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Vyākaraṇic Texts and Śāstric Discourse

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Notes

  1. The systematic description of the Sanskrit language made by Pāṇini about the 5th or the 4th c. BCE became, during the following centuries, the unquestionable instrument and model of a thorough codification of the language. But the acute consciousness of the norms of language very likely predated Pāṇini.

  2. Leela Prasad, “Text, Tradition, and Imagination: Evoking the Normative in Everyday Hindu Life,” Numen Vol. 53 (2006), No. 1, 1–47, p. 7.

  3. Sheldon Pollock recalls Candrakīrti’s (a Buddhist philosopher) analysis of the term: “śāstra is so called because it ‘chastises’ [śās] all one’s inimical impurities and ‘saves’ [tra] one from evil rebirth.” Pollock, “The idea of Śāstra in traditional India”, in A. L. Dallapiccola (ed.), Shastric Traditions in Indian Arts, Vol. I “Texts” (Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH, 1989), 17–26, p. 17.

  4. During the immediate post-Vedic period, at least. Candrakīrti, quoted in the previous footnote, is a counterexample, a scholar who adopts the language of the śāstra and who is not a member of the Brahmanical priestly and intellectual elite.

  5. Another source which furnishes the norm is the conduct of the śiṣṭas, the “wise men.” See Prasad, op. cit., pp. 11–12, and my “Sanskrit Grammarians and the ‘Speaking Subjectivity’,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft, Vol. 23 (2013), No. 1, 1–20.

  6. Pollock, “Playing by the rules: Śāstra and Sanskrit literature,” in A. L. Dallapiccola (ed.), Shastric Traditions in Indian Arts, Vol. I “Texts”, op. cit., 301–312, p. 310.

  7. Pollock, “The idea of Śāstra in traditional India,” op. cit.

  8. For instance, see in §3.2 the last quoted passage of the Mahābhāṣya.

  9. The Mīmāṃsā discipline constitutes an hermeneutics of ritual texts. Together with grammar (Vyākaraṇa) and logic (Nyāya), it constitutes the master part of an Indian traditional scholar’s training.

  10. Ibid., pp. 17–18.

  11. Ibid., p. 18. Prasad observes that, today, “śāstra is one concept among others such as paddhati (custom), ācāra (proper conduct), sampradāya (tradition) and niyama (principle, restraint) that individuals employ to indicate moral authority and enactment”. Op. cit., p. 1.

  12. Quoted in Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe. An Essay in Understanding (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988), p. 312.

  13. On this point, Jan Gonda, The Ritual Sūtras. Veda and Upanishads Vol. 1, fasc. 2 (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1977), p. 489, observes: “The śrautasūtras are manuals compiled for a practical purpose, viz. giving directions to those who officiated at the several solemn sacrificial rites that were performed or recommended in Vedic times” (italics are mine).

  14. See my “Les vidhi-sūtra de la grammaire de Pāṇini,” forthcoming in Verbum.

  15. Louis Renou, “Sur le genre du sūtra dans la littérature sanskrite,” Journal Asiatique, Vol. 251 (1962), No. 2, 165–216, p. 183.

  16. Pollock, op. cit., p. 19.

  17. See George Cardona, “Pāṇini’s dates and the evidence of coinage”, forthcoming in Pt. Ranganath Ramchandra Deshpande Memorial Volume, editor unknown.

  18. Pollock, op. cit., p. 17.

  19. dharmaśāstraṃ ca tathā // (V 39 ad A 1.2.64, see M, I: 242). The Dharmaśāstra is mentioned there to illustrate the idea according to which the word denotes a generic entity: “one must not kill a brāhman” means “one must not kill any brāhman.” This is the generic character of laws’ formulation which is highlighted here. Cf. Patrick Olivelle, “The Semantic History of Dharma. The Middle and Late Vedic Periods,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 32, 491–511, p. 506; article republished in P. Olivelle (ed.), Dharma. Studies in its Semantic, Cultural and Religious History (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2009), 69–89. See also Olivelle, “Patañjali and the beginnings of Dharmaśāstra: an alternate social history of early Dharmasūtra production,” in S. D’Intino and C. Guenzi (eds.), Aux abords de la clairière. Études indiennes et comparées en l’honneur de Charles Malamoud (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012), 117–133.

