Mimamsa interpretation of Vedic Injunctions (Vidhi)

by Shreebas Debnath | 2018 | 68,763 words

This page relates ‘Naiyayika’s View on Injunctions’ of the study on the Mimamsa theory of interpretation of Vedic Injunctions (vidhi). The Mimamsakas (such as Jaimini, Shabara, etc.) and the Mimamsa philosophy emphasizes on the Karmakanda (the ritualistic aspect of the Veda). Accordingly to Mimamsa, a careful study of the Veda is necessary in order to properly understand dharma (religious and spiritual achievement—the ideal of human life).

Chapter 2.4 - The Naiyāyika’s View on Injunctions

At the last portions of Kārikāvalī (kārikās from 146 to 152) and its commentary, the purport of injunctions has been thoroughly discussed by Viśvanātha Nyāyapañcānana. According to him, everyone desires happiness. This happiness is produced in the soul due to righteous action (dharma). So, there is a causal relationship between the righteous action and happiness. Like this, sorrow or unhappiness is caused by unrighteous action. Unhappiness is just the opposite quality to happiness of soul. Because as soon as a man perceives unhappiness having the generality of unhappiness naturally it becomes the object of his hatred. No one desires unhappiness.

Now, if a person acquires the knowledge of the absence of unhappiness or misery and the knowledge of happiness, he desires for the eradication of unhappiness or the absence of that and for having happiness. Then he also desires for the means of having the absence of unhappiness and for having the means causing or producing happiness. So, all kinds of desires of a person can be divided into two groups—the desires related to the results and the desires related to the means. Here the results are happiness and the absence (dhvaṃsa-destruction) of misery. The desires for these two are caused by the knowledge of these two. Because if there is no knowledge about these two, then there would not be any desire for these two on behalf of that desiring person. So, here one can not deny the causal relationship. These desires are called ‘phalaviṣayiṇīicchā (the desires related to the result). These happiness and the absence of misery are considered as the ends of life or as the aim of a man (puruṣārtha) by itself. So, it is called ‘svataḥ puruṣārtha.’ It is perceived as having the characteristic of svavṛttitva in the soul. The form of the desire of this knowledge is—‘May this object (happiness etc.) be/reside in me.’ It is called ‘svaviśesaṇavattā-pratisandhāna’ (the knowledge of having the qualility of desire in oneself). This kind of desire does not depend on the desire of attaining another object. The clearer expression is ‘itarecchānadhīnecchāviṣayatvaṃ svataḥpuruṣārthatvam’. Happiness and the destruction of unhappiness are svataḥhurusārthas becuase people want these to have in them. The desire for these two is not intervened by any other desire.

The desire for the means of the desired objects is also a kind of desire. But it is dependent on the desire of the desired objects. So, the means of the desired objects by itself are not considered as the aim of a man. It is called upāyaviṣayiṇī icchā. In this desire the cause is the knowledge of the state of being the means for the desired objects (iṣṭasādhanatājñāna).

The desires have different nomenclatures according to different activities. So, ‘cikīrṣā’, ‘jihīrṣā’ etc. are the varieties of desire. The commentator comments—‘cikīrṣājihīrṣetyādibhedāt icchābhedāḥ bhavanti.’ But the root of every activity is the desire to do or to perform the activity. Without that desire no action is performed. So, the desire to do an action is discussed by Visvanātha. The desire to do an action is that in which ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ (the state of being accomplished by one’s volition or the feasibiliy to be done by one’s volition) becomes a qualifier of that desire and in which the object to be accomplished by volition is accepted as the object of that desire. For example, ‘I will perform the activity of cooking by my volition or by my mental and physical effort.’ Here my object is cooking and ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ has become the qualifier of my desire to cook. The ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ is an essential condition. Because I know that cooking is feasible by me and if it was not feasible for me I would not engage myself in cooking. So, the causes of desire to do an action are the knowledge of attainability by one’s own volition and the knowledge of the state of being the means for the desired end (iṣṭasādhanatvajñāna). One does not desire to touch the moon by his hand because it is not feasible for him. Similarly, one does not take poison for eating because it is not his desired end (aniṣṭa).

Not only that, sometimes even in the presence of the ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ and ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ desire is not produced in the soul—if there is not the knowledge of dissociation from the strong and harmful end (balavadaniṣṭānanubandhitvajñāna). It is also called ‘dviṣṭasādhanatājñāna’ (the cognition of the state of being the means for the undesired end). It is an obstructing factor to desire. It has been exemplified by Visvanātha in his ‘Muktāvalī’ commentary with a good example. Eating of rice mixed with honey and poison is feasible for a person. It is desired object because of honey. But eating of that rice may cause death because of its connection with poison—this kind of cognition of ‘dviṣṭasādhanatā’ obstructs the desire to take that rice. Here the negative result (death) is stronger than the positive one (i.e., eradication of hunger). So, one does not generally wish to take rice mixed with honey and poison together because of the fear of death.

There are some different opinions regarding the obstructing factors of desire. Some regard strong unwillingness or hatred as the obstructing factor (pratibandhaka). Visvanātha does not accept this. Because hatred or unwillingness is preceded by the knowledge of sorrow. So, the knowledge of sorrow having the quality (= generality) of sorrowness is the more accurate or precise obstructor of desire. According to the Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika philosophy, a quality does not have a quality. So, here the word ‘quality’ should be taken as a word signifying ‘generality’ (= jāti).

According to Visvanātha, the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ along with the knowledge of ‘kṛtisādhyatā’ is the cause of desire. But some other philosophers accept that the knowledge of the state of not being the cause of stronger undesired end (balavadaniṣṭājanakatvajñāna) is the propelling factor to desire. This view is also discarded by Visvanātha. Because sometimes it is perceived that in the absence of that knowledge desire is produced only from the knowledge of ‘kṛtisādhyatā’. So, the knowledge of ‘balavadaniṣṭājanakatva’ is not an essential cause for the initiation of an action.

