Mimamsa interpretation of Vedic Injunctions (Vidhi)

by Shreebas Debnath | 2018 | 68,763 words

This page relates ‘comparative Strength of Six Proofs of Viniyogavidhi’ 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 4.3 - The comparative Strength of Six Proofs of Viniyogavidhi

Jaimini said,

śruti-liṅga-vākya-prakaraṇasthāna-samākhyānaṃ samavāye pāradaurbalyam arthaviprakarṣāt.’[1]

It means that in the common applicability of śruti, liṅga, vākya, prakaraṇa, sthāna and samākhyā, the weakness of the latter is by reason of the distance of the sense. Here distance is from śruti proof. The weakness of the latter proof suggests the strength of the previous proof. Among these proofs only the śruti has the power of enjoining something. The others do not have such power. They become powerful through śruti. If any sacrificer wants to ascertain the subsidiariness of some hymn, substance, deity or any action with the help of the liṅga proof, then he has to search first a śruti proof. With the help of that inferred or sought śruti, he can apply that hymn etc. But when a direct (kḷpta) śruti is available, the inferred (kalpita) śruti becomes redundant. If a horseman and a pedestrian of footman are advised simultaneously to bring a thing from a distant place, then the horseman reaches to that thing quickly and fetches it and the effort of the footman becomes fruitless. Or it is unnecessary to infer the warmth of fire when it is known by direct touching. It is the same in case of six proofs. The śruti proof always obstructs others and the samākhyā proof is always obstructed by the others. The liṅga, vākya, prakaraṇa and sthāna proofs sometimes obstruct and sometimes they are obstructed.

Kumārila Bhaṭṭa has rightly said,

bādhikaiva śruti nityaṃ samākhyā bādhyate sadā |
madhyamānāṃ tu bādhyatvaṃ bādhakatvam apekṣayā ||”

(A) Supremacy of Direct Assertion

For this reason, Indra’s verse (aaindrī ṛc) is not used for reverencing Indra. But it is used for reverencing the gārhapatya fire.

The hymn goes like this:

kadācana starīrasi nendra saścasi dāśuṣe |
upopennu maghavan bhūya innu te dānaṃ devasya pṛcyate ||”

(O Indra! Never you are harmful. But you go to the sacrificer closely who gives ghee and be pleased with him. O Maghavan! The ghee offered to you again becomes related to you i.e. you get it again and again.)

This hymn has the power (sāmarthya) to express the characteristic feature of Indra. But it is not known from this hymn that, what should be done with this hymn. So, it is imagined that this hymn should be used in some rite related to Indra and this information is acquired by discussing the power of the hymn.

But the injunction says

adindryā gārhapatyam upatiṣṭhate[2]

(He should stand up or go near the gārhapatya fire by reciting the hymn related to Indra.).

Here the second case-ending used after the word ‘gārhapatya’ expresses the predominance of the gārhapatya fire. So, by śruti proof it is proved that this hymn should be used in upasthānkriyā (standing up or going near). The word ‘gārhapatya’ means a certain kind of fire among three kinds of fire i.e. gārhapatya, āhavanīya and dākṣiṇa fires. So, the word garhapatya is a conventional or traditional word (ruḍhi). But if the above hymn is used in indropasthānakriyā, then the conventional meaning of the word gārhapatya should be discarded and it will mean Indra by the secondary power (lakṣaṇā) of the word. On the basis of that power ‘aindrdyendram upa tiṣṭhate’ (He should stand up or go near Indra by reciting the aindrī ṛc)—such kind of śruti must be imagined. But before that the second case-ending of ‘gārhapatyam’ directly expresses the subservience of this hymn to the gārhapatya fire. So, the power related to a hymn is obstructed by direct śruti. For this reason śruti is more powerful than liṅga or sāmarthya.

The commentator Paramahaṃsa Rāmeśvara Bhikṣu says in his commentary ‘Arthasaṃgrahakaumudī ’ that in the case of application through liṅga proof, one needs four steps—

  1. Knowing the power of the hymn,
  2. Determining the power of the hymn to express its subject matter (i.e. its relation to Indra),
  3. Inferring a śruti and
  4. Application.

But in case of the śruti proof only the first and the fourth steps are necessary. So, the supremacy of śruti is doubtless, because it takes short time.

Pārthasārathi Miśra also says in his ‘Śāstradīpikā’—

yāvad eva hi mantrārtho mantreṇa pratipādyate |
tāvad eva śrutir mantraṃ gārhapatyārthatāṃ nayet ||”

Where there is no direction of śruti, as in ‘agnaye juṣṭaṃ nirvapāmi’ (I set apart [the rice grains] in an agreeable form for the Fire), there, discussing the power of the sacred text to denote offering, a direct assertion (śruti) is assumed, viz., “one should make an offering with this sacred text.” Here liṅga is certainly directive, for there is nothing to abstruct the assumption of a direct assertion.

(B) Comparative Strength of Liṅga or Indication than Sentence

The liṅga or indication is stronger than vākya, prakaraṇa etc. There is a hymn used in the new-and full-moon sacrifices.

It goes like this:

syonaṃ te sadanaṃ kṛṇomi ghṛtasya dhārayā suśevaṃ kalpayāmi |
tasmin sīdāmṛta pratitiṣṭha vrīhīṇāṃ medha sumanasyamānaḥ ||”

It means—

‘O purodāśa (sacrificial cake)! I am making a proper place for you. I am making it fit for seating with the stream or shower of clarified butter. O Purodāśa—the essence of rice! O immortal! Be seated in that place (made for you) and be established.’

In the new-and full-moon sacrifices purodāśas are made out of rice or barley. After threshing, unhusking and winnowing rice or barley, it is ground. Then the ground rice or barley mixed with water, is fried. Then it becomes purodāśa. It gets the shape of a tortoise and it gets the size of the hoof of a horse. After preparing purodāśa, it is kept in a vessel or pot. Before keeping it in a pot, the pot is anointed with ghee. This anointing is called ‘sadana’.

In the above hymn, ‘sadana’ is expressed by the first part of the hymn. But the second part is related to keeping of purodāśa (purodāśa-sthāpana). Here this keeping is called ‘sādana’. Though these two parts of this hymn express different actions, yet the use of the term ‘tasmin’ in the second part, suggests the oneness of the sentence. The word ‘tad’ waits for the word ‘yad’ and there is a rule—‘arthaikatvād ekaṃ vākyam’(If there is oneness of sense, there is one sentence.). If the hymn is a one sentence, then a question arises: Does the whole sentence express the meaning of ‘sadana’ or ‘sādana’? Or, does the first part tell about ‘sadana’ and does the second part tell about ‘sādana’?

The answer is that liṅga is stronger than vākya. So, while vākya will start the application of the hymn in ‘sadana’ or ‘sādana’ with the help of the power of word, in the mean-while, the liṅga proof will apply the first part in ‘sadana’ and the second part in ‘sādana’ by accepting the power of word already settled (kḷptasāmarthya). So, the application through liṅga is quickened than the application through vākya.

(C) Comparative Strength of Vākya or Sentence than Context

The sentence proof is more powerful than context and others. Context is mutual expectation. A thing which expects others can not be treated as proof. It can be called a proof when it joins with another sentence to fulfill its expectation and to produce oneness of sentence. So, while a context joins with a sentence to produce oneness of sentence and to fulfill its purpose of being applicatory (viniyojakatvasidhi), in the meanwhile, the sentence proof becomes applicatory by postulating liṅga etc. So, sentence is stronger than context and others.

There is a hymn in Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa

agnīṣomāvidaṃ havir ajuṣetām avīvṛdhetāṃ maho jyāyokrātām |
indrāgnī idaṃ havir ajuṣetām avīvṛdhetāṃ maho jyāyo’krātām ||”[3]

It means—

‘O Agni and Soma! You have drunk clarified butter. You have increased it and made it great or pious. O Indra and Agni! Both of you have drunk clarified butter, increased it and made it great.’

This mantra (hymn) is chanted at the time of ‘Sūktavākanigadajapa’ in the new-and full-moon sacrifices. ‘Suktavākanigada’ means a collection of hymns which expresses its connected deities very well at the time of chanting.

So, it is said—

suṣṭhu uktaṃ vakti iti sūktavāka’.

In the Darśapūrṇamāsa context of Veda, there is an injunction—

sūktavākena prastaraṃ praharati

(He should throw the bunch of kuśa grass üin fireý by chanting the Sūktavāka).

Here ‘prastara’ means a bunch of kuśa grass cut for the first time. This ‘prastara’ is spread over sacrificial altar and ghee is kept on it. After the completion of the principal sacrifice, adhvarju (a brāhmaṇa related to the Yajurveda) throws the ‘prastara’ in the āhavanīya fire. At that time of throwing hotṛ (a brāhmaṇa related to the -gveda) utters this ‘nigada’. The dieties of the full-moon sacrifice are Agni, Viṣṇu, Prajāpati, Soma etc. But in the new-moon sacrifice the deities are Agni and Indra. So, as the two parts of the above mentioned hymn are separate sentences and they are related to different deities, the first part (or sentence) should be chanted in the full-moon sacrifice and the second part (or, sentence) should be uttered in the new-moon sacrifice.

But the pūrvapakṣin says that the whole hymn should be used in Darśayāga by omission of the term ‘agnīṣomau’ and it should also be used in ‘Pūrṇamāsayāga’ by deleting ‘indrāgnī’. The injunction suggests for chanting the whole hymn by the term ‘sūktavākena’.

This view is shown in the aphorism—

kṛtsnopadeśād ubhayatra sarvavacanam[4]

But the siddhāntin says that a hymn can be used partially according to its capacity of expressing meaning. So, only that part of a hymn is to be chanted which expresses substance or deity. The other part is unnecessary to a specific rite or it is uttered for producing an invisible result. But an invisible result is not accepted where a visible result is available.

So, Jaimini concludes—

yathārthaṃ vā śeṣabhutasaṃskārāt’.[5]

(On the other hand they should be read according to the suitability of the rite, because they are purificatory of the subordinate acts).

Then, why does the injunction tell ‘sūktavākena’? Because there is no contextual differences between the new-and full-moon sacrifices. So, the whole ‘sūktavāka’ is laid down to the aggregate of the both. Though the hymn is divided, yet each part of the hymn is called a ‘sūktavāka’, because in each part ‘Sūktavātva’ (the state of being a ‘sūktavāka’) does not cease. So, the singular number in ‘sūktavākena’ is used in the sense of jāti (generality).

Jaimini’s conclusion is—

prakaraṇāvibhāgād ubhe prati kṛtsnaśabdaḥ[6]

(By reason of the indivisibility of the context the word ‘entire’ applies to both).

In this regard, the view of Vārtikakāra Kumārila Bhaṭṭa should be noticed. He says that though the word ‘sūktavāka’ denotes an aggregate, yet, if an unrelated portion of a ‘sūktavāka’ is read in a sacrifice, then it ceases to be a sūktavāka. It becomes a ‘duruktavāka’ (a collection of hymns which expresses its meaning badly). For this reason, though the word ‘sūktavāka’ is famous in expressing its conventional meaning, yet its derivative meaning should be taken. So, the hymn should be divided and its first part will go to the full-moon sacrifice and the second part will go to the new-moon sacrifice. The vākya proof is nearer to śruti than the prakaraṇa proof. It can express subservience of something more quickly than prakaraṇa. So, the power of application of prakaraṇa is subsided by vākya.

Another point should be kept in memory that here prakaraṇa is in the form of adhikāra or adhikaraṇa (topic), not in the form of mutual expectation. Because the mutual expectation (ubhayākāṅkṣā) is applicatory of that subsidiaries which take the form of actions, i.e. it expresses only actions. But hymns are not in the form of actions. They are collection of some meaningful words. So, prakarṇa here suggests topic. Paṭṭābhirāma Śāstrin has pointed out this view in ‘Arthāloka’.

