Mimamsa interpretation of Vedic Injunctions (Vidhi)

by Shreebas Debnath | 2018 | 68,763 words

This page relates ‘Niyamavidhi in Shravana by the Second Manner’ 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 9.3d - Niyamavidhi in Śravaṇa by the Second Manner

The mind is the unique cause (karaṇa) of bramhātmasākṣātkāra (relization of Brahman or self). This view which has been discussed in the previous paragraphs, is accepted by Vācaspati Miśra and his followers.

They qoute [the following from Vedas to support their views]:—

eṣo’ṇur ātmā cetasā veditavyaḥ[1]

(This subtle self should be known by the mind),

manasaivānudraṣṭavyam[2] etc.

Their theory is called ‘manoparokṣavāda’.

They quote [the following as a mark (liṅgapramāṇa) in this regard]—

aham evedaṃ sarvam asmi iti manyate[3].

Because this sentence expresses this meanig—‘the strivers whose ignorance is attenuated (weakened) and in whom the sun of knowledge has risen, can feel everything as his soul (sarvātmabhāva) even at time of sleeping.’ Only our mind functions in sleeping. The other sense organs like ear etc. do not have any contact to the object at the time of sleeping. So, there is no possibility of śravaṇa or the great sentences like ‘tattvamasi’ at that time. But even at that time also the strivers feel everything as their souls. Therefore, mind is the only means of brahmajñāna—this truth is knwon from that liṅga (‘aham evedam sarvam....’). Then what are the functions of śravaṇa, manana and nididhyāsana according to this theory? They are operational factors (vyāpāra) of the realization of Brahman. They are causes, but the mind is the unique cause (karaṇa).

But Śaṃkarācārya and his followers admit ‘śabdāparokṣavāda’. According to them Brahman is beyond our sense-organs. It is spiritual or super-natural entity. It is always present in everything. Mind can not catch it. It can not accept anything which belongs to the present time without the help of the other sense-organs. Though it can make contact with the objects of the past and of the future without depending on the other sense-organs, yet it can not make contact with Brahman because Brahman is not an entity of the past. Mind is not eligible to create contact with Brahman of future, because it is ever present. So, mind can not be the unique cause (karaṇa) of the realization of Brahman. On the other hand, Brahman can be realized through the Vedānta only.

The mother Veda herself declares,

tvaṃ tvaupaniṣadaṃ puruṣaṃ pṛcchāmi[4]

(I [Yājñavalkya] am asking you [Śākalya] about Brahman which is told by the upaniṣad).

So, the great sentences like ‘tattvaamasi ’ etc. which are found in the upaniṣad, are the unique causes (karaṇa) of brahmajñāna. The word ‘aupaniṣada’ (explained in upaniṣad) formed with the secondary suffix (taddhita) proves this veiw. Consequently, it is illogical to show the ‘pākṣika-aprāpti’(the absence of attainment in one side i.e. a case subject to an alternative) by acknowledging the mind as the unique cause (asādhāraṇakāraṇa) in śravaṇavidhi. For this reason, the previous proposal shown by the first manner is rejected.

So some philosophers say that a person may have a misapprehension or delusion regarding Brahman. He may think that salvation can be attained by the realization of the supreme being (paramātman) which is seperate and different from his own self.

The grounds of this thought of dualism are some vedic sentences like

juṣṭam yadā paśyatyanyam īśam asya mahimānam iti vītaśokaḥ[5]

(When the individual soul (jīvātman) realizes the sublimity of the Supreme soul by serving him through worship, he surpasses sorrows) etc.

So, a person may read the Nyāya philosophy, the Yoga philosophy etc. in which the distinction between the jīvātman and the paramātman has been discussed and established, to acquire the knowledge of means for salvation. To prevent this pākṣika pravṛtti the śravaṇavidhi as a niyamavidhi suggests that a person must read the Vedānta which contains the theory of non-dulism, for getting salvation. From the discussion of the sentences like “sarvam vededaṃ brahma[6] (Everything which you know, is Brahman) etc., it is understood that the word ātman in the śravaṇavidhi denotes the peerless brahman. There is no hard and fast rule that a niyamavidhi is applied only when there are options. Had it been so, one might have put this complaint that for the justification of the niyamavidhi in śravaṇa, it is to be admitted that only the śravaṇa of Vedānta becomes the cause of brahmajñāna. Becasue the niyamavidhi destroys the multitude of sins which are hindrances to brahmasākṣātkāra by producing the niyamādṛṣṭa (an unique invisible result produced from following of a regulation). But the other means do not have the power of destroying the sins. But the opponent has admitted that there is not any other means than śravaṇa because he has used the word ‘only’. So, in the absence of other means, the niyamavidhi itself becomes inapplicable. For producing rice there are many options like threshing by a mortar and pestle, husking by nail etc. When anyone start husking by nail etc. then the niyamavidhi discards them. But in the case of brahmajñāna there is no other means than śravaṇa, manana and nididhyāsana, for the other means admit the distinction between the jīvātman and the paramātman. So, they are opposed to brahmajñāna. Consequently, in the absence of any other means than śravaṇa, niyamavidhi is not accepted in śravaṇa. The opponent is entrapped in his own net.

So, the niyamavidhi does not depend on real alternatives. But the alternatives may be supposed or imagined. In that case of imagination of alternatives, one alternative possesses pākṣika-prāpti and other alternatives get pākṣika-aprāpti. For example, though the knowledge of Brahman depends on the śravaṇavidhi, yet one may accept the consideration independent of any teacher as the means for brahmajñāna. Then śravaṇa becomes pākṣika-aprāpta and for this reason the niyamavidhi gets an opportunity for its application in śravaṇa as it supplies or establishes (paripūrayati) the part not established before.

Footnotes and references:













Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: