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 3.14.611:

क्रियायां समवेतायां द्रव्यशब्दोऽवतिष्ठते ।
पातागमनयोः काकतालशब्दौ तथा स्थितौ ॥ ६११ ॥

kriyāyāṃ samavetāyāṃ dravyaśabdo'vatiṣṭhate |
pātāgamanayoḥ kākatālaśabdau tathā sthitau || 611 ||

611. The word expressive of substance denotes the action which inheres in it. The words kāka and tāla stand for the actions of coming and falling.


[The arrival of the crow is the standard of comparison for the arrival of Caitra, not mentioned in the compound. Similarly, the falling of the tāla tree is the standard for the coming of the bandit which is also not mentioned in the compound. In other words kāka and tālā are not connected with each other at all. How can they then give rise to a compound meaning and if they cannot, no compound meaning can qualify the meaning of the suffix cha. The answer is that kāka means an action, the coming of the crow. Similarly, tāla means the falling of the tāla tree. As these two words do not stand for two substances only but for two actions there can be connection between the two. The connection is that the two actions can be standards of comparison to each other, the common property being unexpectedness. Once they are connected, they can qualify the meaning of the suffix cha. The two words can be compounded to express the upamānopameyabhāva between these two actions, and the other two actions, namely, the arrival of Devadatta and the coming of the bandit. The suffix expresses the same relation between the killing of the crow and that of Devadatta.]

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