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

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 16 00:06:18 CST 2015

Sri Raghav Kumar garu, Namaste.
You raise some very interesting questions. I will attempt to respond, in line, to the best of my abilities.
      From: Raghav Kumar <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com>

1. The shabda and artha sambandha is not nitya when it comes to proper nouns like a  man named (who else but...) devadatta etc.. For,  in such cases convention (sanketa)  is the basis and this is pauruSheya. He is anitya and he was named so upon his birth. ( Because the person is anitya, we cannot form a valid syllogism that 'all words have anitya sambandha with their meanings, like even in the case of Devadatta '   Only in the case of common nouns denoting classes such as the gotva jAti for cows etc., the shabda-artha connection is said to be nitya, the jAti-s being nitya.

--- The classification of nouns into proper, common, abstract etc. has an underlying assumption about the nautre of the world. What if that assumption is challenged? As it turns out, Mimamsa does that. It asks as to what is common amongst Devadatta as a one-day old baby, as a boy, a young person, a middle-aged man, an old man, and on his death bed? His body, mind and his possessions - all underwent too much of a change. The only constant is the jati if Devadattatvam. By the Nyaaya does not accept this as jati, but let us digress. Coming back to the VaiyAkaraNa, he can accommodate all kinds of alledge sanketas - proper nouns, new elements being named, pratyAhAras and so on - by removing them one level lower from nityatva of Sabda, Artha and their relation. In that view, the Sabda Devadatta(S) always indicates a concept called Devadatta(A) and when a boy is named Devadatta, the Sanket is between the conceptual artha Devadatta(A) and the boy being named.
My question is  - what is the status (nitya or anitya, and pauruSheya or apauruSheya)  of the shabdArtha sambandha for non-Vedic words, let us say, from a non-Indo-european language like Arabic or Innuit etc.  Is the connection between the shabda 'jamal'un' and its artha viz.,'an animal with a humped back which takes you across the desert and drinks lots of water at a time'  paurusheya or apauruSheya nitya? What about Sanksrit common nouns like sangaNaka etc for a computer?  

--- At the level of Vaikharee, only Sanskrit Sabdas give rise to dharma. All other words, whether mere mis-pronunciations or Arabic or Innuit words might work for communication but they started off as corruptions of Sanskrit words. As to proof of transformation, we might have it or not, but simply assumed that they are transformations. 
 Prima facie, there seems to be no harm is positing that, except those words (i.e., Vedic sentences)  which are necessary to ensure jagataH shabda-prabhavatvaM, all other (non-Vedic origin Arabic or Innuit) words or words like sangaNaka can well be labeled pauruSheya in origin. But would not this go against the autpattika sutra quoted by Acharya Jaimini espcially as understood by the vaiyAkaraNa-s?
--- In fact Mimamsakas say words like pika, nema etc. should be treated as nitya (these words are categorized as "mleccha" but are found in the Veda and the meaning is decided based on mleccha usage), because these early usages were retained in their usage by mlecchas (who are the progeny of those excommunicated from the Vedic fold) but not by SishTas.
The other alternative would be to say that all words and their meanings in all languages (except proper nouns) are apauruSheya nitya - they are all potentially there in Brahman. (we could even give supporting logic from satkAryavAda for this view).  So our analysis is truly language independent. But i am not clear if the idea that many other non-Vedic words are also apaurusheya nitya is compatible with advaita siddhAnta. 
--- Advaita would have no problem, I think, in agreeing with the Mimamsa's view about mleccha-sabdas. 

Also on a totally different note, it may be a challenge to claim apaurusheya nitya status for onomatopoeic words like cuckoo, hoopoe,  kAka etc., where sanketa (human convention) is the plausible origin.
--- For these and others, we may club them with gestures (or emoticons on today's world) and say that these and gestures are jnApakas of words, through which the denotation process occurs. 
RegardsN Siva Senani   

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