Vyutpattivada is the single most
important work on the analysis of sentence and its meaning which is
traditionally known as 'verbal cognition' (Sabdabodha), Vyutpattivada elucidates the problems connected with the verbal cognition on a
scientific epistemological basis and presents the view points of all the three different
epistemologists of India namely grammarians, ritualists
and logicians. Due to
view points and critical approach of the sabdabodha theories, it has gained ultimate respect of scholars and is a landmark in the field of the
history of Indian epistemology. It is a 'must' for both the students and scholars of Nyaya, Vyakarana and Mimamsa.
Vyutpattivada presents rich and sophisticated
discussions over different parts of speech such as karakas (i e. 'kartr,' 'karma,' 'karana? 'sampradana, 'apadana, 'adhikarana'
non-karakas (i e. 'sesa' 'karmapravacaniya
etc.), (verbal base-meanings) 'tak ararthas: (meanings of conjugational ending). 'taddhitarthas (meanings of secondary derivations) etc. Also, Vyutpattivada presents
the analysis of various types of syntacticosemantical
relations (samsargas) that are comprehended between various parts of speech.
Navyanyaya contains a wealth of information
regarding the epistemology, logic and linguistics. However, very few books on the subject have been
brought into any of the modern languages. Vyutpattivada meets this long felt need to a great
extent quite successfully.
Logic, epistemology and incidentally
mysticism constituted the subject matter of Nyaya system of philosophy. A large section of the Nyaya literature was devoted to the analysis of what
constitutes verbal testimony and bow verbal cognition (Sabdabodha) is arrived at. However, after the advent of Navyanyaya, epistemology took shape as an independent
branch of science and as a consequence systematic study of sentence and its meaning was
grammar (vyakrana) and ritualism (mimansa) also dealt with the analysis of sentence and its meaning. Though
the formative aspect and ritual interpretation constitute the primary goal of
grammar and ritualism respectively, many individual thinkers in both the
systems showed tremendous interest in the analysis of sentence and its meaning.
They have developed parallel theories of verbal cognition which were at variance
with the logician's theory of verbal cognition. Thus, these three systems
together present a rich and sophisticated analysis of sentence and its
Laghumanjuso and Kaundbhattas Bhuasnasara present grammarians
theories of sentence
meaning, Khandadeva's Bhattarahasya and Bhattacintamani give a systematic account of the ritualists theories of the same.
In Nyaya , however, number of scholars, each representing a
particular system of thought, composed-various works on verbal cognition. Among them, Jgadisa's Sabdasakti-prakasika, Gadadhara's Vyutpattivtida and Saktivada, Gokulanatha's Padavakyaratnakara and Giridhara's Vibhaktyarthanimaya are few important works.
Gadadhara and other epistemologists
have used the expression sabdabodha 'verbal cognition'. The expression literally means the cognition or
understanding resulting from the use of words i.e. sentence. However, the expression
actually stands for the understanding of syntactico-semantical
relationship (samsarga) envisaged by
these scholars between various. referents (artha) of a sentence. Epistemologists of
India analysed each word as referring to a particular meaning, which we shall call referent here, and then postulated a particular syntactico-semantical relation through which such a
referent can be related to another referent. According to them, understanding of
sentence-meaning or verbal import means, therefore. understanding
of the various syntactico-semantical relationships
involved between the different referents of a given sentence. Thus, the
expression 'verbal cognition' (sabdabodha)
understood, in this context, as the understanding of the syntactico-semantical relationships; and not merely
as the cognition of individual unrelated referents since the same, unless
related together, do not convey any coherent
Vyutpattivada, the work presently being translated into English, is the most
important work in the field of epistemology in general and
verbal cognition in particular. Gadadhara,
a detailed account of all the karakas, non-karakas and their relations with the meaning of the verbal root and also that of the
In doing so,
he systematically represents the views of the Pracyas, Navyas, and if necessary also that of grammarians and ritualists. However, Gadadhara seems to favour Navyas view point in most cases. For instance,
in the case of accusative meaning, he clearly supports the Navya
views that the superstratumness (iidheyata) be accepted as the accusative meaning and rejects both the pracyas and grammarians views that an effect like contact is the
accusative meaning or that the abode (asraya) is the accusative-meaning. Nevertheless, when he finds that the grammarians or ritualists view is
justified, be does not hesitate to support their view. For instance, while discussing the
meaning of verbal roots, he clearly supports the grammarians view that
roots should be accepted as having two 'Separate denotations, one in the effect like the contact and the other in the
action like going. Thus, it can be stated that Gadadhara, while analysing
the different parts of speech and its meaning, adopted an impartial and open
attitude towards the theories of different epistemological schools.
The present volume contains the
translation of the first two karakos (chapters) of the Vyutpattivada which forms approximately
half of the entire work. The translation is based on the edition of Pt, Hariraj etc., Nirnaysagar, Bombay. 1911. It was aimed
at first to publish the entire translation of the work in one single volume.
However, owing to the size and magnitude of the work, it is being brought out
in two separate volumes.
As noted earliar,
the subject matter of the Vyutpattivada is too
specialized; and therefore, the translation becomes highly technical
in various places. For instance, the phrase '(fire), which is
perceived to have the objectness, conditions the state of having a
reference to the objects of knowledge' (visayatapannasya visayitanirupakatvam)
explained as 'the conditioning of the fire is delimited by such a state of being the
object of knowledge' (p. 234). Such renderings are obviously quite overwhelming.
