Vakyapadiya (study of the concept of Sentence)

by Sarath P. Nath | 2018 | 36,088 words

This page relates ‘Requisites (b): Yogyata (Congruity)’ of the study on Vakyapadiya by Bhartrhari and his treatment of the Concept of Sentence in Language. Bhartrhari was a great grammarian and philosopher who explored the depth and breadth of Sanskrit grammar. These pages analyse the concepts and discussions on sentence and sentence-meaning presented in the Vakyapadiya, against the different systems of knowledge prevalent in ancient India (such as Mimamsa, Nyaya and Vyakarana).

6. Requisites (b): Yogyatā (Congruity)

[Full title: 6. Requisites for Understanding the Sentence-Meaning, (b): Yogyatā (Congruity)]

Yogyatā is defined as the logical compatibility of the words in a sentence for the mutual association:

"arthābādho yogyatā",
  —(Tarkasaṅgraha, 1971, p.154).

The sense or non sense of a sentence depends upon this concept. Sālikanātha gives a vivid explanation on the nature of yogyatā in his Vākyārthamātṛkāvṛtti. He states that the capability of words in a sentence for mutual association and this competence is to be known from experience (Quoted by Raja, 1963, p.164).

Almost all the philosophers explain this by illustrating the sentence:

'agninā siñcati'

(He drenches with fire).

When one says 'he drenches with water', there is yogyatā or the consistency of the meaning, since drenching is normally done with a liquid substance like water. Thus, the sense of drenching and that of water have no incompatibility. But in the sentence 'he drenches with fire', the idea of drenching is not compatible with that of fire. Thus we cannot say there is yogyatā.

There are combinations which are inconceivable and conceivable in the world. 'A circular square' is a combination that cannot be conceived in any way. The ideas like 'the rabbit's horn' or 'the son of an infertile woman' can be conceived anyway, but are against the experience. The latter example may be incompatible with reality, but it does not prevent the verbal comprehension. Bhartṛhari and Kumārila are in favour of this view (V. Pāṇini, 1.155; Ślokavārtika, 46). Sometimes the lack of yogyatā points to the metaphorical meaning of a word in the sentence. According to some scholars the apparent incompatibility of the expressed sense is an essential condition for lakṣaṇā (Raja, 1963, p.166).

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