  20. Halbfass, op. cit., p. 320. See also note 49 p. 551.

  21. Patañjali directly comments on 468 sūtras of the A.

  22. See, for instance, the kārikā 1.14 of the Vākyapadīya (VP hereafter): tad dvāram apavargasya vāṅmalānāṃ cikitsitam / pavitraṃ sarvavidyānām adhividyaṃ prakāśate // “[Grammar] is the door to liberation, the remedy for speech’s impurities, the purification for all the sciences. It shines in each of these sciences.”

  23. See, among the most recent studies, Jan E. M. Houben, “Grammar & Other Modes of the Mind,” in C. Watanabe, M. Desmarais, Y. Honda (eds.), Saṃskṛta-sādhutā. Goodness of Sanskrit, Studies in Honour of Professor Ashok N. Aklujkar (New Dehli: D. K. Printworld, 2012), 311–329, and Mithilesh Chaturvedi, Bhartṛhari, Language, Thought and Reality, Proceedings of the International Seminar, Delhi, December 12–14 (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2009).

  24. See Joshi and Roodbergen, op. cit., pp. iv–xxiv (see primary references).

  25. catvāri śṛṅgā trayo asya pādā dve śīrṣe sapta hastāso asya / tridhā baddho vṛṣabho roravīti maho devo martyāṃ ā viśeṣa // (Vedic stanza); catvāri śṛṅgāṇi catvāri padajātāni nāmākhyātopasarganipātāś ca / trayo asya pādās trayaḥ kālā bhūtabhaviṣyadvartamānāḥ / dve śīrṣe dvau śabdātmānau nityaḥ kāryaś ca / sapta hastāso asya sapta vibhaktayaḥ / tridhā baddhas triṣu sthāneṣu baddha urasi kaṇṭhe śirasīti / […] mahān devaḥ śabdaḥ / mahatā devena naḥ sāmyaṃ yathā syād ity adhyeyaṃ vyākaraṇam // (M, I: 3).

  26. vṛṣabhākāraḥ śabdaśāstrapratipādyaḥ śabdo roravīti mahān devo’ntaryāmirūpaḥ śabdo martyān ā viśeṣa svābhedam āviṣkṛtavān iti mantratātparyam / mahato devasya śabdabrahmaṇo vyākaraṇajñāpyatayā vyākaraṇajñas tadāviṣṭa iva bhavatīti yāvat // (U, I: 31, 1st col.).

  27. apara āha / catvāri vāk parimitā padāni tāni vidur brāhmaṇā ye manīṣiṇaḥ / guhā trīṇi nihitā neṅgayanti turīyaṃ vāco manuṣyā vadanti // (Vedic stanza) (M, I: 3).

  28. bhāṣye manasa īṣiṇaḥ / cittaśuddhikrameṇa vaśīkarttāro viṣayāntarebhyo vyāvṛttyā hiṃsakā vā / te ca vaiyākaraṇāḥ / […] / vaiyākaraṇas tu śāstrabalena tadbalalabdhayogena ca guhāndhakāraṃ vidārya sarvaṃ jānātīti bhāvaḥ / (U, I: 32–33).

  29. See Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat, tran., Le Mahābhāṣya de Patañjali avec le Pradīpa de Kaiyaṭa et l’Uddyota de Nāgeśa. Adhyāya 1 Pāda 1 Āhnika 1–4 (Pondichéry, Institut Français d’Indologie, 1975), p. 57, n. 3.

  30. śaktum iva titaünā punanto yatra dhīrā manasā vācam akrata / atrā sakhāyaḥ sakhyāni jānate bhadraiṣāṃ lakṣmīr nihitādhi vāci // (Vedic stanza) […] / ke punas te / vaiyākaraṇāḥ / (M, I: 4).

  31. ayaṃ bhāvaḥ / ye śāstrataḥ prakṛtipratyayavibhāgena sādhuñ jñātvā śāstrārthadhyānavanto mānasaṃ jñānena vācam asādhubhyaḥ pṛthak kṛtavantas te tajjñānapūrvakasādhuśabdaprayogair labdhāntaḥkaraṇaśuddhayo’tra ya eṣa durgo mārgo brahmarūpas tatrātmanā saha samānakhyātayas tyaktabhedabhāvanāḥ sakhyāni sāyujyāni prāpnuvate / yata eṣāṃ vāci vedākhye brahmaṇi yā bhadrā lakṣmīḥ sarvabhāsakabrahmarūpā sā adhi adhikaṃ nihitā bhavati / (U, I: 35, 2nd col.).

