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The Theory of Nipatas (Particles) In Yaska’s Nirukta

The Theory of Nipatas (Particles) In Yaska’s Nirukta
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Item Code: NAD654
Author: Ashok Aklujkar
Publisher: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Insitute, Pune
Edition: 1999
Pages: 116
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 110 gms

The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute is pleased to publish this work in its series of Lecture - publications. Prof. Aklujkar is to be congratulated for changing his original lecture into a book size publication as the nature of the topic demands.

One has only to take a look at its contents to realize its wide scope and detailed exposition which also takes into account all earlier worthwhile works done on this topic. The lecture — cum research work testifies to his keen intellect, skill in argumentation, but above all the desire to solve the problems involved in the subject matter itself. To strengthen his position he has attempted a presentation of the earlier veiws as fairly as can be done, and also the necessity to set them aside for good reasons. Personally I take this opportunity of expressing my admiration for his fairness as well as the trenchant way in which they are expressed. As a linguist, I also take this opportunity to express my views on some minor points for consideration by the author and the readers.

The general impression produced in the mind of a careful reader is that the problem has not finally been solved and some doubt remains. Not as a Sanskritist but as a linguist I feel that this nagging feeling may be reduced to some extent by the following consideration.

The classification given by Yaska is broadly correct but it may not be exhaustive in details of all the classes of grammar. We do not expect either the grammarian or the linguist to be exhaustive in details and individual attempts. The only thing that can be done is to enumerate exhaustively the main categories like nouns, verbs, particles, help. Words etc. If some thought is given to this situation, there is no difficulty in thinking that all nouns or verbs, or thoughts and grammatical categories can be listed. All that we can do is to state the categories, name them as accurately as we can and expect the use of the language to decide how many entities occur in them.

Personally, I have no solution to this type of exhaustiveness or completeness. The only thing we can do is to define each category as precisely as we can and give it a label. In the present controversial position, I may with all humility and taking advantage of this occasion, suggest that the real problem is to define the category of Karmopasamgraha and a similar one called Karmapravacaniya which Panini sets up in his Sutra 1. 4. 83. The literary meaning of these titles have produced problems to the commentators on the Nirukta and the A stãdhayai. Grammatically Karmapravacaniya is explained by the Mahabhãsya as karma... proktavantaiz which means earlier they expressed the idea of karman, implying thereby, ‘not now’. The root vac — is having a perfective meaning in association with Karman as against bhãs — or vad— etc. and so does its present association with Karman in Karmopasanigraha gives it a perfective sense. What elements come under such heads is a matter of changing usage. Cf. Durga p. 63, BORI ed.

I feel greatly honoured to have been asked to preface this work, of which I am proud.


Preface and Acknowledgements

The following text deals mainly with two of the three nipata (particle) notions occurring in Yaska’ s Nirukta. Of the two, karmopasathgraha has been given a more prominent place, because it has so far refused to reveal its secret to scholars and has given rise to many different interpretations. The extent of disagreement about how the pada-puranas should be understood has, on the other hand, been very much limited. There has been no disagreement, as far as I know, regarding how the upamarthiya nipãtas (comparison particles) should be understood. As if to make up for the challenge the upamãrthiya and pada-purana categories failed to provide, the karmopasathgraha category, for possibly more than two thousand years, has teasingly beckoned all serious students of Yãska to clarify its nature. While I tried to understand its true nature, I came to develop a different view of its relationship with the other two categories, particularly the pada-purana category, and was led to reconsider the context and text of Yãska’s entire nipãta discussion.

In offering a new interpretation of the karrnopasathgraha passage that has been found problematic for many centuries and in establishing the superiority of the pada-purana interpretation given by Durga and Skanda-Mahevara, I retain the defensible elements of earlier interpretations. Also, I suggest that the new interpretation and the proper understanding of the comments of Durga and Skanda-Mthevara are rewarding beyond the clarification of a text segment. In addition to explaining some words and definitions of the Nirukta, they throw light upon the development of Indian ideas concerning signification. They make the following claim plausible: dyotana or cosignification as a mode through which certain linguistic items participate in the process of communication was identified at a very early period in the history of Indian engagement with language. Further, they reveal that Yãska had thought deeply about the role the expletives play and knew an ingenious way of describing it.

As the two Pandit Shripad Shastri Deodhar Memorial Lectures delivered at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute on 17 December 1998 under the title “The nipãta discussion in Yäska’ s Nirukta,” I presented only some parts of the karmopasathgraha nipäta discussion in the following monograph. They were a much expanded version of a twenty-minute paper presented at the 208th meeting of the American Oriental Society held at Miami on 21-23 March 1997.

This monograph’s completion became possible because of the resources of the library of the Institut fur Kultur und Geschichte Indiens und Tibets at the University of Hamburg. I am thankful to Professor Albrecht Wezier for making available to me the books that were not available in this well-stocked library, as well as for critically reading the penultimate draft of the text printed here. Professor George Cardona of the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Tatyana Oranskaya of the University of Hamburg, Dr. Eivind Kahrs of the University of Cambridge and Dr. Sukumar Chattopadhyaya of the Varanasi branch of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts also helped me in catching my oversights and made me think more about certain points as readers of the penultimate draft. I particularly appreciate the consideration Wezier, Cardona, Oranskaya and Kahrs extended to me in accommodating a reading of my draft on short notice, when they themselves were facing the pressure of several professional and personal commitments.

I am thankful to Professors Saroja Bhate and A.M. Ghatage for arranging the lectures and for looking after my convenience in terms of time. Professor Bhate and Mr. W.L. Manjul, the nurturing librarian of the BORI, strove especially hard to make available to me some of the publications I could not get in Vancouver and Hamburg. I am also grateful to Mrs. Swagata Pandit, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Allen Thrasher, Senior Reference Librarian at the Library of Congress, USA, for similar help. Professors M.A. Mehendale and Ashok R. Kelkar obliged me with their comments subsequent to the delivery of the lectures. As a result, the final text is better both in content and expression. Finally, I wish to record my happiness that Professor Johannes Bronkhorst chaired the lectures and responded to my criticism of his views very graciously as befits a scholar.




  Preface and Acknowledgements  
  Features of Text Presentation  
  Main text:  
1.1-3 Introduction to the Karmopasamgraha problem. A table summarizing Yaska's nipata statement 1
2.1-2 The limis the context sets for a hystifiable interpretation of the Karmopasamgraha nation 5
3.1-5 Bronkhorst's view 8
4.1-9 Falk's view 13
5.1-13 Parameters for a justifiable interpretation. Deciding the acceptable elements in earlier interpretations 20
6.1-10 A new interpretation and the questions it raises 36
7.1-6 Yaska's definition of pada-purana nipata 48
8.1-3 Larger implications of the present study 60
Appendix -1 Interpretations so far offered of Karmopasamgraha and critical observations regarding them. Text-critical comments on the relevant parts of the commentaties by Durga and Skanda-Mahesvara 64
Appendix -2 Ghose's view of Karmopasamgraha 77
Appendix-3 Text-critical comments on Yaska's nipata statement 84
Appendix-4 Bhartr-hari on Krmopasamgraha and pada-Purana 89
Appendix-5 Yaska's statement on the upasargas 93
Appendix-6 Yaska's use of karman 96
Appendix-7 Yaska's term sattva-naman 99
  Bibliography and abbreviations 102

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