(D) Comparative Strength of Context than Position

Context is stronger than position. The Rājasūya sacrifice is laid down in Veda by the injunction—“rājā rājasūyena svārājyakāmo yajeta” (A kṣatriya king having the intension to get dominion in heaven should sacrifice by Rājasūya.) Here the word rājan indicates a kṣatriya, not a maker of kingdom. In this Rājasūya context many sacrifices like darvihoma, paśuyāga, somayāga etc. are enjoined. All of these are of equal status. Among these sacrifices, there is a special sacrifice named abhiṣecanīya. ‘abhiṣecana’ means sprinkling of water. The king is bathed with sacred water in this sacrifice. So, it has got this name.

In the close proximity of this abhiṣecanīya sacrifice some subsidiaries like playing with dice, conquering of the group of kings, reading of the story of Śunaḥśepha are enjoined by the following sentences,—

akṣair dīvyati

(He should play with dices.),

rājanyaṃ jinati

(He should conquer the group of kings.),

śaunaḥśepham ākhyāpayati

(He should tell the story of Śunaḥśepha.).

A doubt arises here: Are these subsidiaries subservient to abhiṣecanīya sacrifice because of proximity, or, are they subsidiaries of Rājasūya sacrifice because of their contextual presentation?

The answer is that these actions are not subservient to abhiṣecanīya sacrifice. Because position is weaker than context because of the reason of the distance of the sense from śruti or direct assertion. It is true that playing with dice, conquering etc. are advised in the close proximity of abhiṣecanīya. Yet the expectation of kathambhāva of abhiṣecanīya is fulfilled by the itikartavyatā of Jyotiṣṭoṃa sacrifice by the rule of transfer (atideśa), for abhiṣecanīya is a modification (vikṛti) of the model (prakṛti) Jyotiṣṭoṃa. So, abhiṣecanīya has no expectation. On the other hand, Rājasūya sacrifice waits ceaselessly for its kathamhāva (necessary procedure) from its first subsidiary sacrifice ‘kṣatrasya-dhṛti’. And the functions (playing etc.) whose results have not been mentioned and which come in between ‘pavitra’ (a kind of somayāga) and ‘kṣatrasyadhṛti’ (a kind of somayāga), are connected to the main Rājasūya sacrifice as its itikartavyatā.

So, it is said—

avicchinne kathambhāve yat pradhānasya paṭhyate |
anirjñātaphalaṃ karm a tasya prakaraṇāṅgatā ||”

It means—

‘As long as the expectation of the main function exists, the other functions mentioned without any result under its context, become subservient to the main function because of context.’

But if the playing etc. are accepted as the subsidiary of abhiṣecanīya, then the expectation of kathambhāva of abhiṣecanīya, which is already ceased, rises again. It is like producing desire of marrying in a man who does not want a bride. So, position expresses subsidiariness by postulating a direct assertion through context, sentence and indication. Its authenticity is three-steps-distant from śruti. But context is two-steps-distant from śruti. It only takes the help of sentence and indication. It subsides the authenticity of position. So, playing etc. are the subsidiaries of Rājasūya sacrifice.

The opponent again raises an argument. The word ‘Rājasūya’ has not an established meaning unlike the word ‘Darśapūrṇamāsa’. ‘Darśa’ denotes three sacrifices, namely ‘Āgenya’, ‘Aindradadhi ’ and ‘Aindrapayaḥ’. ‘Pūrṇamāsa’ denotes ‘Āgenya’, ‘Agnīṣomīya’ and ‘Upāṃśu’—these three sacrifices. The word ‘Darśapūrṇamāsa’ is based on time. It expresses the new-and full-moon. Its relation to ‘Āgenya’, ‘Aindradadhi ’ etc. is known from utpattividhi. As the word ‘Darśapūrṇamāsa’ is denotative of six sacrifices, so its necessary is established (prasiddha). It does not depend on ākhyāta (verb). But the word ‘rājasūya’ has not a fixed meaning. Though its derivative meaning is ‘a sacrificial ceremony in which the juice of the soma creeper is extracted by a king’ (‘rājñā sūyate soma yatra’), yet this derivative meaning is not known at the time of ascertaining its meaning. Because there is no direction of extraction of soma creeper in Somayāga mentioned in the ‘rājasūya’ context. So, the word depends on the verb ‘yajeta’ for its meaning. ‘Yajeta’ expresses all kinds of sacrifices. Naturally, the word ‘Rājasūya’ will mean ‘iṣṭi ’, ‘paśuyāga’ and ‘somayāga’—all these three sacrifices mentioned in that ‘rājasūya’ context. As the word ‘aśvakarṇa’ is used to express the śāla tree in its conventional sense, so also the word ‘rājasūya’ is used to express that three sacrifices collectively.