It should be mentioned here that desire is produced where the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ is more strong than the knowledge of ‘aniṣṭasādhanatva’. For this reason, one begins cooking for the eradication of his hunger and for the gratification of his taste organ though there is inevitable (nāntarīyaka) physical and mental suffering in cooking. Here the positive result surpasses the negative consequences. So, there is no hate for cooking on behalf of a hungry person.

In short, the Nyāyā-Vaiśeṣika philosophy admits that the causes of an activity are desire, the knowledge of ‘kṛtisādhyatā’, the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ and the direct knowledge of the material cause.

So, Viśvanātha says—

cikīrṣākṛtisādhyeṣṭasādhanatvamatis tathā ||
upādānasya cādhyakṣaṃ pravṛttau janakaṃ bhavet ||[1]

A person who has satisfied his hunger does not take more food because he does not have any desire for food. Moreover, it will cause his physical problem like vomiting, feeling of uneasyness etc.

But the modern Naiyāyikas do not admit the knowledge of ‘kṛtisādhyatā’, in the form of ‘This is feasible by my volition’ as the only cause for volition. Because it is not possible for a person to have the knowledge of ‘kṛtisādhyatā’ for the activity which will occur in the future. So, one needs to have a direct and analogical knowledge from another person to be prompted to an activity like cooking.

But this argument does not stand. Because the analogical cognition can always not be had. Sometimes, a reader strives to acquire knowledge from a script which is new to him and invented by another. So, the ‘related time’ or ‘the time concerned to’ would be taken as the qualifier of the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ etc.

A person inebriated by anger takes food mixed with poison because at that time he loses the knowledge of ‘balavadaniṣṭānubandhitva’, that is to say—he has the knowledge of ‘balavadaniṣṭānanubandhitva’.

Now, the opponent puts a question. Though a believer in sacred tradition (āstikā) knows illicit intercourse (agamyāgamana), killing of enemy etc. to be the causes to hell, yet why does he have the knowledge of ‘balavadaniṣṭānanubandhitva’, and why does he have effort to that immoral activities? The Naiyāyika says that, that person is so much inebriated by fierce anger or by the desire for killing that at that time he completely forgets the negative aspects of that activities.

Injunctions of Veda are the propelling factors to achieve some desired end. So, in cases of ‘Viśvajitā yajeta’ (One should sacrifice through the Viśvajit sacrifice.) etc. where the results are not mentioned, heaven etc. are to be imagined as results in compliance with the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’.

Actions can be divided into three categories i.e. non-obligatory actions ‘kāmya’ (for getting a particular result), perpetually obligatory actions (nitya) and occasionally obligatory actions (naimittika). According to the Naiyāyikasiṣṭasādhanatvajñāna’ is to be regarded as the instigating factor in all the three kinds of actions. Because the capability of producing the desired objective or the fulfilment of the desired goal is in the ‘nitya’ and ‘naimittika’ actions also like the ‘kāmya’ actions. If the ‘nitya’ and ‘naimittika’ actions are not performed, then there will be sin in the soul. So, these actions are also conceived as the means of desired end. Only the subtle difference is that in ‘kāmya’ actions the desired end is perceived in the form of attendance (bhāvātmaka) and in ‘nitya’ and ‘naimittika’ actions the desired end i.e. the eradication of the undesired end is perceived in the form of absence (abhāvātmaka).

So, the conclusion of the Naiyāyikas is that the ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ qualified by the feasibility by volition is the purport of the liṅ suffix.

But the Prābhākara School of Mīmāṃsā does not agree with this view regarding the meaning of the liṅ suffix. Prābhākaras say that in the vedic sentence—‘jyotiṣṭomena svargakāmo yajeta’ (One desirous of heaven should sacrifice by the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifice.) by the liṅ suffix and invisible result namely apūrva produced from the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifice is meant. It is the intermediate causal link between the sacrifice and heaven. So, it is also considered as the means for heaven. Because though the person longing for heaven is advised to perform the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifice, yet it is clearly known to all that the attainment of heaven does not occur immediately after the execution of the sacrifice. There is a long gap of time between the sacrifice and the attainment of heaven. So, the sacrifice can not be considered as the immediate cause of heaven. But it is also true that the person desirous of heaven is advised to perform the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifice. So, some kind of quality residing in the self should be postulated as an entity produced from the sacrifice for logical reasoning and this quality i.e. apūrva lasting upto the attainment of heaven is taken as the meaning of the liṅ suffix in the injunctive sentence by the sacrificer.

Now we want to go into deep on apūrva or viddhyartha according to the Mīmāṃsaka. There is a universal rule that an action is always preceded by effort of exertion. Apūrva is also produced from effort. But the exertion begins after an object. In the case of ‘jyotiṣṭomena svargakāmo yajeta’ the object of effort or volition is the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifice. This sacrifice creates the unseen result. To whom this sacrifice has been prescribed? The answer is ‘svargakāma’ or one who desires heaven. So, the man desiring heaven is such a man who can be appointed as the agent of the sacrifice by the above injunction. ‘The man to be appointed’ or ‘niyojya’ indicates the individual who considers some activity as feasible on behalf of him for getting some specific desired goal. So, the purport of the above mentioned vedic injunction is ‘the object of volition of effort of the person longing for heaven is the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifice.’

Thus the meaning of the liṅ suffix of a vedic sentence in the case of non-obligatory actions is apūrva. Likewise, in the case of obligatory actions, the meaning of the liṅ suffix is also apūrva. This kind of apūrva is the main instigating factor behind the performance of vedic action as laid down by the sentence ‘yāvajjīvam agnihotraṃ juhuyat’ (‘One should perform the Agnihotra sacrifice as long as he lives’). So, the meaning of the vidhiliṅ suffix in every vedic sentence is apūrva. But in the non-vedic sentences like ‘ārogyakāmo bheṣajapānaṃ kuryāt’ (‘One desiring cure should drink the [liquid] medicine’) the purport of the vidhiliṅ should be accepted in the function of the verb i.e. in the internal meaning of the root.

Annambhaṭṭa, the author of ‘Tarkasaṃgraha’ and ‘Tarkasaṃgrahadīpikā’ firmly refuted the above mentioned view of the Prābhākaras. It is believed that the activities for getting some desired goal in the case of worldly affairs are fit to be accomplished by the effort and are the means for the desired goal. The activities for attaining the supernatural results like heaven etc. are also feasible and the means for the desired end. There is no doubt. Because there is no proof that the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifice has not the capacity of producing heaven. So, in every vedic injunction the purport of the liṅ suffix is iṣṭasādhanatā and kṛtisādhyatā. The Naiyāykas also admit apūrva produced from sacrifice immediately after the performance of sacrifice. But this apūrva is not the meaning of the liṅ suffix according to the Naiyāikas.

With reference to this, Annamhaṭṭa has given a solution by postulating a contradictory theory of apūrva. According to the opponents it is needless to admit apūrva as bhāvātmaka cause for the justification of a distant result. They admit that the completion of the Jyotiṣṭoma sacrifice alone can be acknowledged as the cause for getting results like heaven etc. Bhāvātmaka cause is not an essential pre-condition for an effect. But this is not acceptable. Because it is known to all that merit is produced by the performance of the activities laid down by śāstra. Moreover, ‘dharma kṣarati kīrtanāt’ (Apūrva becomes destroyed if it is told)—this kind of sentences prove apūrva. So, apūrva must be accepted. Besides this, if the destruction of sacrifice (i.e. the completion of sacrifice) is regarded as the cause of attaining heaven, then there is an inevitable possibility of eternality of heaven, because destruction is eternal. But a produced matter can not be everlasting. So, it is necessary to accept apūrva which causes the result at a distant time.

But this apūrva is not the meaning of the liṅ suffix. As in the ordinary sentences, the liṅ suffix expresses ‘kṛtisādhyatā’ qualified by ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ of the activity to be performed, so also it expresses the same in the vedic sentences.

Now the question is if liṅ is accepted in the sense of ‘kṛtisādhyatā’, then by which the meaning of volition or effect will be expressed? In the vedic sentence ‘jyotiṣṭomena svargakāmo yajeta’ (One desirous of heaven should sacrifice by Jyotiṣṭoma) if the liṅ suffix used used after the root yaj, expresses the meaning of the state of being the means for heaven and the state of being accomplished by volition, then how the meaning of volition or effort will be understood? The author of the Dīpikā answers that it will be gained from ākhyāta. The suffixes like ti, tas, anti etc. used after a root are called ākhyātas. They are used in place of takāras like laṭ, laṅ, loṭ etc.

So the liṅ suffix has the quality of the state of being an ākhyāta. By this ākhyāta the meaning of volition is understood. For example, when the verb ‘pacati’ is paraphrased as ‘pākaṃ karoti’ (He/she is performing the act cooking), or, when any person asks, ‘What does mother do in the kitchen?’ and the answer is ‘Mātā pākaṃ karoti’ (Mother is performing the act of cooking.), then we understand that the fundamental or real meaning of the ‘liṅ’ suffix is any kind of mental and physical effort. The respective meaning of ‘laṅtva’, ‘liṅtva’ etc. is added later to the meaning of effort. In the ‘Jyotiṣṭoma’ sentence also the verb ‘yajeta’ primarily expresses the activity of sacrifice by the characteristic of ‘ākhyātatva’ and then by the quality of ‘liṅtva’ it presents the meaning of ‘kṛtisādhyam iṣṭasādhanatājñānam’ of the activity of sacrifice.

But the question does not stop here. The effort expressed by the ‘ākhyāta’ is possible only in a conscious or sentient animal like man. Because effort or volition is a quality of soul. So, an animal having consciousness only has volition. But sometimes by ‘ākhyāta’ the volition of an unconscious thing is also intended. For example, ‘ratho gacchati’ (The chariot moves or goes.) here the effort of an unconcious chariot has been expressed. Now the question is: Has any effort been expressed by the above sentence at all or not? The author Annambhaṭṭa says that here effort is expressed by the secondary meaning ‘lakṣaṇā’ of words. Directly the effort of an unconscious chariot is not possible. So, by taking resort to ‘lakṣaṇā’ we accept the meaning of effort of a conscious driver. This effort of the driver is conducive to the movement of the chariot.

Some other thinkers think that by ‘ākhyāta’ some other meanings are also denoted. For example, ‘devadattaḥ pacati taṇḍulān’ (Devadatta cooks rices.) in this sentence formed in active voice the agent which has been emphasized is established by the ākhyātati.’ Likewise, ‘devadttena taṇḍulaḥ pacyate’ (Rice is being cooked by Devadatta.)—Here in this sentence formed in passive voice the object rice which has been emphasized is established by the ākhyātati.’

But Annambhaṭṭa refutes this view. According to him the agent, object etc. are not the meaning of an ākhyāta. The ākhyātasti’, ‘tas’, ‘anti’, ‘te’, ‘āte’, ‘ante’ etc. convey the meaning of volition or effort as well as the meaning of singularity, duality and plurality of the agent, object etc. respectively. It can not be denied that the realization of volition or effort is subject to the realization of the meaning of the agent, object etc. Both are related. Because without a conscious agent, effort can not be thought of. It is also true that effort begins with some matter. So, it is proved that the knowledge of effort is subject to the knowledge of the agent, object etc. But these agent, object etc. are not the denoted meanings of an ākhyāta. These can be inferred from effort. If there was no agent, or object, then there would not be any effort. By this inference the knowledge of an agent or object is established.

