Update: 2015-12-26 03:49 AM -0500


Bhartṛhari on Syntax, Meaning, and Sphoṭa


collection by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA) and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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UKT 151224: I could not get a copy of Indian Literary Criticism by G. N. Devy , which makes it difficult for me to study a complex idea such as Sphota. I have gone through this book preview several times, and the last before the present was 101126. Then, my understanding of Skt-Dev was nil. Now this time after and still ongoing work on A. A. Macdonell's A Practical Sanskrit dictionary (in Skt-Dev) 1893, - MC-indx.htm (link chk 151224), I am in a better position of inter-transliteration of Skt-Dev into Skt-Myan and comparing with Pali-Myan. However, I still need to transliterate from IAST to Skt-Dev, wherever Skt-Dev spelling is given, and the reader is advised to check my transliteration.

Principal sources of this collection.
Bharatamuni - p003-014
  ¤ On Natya and Rasa : Aesthetics of Dramatic Experience
Tholkappiyar - p015-018
  ¤ Patanjali - the deified personality is not included in Indian Literary Criticism .
Bhartrihari - p.019-025
On Syntax and Meaning : {wa-kya.sæÑ:} & {a.Daip~pæý}
  ¤ A different definition of Sphota and Dhvani  
B.K. Matilal : Critique
Bhartrihari's View of Sphota
  ¤ Was Bhartrihari's View of Sphota really his? Sect.01 :
  ¤ Sabda and Sphota : {shûb~da.} & {Spau:Ta.} - Sect.02
  ¤ Sphota vs. Nada : {Spau:Ta.} & {na-da.} - Sect.03
  ¤ Sphota-Nada comprehension by the receiver Sect.04 
 ¤ First view of cognition
 ¤ Second view of cognition
 ¤ Third and fourth views of cognition
No unanimity in views on sphota {S~hpau:Ta.} Sect.05
Śabda-brahman - the Word-principle Sect.06

UKT notes
Eternal Verbum
Nada «nāda»
Sabda «śabda»
Vyakarana  व्याकरण «vyākaraṇa»
Yoga Tradition

Noteworthy passages in this file (always check with the original section from which they are taken.):
• In this world no comprehension is possible except as  accompanied by speech. All knowledge shines as permeated by speech.
• Greek chronicles mention about Paatanjali, when they laid their siege on Saket i.e. Ayodhya in 2nd century BC.

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Principal sources of this collection

- UKT 151217: The collection is based on Indian Literary Criticism G. N. Devy

UKT 151219: Reading through my collection today brings to mind a short story by H. G. Wells
"The Lord of the Dyanmos" - http://www.online-literature.com/wellshg/9/ 151219.
The story describes the story of someone who needs a personal god to pray to. He creates one out of something like a running Dyanmo which spits out flashes of light. I feel that the Sphota {S~hpau:Ta.} is just like the Dynamo a deified word which has become a personal god to a group of ardent followers. There are people who would deified anything to suit them. See Goddesses in Ancient India - by P. K. Agrawala
- https://books.google.com.mm/books/about/Goddesses_in_Ancient_India.html?id=8BmDIbNuD0gC&redir_esc=y 151219

1. Bhartṛhari: On Syntax and Meaning, p.019-025, translated from Skt. by K. R. Pillai, from the Vākyapadiya (5th century) «bhartṛhari» भर्तृहरि (= भ र ् त ृ ह र ि) {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.} also romanised as Bhartrihari; fl. c. 5th century CE) is a Sanskrit (Skt-Dev) author.

2. Bhartṛhari's View of Sphoṭa, p.375-388, by B. K. Matilal 
in Indian Literary Criticism: theory and interpretation , by G. N. Devy (Preface signed in Jun 1993, second time in Aug 2000), Orient Longman Private Ltd, Hyderabad, 2002, ISBN 81 250 2022 5 , as given in Google book previews. Downloaded several times, the last download on 101126

«sphoṭa» स्फोट (= स ् फ ो ट) {þ~hpau:Ta.} --> {S~hpau:Ta.} 'bursting, opening, spurt) is an important concept in the Indian grammatical tradition of Vyakarana, relating to the problem of speech production, how the mind orders linguistic units into coherent discourse and meaning.

3. Bhartṛhari भर्तृहरि {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.} (fl. 5th century CE)
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhart%E1%B9%9Bhari 151123

4. Patanjali - from Wikipedia articles:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patanjali 151217
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patañjali 090828

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UKT 151225:
The first ancient scholar to be mentioned in Indian Literary Criticism is Bharatamuni, p003-014.
See also Wikipedia: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natya_Shastra 151226

Tradition considers the Nāṭyaśāstra नाट्य शास्त्र «nāṭyaśāstra» as an additional Veda, so important has it been in the history of Indian literary thought. A version of the Nāṭyaśāstra had been in existence before the third century [BCE]; but by the the third century, it had taken a definite shape, as the references of later critics indicate. The authorship of Nāṭyaśāstra is ascribed to Bharatamuni. Our knowledge of him is so little that it is impossible to think of his literary philosophy in the context of his other probable works. It is not even certain whether or not he, the author of this great work, ever existed.

