, Advaita and Vyakarana - 2 of 3

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 10 06:06:09 CST 2015

In theearlier post, the pūrvapakṣa was stated that modification of Śabda is observed in sandhi etc. (say,dadhi + atra = dadhyatra, the letter "i" transforming into"y") which makes Śabda anitya, as something which undergoes suchmodifications cannot be nitya. If "i" changes to "y", thenthe "i" which no longer is, is not nitya, and the "y" whichcame of "i" is also not nitya.

 The aboveis exactly what is said in Pūrvamīmāṃsāsūtra 1.1.10: प्रकृतिविकृत्योश्च ([Śabdais anitya] on account of the primary form and its modification). Sūtrakāra Jaimini himself offers the answer in 1.1.16: वर्णान्तरमविकारः (it [,i.e."y" in dadhyatra] is a different varṇa and not a modification). This begs the question:"then, what is it?". It is left to the Bhāṣyakāra Śabarasvāmī to answer this: "There is nomodification of "i" into "y", they are different Śabdas."In other words "dadhi" and "dadhy" are different Śabdas. Takingvikāra to be a pariṇāma, Śabarasvāmī points out that just like one starts withgrass reeds to make a mat (whereby the reeds are transformed into a mat), it isnot observed that one starts with "i" to utter "y". Hefurther states that similarity in sounds is not a reason for assuming prakṛti-vikṛti-bhāva,otherwise jasmine and curds would be determined as Prakṛti and its Vikāra.

If dadhi and dadhy are differentŚabdas, then the sūtra of Pāṇini which ordains this(इको यणचि ॥6.1.77॥- In the place of iK (i, u, ṛ, ḷ) aresubstituted yaṆ (y, v, r, l) when iK is followed by aC (vowels) – this is theusual translation of this sūtra) mustbe wrong. Śabara does not go as far as saying that Pāṇini was wrong but he doesnot reconcile the rules of Vyākaraṇa with his stance, which task is taken up by his commentator Kumārila in sevenkārikas in Śabdādhikaraṇa of Ślokavārtika. First, Kumārila explicitly statesthat it is not the meaning of Pāṇini's words that "i" is to betransformed into "y":

तत्र स्मृतेरसिद्धत्वं न ह्येवंपाणिनेर्वचः ॥२॰२ cd ॥ 

इकारपरिणामेन यकारः क्रियतामिति। २॰३ab॥

He interprets the sūtra 6.1.77 as a niyama sūtra which restricts proper usage to "dadhy" inplace of "dadhi" when a vowel follows. That is, when a vowel follows,the restriction is that the word dadhya (=dadhy, the final vowel is forease of pronunciation) only should be used. This is mentioned in thefollowing verses:

भिन्नप्रसिद्धयोस्तेनदधि दध्येति शब्दयोः ॥२॰४ cd॥ 

आचक्षाणेनसाधुत्वं दधीत्यौत्सर्गिकः कृतः। 

अन्वाख्यातुंस्वरूपेण दध्यशब्दं च वेदितुम् ॥२॰५॥

स्वशास्त्रेलघुबोधार्थमेकत्वमिव दर्शितम्। २॰६ ab॥

The two words dadhi and dadhya,known as distinct Śabdas, have been shown as if they were one in itsown Śāstra for the sake of brevity, by that [Sūtra iko yaṇaci], whichwhile conveying the sādhutva (correctness of form) of the two words, hasmade dadhi as a generalized form (autsargikaḥ) in order to show dadhyaas an exception (which occurs when a vowel follows) and also make its ownform known.

The way Pāṇini's sūtra should be understood is explained by Kumārila:

इक्प्रयोगप्रसङ्गे तुयण् साधुरिति गम्यते ॥२॰७ cd॥ 

परमार्थस्तु नैवास्मिन्विकारोऽभूत्कदाचन।२॰९ ab॥

The meaning ofthe Sūtra is that in the context of using iK [when a vowel follows], yaṆis the correct form. In ultimate reality, there never was a modification there.

Though it is not stated in somany words, other situations are to be similarly resolved. The word "rājapuruṣaḥ"is distinct from the sentence "rājñaḥ puruṣaḥ" and the teaching whichjuxtaposes them is only for the sake of brevity. Similarly rāmaḥ, rāmau etc. are all different Śabdas, and so on.

It may be noted that eternalityof Śabda, Artha and their relation is stated upfront in Vyākaraṇa as well, inthe first Vārtika itself: 

सिद्धे शब्दार्थसम्बन्धे लोकतःलोकतोऽर्थप्रयुक्ते शास्त्रेण धर्मनियमः यथा लौकिकवैदिकेषु ॥

Once this position is taken, Vyākaraṇathen faces the same difficulty (about how nitya Śabda could transform) and theyoffer a resolution, similar to that of the Mīmāṃsaka that "dadhi atra"and "dadhyatra" are entirely different Śabdas. 

Vedānta also holds Śabda to be nitya,as stated in the sūtra अत एवनित्यत्वम् ॥1.3.29॥(and the preceding one). Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya andVallabhācārya all agree thatŚabda is nitya; Madhvācārya does not commenton the devatādhikaraṇa (and the next one,apaśūdrādhikaraṇa). The discussionabout "dadhi atra" and "dadhyatra" is not taken up inVedānta (to my knowledge), but there is no other choice but to accept that"dadhi" and "dadhy" are different Śabdas.

Now,if all the three – Mīmāṃsā, Vyākaraṇa and Vedānta – accept Śabda to be nitya,and are thus left with no choice but to hold that the so-called vikāras are actuallydifferent Śabdas, then the question arises as to what really is the differenceamong them?

Thiswill be taken up in the next post, where the difference in the positions ofVyākaraṇa and Mīmāṃsā will be shown, and the difficulties of Mīmāṃsā-position willbe explored.


N. Siva Senani

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list