Now we want to follow the main topic. An injunction has the meaning of the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ and ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ have that same quality i.e. the state of being an instigating factor. So, in some cases like, ‘visvajitā yajeta’ (One should sacrifice by Visvajit sacrifice.) where result has not been mentioned, some results like heaven etc. must be imagined for the justification of the knowledge of instigating ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’.

Here the opponent raises a question. ‘aharahaḥ sandhyām upāsīta’ (One should worship during the morning or evening twilight everyday.)—in such sentences, there is no mention of result. So, how an activity will be justified in such sentences conveying no knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’? The ‘brahmaloka’ (the sphere of Brahman) or the destruction of sins as laid down in the eulogical or commendatory sentence (arthavādavākya) can not be imagined as results in such examples. Because worshipping during the morning or evening twilight is a perpetually obligatory action (nityakarman). If this nityakarman produces any result, then it becomes non-obligatory action (kāmyakarman) and it ceases to be a nityakarman. On the other hand, if the nityakarman does not have any result, then no one will perform that activity. If the result is mentioned or heard in any sentence expressing nityakarman, then it will be taken as an eulogy. This is the view of the opponent here.

But the Naiyāyikas give right answer to this problem. They say that this doubt is baseless. Because as in the case of ‘śrāddha’ ceremony (offering in funeral rites in honour of departed relatives) performed at the time of solar eclipse, the action becomes ‘nitya’ and ‘naimittka’, or, there is no contradiction of ‘kāmyatva’ and ‘naimittikatva’ in ‘bharaṇīśrāddha’, so also there is no incongruity in considering ‘nityatva’ and ‘kāmyatva’ both in worshiping during the morning and evening twilight. It can not be also accepted that one will not do a ‘nityakarman’ if there is no mention of eulogical passage. The desiredness in the sandhyāvandanā can be established in the same way as it is justified in reading the elogium thrice (‘traikālika-stavapātha’). As this kind of reading has some result, so also the ‘sandhyāvandanā’ has some auspicious result. If the opponent says that the knowledge of to-be-doneness (kāryatā ) as indicated by the Vedas can be the instigating factor here, and it is unnecessary to imagine ‘kāmyatva’ (causing a desired end) as a quality of ‘nityakarman’, and so the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ is not a cause of volition; but the Naiyayika answers that if a person does not have the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanata’, there will not be any effort for action even he has one thousand knowledges of to-be-doneness indicated by the Veda.

Some say that ‘paṇḍāpūrva’ is the result of ‘nityakarman’. The word ‘paṇḍāpūrva’ means ‘the unseen result which does not produce heaven etc’. But this view is not also accepted. Because in the absence of the desire of ‘paṇḍāpūrva’, there will not be any ‘nityakarman’. So, by the maxim of ‘rātrisatra’, the result as mentioned in the eulogical vedic sentence must be imagined for the ‘nityakarman’. ‘Rātrisatra’ means some sacrifices mentioned in ‘jyotir gaur āyuḥ’ etc. There is no mention of result of these sacrifices in the injunctive sentences. So the result of these sacrifices should be celebrity or fame as declared in the commendatory vedic sentence. In the ‘nityakarman’ also, the attainment of brahmaloka etc. must be postulated as result declared in the eulogical sentence. Otherwise, in the absence of the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ there will be no volition. For this reason, the neo-logicians admit the absence of production of sins as the result of ‘nityakarman’. The Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsakas think that the destruction of the accumulated sins is the result of ‘nityakarman’. The Prābhākara Mīmāṃsakas admit the absence or production of sin as the result of ‘nityakarman’. But according to Visvanātha the results of ‘sandhyāvandanā’ are destruction of sins and attainment of the ‘brahmaloka’.

This is supported by the following eulogical sentence.

sandhyām upāsate ye tu satataṃ śaṃsitavratāḥ |
vidhūtapāpās te yānti brahmalokam anāmayam ||”

The sentence ‘dadyād aharahaḥ śrāddhaṃ pitṛbhyaḥ prītim āvahan’ also affirms the view that śrāddha results in satisfaction or delight of the deceased relatives. It should not be argued that the locus of satisfaction and the performer of the śrāddha ceremony are different. So, how śrāddha causes to satisfaction for the other person? Only the perfomer of an action gets the result. This is also not correct. Because as in the ‘Gayāśrāddha’ the gratification or pleasure of the deceased relatives are admitted by the relation of to-be-intendedness (uddeśyatāsambandha), by the same relation pleasure of the deceased person is acknowledged in perpetually obligatory śrāddha also. For this reason, the Mīmāṃsakas say that ‘the result of an activity goes to its performer’—this kind of rule is a general one. Sometimes general rule is violated by the special or particular rule. Śrāddha is a particular activity in which the result goes to that persons to whom the ceremony is performed. It should be remembered that if the deceased souls become liberated from the cycle of birth and death, because of the right performance of the śrāddha ceremony by the performer, then the performer also gets heaven etc. Because all ‘nityakarmans’ and ‘naimittika karmans’ generally result in heaven for the performer.

The ‘paṇḍāpūrva’ can not be the instigating factor of ‘sandhyāvandanā’. Because ‘paṇḍāpūrva’ itself is not a puruṣārtha (the end or aim of a person) as happiness or the destruction of pain or sorrow. It is not also the means of puruṣārtha.