Now, the iṣṭi , paśuyāg and somayāga are the modifications of the arche-types—‘Darśapūrnaṇāsa’, ‘Agnīṣomīya’ and ‘Jyotiṣṭoma’ respectively. Their ‘itikartavyatā’ will be borrowed from these arche-types by the rule of transfer. Then these sacrifices do not have any expectation. There arises the absence of mutual expectation or prakarṇa. As the abhiṣecanīya is a Somayāga under Rājasūya, playing etc. read in the proximity of Abhiṣecanīya can not be subservient to Rājasūya, for there is no mutual expectation. A forest consists of many trees. It has not any separate existence than its trees. Similarly, Rājasūya does not have any separate existence than the existence of ‘iṣṭi ’, ‘paśuyāga’ and ‘somayāga’. If all trees are sprinkled with water, then the whole forest is sprinkled, nothing remains to be sprinkled. Similarly, if the expectation of iṣṭi etc. is fulfilled, then Rājasūya also does not have any expectation. For this reason, though playing (videvana) etc. expect their result, yet Rājasūya becomes void of expectation. As a result, mutual expectation is not there. So, playing with dice etc. become susbsevient to abhiṣecanīya according to position or proximity. This is the view of the opponent. This view is presented and discussed thoroughly by Āpodeva in his ‘Mīmāṃsānyāyaprakāśa’.

Then Āpodeva has given the answer of this objection according to the followers or masters of tradition (sāmpradāhikas) of Pārthasārathi Miśra. The sāmpradāyikas supported the prakaraṇa proof here by admitting pair of tongs (saṃdaṃśa). There method of interpretation goes like this:

In Śāstradīpikā, Pārthasārathi Miśra said that there are some sentences like, “rājasūyenejānaḥ sarvam āuyr eti.” (The person sacrificing by Rājasūya attains complete period of life) placed in front of Rājasūya sacrifice. From the meaning of these sentences, it is clear that here Rājasūya sacrifice has been re-stated (anūdita) by these sentences. The sentences conveying videvana (playing) etc. are read in between these sentences. For these two reasons, videvana etc. become the subsidiary of Rājasūya. Here videvana etc. fall under the pair of tongs as abhikramaṇa comes between two functions expressing a prayāja.

(E) Comparative Strength of Sthāna than Samākhyā

Position is stronger than name. For this reason alone the hymn of purification (śundhanamantra) is subservient to cleaning of vessels of milk and curds (sānnāyya). There is a section under the ‘Darśapūrṇamāsakāṇḍa’ Veda, in which some matters like mortar (ulūkhala), iron-pointed stick (muṣala), ladle (juhū) etc. which are beneficial to sacrificial cake (puroḍāśa), are enjoined.

Now the question is: To which purificatory rite, the [following] hymn be read?—

śundhadhvaṃ daivyāya karmaṇe devayajyāya

(Be purified for divine or celestial work i.e. sacrifice for deities.)

Is it related to mortar etc. because of name (samākhyā) viz. pauroḍāśika (related to sacrificial cake), or, it is related to cleaning of sānnāyya owing to proximity?

The opponent says that this hymn is to be read as a subsidiary in the purification of mortar etc. Because the word ‘pauroḍāśika’ is constructed of ‘ṭhak’ suffix after ‘puroḍāśa’ in the sense of ‘puroḍāśam arhati’ (that which deserves to express sacrificial cake) by the Pāṇinian aphorism ‘tadarhati’ (5.1.63). So, the word pauroḍāśika means ‘all kinds of vessels, works and hymns which are beneficial to sacrificial cake and which are read in the puroḍāśakāṇḍa. Moreover, the above hymn is read in that section. So, the substances (mortar etc.) are to be purified by the hymn only. This is the view of the opponent philosopher.