  32. vṛddhir ādaic // (A 1.1.1).

  33. na yathā loke tathā vyākaraṇe / pramāṇabhūta ācāryo darbhapavitrapāṇiḥ śucāv avakāśe prāṅmukha upaviśya mahatā yatnena sūtraṃ praṇayati sma tatrāśakyaṃ varṇenāpy anarthakena bhavituṃ kiṃ punar iyatā sūtreṇa / (M, I: 39).

  34. Patrick Olivelle, “Preface,” in Olivelle (ed.), Dharma, op. cit., pp.vii–viii.

  35. Dhárman (neuter) originally means “hold,” “support” and dharmán (masculine) originally means “supporter,” cf. Paul Horsch, “From creation myth to world law: the early history of dharma,” in P. Olivelle (ed.), Dharma, op.cit., 2–26, p. 2. Horsch adds: “Although the verb is found in other Indo-Germanic languages, they lack the exact equivalent of the substantive, so that the concept possesses a specific Indian character from the very beginning,” ibid.

  36. See ibid., pp. 8, 10.

  37. This theme seems to be mentioned for the first time in the Mahābhāṣya (on V 9 ad A 2.2.34), even if only to illustrate a linguistic phenomenon. It will constantly reappear after that and will be copiously elaborated in various texts. For more details on this topic, see Charles Malamoud, “Sémantique et rhétorique dans la hiérarchie hindoue des ‘buts de l’homme’,” in his Cuire le monde. Rite et pensée dans l’Inde ancienne (Paris: Éditions La Découverte, 1989).

  38. Ashok Aklujkar, “Can the grammarians’ dharma be a dharma for all?”, in P. Olivelle (ed.), Dharma, op. cit., 265–310, p. 279.

  39. Ibid., p. 297. Note that within the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini (5th–4th c. BCE), dharma is used five times, in particular in rules related to the formation of derivatives such as dhārmika “who observes or practises dharma” (according to A 4.4.41), dharmya “attainable by the dharma” (according to A 4.4.91) and dharmya “not deviating from dharma” (according to A 4.4.92). As already noticed by Olivelle, Pāṇini does not consider these derivatives as belonging to the Vedic register: according to him, these forms are used within the bhāṣā, the ordinary or common linguistic variety of which Pāṇini was probably a speaker; see “The Semantic History of Dharma,” op. cit., p. 507. This presupposes that, by Pāṇini’s time, the notion of dharma no longer belonged to the Vedic sphere but to the mundane one. Still, according to Olivelle, the texts composed during the middle and late Vedic periods (800-400 BCE) used dharma as a “[…] part of the specialized vocabulary associated with royalty, especially because of its frequent use within the royal consecration (rājasūya). In all likelihood, dharma referred to social order and the laws of society that the king was obligated to enforce” (ibid., p. 503). It is very likely that Pāṇini had this meaning in mind while composing the Aṣṭādhyāyī.

  40. The reason given by Patañjali is that they concern the meaning of Vedic texts. The aims listed by him are described as “secondary.”

  41. kāni punaḥ śabdānuśāsanasya prayojanāni / (M, I: 1).