Those who regard the absence of production of sins as the results of ‘nityakarman’, are questioned by the opponent. The opponent says that ‘the absence of production of sins’ means ‘the prior absence (prāgabhāva) of sins’. The prior absence is without any beginning and it is not produced. So, it can not be regarded as result. So, the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ is not possible in the absence of sins (pratyavāyābhāva). Then, how the absence of sins becomes the instigating factor of sandhyāvandanā ? The solution goes like this: If the perpetually obligatory activities like ‘sandhyāvandanā’ are performed with accuracy, then the prior absence of sins stays undestroyed or undeterred; but if these are not performed then there is the absence of prior absence of sins. It means then sins arise. If there is the prior absence of sins because of the performance of the ‘nityakarman’, then there is the prior absence of sorrow. But if there is the absence of the prior absence of sins or in another words, if there is sin, there is the absence of the prior absence of sorrow, i.e. there is sorrow. So, it is said that as long as there is the prior absence of sin, so long as the prior absence of sorrow stands firmly and it is felt in the soul. So, it is concluded that the prior absence of sin is a beneficial cause of the prior absence of sorrow. So, the prior absence of sin can be logically accepted as the propelling factor of ‘sandhyāvandanā’. Likewise ‘prāyaścitta’ (atonement) becomes the cause of the prior absence of sorrow.

After that Visvanātha has raised a question regarding the verbal understanding of the negative injunction. The opponent puts the question: How the absence of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ and the absence of ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ established by the meaning of ‘nañ’ will be connected to the meaning of eating of animal killed by some poisonous weapon (kalañjabhakṣaṇa) in the vedic sentence, ‘na kalañjaṃ bhakṣayet’ (One should not eat the ‘kalañja’.)? Because, eating of ‘kalañja’ is ‘iṣṭasādhana’ and it is ‘kṛtisādhya’ also. So, the absence of ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ and the absence of ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ are really contradicted in eating ‘kalañja’. The answer of this question is that here the ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ and ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ are not the meanings of the injunction because they are contradicted or inconsistent. Here the injunction indicates ‘the disconnection or the absence of relation with comparably strong and undesirable evil’ (balavadaniṣṭānanubandhitva) or ‘not being the producer of comparably strong and undesirable evil’ (balavadaniṣṭājanakatva). The absence of this meaning as explained in the previous sentence is the meaning of the injunction ‘na kalañjaṃ bhakṣayet’. Here if the opponent thinks that if injunction means sometimes ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’, sometimes ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ and sometimes ‘aniṣṭānanuban-dhitva’, then it will lead us to logical cumbrousness, then ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ qualified by ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ qualified by ‘balavadaniṣṭānanubandhitva’ can be taken as the meaning of injunction. In that case the word ‘nañ’ means the absence of injunction having the aforesaid meaning. So, ‘na kalañjaṃ bhakṣayet’ means the absence of an injunction which is in the form of ‘kṛtisādhyatva’ qualified by ‘iṣṭasādhanatva’ qualified by ‘balavadaniṣṭānanubandhitva’ in eating ‘kalañja’. This is qualified absence and not unqualified or general absence. To have a knowledge of a qualified matter, both the knowledges of the qualified matter and the qualifier matter are equally important. So, in the case of the absence of the qualified matter, the absence of the qualified or the absence of the qualifier or both of them may be regarded as the causes. In the above mentioned example, the non-eating of the ‘kalañja’ is a qualified absence and the absence of the qualifier ‘balavadaniṣṭānanubandhitva’ becomes the cause of it.

Yet in some cases there is a possibility of the absence of reasonable grounds with reference to the meaning of injunction. How the knowledge of ‘balavadaniṣṭānanubandhitva’ becomes the meaning of the vedic sentence ‘śyenenābhicaran yajeta’ (One who wants to apply black magic for malevolent purposes should sacrifice by Śyenas acrifice.)? Because the Śyena-sacrifice is an act which favours to the death of enemy. So it is one kind of killing. But it is an established fact that killing is the means for undesired hell. So Śyenas acrifice becomes the means for undesired hell. As a result of this it is not ‘balavadaniṣṭānanu-bandhin’. The negative injunction ‘mā hiṃsyāt sarvabhūtani’ (One should never kill any creature.) of Veda covers all killings except the legal or sanctioned ones. The Veda itself has legalised the Śyenas acrifice. So it is not means for undesired hell. This view also does not stand. Because the same Veda has laid down an atonement for the eradication of sins produced from the black magic activities.

If any kind of actions favourable to death of other persons is considered as an act of killing, then the maker of sword and the digger of a well also must be counted as killers. The death of a person swallowing food attached to his bronchial tube must be regarded as suicide. This argument also does not fit. Becuase that person does it inadvertently. He does not have any intention to suicide. Killing must be followed by intentionality. So, in the definition of killing the adjective ‘to-be-intendedness of death’ must be added. Killing is such an action in which one intentionally does something which favours death. As a result of this, the maker of sword or the digger of well can not be counted as killers.

The opponent again argues that there is not the intention of death where a brahmin is killed with an iron arrow thrown by someone and atonement has been laid down for the thrower of the iron arrow. So, the previous definition of killing is incorrect. Here the advice of atonment has been mentioned separately and it is not for disrespect to the prohibitive injunction of killing ‘mā hiṃsyāt sarvabhūtani.’

To give answer to these doubts it is said that a new adjective ‘adṛṣṭādvārakatva’ (the state of not being the producer of invisible result) should be inserted in the definition of killing to prevent the killingness caused by the Śyenas acrifice.

Killing is an act which favours death and which is done for death and in between killing and death there is no invisible result, i.e., killing directly causes death. But the Śyenas acrifice becomes the cause of killing of enemy through the invisible result. The invisible result is called ‘apūrva’. So, the Śyenas acrifice is not a direct cause of killing. For this reason it is not regarded as killing. Similarly, the worshipping of Lord Śiva for the intention of dying at Kāsī, is not an act of killing. Because some invisible result is produced in the soul of the worshipper after worshipping and that result results in death at Kāśī in course time if Lord Śiva is worshipped in an accurate manner.

It can not be argued that an action causing death directly is killing and the Śyenas acrifice does not cause death directly. So, it is not an act of killing. So, inserting of the adjective ‘adṛṣṭādvārakatva’ in the definition of killing is unnecessary. This view of the opponent is also incorrect. Because if this view is accepted then the assault caused by a sword can not be counted as killing in the case of death followed by the maturity of an injury caused by that assault with that sword. There is not any direct causal relationship between assault and death and there is a long gap of time between them. Yet that assault is considered as the cause of death. So, it is also one kind of killing.

According to some other critiques, assault with a sword is the result of the Śyenas acrifice and death is not its result. So, the word ‘abhicāra’ means killing with a sword followed by the Śyenas acrifice and this ‘killing’ is a sinful act; but the sacrifice itself is not the cause of sin. Thus the Śyena-sacrifice becomes valid. The wise persons know it very well. Yet they do not engage themselves in performing the Śyenas acrifice because of the fear from future sin. Because Śyenas acrifice leads to assault and assault leads to sin.

The great Naiyāyika Ācārya Udayana had established the meaning of injunction very lucidly from a different point of view. According to him the intention of the authentic or reliable (āpta) person is the meaning of injunction. He says in his ‘Nyāyakusumāñjali’, 5th Stavaka, “sarvatra ca anyatra vaktur eba icchā abhidhīyate liṅā ityavadhṛtam.” He admits that ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ qualified by ‘kṛtisādhyatā’ is the cause of volition. But that is not the meaning of ‘liṅ’. Because there is a doubt: Can a person know directly ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ from ‘liṅ’ as a sucking baby directly knows ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ of drinking of his mother’s breast milk by inference? Or, can ‘iṣṭasādhanatā ’ be inferred by the intention of the trustworthy person by ‘liṅ’ as a person well-versed in gesture or sign realises ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ by the intention inferred from the physical movement? Because of this possibility of doubt, ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ can not be the meaning of ‘liṅ’. In this regard Ācārya Udayana mentioned five grounds for which ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ can not be regarded as the meaning of ‘liṅ’.

He said,

hetutvād anumānācca madhyamādau viyogataḥ |
anyatra kḷptasāmarthānniṣedhānupapattitaḥ ||”[2]

According to Udayana,

  1. iṣṭasādhanatā’ is the indicator of the meaning of injunction.
  2. From Arthavāda one can infer injunction after having understood the meaning of ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’.
  3. In cases of second person and first person the ‘liṅ’ suffix does not express ‘iṣṭasādhanatā ’.
  4. In other cases like ‘adhyeṣaṇā’ (solicitation), ‘saṃpraśna’ (courteous enquiry) etc. the ‘liṅ’ suffix express intention in general.
  5. In the negative injunctions, the meanings of the injunctive suffixes are not well-reasoned.

These are the five grounds as envisaged by Udayana. Now these are explained in the following passages.

(a) Hetutvāt: If it is said, ‘agnikāmo dāruṇī mathnīyāt’ (One desiring fire should rub one wood against another.), then there will be a question—‘Why will he do that?’ On hearing this question the experienced person says that because by that rubbing or friction of two woods we can produce fire. So, it is proved that ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ establishes causal relationship and it indicates the meaning of injunction. It is the cause of injunction and not the meaning of injunction.

(b) Anumānāt: After hearing the eulogical sentence, ‘tarati mṛtyuṃ tarati brahmahatyāṃ yo’śvamedhena yajate’ (The person who sacrifices by the Aśvamedha, passes death and the sin of killing a brahmin.), the persons well-acquainted with the śāstras realise ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ of the Aśvamedha sacrifice in crossing the sin made by killing a brahmin and they infer the injunction, ‘brahmahatyātaraṇakāmo’śvamedhena yajeta’ (One who wishes to pass or cross the sin of killing a brahmin, should sacrifice by the Aśvamedha sacrifice.) This injunction has been inferred from the previous arthavāda expressing praise. Similarly, there are some arthavādas which express blame of something. For example, ‘andhaṃ tamaḥ praviśanti ye ke ca ātmahano janāḥ’ (Those who kill or destroy themselves not knowing their true nature i.e. brahmanness, enter into the deep darkness.). From this blame, one can assume that killing of oneself is the means for undesired evil and he can infer the injunction ‘na ātmānaṃ hanyāt’ (One should not kill himself.). So, from ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ or, ‘aniṣṭasādhanatā’ one can infer an injunction.

(c) Madhyamādau viniyogataḥ: The ‘liṅ’ suffixes in ‘kuryāḥ’ (second person singular), ‘kuryām’ (first person singular) etc. do not express the meaning of ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’; rather these express mental resolve of the speaker. To explain, from ‘kuryām’ we do not understand the meaning ‘This is the means of my desired end.’ But after the realisation of the knowledge of ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ ‘I shall do it’—this kind of mental resolve is expressed here.

(d) Anyatra kḷptasāmarthyāt: So, everywhere the intention of the speaker is the meaning of ‘liṅ’. This ‘liṅ’ expresses nothing but ‘ājñā’ (command), ‘adhyeṣaṇā’ (solicitation), ‘anujñā’ (permission), saṃpraśna (courteous enquiry), prārthanā (prayer) and ‘āśaṃsā’ (desire or hope). Command is that desire of the speaker in which the commanded person fears from undesired result if the command is not followed. But when the desire of the speaker suggests worship and honour of the listener, then it is called solicitation. Permission means the absence of prohibition. Prayer means the intention of getting something. Hope means well-wishing. Enquiry means to ask a question to do something. These are nothing but intentions of the speaker in general.

