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Verbal Knowledge in Prabhakara Mimasa

Verbal Knowledge in Prabhakara Mimasa
Item Code: NAE752
Author: R.N. Sarma
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Language: Sanskrit and English
Edition: 1990
ISBN: 8170301947
Pages: 234
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.0 inch x 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 380 gms
About the Book

The Present book Verbal knowledge in Prabhakara Mimamsa, is in the form of commentary in English of the Vakyarthamatrika of the Prakarana-Pancika. The original text presented piecemeal has been critically exposed and a comparative study of it with other systems of though such as Bhatta school of Mimamsa, Nyaya, Vedanta and Vyakarna has also been made. The book contains elaborate notes and references. An Index and text of the Vakyarthamatrika Vritti is included in the book.

About the Author

Dr. R.N. Sarma is presently in the Department of Sanskrit, Guwahati University.


I had the pleasant opportunity of being initiated to the study of Mimamsa system of Indian Philosophy when I had been a student in the Darsana group of the M.A. class in Sanskrit of the University of Gauhati during the period 1972-74. My acquintance with the Mimamsa works in that period resulted in developing a keen interest in me for making a critical study on the Prabhakara-mimamsa, especially in the context of verbal knowledge.

Later on, when I joined the Deptt. of Sanskrit, Gauhati University as a Lecturer in 1978. Professor Dr. Mukunda Madhava Sharma, M.A., Ph.D. D. Litt. Kavyatirtha. the then Supervisor of mine suggested me to make a critical exposition of the Vayarthamiurka of the Prakarana-Pahcika and according to his valuable suggestion, I prepared my doctoral thesis under the supervision of Dr. Ashok Kumar Goswami Reader, Deptt. of Sanskrit, Gauhati University for which I have been awarded the Ph.D. degree by the University of Gauhati in 1984. The present work is the thesis itself under new title, "verbal knowledge in prabhakara-mimamsa.

It may be mentioned here that I have also given the English translation of the Vakyartha-Miurka in my thesis which has been already published by Indian Books Centre, earlier.

The scheme of the present work is unusual as the usual chapterwise division is not maintained in it. It is in the form of a commentary in English. The original text presented piecemeal has been critically exposed and a comparative study of it with other systems of thought such as Bhatia school of Mimarilsa. Nyaya Vedanta and Vyakarana has also been made in it,

I like to add here that the present work is devoted to the issue on the Sabdabodha (Verbal knowledge) according to the Prabhakara school of Mimarnsa.

I am very much indebted to my revered teacher Dr. Ashok Kumar Goswami under whose supervision, this work was completed.

I shall also remain ever grateful to my teacher Professor Dr. Mukunda Madhava Sharma who was kind enough to supervise my work initially.

I am also grateful to my teachers Dr. Priyamsu Prabal Upadhyaya and Dr. Apurba Chandra Barthakuria. M.A" Ph.D. for their fruitful suggestions offered to me.

I also put on record the help I received from late Acharya Manoranjan Shastri in respect of understanding some passage of the Vokyartha-Matrka.

I express my gratefulness to my wife Smt. Jamini Devi; M.A., Kavya-Sastri, for ungrudgingly relieving me of the domestic responsibilities during the period of the preparation of the present work.

To Indian Books Centre, Delhi, are my sincere thanks due for bringing out this work.


The schools of Indian Philosophy are classified into two types namely, the Astika or Orthodox schools and the Nastika or Heterodox schools. While the former type accepts the authority of the vedas, the latter does not. The Astika or Orthodox schools are six in number. These are Sarnkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisesika, Purvamlmarhsa and Uttaramtmamsa or Vedanta. The Nastika or the Heterodox schools are mainly three viz., the Bauddha, Jaina and Carvaka.

The Purvamlmarhsa or Karmamlmarnsa system of Indian Philosophy is ascribed to the great sage Jaimini who wrote the Mimamsa-Sutras. Sabarasvamin wrote the major commentary known as Sabarabhayra on Jaimini's Sutras. He was followed by a long line of commentrators and independent writers of whom Kumarila Bhatta and Prabhskara Misra deserve special mention. These two scholars founded the two chief branches of Purvamimamsa known after their names, viz., the Bhatta school and the Prabhakara school.

Prabhakara Misra composed two commentaries namely, Bthati and Laghvi on the Sabarabhasya. The reputation enjoyed by Prabhakara among scholars was mainly due to the subsequent contribution of Salikanatha Misra, a first-rate scholar and an independent writer of the Prabhakara system. Among other writers of this school are Bhavanatha Misra, author of the Nayaviveka, Nandlsvara, author of the Prabhiikaravijaya and Ranianujacarya, author of the Tantrarahasya. They are the only ancient writers of the Prabhakara system. Of the modern scholars writing on this system, the names of Dr. Ganganatha Jha and M.M. Kuppuswami Shastri deserve to be specially mentioned. It may perhaps be deduced from the length of the list of scholars of this system, both traditional and modern, that there were only a few scholars who were interested in the study of the Prabhakara school and as such, this school unlike the Bhatia school was not so popular among the students of Indian Philosophy. It will, however, be wrong to conclude that as the Prabhakara school of Purvamimarhsa was not popular and not widely studied; so it has no importance as a system of philosophy. Rather it can be said that the school of Prabhakara is more important than the Bhatia school despite its wide popularity. Dr. Ganganath Jha is of the view that Prabhakara is more faithful to the Bhasya of Sabara than Kumarila. According to Professor Hiriyanna, the original teaching of. the Mimamsa is better preserved in the writings of Prabhakara than in those of Kumarila.' Prabhakara, however, was a more original thinker than Kumarila and he will always be remembered as the author of a peculiar theory of knowledge known as Triputipratyaksavada or the theory of triple perception and a theory of error called Akhyativada or the Vivekakhyativada.s To understand the Mimamsa-system fully and precisely, one must go through the works of the Prabhakara system. S. Subrahmanya Sastri maintains the view that though many theories of this school are criticised in other Darsanas particularly in the Nyaya and although the Advaitins are wedded to the Bhatta school in matters of phenomenol Reality ('vyavahare Bhattanaya'), the Prabhakara school commands respect from and is actually made use of by reputed scholars. The Visistadvaita school of philosophy follows the Prabhakara school in matters regarding the categories of the world.?

It may be added here that the study of the system of Prabhakara is indispensable even for acquiring a clear knowledge of the Dharmasastras and the Sayanabhasya of the vedas as well. The Bhatia and the Prabhakara schools differ in certain points. There is wide difference between both the schools in the exposition of the process of Sabdabodha centering round the concept of Bhavana. Some important points of difference between the two systems may be mentioned here:

(i) The Prabhakara school recognises only five pramanas, viz., Pratyaksa, Anumana, Sastra, Uparnana and Artha- patti. But the Bhatta school recognises six Pramanas including Anupalabdhi. it eight Padarthas namely, and Samavaya, the Bhattas recognise only five Padarthas, viz., Dravya, Guna, Karma, Sam inya and Abhava.
(iii) The school of Prabhakara advocates the theory of Anvitabhidhana, while that of Kumarila advances the theory of Abhihitanvaya.
(iv) While the Bhatta school accepts the theory of Anyatha- khyati, the Prabhakara advocates the theory of Akhyati.
(v) The Prabhakaras admit the theory of Niyogavakyartha, while the Bhartas accept the theory of Bhavanavakyartha.
(vi) While the Bhatta school admits importation of words (Sabdadhyaharah), the Prabhakara school recognises the importation of ideas (Arthadhyaharah).
These are only the most important points of difference between the two sister schools of Purvamtmarhsa.

In addition to the aforesaid two schools of Mimamsa , one more school is found to exist, known as the 'Misramata' initiated by one Murari Misra. This school, however, is not known except through some references in other works. He appears to have given birth to a new school within the Mimarhsa system, which had led to the saying- 'Murarestrtiyah panthah' (the third path i.e., school initiated by Murari) But materials for preparing a full account of this 'Misramata' are not yet available to the scholars."


Scheme of TransliterationIX
A b brevia tionsxi-xii
Sanskrit Text

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