Vakyapadiya of Bhartrihari

by K. A. Subramania Iyer | 1965 | 391,768 words

The English translation of the Vakyapadiya by Bhartrihari including commentary extracts and notes. The Vakyapadiya is an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with the philosophy of language. Bhartrhari authored this book in three parts and propounds his theory of Sphotavada (sphota-vada) which understands language as consisting of bursts of sounds conveyi...

This book contains Sanskrit text which you should never take for granted as transcription mistakes are always possible. Always confer with the final source and/or manuscript.

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of verse 3.3.88:

व्यवहारश्च लोकस्य पदार्थैः परिकल्पितैः ।
शास्त्रे पदार्थः कार्यार्थं लौकिकः प्रविभज्यते ॥ ८८ ॥

vyavahāraśca lokasya padārthaiḥ parikalpitaiḥ |
śāstre padārthaḥ kāryārthaṃ laukikaḥ pravibhajyate || 88 ||

88. Verbal communication in the world is done with meanings of words fashioned by the mind and in the science of grammar, it is the meanings adopted in the world on the basis of which the work (of explaining the forms) is done.


[Therefore, in everyday life, it is the norm for words to express the limited reality and it has been so stated in this śāstra. Therefore, all the different views of the tārkikas are out of place. Ordinary people do not follow the conclusions which may have been reached by different thinkers. In the matter of using words in accordance with our cognitions, both the scholar and the child are equal. On that basis, they proceed to exchange views. Ordinary people understand things in a superficial manner and use words accordingly. This śastra is an attempt to explain words as used by ordinary people. In this attempt, one should take the help of the ordinary man’s view of the world. From the indivisible sentencemeaning, by a process of abstraction, one derives the root expressive of action, the nouns expressive of things, the suffix which conveys its own meaning for the sake of explaining the forms. The notions of action, substance, quality and so on, used by the science of grammar, are worldly notions. In worldly usages, all words whether expressive of positive or negative things, are in the same position. Therefore, the meanings of words have continuity. Thus the relation between word and meaning is eternal.]

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