(e) Niṣedhānupapattitaḥ: The different meanings of ‘liṅ’ accepted by the other schools of philosophy are not found in the negative injunction. The Bhāṭṭa school of Mīmaṃsā admits śābdī bhāvanā (verbal creative energy) as the meaning of ‘liṅ’ suffix. Creative energy means a particular activity of a productive agent (bhāvayitṛ) which is conducive or favourable to the production of that which is to be produced (that is an effect). This creative energy is of two folds viz. word-creative-energy or verbal creative energy and end-creative-energy or actual creative energy.

The verbal creative energy represents a particular activity of a productive agent, which is conducive to a man’s exertion. It instigates a man to undertake an action laid down by an injunction. It is expressed by the element of the state of being an optative suffix.

Now Udayana says that this śābdī bhāvanā can not be the meaning of ‘liṅ’ in ‘na hanyāt’. Because if that meaning is explained, then some faults will arise. First of all, if killing is related to prohibition the meaning of the sentence will be ‘hananābhāvaviṣayā bhāvanā’ (the creative energy related to the absence of killing). Then the injunction becomes fruitless; because the prior absence of killing and the absolute absence of the same are beginningless and eternal. So these absences can not be produced. Secondly, if the creative energy is related to prohibition, the sentence will convey the meaning, ‘hananabhāvanāyāḥ abhāvaḥ’ (the absence of the creative energy of killing). But this is resisted by the previous argument.

Now, one can say that the ārthī bhāvanā is the meaning of ‘liṅ’. ārthī bhāvanā means an activity of physical effort produced from the desire of necessity. This objective urge consists in a person’s inclination to an activity. It is expressed by the element of the state of being a verb (ākhyātatva).

Now, if this ārthī bhāvanā untouched by three times i.e. past, present and future, becomes the purport of injunction, then its negation can not be an absolute absence. Because sometimes there is a possibility of creative energy for killing.

The Prābhākara Mīmāṃsakas admit the state of being an activity (kāryatā) as the purport of injunction. If it is so then ‘na hanyāt’ means ‘hananaṃ na kāryam’ (Killing is not an action or killing can not be performed.). But it does not match our experience. Because killing can be accomplished by volition or effort. So, it is an action. If it implies, ‘na hananena kāryaṃhananakāraṇakaṃ kāryaṃ nāsti’ (There is no result of killing—there is no result of which killing is the cause.), that is also incorrect. Because by killing one can get happiness or he can eradicate sorrow. If it implies, ‘hananakāraṇakam adṛṣṭaṃ nāsti’ (There is no invisible result caused by killing.), then the seeker of wordly happiness (dṛṣṭārthin) will fearlessly involve himself in killing because he does not have any fear from demerit. Then the meaning of the negative injunction becomes wonderful. Ācārya has beautifully expressed this view—“hananakāraṇakam adṛṣṭam nāsti ityartha iti tu nirātaṅkaṃ dṛṣṭārthinaṃ pravartayed eveti sādhu śāstrārthaḥ.” It can not be said that the ‘nañ’ should be joined to the meaning of root ‘han’ and it will convey the meaning ‘one should produce merit by non-killing.’ Because the prior absence of killing is non-killing and it is beginningless; so its result will also be without beginning. For this reason, it can not be produced.

If ‘na hanyāt’ implies ‘one should produce merit by mental resolve’, then he has to resolve lifelong continuously. But in deep sleep it is impossible. Or, he can take determination once and refrain himself from killing. But after that he is free to kill. Because he has followed the negative injunction by taking determination once.

If the opponent says that it means, ‘whenever there will arise the resolve of killing in the mind of a person, the invisible result should be produced by him by its opposite (non-killing) determination and such a person is entitled here.’ It is also not accepted. Because there is no mention of such person (Adhikārin) in the Veda. If you say that, that matter is only prohibited which is possible and which is not possible is not prohibited. So, though such person is not mentioned in Veda, it can be imagined. This view is also illogical. Because nothing is prohibited here, but the absence of killing is established. ‘The merit caused by the absence (prior absence) of killing’ is the meaning of ‘Na hanyāt’.

The Mīmāṃsaka goes one step ahead and is entrapped by his own argument. If the sentence implies, ‘Merit should be produced by non-killing’ then we realise that merit is to be produced by non-killing. On the other hand, killing is sometimes done by natural attachment. Now, we know very well that a fruitful deed is greater than a fruitless one. So, everyone will engage himself in killing. Because by killing one can get worldly happiness and he can wipe out his sorrow. So, killing is fruitful. Though some merit is produced by non-killing, yet it does not make any wordly happiness, nor it eradicates our sorrow. So, that merit is not our main purpose. It is not our subordinate purpose also. Because the invisible result produced by following a negative injunction is ‘paṇḍāpūrva’ (fruitless invisible result). It is not conducive to any desired goal. Alas! this is a marvellous technique of interpretation of Veda by the proud Mīmāṃsakas—the true followers of Veda !

The Mīmāṃsakas like Maṇḍana Miśra and the old Naiyāyikas admit ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ as the meaning of injunction. According to them also ‘na hanyāt’ will give the meaning, ‘The urge for killing is not the means for desired end.’ Then how we will obtain the meaning of being the means for undesired evil (aniṣṭasādhanatā) of killing? In the previous paragraph, we have noticed that killing is fruitful and so it is ‘iṣṭasādhana’. There is no rule that a matter or an action which is not ‘iṣṭasādhana’ of something else, must be ‘aniṣṭasādhana’. Because there are some things which are only negligible or ignorable, and are not desirable or evil.

If it is said that that which is obtained by natural attachment but prohibited by the sacred treatise (śāstra), must be ‘aniṣṭasādhanatā’. For example: ‘saviṣam annaṃ na bhuñjīthāḥ’ (You should not eat poisionous food). Here the eating of the prohibited food is the means of undesired evil. Same is the case in ‘na hanyāt’.