Thus, to facilitate the readers, I have provided an introduction
in the beginning giving brief accounts of most of the important topics of the first two
chapters of the Vyutpattivada. However, I am also planning to publish an independent book
namely, 'Epistemology, logic and grammar in the Navya-nyaya analysis of sentence meaning' (with special reference to Vyutpattivada) with a view to helpping the students of ' Nyaya in general and Vyutpattivada in particular. I hope, both the introduction in this volume and
also the forth coming book 'Epistemology....’ together would provide adequate
help to the leaders in understanding the subject matter to some
I would like to express my sincere
gratitude to my teachers: Dr. N.S. Ramanujatatacharya,
Vice· chancellor, K.S. Vidyapeetham, Tirupati, Pandit T.S.S. Shastri, Deccan College, Pune, Vidwan Sri Arcakavenkannacbarya and Vidwan
Sri Ramabhadracharya retired Professors, Sanskrit College,
Mysore who have all taught me Nyaya, I am equally indebted
to Prof. J.F. Stall. and Professor R.P. Goldman, both University of
California Berkeley, Barkeley, Professor S.D. Joshi,
General Editor Sanskrit Dictionary, Deccan College, Pune, and Professor N.M. Sen, Deccan College, Pune, for their guidance at various
levels and also for their useful suggestions and corrections. If I have been
able to convey the intricacies of epistemology, logic and gammar,
present in the Vyutpattivada, the credit goes entirely to my
teachers and also to my guides. However, any unintelligibility that my he traced in
places of the translation, is due to my own inability
Finally I would like to thank Mr. Shyamlal of Eastern book linkers for bringing out this
volume nicely and Dr. Shiv Kumar of CASS,
Pune for moral support.
Among the six traditional systems of Indian philosophy. two are mainly concerned with epistemotogy and thereby with the analysis of sentence
and its meaning: they are Logic Nyaya) and Ritualism (Mimansa). Another system that has
greatly contributed to the development of
linguistic theories in India is Grammar ivyakarana), These
three systems combined together, present a rich and sophisticated analysis of sentence meaning comparable to
those of the modern philosophy of language.
As early as in the 2nd century A.D.
Gautama in his Nyayasutras defines verbal testimony (sabda) as the instruction of a reliable person (aptopadesa). As regards the
referent of a word (padartha), the logicians
hold that a word refers to a particular individual (vyakti), an
image or form (akrti)
and to a universal (jati); whereas the Sankhyas, the Jains and Mimansakas bold respectively that a word
refers only to a particular individual, an image or a universal.
Logicians of earliar school or Pracyas such as Jayanta and Udayana
into great controversies with Buddhist logicians on the topics of theism, epistemology and logic. During the period of the ninth and tenth centuries, the Nyaya-Buddhist conflict reached its climax. As a result of this
controversy, the realism of Nyaya was threatened by the
idealism of the Buddhists. In support of their philosophy of realism, the former developed logic and epistemology.
The most significant event in the history of the development of epistemology in
India, is the rise of New school of logic or Navya Nyaya, The transition from early logic to new logic was influenced
by controversies with other systems mainly Buddhists. However, when the new
logic reached its peak of development, the Buddhist logicians had almost
disappeared from the Indian scene. Thus, the opponents of the new logic were mainly the grammarians, the ritualists, and the Vedantins.
Grammarians occupy a very significant
position in the field of epistemology in India. They consider veda and agama as the only means of understanding the ultimate reality and hence betray a very keen interest in the
analysis of word and meaning. In ancient and medieval times, they propounded many a theories about
the nature of words and their meaning. Bhartrhari
postulates the theory of sphoia or sound essence and explains that when a particular word is utterred, its sphota is gradually unfolded by the
sounds of word and that directly presents the meaning to the listener.
Panini analyses a word into a stem plus
either a conjugational or declensional inflection and holds that both the stem and
its inflection are meaningful. It should be noted here that the linguistic notions of
Panini, especially his definitions of syntactico-semantic
properties such as karaka relations and
his analysis of
word and meaning, form the very basis upon which the theories of verbal
cognition of Indian epistemologists have developed.
Among the modern grammarians, Kaundabhatta and Nagesa have taken up, in great detail, the
problems of the philosophy of language and established the theory of verbal
cognition wherein the rootmeaning is the chief or
The system of Mimansa
primarily deals with the investigation of dharma. However, this
system also bears another significant title, namely vakyasiistra or science of epistemology and has made very important
contributions to the development of the theory of word and meaning.
have systematized the Vedas from the view point of epistemology. They have
classified the Vedas into such epistemological categories as injunction
ividhi), negative statements tnisedhai, names (namadheya)
passages tarthavada) etc. According to Kumarila and others,
words refer to universals such as blueness and only indirectly indicate the
individuals. And they hold that there exists an eternal relation
between word and its meaning and the same is revealed naturally through the inherent power of
Among the modern ritualists,
Khandadeva has systematically represented the ritualists position regarding the theory of verbal cognition and explained the efficient force or productive activity (bhavana) to be the central or principal element of the syntactico-semantical
[relations. He has also given a
detailed account of the positition of other epistemologists such as grammarians and logicians so
that they can be compared with ritualists position on
Gadadbara, the author
presently being translated in this volume, was the son of Jivacarya. He" as born
in the district of Lakasmipasa,
Borga, in Eastern
Bengal. According to S.C. Vidyabhusana, Gadadhara was earliar than 1625 AD. The Saktivada, one of Gadadhara's works on the power of
words, was commented upon by a Pupil of Jayarama who flourished
in 1650. Also, it is evident that Gadadhara was familiar with Jagadisa's work, namely Sabda
saktiprakasika which too deels with the same
topic of epistemology. And Jagadrsa was born in
about 1605 AD. Thus, the date of Gadadhara can be fixed
at around the middle of the 17th century.
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