  42. Sandhyā denotes transitional moments: dawn and twilight.

  43. kāni punar iti / kiṃ sandhyopāsanādivad vyākaraṇādhyayanaṃ nityaṃ karmātha kāmyam iti praśnaḥ // (P, I: 16, 1st col.) Kaiyaṭa, by asking this question, takes up again an issue dealt with by Bhartṛhari, in his Mahābhāṣya-dīpikā: śāstre ca yā pravṛttiḥ adhyayanaṃ prati sā saty arthitve / arthitvaṃ ca satsu prayojaneṣu / na cedaṃ nitya-karmāvaśyaṃ kartavyam / nitye karmaṇy apravṛttāv adharmaḥ / anityeṣu kāmacāraḥ / yadi ca prayojanāni asya na bhaviṣyanti kutaḥ pravartiṣyata iti pṛcchatikāni punar asya śabdānuśāsanasya prayojanāni / (MD: 5) “And the activity of studying in a [particular] śāstra [is there] when one desires that. And one desires [that] when benefits [are available]. But this [study of grammar] is not a nityakarman which must necessarily be undertaken. The non-undertaking of a nityakarman [results in] demerit. [Whether or not] anitya [karmāṇi] are undertaken, depends on one’s own sweet will. And if there will be no benefits connected with that [anityakarman], why should it be undertaken [at all]? With this in mind [the author] asks ‘But what [etc.]’.” (Translation by Joshi and Roodbergen, p. 26. See Primary references).

  44. That is to say, in a “mīmāṃsaka” perspective (on Mīmāṃsā, see footnote 8). Grammar (Vyākaraṇa) and exegesis (Mīmāṃsā) frequently influenced each other, either on the level of the form or the substance. Bhaṭṭoji Dīkṣita, a strongly orthodox grammarian of the 17th century, often resorted to the exegetical style of argumentation, in particular to establish the degree of authoritativeness of various sources (see Jan E. M. Houben, “Pāṇinian grammar of living Sanskrit: features and principles of the Prakriyā-Sarvasva of Nārāyaṇa-Bhaṭṭa of Melputtūr”, forthcoming in Proceedings of the Workshop “The Indian Traditions of Language Studies”, ICHoLS XI, Potsdam 2008, §1.2).

  45. tadāha kiṃ sandhyeti / śabdajñānadvārādhyayanasya tadajñānaprāptapratyavāya-parihāraḥ phalam uta tadatiriktam api kiṃ cid iti praśnāśaya ity arthaḥ / (U, I: 16, 2nd col.) Answers to this question will be given later, when the topic reappears with Patañjali explaining the 3th aim of the study of grammar (“[complying with a] Vedic injunction”). According to Kaiyaṭa (P, I: 19, 2nd col.), the study of grammar is an obligatory act; according to Nāgeśa (U, I: 19, 2nd col.), it is both an obligatory and an optional act.

  46. rakṣohāgamalaghvasamdehāḥ prayojanam // (V 2, I: 6).

  47. rakṣārthaṃ vedānām adhyeyaṃ vyākaraṇam / lopāgamavarṇavikārajño hi samyag vedān paripālayiṣyati // (M, I: 1).

  48. pāramparyeṇa puruṣārthasādhanatām asyāha – rakṣeti / (P, I: 17, 1st col.).

  49. puruṣārtho dharmo mokṣaś ca / (U, I: 17, 2nd col.) Nāgeśa mentions only these two aims of human life. This is probably a reference to the Vedāntic classification of puruṣārthas where kāma and artha are considered as belonging to the “pleasant” sphere (preyas), whereas dharma and mokṣa are considered as belonging to the “righteous” sphere (śreyas).

  50. Aklujkar, op. cit., p. 275.

  51. yadi tarhi loka eṣu pramāṇaṃ kiṃ śāstreṇa kriyate / lokato’rthaprayukte śabdaprayoge śāstreṇa dharmaniyamaḥ / (M, I: 8).

  52. […] śāstreṇāsyeyaṃ prakṛtir iyaṃ pratyaya ity ādiprakṛtyādivibhāgajñānadvārā gavādaya eva prayuktā dharmajanakāḥ, na gāvyādaya iti niyamaḥ kriyate iti tātparyam // (U, I: 56).

  53. yathā laukikavaidikeṣu // […] loke tāvad abhakṣyo grāmyakukkuṭo’bhakṣyo grāmyaśūkara ity ucyate / bhakṣyaṃ ca nāma kṣutpratidhātārtham upādīyate / śakyaṃ cānena śvamāṃsādibhir api kṣutpratihantum / tatra niyamaḥ kriyate idaṃ bhakṣyam idam abhakṣyam iti / […] vede khalv api payovrato brāhmaṇo yavāgūvrato rājanya āmikṣāvrato vaiśya ity ucyate / vrataṃ ca nāmābhyavahārārtham upādīyate / śakyaṃ cānena śālimāṃsādīny api vratayitum / tatra niyamaḥ kriyate / […] evam ihāpi samānāyām arthagatau śabdena cāpaśabdena ca dharmaniyamaḥ kriyate śabdenaivārtho’bhidheyo nāpaśabdenety evaṃ kriyamāṇam abhyudayakāri bhavatīti // (M, I: 8).

  54. This argument was previously asserted and then refuted.

  55. That is to say, “non-dharma”, “relegious demerit” in this context.

  56. athavā punar astu jñāna eva dharma iti / nanu coktaṃ jñāne dharma iti cet tathādharma iti / naiṣa doṣaḥ / […] yady apy apaśabdajñāne’dharmas tathāpi yas tv asau śabdajñāne dharmas tena sa ca doṣo nirghāniṣyate bhūyasā cābhyudayena yogo bhaviṣyati / yad apy ucyata ācāre niyama iti yājñe karmaṇi sa niyamaḥ / evaṃ hi śrūyate / yarvāṇas tarvāṇo nāmarṣayo babhūvuḥ pratyakṣadharmāṇaḥ parāparajñā viditaveditavyā adhigatayāthātathyāḥ / te tatrabhavanto yad vā nas tad vā na iti prayoktavye yarvāṇas tarvāṇa iti prayuñjate yājñe punaḥ karmaṇi nāpabhāṣante / (M, I: 10–11).

  57. […] tathāpy avaiyākaraṇasya samyakprayogād api dharmābhāvena jñānam eva taddhetuḥ / prayogas tu tasya dvāram iti bhāvaḥ // […] bhāṣye – abhyupāya eveti / apaśabdajñānanāntarīyakaṃ śabdajñānam iti śabdajñānena phale jananīye sahakāritaivāpaśabdajñānasya na pṛthakphalateti bhāvaḥ / […] bhāṣye – anyatrāniyama iti / yajñe suśabdaprayogād dharmo’paśabdaprayogād adharma iti tatraiva tayoḥ prayoganiyamaḥ / tadatiriktasthale tu suśabdāpaśabdayoḥ prayoge’niyamaḥ / (U, I: 66–68).

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Correspondence to Émilie Aussant.

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I would like to thank Hugo David and Christel Fricke for their valuable suggestions.

References and abbreviations

References and abbreviations

1.1 Abbreviations

A Aṣṭādhyāyī

M Mahābhāṣya

MD Mahābhāṣyadīpikā

P Pradīpa

U Uddyota

V Vārttika

VP Vākyapadīya

1.2 Sanskrit texts

Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini:

Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini, Roman transliteration and English translation by Sumitra M. Katre (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1989).

Mahābhāṣya of Patañjali:

a) The Vyākaraṇa-Mahābhāṣya of Patañjali, ed. F. Kielhorn, 3. ed. Revised and Furnished with Additional Readings, References and Select Critical Notes by K.V. Abhyankar (Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1962), 2 vol.

b) Patañjali’s Vyākaraṇa-Mahābhāṣya Paspaśāhnika. Introduction, Text, Translation and Notes by S.D. Joshi and J.A.F. Roodbergen, Pune, University of Poona, 1986.

Mahābhāṣyadīpikā of Bhartṛhari:

The Mahābhāṣya-Dīpikā of Bhartṛhari, critical ed. K.V. Abhyankar and V.P. Limaye, Supplement to Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. 43 (1962).

Pradīpa of Kaiyaṭa:

Patañjali’s Vyākaraṇa Mahābhāṣyam with Kaiyaṭa’s Pradīpa and Nāgojibhaṭṭa’s Uddyota, notes by A.G. Shastri, ed. Dr. Bal Shastri (Delhi: Pratibha Prakashan, 2001), 6 vol.

Uddyota of Nāgeśa:

see Pradīpa of Kaiyaṭa

Vākyapadīya of Bhartṛhari:

Bhartṛharis Vākyapadīya. Versuch einer vollständigen deutschen Übersetzung nach der kritischen Edition der Mūla-Kārikās von Wilhelm Rau, ed. Oskar von Hinüber (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2002).

Vārttika of Kātyāyana:

see Mahābhāṣya of Patañjali (a).

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Aussant, É. Vyākaraṇic Texts and Śāstric Discourse. J Value Inquiry 49, 551–566 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10790-015-9521-x

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