This opinion also can not be accepted. Because our main topic is prohibition. This is to be discussed. In some cases, the propriety, fruitfulness and urge (bhāvanā) of killing are established by proof. So, the absence of propriety etc. of killing can not be established by Veda. Otherwise, identity can be established between Āditya and the sacrificial post with reference to ‘ādityo yūpaḥ....’ With reference to this, if it said, ‘atyantāsatyapi jñānam arthe śabdaḥ karoti hi’ (A word produce knowledge of the matter though it is totally non-existent.) and by this axiom the matter which is contradictory to accepted proof can be established. Ācarya refutes this opinion also. Because though the killing related to sacrifice has been laid down and authenticated by the Veda, yet it is prohibited by the ‘Āgama’ (tāntric scriptures) authored by the non-vedic school of philosophy, But it is not ‘aniṣṭasādhana’. So, the previous rule (That which is obtained by natural attachment but prohibited by the sacred treatise, must be ‘aniṣṭasādhana’) is violated here. If ‘Āgama’ is not proof, then we will say that the fruitfulness of killing is established by means of valid knowledge. But the Veda does not accept it. So, Veda would not also be a means of knowledge like ‘Āgama’.

The secondary meaning in ‘na hanyāt’ can not be accepted like in ‘gaṅgāyāṃ ghoṣaḥ’ (The milkman resides in the Ganges.) Because a positive injunction and a negative injunction are dependent on each other. So, it is said, ‘na vidhau paraḥ śabdārthaḥ’ (The meaning of the injunction can not be inferable by secondary meaning.)

The opponent says that there are some words in which the the ‘nañ’ express the opposite meaning of the word. For example, ‘asura’, ‘avidyā’ etc. The word ‘asura’ means ‘antagonist to gods’. In ‘na hanyāt’ also, the ‘nañ’ will convey the meaning ‘aniṣṭasādhanatā’ which is contrary to ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’. It is not also correct. Because here the ‘nañ’ is added to the verb and it is not a part of compound. But the ‘nañ’ in ‘asura’ etc. is a part of compound. There are six meanings of the nipāta nañ. There is a famous kārikā about the meaning of nañ.

It goes like this—

tatsādṛśyam abhāvas ca tadanyatvaṃ tadalpatā |
aprāśastyaṃ virodhas ca nañarthāḥ ṣat prakīrtitāḥ ||”

The meanings are (a) similarity (abrāhmaṇa—a brahmin-like person), absence (ghaṭābhāva—the absence of a pot), (c) differentness (aghaṭa—a matter different from a pot), (d) littleness (akeśin—a person having less hairs), (e) blame (akāla—a bad time) and (f) contradiction or opposition (asura—a person who is antagonist to gods).

Among the meanings only the nañ expressing the meaning of absence is related to verb and so it is called ‘prasajyapratiṣedha’. Others are called ‘paryudāsa’. The contradiction can be expressed in compounds only. In ‘na hanyāt’ this contradiction is not expressed; because the nipāta nañ is added to verb here.

So, Ācarya concludes—

vidhir vaktur abhiprāyaḥ pravṛttyādau liñādibhiḥ |
abhidheyo’numeyā tu kartur iṣṭābhyupāyatā ||”[3]

An injunction means the intention of a speaker about activity or inactivity. It is expressed by the suffix ‘liṅ’, ‘lot’ etc. The ‘iṣṭasādhanatā ’ of the doer is to be inferred.

The structure of the inference will be like this:

(a) ‘yāgaḥ svargakāmasya mama balavadaniṣṭānanubandhīṣṭa-sādhanam’:

(I am willing for heaven. The sacrifice is the means of my desired end; at the same time it is not connected to my strong undesired evil.)—pratijñā.

(b) ‘matkṛtisādhyatayā āptena iṣyamāṇatvāt.’

(Becasue it is desired as something to be performed by my effort by an authentic or reliable person. Simply, the authentic person thinks that I can do it because I posses the qualification to perform it.)—hetu.

(c) ‘matkṛtisādhyatayā iṣyamāṇamadbhojananvad.’

(Because it is desired as something to be accomplished by my volition of effort like my eating.)—udāharaṇa.

So, ‘iṣṭasādhanatā’ is not the meaning of injunction. It is the cause of activity or inactivity. But ‘liṅ’ express the intention of the reliable person. With reference to this, the sentence expressing the intention about an activity of oneself is liked. ‘kuryām’ (I should do.). In second person it is like ‘kuryāḥ’ (You should do.). In third person it is like ‘kurvīta’ (He/she should do.). In case of non-vedic sentences like ‘agnikāmo dāruṇī mathnīyāt’ (One desiring fire should rub two pieces of wood against one another.), the meaning of the sentence is ‘the activity regarding the rubbing of two pieces of wood by the person desiring fire is desired by the speaker.’ After hearing the sentence, the listener infers that the effort conducive to rubbing of woods is certainly the means of fire. Here the invariable co-relation (vyāpti) goes like this:

The effort of a person about something desired by an authentic person must be the means of the desired end of the person and it (iṣṭasādhanatā) is known by the authentic person. For example, the effort regarding eating of the sons is desired by their father and this eating is the means of their desired end i.e. nourishment.

In the negative injunction like ‘viṣaṃ na bhakṣayet’ (One should not eat poision) the listener primarily understands that his voliation for eating poison is not intended by the speaker. Then he infers that the effort for eating poison is certainly the means of his undesired evil. Otherwise, that authentic and reliable person (speaker) would not dissuade him. Similarly, a boy does not play at mud because of his father’s prohibition. The boy infers that it will cause harm to him. His father knows it very well and he is a trusworthy person to his son. So, the boy obeys his father.

Footnotes and references:




Nyāyakusumāñjali, 5.14.



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