The siddhāntin says that samākhyā is weaker than sthāvna because of the distance of sense. A position needs context, sentences and mark to make a direct assertion. But in name a relation is also to be postulated. While a name reaches to a direct assertion, in the mean-while, position expresses application by direct assertion. So, the subject of name is stolen by position and it does not have any subject. The base of the word ‘pauroḍāśika’ denotes sacrificial cake and the suffix (ṭhak) suggests the section of Veda. But the relation between the sacrificial cake and section (kāṇḍa) are not expressed by the base or suffix. But this relation is to be understood from their associated pronunciation (saha-uccāraṇa). In Sanskrit this associated pronuciation is called samabhivyāhāra. So, though the hymn ‘śundhadhvam....’ is related to sacrificial cake, yet its relation to all vessels used in keeping sacrificial cake, is not directly perceived, but is to be imagined. Because if the hymn is not related to all vessels used in keeping sacrificial cake, then the hymn read in the Puroḍāśakāṇḍa would not have the nomenclature ‘pauroḍāśika’. By this power of implication (arthāpatti), the relation between sacrificial cake and section is assumed. Again, for the justification of the relation, a context is to be assumed; for a context a sentence is to be assumed; for a sentence a liṅga and for a liṅga a direct assertion are to be imagined.

On the other hand, the relation of the hymn to the purification of the vessels used for milk and curds is directly available from reading according to number (yathāsaṃkhyapāṭha). Because in that Puroḍāśakāṇḍa three functions namely ‘idhmābarhiḥsaṃpādana’ (preparation of the sacrificial fuel and kuśa grass), ‘dohana’ (milking of the sacrificial cow) and ‘vrīhinirvāpa’ (cutting of the rice-trees) are enjoined chronologically. In the saṃhitā part of the Veda, similarly, at first, the anuvāka relating to ‘idhmābarhiḥsaṃpādana’, then the hymn ‘śundhadhvam....’ and after that the anuvāka concerning ‘vrīhinirvāpa’ are read. So, hymns are read according to the serial by which substances are enjoined. Now, the sānnayya vessels are used in milking. So, the hymn under discussion becomes subservient to the purification of the sānnayya vessels because of this reading according to number (yathāsaṃkhyapāṭha). Besides this, the commonness of place according to the text is uttered in the Veda directly. So, the relation between the ‘śundhanamantra’ and the purification of sānnayya vessels is directly perceived. As a result, if both position and name start their way for application of a hymn through postulating a direct assertions (śruti), the name lags one step behind the position because name has to postulate a relation. By stealing the subject-matter of name, position quickly expresses the state of being subservient of a hymn etc. The author of Ślokavārtika has given a beautiful example regarding this. There is a fruit on the roof. It is kept in such a manner that one can get it just after reaching to the roof. Two persons are ordered to fetch the fruit. One of them was standing on the first step of the staircase. The other person was under him and standing on the ground floor. As soon as they heard the order, they started their race. There was no hindrance in their way to roof. In this circumstance, the person standing on the first step, goes to the roof first and takes the fruit. The second person also goes there but to find no fruit. He comes back without any fruit. Similarly, in case of ascertaining the state of being subservient of anything to something also it (aṅgatva) is expressed by the proof which is nearer to śruti than others. The others become redundant. Yet it should be remembered that the other proofs do not cease their capability of expressing aṅgatva; but they loose their power with reference to a stronger proof as in the given example the second person does not loose his capability of bringing the fruit.

Now the question is: Is there any scope of discussion on contradiction between two proofs? Because if one proof is applied, then the other proof does not get any chance to be applied, for in that situation the first proof becomes aprāptabādha (having no opposition). It has started its function. So, it can not be obstructed. It is called prāpta (used). And that which is aprāpta (unused) can not be opposed or contradicted because of its absence as the subject-matter of contradiction.

