Mimamsa interpretation of Vedic Injunctions (Vidhi)

by Shreebas Debnath | 2018 | 68,763 words

This page relates ‘Vishishtavidhi and Utpattividhi’ 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 3.2 - Viśiṣṭavidhi and Utpattividhi

There is a special case in which both the uddeśya (pradhāna = main sacrifice) and the vidheya (subordinate or auxiliary materials) are not mentioned by separate sentences. In such cases these are stated only by a single sentence. These are called viśiṣṭavidhi. The word viśiṣṭa (qualified) means ‘upasarjanaviśiṣṭa pradhāna’ (the main sacrifice with its subordinate materials).

For example,

somena yajeta

(He should sacrifice by using the juice extracted from the soma creeper.).

Here soma is not enjoyed by any other sentence. The word ‘yajeta’ is not also a repettion because it is not obtained from any other injunction. So, ‘soma’ and ‘yaga’ both are to be enjoined only by the sentence ‘somena yajeta’. But the optative suffix is one only. How the two matters can be enjoined by one suffix? The answer is that here only one thing is enjoined and the other thing becomes its qualifier. So, there is not the fault of repetition of word. The secondary meaning is accepted in the word ‘soma’. Actually, ‘somena yajeta’ is a special kind of ‘utpattividhi’. In a ‘utpattivākya’ the meaning of root is accusative case and it is related to bhāvanā as the instrumental case. When the expectation of instrumental case of bhāvanā is ceased, then the word soma can not be related to it as the instrumental case. To justify it the meaning of the word ‘soma’ is regarded as ‘somavat’ (that which has soma or a sacrifice in which the soma-juice is used) by matavarthalakṣaṇā (a power of a word in which possessive suffixes like matup, vatup etc. are used to express the secondary meaning of that word). So, the meaning of the injunction ‘somena yajeta’ becomes ‘one should produce heaven (desired end) by a sacrifice having the ‘soma-juice’. Here the ‘ac’ suffix is accepted after the word ‘soma’ according to the Pāṇinian formula ‘arśādibhyo'c’ (Aṣṭādhyāyī—5.5.127).

The opponent can argue that the word ‘soma’ can be related to ‘yajeta’ (yāga) by the relation of the state of being in the same locus (sāmānādhika-raṇya) without accepting the ‘matvarthalakṣaṇā.’

According to him the verbal understanding will be:

somena yāgena iṣṭaṃ bhāvayet

(One should produce his desired end i.e. heaven by soma and sacrifice).

But the Mīmāṃsakas say that in that case both the soma and sacrifice are prescribed independently. But the optative suffix is one and the same. So, the ‘īta’ suffix will primarily prescribe ‘soma’ and then again it will prescribe sacrifice. So, the suffix ‘īta’ will have to be repeated. Then the structure of verbal understanding will be ‘somena iṣṭaṃ bhāvayet yāgena iṣṭaṃ bhāvayet’ (One should produce heaven by soma and he should produce heaven by sacrifice). So it is clear that there will be the fallacy of splitting of sentence (vākyabhedadoṣa). It is true that matvarthalakṣaṇā is also a kind of fallacy. But accepting it is better than accepting the vākyabheda. Because lakṣanā is a padadoṣa (a fallacy related to a word), but vākyabheda is a vākyadoṣa (a fallacy related to a sentence). According to the general rule ‘guṇe tu anyāyyakalpanā’ (Impostion of fallacy is generally done on the subordinate matter than the principal thing), padadoṣa is more acceptable than the vākyadoṣa. Because ‘a pada’ is subordinate to a sentence.

Moreover, the expectation of the expedient (sādhanākāṅkṣā) of bhāvanā is ceased by the same word ‘yajeta’. So, it will be unjustified to think of that means or expedient from the different word ‘somena’. Only one thing becomes the means of an another thing (sādhya), not two things become the means of it.

So, the relation of the state of being in the same locus (sāmānādhika-raṇya) can not be accepted here. Lakṣaṇā is the only way out.

The opponent again says that in this ‘viśiṣṭavidhi’ two matters (soma and yāga) are prescribed. So, why there will not be the fallacy of spliting of sentence? The Mīmāṃsakas answer that the both soma and yāga are not prescribed separately. But the sacrifice is prescribed. But the sacrifice is qualified by soma. Sacrifice is here regarded as noun and soma is its adjective. So, by the relation of viśeṣyaviśeṣaṇabhāva there is oneness between sacrifice and soma juice. If anyone is asked to bring a blue pot, he does not bring the pot and its blue colour separately. If the pot is brought, its colour is also brought. So also is the case between soma and sacrifice with reference to somayāga.

It can not be argued that soma is prescribed as a material to the sacrifice obtained by the injunction ‘jyotiṣṭoma svargakāmo yajeta’ (One desiring heaven should sacrifice by the jyotiṣṭoma), because the injunction regarding Jyotiṣṭoma is an adhikāravidhi and not an utpattividhi. An utpattividhi expresses the nature of an action. But this quality of expressing the nature of an action can not be found in the jyotiṣṭomas entence. The word ‘utpatti’ here means ‘sādhana-svarūpam’ (the nature of means or expedient of any desired end like heaven etc.). This is expressed by a utpattividhi. But an adhikāravidhi conveys only the relation of an action laid down by a utpattividhi with the result. Here the opponent raises another question: Let the jyotiṣṭomas entence be an utpattividhi and adhikāravidhi like ‘udbhidā yajeta paśukāmaḥ.’[1] (One desiring of cattles should sacrifice by udbhid). The answer of Mīmāṃsakas is that in the given example there is no other way. So, it becomes an example of two kinds of injunctions. The injunction ‘udbhidā..... etc.’ expresses the nature of the action and the ownership of the result. This injunction has no other principal sentence expressing the nature of action. But with reference to the jyotiṣṭoma-sentence, ‘somena yajeta’ expresses the nature of work. So, ‘somena. ’ becomes the utpattividhi of ‘jyotiṣṭomena....’ and the jyotiṣṭomas entence only conveys the relation of result with the sacrificer. Moreover, if the injunction ‘jyotiṣṭomena....’ is accepted as a ‘ubhayavidhi ’ (having the nature of two kinds of vidhi), then by this very injunction the sacrifice and its result should be informed. Then the fallacy of vākyabheda will be more strong and unavoidable. So, it is better and safe to accept matvarthalakṣaṇā in the word ‘somena’ and to regard ‘somena yajeta’ as a viśiṣṭavidhi.

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