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 3.5.4:

विग्यामानाः प्रधानेषु न सर्वे भेदहेतवः ।
विशेषशब्दैरुच्यन्ते व्यावृत्तार्थाभिधायिभिः ॥ ४ ॥

vigyāmānāḥ pradhāneṣu na sarve bhedahetavaḥ |
viśeṣaśabdairucyante vyāvṛttārthābhidhāyibhiḥ || 4 ||

4. All the attributes present in the (main) thing do not serve to distinguish it. They are conveyed by special words expressive of some distinguishing mark.


It is now declared that ‘brightness’ is actually conveyed by the word ‘śukla’.

[Read verse 4 above]

[It cannot be said that ‘brightness’ through which degree is expressed is not directly conveyed by the word ‘śukla’. The fact is that there is no one word which can express all the distinguishing qualities which exist in a thing. Each word expresses only one of them. Difference of degree can be expressed only through an attribute actually expressed by the word. ‘Brightness’ is actually expressed by the word ‘śukla’. This word cannot be applied to any object which is not bright. If we say ‘śuklatara’, it is because there is a greater degree of brightness. Therefore, one must assume that ‘brightness’ is actually conveyed by the word ‘śukla’.]

The very attribute which brings an object within the range of words can also be the cause of the expression of degree.

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