The answer of this objection is that the mark, sentence etc. are not really applied here. Their application is imposed. Because sacrificial functions are not performed according to them. But these are done according to the stronger previous proof. It can not also be said that these proofs are completely unused or without any connection (aprasakta) with reference to a stronger proof, for we get knowledge about them at the time of application. If that knowledge is accepted as an evidence, then how can it loose its authenticity or credibility (prāmāṇya)? In that case both proofs are of equal strength. None can be rejected. So, there will be alternative. The siddhāntin answers that the mark, sentence etc. loose their authenticity or the state of being proof where they are obstructed. But they are accepted in some cases where their authority is not opposed. That kind of authority is here imposed like mirage of a desert. There their authority is not valid. They are taken as ‘pramāṇābhāsa’ (a semblance of proof). So, they are wiped out by proof.

Kumārila Bhaṭṭa has rightly said,—

naiveteṣāṃ pramāṇatvam āsīd atra, kadācana |
anyatra dṛṣṭam etat tu samāropeṇa kalpitam ||”

(The authority of these was never seen here. It has been seen in another place. That authority is here imagined by imposition.)

Or it may be said that the authority of mark, sentence etc. is opposed because their subject is stolen by the strong proof. So, their real or absolute ‘aprāmāṇya’ (unauthenticity) is not perceived here. So, the opposition of śruti etc. can be judged as an ‘aprātabādha’ (an opposition which is not obtained), for the succeeding proof in the serial is ‘kalpyamūla’ (that whose base is to be imagined) and the opposition caused by the ‘kalpyamūla’ is ‘aprāptabādha’. Likewise, the contradiction of a Smṛti-text by a śruti and the contradiction of ‘śiṣṭācāra’ (the conduct of a wise or virtuous person) are ‘aprāptabādha’. And the contradictions of atideśa by upadeśa, of nitya by naimittika, of kratvartha by puruṣārtha, of general by particular etc. are called ‘prāptabādha’, for these contradictions are ‘kḷptamūla’ (that whose base is already imagined or obtained). The contradiction of a ‘kḷptamūla’ is called ‘prāptabādha’.

So, Kumārila Bhaṭṭa made this opinion—

kḷptamūlānāṃ pramāṇānāṃ hi bādhaḥ prāptabādhaḥ, na kalpyamūlānām.”.

(The contradiction or opposition of the kḷptamūla proofs is called prāptabādhaḥ, but the opposition of the kalpyamūla proofs is not called so.)

Here it should also be remembered that the comparative strength of the previous proof in the serial will be effective in those cases only where the meaning of the vedic sentences is not hampered. If that meaning is hampered, then the later proof will be stronger and the previous proof will be weaker; because the later proof then takes the shelter of stronger proof śruti. As the vedic serial (śrautakrama) becomes invalid by ‘ācamana’ (sipping of water) prescribed by the Smṛti-texts ‘kṣuta ācāmet’ (One having sneeze should sip with water) and ‘ācāntena kartavyam’ (One should act after sipping with water) in ‘vedaṃ kṛtvā vediṃ karoti ’ (One should make vedi [A place as deep as four fingers made by digging on earth between the āhavanīya and gārhapatya fires] after making the veda. The word ‘veda’ means ‘a broom made out of kuśa grass.’

Kumārila makes this conclusion in his Tantravārtika

durbalasya pramāṇasya balavān āśrayo yadā |
tadā’pi viparītatvaṃ śiṣṭākope yathoditam ||”

(When a weak proof takes the shelter of a stronger proof, then the comparative strength becomes changed, as it is said in the aphorisms ‘siṣṭākope’viruddham iti cet[7] etc. by Jaimini.)

The reason behind this is that there is no natural contradiction between two proofs, but their contradiction is based on the contradiction of their objects (prameyavirodhāt pramāṇānāṃ virodhaḥ). In our wordly life also it is seen that even a powerless, insignificant and negligible person defeats a powerful and distinguished person if he takes the help of a more powerful person.

Kumārila says—

atyantabalavanto’pi paurajānapadā janāḥ |
durvalair api bādhyante puruṣaiḥ pārthivāśritaiḥ ||”

(Even the powerful citizens of a town are tortured by weak persons resorted to king.)

So, the comparative strength of śruti, liṅga etc. is to be judged with great consideration.

Footnotes and references:




Maitrāyaṇī Saṃhitā—3.2.4.


Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa—3.5.10.









Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: