Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

by A. Yamuna Devi | 2012 | 77,297 words | ISBN-13: 9788193658048

This page relates ‘Philosophy (6): Advaita’ of the study on the Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (in English) which represents a commentary on the Amarakosha of Amarasimha. These ancient texts belong the Kosha or “lexicography” category of Sanskrit literature which deals with the analysis and meaning of technical words from a variety of subjects, such as cosmology, anatomy, medicine, hygiene. The Amarakosa itself is one of the earliest of such text, dating from the 6th century A.D., while the Amarakoshodghatana is the earliest known commentary on that work.

Philosophy (6): Advaita

(a) Jñāna and vijñāna (I. 4. 6; p. 39)–

[True Knowledge and knowledge in sciences:]

Amarakośa distinguishes jñāna from vijñāna[1] defining jñāna as intellect absorbed in mokṣa while the knowledge in other sciences apart from mokṣa is termed vijñāna.

Kṣīrasvāmin also opines the same adding that jñāna as intellect or knowledge related to mokṣa or the knowledge of the result of mokṣa

mokṣaviṣayā mokṣaphalā vā dhīḥ jñānam |
mokṣaśāstrādanyatra śilpe citrādau śāstre ca dhīrvijñānam |

(b) Śāntiḥ and dāntiḥ (III. 2. 3; p. 261):

Kṣīrasvāmin explains śānti as absence of lust, anger etc. and dānti as signifying endurance of penance, sorrow etc.

kāmakrodhādyabhāvaḥ śāntistapaḥkleśasahiṣṇutā dāntiḥ |

(c) Saṅkalpa (I. 4. 2; p. 38)–

[Activity of mind:]

Amarakośa gives the function of the mind as saṅkalpa

saṃkalpaḥ karma mānasam |

Kṣīrasvāmin also opines that all the activities of mind is saṅkalpa and adds that vikalpa or suspicion/ doubt is also an activity of mind–

manaso vyāpāraḥ saṃkalpaḥ | vikalpo'pi

(d) Haṃsa (III. 3. 226; p. 327)–

[Ātmā:]

Amarakośa mentions that the word haṃsa denotes sun and goose[2].

Kṣīrasvāmin adds that the word haṃsa also denotes an Ātmā since 'it abandons the previous body and takes another' and a class of mendicants

hanti gacchati haṃsaḥ, hasatīti vā, ādyadehahananāduttaradeha—saṃparigrahācca haṃsa ātmā, prāṇo yativiśeṣaḥ |

(e) Saṃśaya (I. 4. 3; p. 39)–

[Doubt:]

Kṣīrasvāmin explains the word saṃśaya clearly as the doubtful knowledge as it banks on both sides and cannot conclude on one–

ubhayakoṭispṛgjñānaṃ vicikitsā -ekatrānārūḍheḥ |

(f) Mithyāmatiḥ (I. 4. 4; p. 39)–

[False conception or Delusion:]

Amarakośa gives bhrānti and bhrama as its synonyms. Mithyāmatiḥ is explained b y Kṣīrasvāmin as misapprehension–

mithyāmatiratasmiṃstaditi jñānam |

Mithyādṛṣṭiḥ and mithyāmatiḥ are very different as seen above; the prior is non-belief while the latter is wrong knowledge.

(g) Ahammati (I. 4. 7; pp. 39-40):

Amarakośa mentions ahammati as synonymous to avidyā; etymologically Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that the word denotes 'the reflection of ‘I’ or ‘the super-imposition of the untruth/ the non- Self on the Self’–

āhamityasya mananamahaṃmatiḥ, ānātmanyātmābhimānāt, āhamiti vibhaktipratirūpako nipātaḥ |

(h) Mukti (I. 4. 6; p. 39):

The terms mukti or mokṣa and apavarga are well explained by Kṣīrasvāmin as the release of the Self from all bondages and release from existence. He also gives the Advaita term kaivalya to mukti or mokṣa.

He also adds three words mahānanda and apunarbhava in the same sense–

mocanaṃ muktirmokṣaḥ pāśebhyaḥ ātmanaḥ pṛthagbhāvaḥ | āta eva kaivalyākhyā | bhāvebhyo'pavarjanamapavargaḥ | mahānandopunarbhavaśca |

(i) Mithyādṛṣṭiḥ (I. 4. 4; p. 39)–

[Atheism:]

Amarakośa mentions nāstikatā as synonym of mithyādṛṣṭiḥ. Kṣīrasvāmin explains mithyādṛṣṭiḥ and nāstikatā as ‘the belief of absence of the other world’–

mithyādṛṣṭiḥ paralokābhāvabuddhiḥ | nāsti paraloka iti matiryasya |

(j) Karmendriyas and dhīndriyas (I. 4. 8; p. 40)–

Motor and sensory organs: Amarakośa says that pāyu and others are karmendriyas and manas, eye and others are dhīndriyas.

Kṣīrasvāmin lists all the karmendriyas and jñānendriyas in concordance with Paṃcadaśī (2/11)–

vākpāṇipādapāyūpasthakhyaṃ vacanādāna—
gatyutsarganandarūpakarmasādanamindriyam |
manaḥṣaṣṭhāṇi netrajihvāghrāṇatvakśrotrāṇi
dhīhetavo buddhīndriyāṇītyarthaḥ ||

(k) Kṣetrajña (I. 3. 29; p. 38)–

[The Soul:]

Amarakośa lists kṣetrajña, ātmā and puruṣa as synonyms.

Kṣīrasvāmin explains Kṣetrajña as ‘That which enlivens the body’–

kṣetraṃ dehamātraṃ cetayate kṣetrajñaḥ |[3];

That which wanders is ātmā

ātati saṃcaratyatmā |;

That which rests in the body or that which fills the body is puruṣa

puri śayanātpuraṇādvā puruṣaḥ |

In the Nānārtha varga, while actually explaining the term ādhiḥ (III. 3. 97; p. 293) meaning mental agony, Kṣīrasvāmin illustrates the word by quoting an unknown source which says that a man is said to be a dhīra[4] only when he is not deluded by the mental agonies–

vyasanaṃ yathā—ādhiṃ prāpto yo na muhyet sa dhīraḥ |

(l) Nyūṅkhaḥ and Udgītha (III. 5. 17, 19; p. 349)–

[Oṃkāra:]

The oṃkāra or praṇava is an important aspect of philosophy. This is also mentioned by Amarakośa in the Liṅgādisaṃgraha varga by the terms nyūṅkhaḥ and udgītha which from Kṣīrasvāmin's explanation is understood as the Oṃkāra.

He specifies that the nyūṅkha is Oṃkāra of sixteen types and udgītha[5] is Oṃkāra

nyuṅkhaḥ oṃkārāḥ ṣoḍaśa || udgītha oṃkāraḥ ||

Though Kṣīrasvāmin has commented on nyūṅkha as sixteen varieties of Oṃkāras the Padamañjarī commentator while explaining the Paninian aphorism I. 2. 34–yajñakarmaṇyajapānyūṅkhasāmasu makes it clear that nyūṅkha refers to sixteen Okāras and not Oṃkāras

ṣoḍaśeti pāṭhaḥ okārā iti ca na tvete makārāntāḥ |

And cites Āśvalāyana for the sixteen types.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

mokṣe dhīrjñānamanyatra vijñānaṃ śilpaśāstrayoḥ |

[2]:

vi-śvetacchadau haṃsau |

[3]:

Bhagavad Gītā (XV. 1)–idaṃ śarīraṃ kaunteya kṣetramityabhidhīyate | etadyo vetti taṃ prāhuḥ kṣetrajña iti tadvidaḥ ||

[4]:

Similar idea is reflected in the Bhagavad Gītā (II. 13)

[5]:

The Chāndogya Upaniṣad I. 1. 1 instructs the udgīthopāsā–contemplation on the Brahman by singing the udgītha, the sacred syllable “Om”: omityetadakṣara-mudgītthamupāsītomiti hyudgāyati tasyopākhyānam |

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