The Nāṭyaśāstra is a compendium of performed arts: drama, music, dance. It presents in a great wealth of detail description of the prevalent modes of these art performances; and the extraordinary precision with which the multiple facets of these arts have been defined and analysed is indicative of the sophistication of the art practices as well as art-criticism of Bharata's age. The Nāṭyaśāstra was used through the fifteen hundred years of Sanskrit literary though as the bedrock of literary theory. Whether it was Abhinavagupta, Mammata, or Viśwanath, discussing poetry and literature during the subsequent centuries, they inevitably turned to Bharata's formulations as the polar star of Indian aesthetics.

To many revivalistic Indian critics during the last two hundred years, Bharata has been the maker of the rasa theory. While there is no denying that his fascinating insight in the psychology of aesthetic reception was a phenomenal triumph of intellect, it is necessary to remind ourselves that the Nāṭyaśāstra is not devoted solely to the exposition of rasa theory. That is but a fragment of the entire compendium. It is also necessary to remember that the intervening centuries has altered both the concept of rasa (as in bhaktirasa during the middle ages) as well as the philosophic context within which it was originally couched. Hence, any easy revival may be impracticable.

There are many renderings of the Nāṭyaśāstra or parts of it in modern Indian languages, translation of concepts and terminology being easier in these languages. However, there is no satisfactory rendering of it in English. It must be added, immediately, that Monomohan Ghosh's rendering, which is its only available translation in English, has generally been praised by modern Sanskrit scholars. But it does not make easy reading for the non-Sanskritists. A quarter-century ago, G. K. Bhatt produced a Bharata-Natya-Manjiri (1975). It is a digest of the great work, and is aimed at the beginner, probably the undergraduate students of Sanskrit poetics. However, it is built upon Monomohan Ghosh's translation, and is slightly less archaic. Excerpts from it are used here, with (p003end-p004begin)  occasional syntactic modifications. THe materials used are the English sections from pages 11-67, 75-107, 153-154 & 265-268 of the Bharata Natya Manjiri (1975, Bhandarkar Institute, Pune.)


On Natya and Rasa : Aesthetics of Dramatic Experience

... The nāṭya (in fact) is depiction and communication pertaining to the emotions of the entire triple world:

Occasionally piety, occasionally sport, occasionally wealthy, occasionally peace of mind, occasionally laughter, occasionally fighting, occasionally sexual peace of mind, occasionally laughter, occasionally fighting, occasionally sexual passion, occasionally slaughter;

the pious behaviour of those who practise religion, the passion of those who indulge in sexual pleasure, the repression of those who go by a wicked path, the act of self-restraint of those who are disciplined;

creating boldness among those who are impotent, enthusiasm among those who consider themselves brave, comprehension among those who lack understanding, as also wisdom among the learned;

graceful pleasures for those who wield power, steadiness and comfort of such as are afflicted with pain and misery, the ways of earning wealth for those who live by money, courage for those whose mind is despondent;

rich with different kinds of emotions, built on the stuff of many stages and situations (avasthā) and imitating the conduct of the world: that is what this nāṭya will produce wholesome instruction, create courage, pastime, entertainment and pleasure.

This nāṭya will be instrumental in producing restfulness, at the proper time, for such as are afflicted with misery, fatigue and sorrow and for poor wretches (tapasvin).

It will conduce to piety, glory, healthy life; it will be beneficial, promote intellectual growth. The nāṭya, in brief, will be the instrument of instruction of the world. (p005end)

... ... ...

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Tholkāppiyar, conventionally considered the author of the first Tamil grammar, is more a name used for historiographical convenience rather than the name of a person. The historical truth as well as the cultural importance of this personage are comparable to the of Vyasa in the tradition of Sanskrit literature. It is the work, Tholkāppiyar, which has given its supposed author his name, Tholkāppiyam. One modern commentator, S. Ilakkuvanār, likes to fix the date of its composition as being somewhere between the sixth century B.C. to the tenth century B.C. [UKT ¶]

On the other hand, Kamil Zvelebil, another sympathetic commentator, likes to think of the text of the Tholkāppiyar in terms of the gradually growing body, which took, after the initial nucleus was formed, about eight centuries to acquire the final shape. [UKT ¶]

UKT 151226: Gautama Buddha has accused the later Rishis to have altered the Ancient Véda, and has no respect for them. If the later Rishis could have altered the Védas, then we have to look into the possibility of later pundits altering the original Tholkāppiyam.

In Zvelebil's account, the sections dealing with prosody and diction belong to the fourth to the fifth century A.D. Probably, the latter account seems closer to the truth of the matter, for there are distinct echoes of the rasa theory of Bharata, together with the description of a sahrdaya rasika, in the Tholkāppiyam. [UKT ¶]

What is important, of course, is not the comparative historical placement of it, but its place in the tradition of Tamil poetic literature and the Dravidian poetic sensibility. Unfortunately, it has not been available to students of literature outside Tāmilnādu: the translations that have been attempted so far are either incomplete or inadequate. In this respect too, Tholkāppiyam vies with the Nāṭyaśāstra.

The main bulk of the Tholkāppiyam is concerning the descriptive linguistics of Tamil. The descriptive apparatus appears to be far too sophisticated to be neglected by any modern linguist. A small, but by no means insignificant, part of it is devoted to the discussion of styles, metres, diction, and poetic sentiments. Much of these chapters involve meticulous cataloguing of themes, locales, conventions and symbols. Leaving these aside, the most original are Aham and Puram. It is impossible to bring out the fascinating psychological insight and the intellectual sophistication displayed by the author of this theory, for want of a lucid English translation. However, the essay by A.K. Ramanujan included in the present volume, together with Kamil Zvelebil's The Smile of Murugan: On Tamil Literature of South India, (E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1973, pp. 131-154), will be found useful in understanding the intricacies of the founding text in Tamil poetics. It must be added immediately, however, that it is somewhat surprising that the Tholkāppiyam did not exert much influence on the prosody and diction of the three major (p015end-p016begin) languages that branched off from Tamil, namely Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu. ... ...

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UKT 151217: - पतञ्जलि «patañjali » {pa.tiñ~za.li.} (fl. 150 BCE or 2nd c. BCE)
Pantanjali the deified personality is not included in Indian Literary Criticism . He came much later than Gautama Buddha, and the Buddha would not know him. Yet the Buddha did know about the Yoga Tradition . It was because of the severe practice of the Yoga, that he as the Rishi Siddhartha nearly lost his life. Only when he gave up such a practice and started taking nourishment, the first time the milk gruel of Sujata, that he got the Enlightenment he was seeking. Only then he became the Buddha the Enlightened One. He described his method as the Middle Way, neither the Ascetic practice of the Yoga nor the purely physical enjoyment such as taking the Five Ms. - meat, fish, drink, sex, and parched grain - the elements of Tantric practice .

Though Pantanjali is more noted as the author of Yoga Sutras of Yoga Tradition which probably goes as far back in time to pre-Védic age, here we are interested in his view of the Sphota {S~hpau:Ta.}. I have rearranged the contents of the Wikipedia articles to give prominence to Sphota {S~hpau:Ta.}. My rearrangement is a simple shift of the paragraphs, and is bound to be with glaring seams. I will have to rewrite everything later to give a seamless narrative.

From Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patanjali 151217

Patañjali is a proper Indian name. Several important Sanskrit works are ascribed to one or more authors of this name, and a great deal of scholarship has been devoted over the last century or so to the issue of disambiguation. [1]

Amongst the more important authors called Patañjali are: [2] [3] [4]

• The author of the Mahābhāṣya, an advanced treatise on Sanskrit (Skt-Dev) grammar and linguistics framed as a commentary on Kātyāyana's vārttikas (short comments) on Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī. This Patañjali's life is the only one which can be securely dated (as one of the grammatical examples he uses makes reference to the siege of the town of Sāketā by the Greeks, an event known from other sources to have taken place around 120 BC).

• The compiler of the Yoga Sūtras , an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice, [5] who according to some historians was a notable person of Samkhya, [6] [7] contemporaneous with Ishvarakrishna's Samkhya-karika around AD 400 [7] He was native to Kashmir.

• Patanjali is one of the 18 siddhars in the Tamil siddha (Shaiva) tradition.

• The author of an unspecified work of medicine (āyurveda). [8]

In some Sanskrit grammatical works, Patañjali is called "the man from Gonarda". Gonarda is the ancient name of Gonda - a district of Uttar Pradesh, about 50 km north of Ayodhya. Greek chronicles mention about Paatanjali, when they laid their siege on Saket i.e. Ayodhya in 2nd century BC. This implies that Paatanjali most probably was from Gonda, a district of immense importance where Buddha and Mahaavira resided. In fact Shravasti, just off Gonda, further to north, was a center of power during that millennium and was the capital of the said Janapad, Magadha Janapada. [UKT ¶]

See Shravasti {þa-wût-hti.} in my notes.

Beside, this was an area of traditional Sanskrit learning. Some hold the view that he was born at the "Gonarda" situated at Thiru Kona Malai, Sri Lanka. This tradition is corroborated in Tirumular's seventh-century Tamil Tirumandhiram, which describes him as hailing from Then Kailasam (Koneswaram temple, Trincomalee), and tradition has him visiting the Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, where he wrote the Charana Shrungarahita Stotram on Nataraja.

From: - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patañjali 090828

Patanjali पतञ्जलि «patañjali » = प त ञ ् ज ल ि --> {pa.tiñ~za.li.}) (fl. 150 BCE [1] or 2nd c. BCE [2] [3]) is the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice, and also the author of the Mahābhāṣya, a major commentary on Panini's Ashtadhyayi. However, whether these two works are that of the same author or not remains in some doubt.


Sphota {S~hpau:Ta.}: An early phonemic theory?

Patanjali also defines an early notion of sphota {S~hpau:Ta.}, which would be elaborated considerably by later Sanskrit linguists like Bhartrihari. In Patanjali, a sphoTa (from sphuT, burst) is the invariant quality of speech. The noisy element (dhvani, audible part) can be long or short, but the sphoTa {S~hpau:Ta.} remains unaffected by individual speaker differences. Thus, a single letter or 'sound' (varNa) such as k, p or a is an abstraction, distinct from variants produced in actual enunciation [7]. This concept has been linked to the modern notion of phoneme, the minimum distinction that defines semantically distinct sounds. Thus a phoneme is an abstraction for a range of sounds. However, in later writings, especially in Bhartrihari (6th c. AD), the notion of sphoTa {S~hpau:Ta.} changes to become more of a mental state, preceding the actual utterance, akin to the psycholinguistic lemma.

Patañjali's writings also elaborate some principles of morphology (prakriyā). In the context of elaborating on Panini's aphorisms, he also discusses Kātyāyana's commentary, which are also aphoristic and sūtra-like; in the later tradition, these were transmitted as embedded in Patañjali's discussion. In general, he defends many positions of Panini which were interpreted somewhat differently in Katyayana.


Metaphysics as grammatical motivation

Unlike Panini's objectives in the Ashtyadhyayi which is to distinguish correct forms and meanings from incorrect ones (shabdaunushasana), Patanjali's objectives are more metaphysical. These include the correct recitations of the scriptures (Agama), maintaining the purity of texts (raksha), clarifying ambiguity (asamdeha), and also the pedagogic goal of providing an easier learning mechanism (laghu) [7]. This stronger metaphysical bent has also been indicated by some as one of the unifying themes between the Yoga Sutras and the Mahābhāṣya.

The text of the Mahābhāṣya had diversified somewhat in the late Sanskritic tradition, and the nineteenth-century orientalist Franz Kielhorn produced the first critical edition and developed philological criteria for distinguishing Kātyāyana's "voice" from Patañjali's. Subsequently a number of other texts have come out, the 1968 text by S.D. Joshi and J.H.F. Roodbergen often being considered definitive.

Patanjali also writes with a light touch. For example, his comment on the conflicts between the orthodox Brahminic (Astika) groups, versus the heterodox, nAstika groups (Buddhism, Jainism, and atheists) seems relevant for religious conflict even today: the hostility between these groups was like that between a mongoose and a snake [8]. He also sheds light on contemporary events, commenting on the recent Greek incursion, and also on several tribes that lived in the Northwest regions of the subcontinent.


Yoga Sutra

In recent decades the Yoga Sutra has become quite popular worldwide for the precepts regarding practice of Raja Yoga and its philosophical basis. "Yoga" in traditional Hinduism involves inner contemplation, a rigorous system of meditation practice, ethics, metaphysics, and devotion to God, or Brahman. At the same time, his Mahābhāṣya, which first foregrounded the notion of meaning as referring to categorization, remains an important treatise in Sanskrit linguistic philosophy.



Whether these two works are by the same author has been the subject of considerable debate. The authorship of the two are first attributed to the same person in Bhojadeva's Rajamartanda, a relatively late (10th c.) commentary on the Yoga Sutras [4], as well as a large number of subsequent texts. As for the texts themselves, the Yoga Sutra iii.44 cites a sutra as that from Patanjali by name, but this line itself is not from the Mahābhāṣya. However, certain themes such as the unity of the constituent parts appear common to both. Sources of doubt include the lack of cross-references between the texts, and no mutual awareness of each other, quite unlike other cases of multiple works by (later) Sanskrit authors. Also, some elements in the Yoga Sutras may date from as late as the 4th c. AD [3], but such changes may be due to divergent authorship, or due to later additions which are not atypical in the oral tradition. In the absence of any concrete evidence for a second Patanjali, and given the approximately same time frame for the origin of both texts, and the traditional ascription of both to a Patanjali most scholars simply refer to both works as "by Patanjali".

In addition to the Mahābhāṣya and Yoga Sutras, the 11th c. text on Charaka by Chakrapani, and the 16th c. text Patanjalicharita ascribes to Patanjali a medical text called the Carakapratisamskritah (now lost) which is apparently a revision (pratisamskritah) of the medical treatise by Charaka. Some have cited the Patanjali reference in Yoga Sutra as possibly being from this text. Were he to be the author of all three works, it would be quite amazing, although such diversity would not be very uncommon in many early civilizations, as in the work of Pingala or Katyayana, both grammaticians who also worked in mathematics, or their contemporary Aristotle, say.

One tradition holds that all three works are by the same author, as in this invocation: [5]

yogena cittasya, padena vācāṃ, malaṃ śarīrasya ca vaidyakena  ।
yo'pākarot taṃ pravaraṃ munīnāṃ patañjaliṃ prāñjalir ānato'smi  ॥

पतञ्जलिप्रार्थनं॥ योगेन चित्तस्य पदेन वाचां मलं शरीरस्य च वैदिकेन योपाकरोति तं प्रवरं मुनीनां पतञ्जलिं प्राञ्जलीरानतोस्मि॥



In the Yoga tradition, Patañjali is a revered name and has been deified by many groups, especially in the Shaivite bhakti tradition. [UKT ¶]

It is claimed that Patañjali is an incarnation of Ādi Śeṣa who is the first ego-expansion of Viṣṇu, Sankarshana. Sankarshana, the manifestation of Vishnu His primeval energies and opulences, is part of the so-called catur vyūha, the fourfold manifestation of Vishnu. Thus may Patañjali be considered as the one incarnation of God defending the ego of yoga.

Even his name has been glorified; it is said that desiring to teach yoga to the world, he fell (pat-) from heaven into the open palms (-añjali) of a woman, hence the name Patañjali. He is also often respectfully referred to as Patañjali Maharishi, or great sage.

In one popular legend, Patañjali was born to Atri (First of the Saptha Rishis) and his wife Anusuya (this would make him go back to the time of the creation by Brahma). According to this tradition, Anasuya had to go through a stern test of her chastity when the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) themselves came as Bhikshuks and asked her for Bhiksha. She passed their test by accepting them as her children and fed them while naked. She got the boon where all the three Murtis will be born to them. They were Soma Skandan or Patañjali, Dattatreya, and Durvasa.

Tamil Shaivite legend

Regarding his early years, a Tamil Shaivite tradition from around 10th c. AD holds that Patañjali learned Yoga along with seven other disciples from the great Yogic Guru Nandhi Deva, as stated in Tirumular's Tirumandiram (Tantra 1).

Nandhi arulPetra Nadharai Naadinom
Nandhigal Nalvar Siva Yoga MaaMuni
Mandru thozhuda Patañjali Vyakramar
Endrivar Ennodu (Thirumoolar) Enmarumaame

English translation

By receiving Nandhi's grace we sought the feet of the Lord
The Four Nandhis (Sanagar, Santhanar, Sanath Sujatar, Sanath Kumarar),
Siva Yoga Maamuni, Patañjali, Vyakramapadar and I (Thirumoolar)
We were thus eight disciples.

The ancient Kali Kautuvam also describes how Patañjali and Vyagrapada gathered along with the gods in Thillai near Chidambaram to watch Shiva and Kali dance and perform the 108 mystic Karanas, which formed the foundation for the system of Natya Yoga.

This Tamil tradition also gives his birth place in South Kailash, possibly the modern day Thirumoorthy hills near Coimbatore. Some other traditions feel that his being born in Bharatavarsha - the part of the ancient world corresponding to South Asia - is beneath his godlike status, and that he must have been born in the Jambudvipa, the mythical center of the universe.

Patañjali as Siddha is also mentioned by the goldsmith-sage Bogar:

It was my Grandfather who said, "Climb and see."
But it was Kalangi Nathar who gave me birth.
Patañjali, Viyagiramar, and Sivayogi Muni all so rightly said,
"Look! This is the path!" - Bhogar, 7000 sayings

This tradition also holds that Patañjali was a master of dance.



The Yoga tradition is much older, there are references in the Mahabharata, and the Gita identifies three kinds of yoga, and it is also the subject of the late upanishad, Yogatattva. The Yoga Sūtras codifies the royal or best (rAja) yoga practices, presenting these as a eight-limbed system (ashtanga). The philosophic tradition is related to the Samkhya school. The focus is on the mind; the second sutra defines Yoga - it is the cessation of all mental fluctuations, all wandering thoughts cease and the mind is focused on a single thought (ekagrata). The eight limbs or the Ashtanga Yoga propounded here are

1. yama, ethics, restraint and ahimsa,
2. niyama, cleanliness, ascetism, etc.
3. Asana, posture
4. prANAyama, breath-control
5. pratyahAra, sense-withdrawal
6. dhAraNa, concentration
7. dhyana meditation, and
8. samAdhi, oneness with the Pranava of the Ishvara.

Expanded as this:-

1. Yama - non-violence, truthfulness, brahmacharya, non-accumulating/non-coveting
2. Niyama - Tapas (Discipline)- Svadhyaya (Self Study) - Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender to God/Higher Self) - Contentment/Acceptance
3. Asana - Discipline of the body
4. Pranayama - Breath Control
5. Pratyhara - withdrawal of all senses
6. Dharana - Concentration/Expand awareness beyond oneself
7. Dhyana - Meditation
8. Samadhi - oneness with the Pranava

Later the Sahaja-Samadhi leads to true universal oneness

In contrast to the focus on the mind in the Yoga sutras, later traditions of Yoga such as the Hatha yoga focus on more complex asanas or body postures.


Relevance of his contribution to the science of yoga

Patañjali defended in his yoga-treatise several ideas that are not mainstream of either Sankhya or Yoga. He, according to the Iyengar adept, biographer and scholar Kofi Busia, acknowledges the ego not as a separate entity. The subtle body linga sarira he would not regard as permanent and he would deny it a direct control over external matters. This is not in accord with classical Sankhya and Yoga.

Although much of the aphorisms in the Yoga Sutra possibly pre-dates Patanjali, it is clear that much is original and it is more than a mere compilation. The clarity and unity he brought to divergent views prevalent till then has inspired a long line of teachers and practitioners up to the present day in which his most renowned defender is B.K.S. Iyengar. With some translators he seems to be a dry and technical propounder of the philosophy, but with others he is an empathic and humorous witty friend and spiritual guide.



The Mahābhāṣya ("great commentary") of Patañjali on the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini is a major early exposition on Panini, along with the somewhat earlier Varttika by Katyayana. Here he raises the issue of whether meaning ascribes to a specific instance or to a category:

kim punar AkritiH padArthaH, Ahosvid dravyam [6] .
Now what is 'meaning' (artha) [of a word]? Is it a particular instance (dravya) or a general shape (Akriti)?

This discussion arises in Patanjali in connection with a sutra (Panini 1.2.58) that states that a plural form may be used in the sense of the singular when designating a species (jAti).

Another aspect dealt with by Patanjali relates to how words and meanings are associated - Patanjali claims shabdapramâNaH - that the evidentiary value of words is inherent in them, and not derived externally [7] - the word-meaning association is natural. The argument he gives is that people do not make an effort to manufacture words. When we need a pot, we ask the potter to make a pot for us. The same is not true of words - we do not usually approach grammarians and ask them to manufacture words for our use. [27] This is similar to the argument in the early part of Plato's Cratylus, where morphemes are described as natural, e.g. the sound 'l' is associated with softness.

These issues in the word-meaning relation (symbol) would elaborated in the Sanskrit linguistic tradition, in debates between the Mimamsa, Nyaya and Buddhist schools over the next fifteen centuries.

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- UKT 151217

The principal author studied in this collection is Bhartṛhari   भर्तृहरि (= भ र ् त ृ ह र ि) {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.} ( {Bar-tRi.ha.ri.})(fl. ca. 5th century CE) and his view on Sphota {S~hpau:Ta.}. He is also known as Bhartrihari. He is likely to have written two influential Sanskrit texts. Since he came much later than Classical Sanskrit of Panini, he must have been a Skt-Dev writer.

Take note of the time-periods of the two writers, Patanjali and Bhartrihari. Both came much later than Gautama Buddha the upholder of {a.nût~ta.}. By the time of Pantanjali & Bhartrihari, Buddhism was much in decline in the mainland of the Indian subcontinent, and had taken refuge in Myanmarpré and Sri Lanka. The {ût~ta.} philosophers were having their heyday and freedom of scientific thought had been curtailed. By the time of Bhartihari, a much virulent form of Hinduism, the Shaivism had replaced the much milder Vaishnavism. Buddhism was almost wiped out except in remote areas such as Nepal. The Shaivites had used "fire and sword" had used instead of philosophical debate.

See Wikipedia:
• "Pushyamitra Shunga (185 BCE to 151 BCE) [the Hindu general-turned-assassin of the last Buddhist Mauriya Emperor who grabbed the throne, and founded the Shunga Empire in North India] has been recorded as being hostile to Buddhism, burning Sūtras, Buddhists shrines and endorsing the massacre of monks."
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Buddhism_in_India 151217
• "According to the Tibetan Buddhist Historian, Taranatha, "the brahmana king, Pushyamitra, along with other tirthikasas, started war and thus burnt down numerous Buddhist monasteries from the madhyadesha to Jalandhara. They also killed a number of vastly learned monks. As a result, within five years, the doctrine was extinct in the north (Taranatha, 1970: 121)
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushyamitra_Shunga 151217

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhart%E1%B9%9Bhari 101128

Bhartṛhari Skt: भर्तृहरि (= भ र ् त ृ ह र ि) {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.}; (fl. ca. 5th century) is a Sanskrit author who is likely to have written two influential Sanskrit texts:

• the Vākyapadīya, {wa-kya.pa.di-ya.} on Sanskrit grammar and linguistic philosophy,
  - a foundational text of the Sphota स्फोट «sphoṭa» {S~hpau:Ta.} 'bursting, opening', 'spurt'
(= स ् फ ो ट --> {þ~hpau:Ta.} --> {S~hpau:Ta.} 
theory in the Indian grammatical tradition, and
• the Śatakatraya, a work of Sanskrit poetry, comprising three collections of about 100 stanzas each.

In the medieval tradition of Indian scholarship, it was assumed that both texts were written by the same person. However, early orientalist scholarship was sceptical, owing to an argument that dated the grammar to a date subsequent to the poetry. Recently however, scholars have argued based on additional evidence, that both works may have been contemporary, in which case it is likely that there was only one Bhartrihari who wrote both texts.

Both the grammar and the poetic works had an enormous influence in their respective fields. The grammar in particular, takes a holistic view of language, countering the compositionality position of the Mimamsakas and others.

The poetry constitute short verses, collected into three centuries of about a hundred poems each. Each century deals with a different rasa or aesthetic mood; on the whole his poetic work has been very highly regarded both within the tradition and by modern scholarship.

The name Bhrartrhari is also sometimes associated/confused with the legend of king Bharthari.


Date and identity

The account of the Chinese traveller Yi-Jing indicated that Bhartrihari's grammar was known by AD 670, and that he may have been Buddhist, which the poet was not. Based on this, scholarly opinion had formerly attributed the grammar to a sepa rate author of the same name from the seventh century AD [1] . However, other evidence indicates a much earlier date:

Bhartrhari was long believed to have lived in the seventh century AD, but according to the testimony of the Chinese pilgrim Yijing [...] he was known to the Buddhist philosopher Dignaga, and this has pushed his date back to the fifth century AD." [2]

A period of c. 450–500 [3] "definitely not later than 425–450", [4] or, following Erich Frauwallner, 450–510 [5] [6] or perhaps 400AD or even earlier. [7]

Yi-Jing's other claim, that Bhartrihari was a Buddhist, does not seem to hold; his philosophical position is widely held to be an offshoot of the Vyakaran or grammarian school, closely allied to the realism of the Naiyayikas and distinctly opposed to Buddhist positions like Dignaga, who are closer to phenomenalism. It is also opposed to other mImAMsakas like Kumarila Bhatta[8][9]. However, some of his ideas subsequently influenced some Buddhist schools, which may have led Yi-Jing to surmise that he may have been Buddhist.

Thus, on the whole seems likely that the traditional Sanskritist view, that the poet of the Śatakatraya is the same as the grammarian Bhartṛhari, may be accepted. The leading Sanskrit scholar Ingalls (1968) submitted that "I see no reason why he should not have written poems as well as grammar and metaphysics", like Dharmakirti, Shankaracharya, and many others.[10] Yi Jing himself appeared to think they were the same person, as he wrote that (the grammarian) Bhartṛhari, author of the Vakyapadiya, was renowned for his vacillation between Buddhist monkhood and a life of pleasure, and for having written verses on the subject. [11] [12]


Bhartrihari's views on language build on that of earlier grammarians such as Patanjali, but were quite radical. A key element of his conception of language is the notion of sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} - a term that may be based on an ancient grammarian, sphoTAyana, referred by Panini [13], now lost.

In his Mahabhashya, Patanjali (2nd c. BCE) uses the term sphoTa {S~hpau:Ta.} to denote the sound of language, the universal, while the actual sound (dhvani ) may be long or short, or vary in other ways. This distinction may be thought to be similar to that of the present notion of phoneme. Bhatrihari however, applies the term sphota {S~hpau:Ta.} to each element of the utterance, the letter or syllable, the word, and the sentence. In order to create the linguistic invariant, he argues that these must be treated as separate wholes (varNasphoTa {S~hpau:Ta.}, padasphoTa and vAkyasphoTa respectively). For example, the same speech sound or varNa may have different properties in different word contexts (e.g. assimilation), so that the sound cannot be discerned until the whole word is heard.

Further, Bhartrihari argues for a sentence-holistic view of meaning - saying that the meaning of an utterance is known only after the entire sentence (vAkya-sphoTa) has been received, and it is not composed from the individual atomic elements or linguistic units which may change their interpretation based on later elements in the utterance. Further, words are understood only in the context of the sentence whose meaning as a whole is known. His argument for this was based on language acquisition, e.g. consider a child observing the exchange below:

Elder adult (uttamvr.ddha): Bring a horse
Younger adult (madhyamvr.ddha): [brings the horse]

The child observing this may now learn that the unit "horse" refers to the animal. Unless the child knew the sentence meaning a priori, it would be difficult for him to infer the meaning of novel words. Thus, we grasp the sentence meaning as a whole, and reach words as parts of the sentence, and word meanings as parts of the sentence meaning through 'analyis, synthesis and abstraction' (apoddhAra) [8].

The sphoTa {S~hpau:Ta.} theory was influential, but it was opposed by many others. Later mImAMsakas like Kumarila Bhatta (650AD) strongly rejected the vAkyasphoTa view, and argued for the denotative power of each word, arguing for the composition of meanings (abhihitAnvaya). The Prabhakara school (c. 670) among mImAMsakas however took a less atomistic position, arguing that word meanings exist, but are determined by context (anvitAbhidhAna).


Bhartrihari's poetry is aphoristic, and comments on the social mores of the time. The collected work, of three centuries is known as shatakatraya (shataka = hundred + traya = three), consisting of three thematic compilations on shringara, vairagya and niti (loosely, love, dispassion and moral conduct). Unforttunately, the extant manuscript versions of these shatakas vary widely in the verses included, with some versions going to three hundred. However, extended work by D.D. Kosambi has managed to identify a kernel of two hundred that are common to all the versions [10].

Here is a sample that comments on social mores:

yasyAsti vittaM sa naraH kulinaH
sa paNditah sa SrutavAn guNajn~aH
sa eva vaktA cadarSanIyaH
sarve guNaH kAn~canam ASrayanti

A man of wealth is held to be high-born
Wise scholarly and discerning
Eloquent and even handsome -
All virtues are accessories to gold!
- (tr. Barbara Stoler Miller) [14]

And here is one dealing with the theme of love:

The clear bright flame of a man's discernment dies
When a girl clouds it with her lamp-black eyes.
- [Bhartrihari #77][tr. John Brough poem 167][15]


Contents of this page

On Syntax and Meaning

- UKT 151225:

From: 1. Bhartṛhari: OnSyntax and Meaning, p.019-025, translated from Skt. by K. R. Pillai, from the Vākyapadiya {wa-kya.pa.di.ya.} (5th century)

The most impressive achievement of ancient Indian thinkers, perhaps, was in the field of linguistics. Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni.} has already been universally recognised as a phenomenon in the history and development of linguistics. Following Pāṇini, there was al long and rich tradition of linguistics till the period of emergence of the modern Indian languages. [UKT ¶]

In this post-Pāṇini tradition, probably the most memorable contribution was by Bhartṛhari {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.}. His opus, the Vākyapadiya {wa-kya.pa.di.ya.} is the earliest scientific work on syntax. Scientific rigour and precision are evident in his presentation of the concepts of sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, which forms the basis of Indian Semantics, was also to become the cornerstone of Śañkara's Vedantic philosophy, for he perceived the relationship between the visible and the invisible universe in terms of sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. On a comparable scale, the concept of dhvani was used by literary critics and poets. Anandavardhana's entire theory of poetry was based on Bhartṛhari's {Bar~tRi.ha.ri.} interpretation of the concept of meaning. Thus, Bhartṛhari's contribution to literary criticism, and to metaphysics which formed the context of the post-classical aesthetics, can hardly be overstated.

Skt: ध्वनि  «dhvani» (ध ् व न ि)  - implied meaning, vocal. m. allusion, echo, tone, hint - SpkSkt

His work has attracted so much scholarly attention that the Vākyapadiya is high among the much translated Sanskrit works. In recent years, Western philosophy too has started taking interest in Bhartṛhari's linguistics as may be evidenced from B.K. Matilal's publication, The Word & The World (OUP, 1991). The selection presented here is from the translation of Vākyapadiya by K. Raghavan Pillai (Motilal Banarsidass, 1971). [UKT ¶]

It may be necessary to note for those readers who may not be familiar with the ancient Indian style of discursive writing that all philosophical texts had a two-tier system of presentation. The main formulas were called kārikās or sutras and the elaboration on them or a subsequent commentary was called vritti. Included here are only the kārikās (44-132 from Canto I & II) without their vrittis. (p019end)


Grammarians consider that there are two 'word-entities' in functional words:
1. the Sphota «sphoṭa» {S~hpau:Ta.}, is the cause of the production of words, and
2. the Speech-sound, is used in connection with meanings. [UKT ¶]

UKT 101127: In speaking of language as a means of communication (employing sound waves as means of transmission) from one human being to another, we must not forget that sign languages (employing light waves as means of transmission) used by the deaf-mutes are not signs but languages in their own rights. The Sphota «sphoṭa» {S~hpau:Ta.}, and the Speech-sound, therefore, must be interpreted in terms of sign languages.

Some, among the teachers of old, considered that there was a difference in essence between these two. Others on the other hand speak of the same undivided entity being thought various, through a difference in conceiving it. Just as the light which is in the fire-stick acts as the cause for further lights, similarly the Word (ॐ Om  {OÄN}) which is in the mind is the cause of speech-sounds. [UKT¶]

UKT 101127, 151224: As soon as I come across the Word (ॐ Om  {OÄN}) a red-flag comes up in my Myanmar Buddhist scientific mind. The reader is reminded that the Buddhism does not accept "God" nor "Word of God". The so-called "Word" is the result of natural causes, not due to an Axiom - an imaginary - idea. They do not give credence to the idea of a Creator (Brahma, YHVH, God, or Allah speaking to his hearers (to the Brahmin-Poannar {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:}, and Pope of Roman Catholic Church). The linguist would just think in terms of a human- speaker and his hearer, or a human-signer and his seeing subject. The word {OÄN} is recited at the beginning of a Hindu Skt-Dev speech or ceremony. Its Buddhist Bur-Myan counterpart is {AUng:} 'wish for success of undertaking' pronounced as {aung:}. See MLC MED2006-624.

The Word {waad} is examined in the mind, is then fixed to a specific meaning and then through the instrumentality of the speech-sounds produced through their causes. The Word is neither a 'previous' nor 'a subsequent', because it is the speech-sounds which are produced in sequence.

But the non-sequential is revealed as sequential as if it were divided. Just as a reflection formed elsewhere appears, due to the activities of the water, to partake of the movements of the water, similar is the relationship between the Word and the speech-sound. Just as in perceptual knowledge, there can be seen both itself, i.e., the act of perceiving, and the object of knowledge, the thing perceived, so in the Word there appears the meaning-element and the formal element.

The inner principle called 'speech' which exists egg-like, evolving into speech-activity, assumes sequence through its parts. Just as a shape which is a copy of another shape, after it has become the object of a unified perception having been first received by the senses as a complex-pattern of parts, is then painted in stages on the canvas, so likewise there are seen in the comprehension of speech. Just as the mind of the speaker first dwells on the words, and not on their parts when he wants to convey their meaning, similarly, the activity of the hearer first arises out of the words and not their parts in his attempt to understand their sense. When certain meanings are conveyed the forms which convey them, having thus become accessories to such meanings, and having their purpose thus fulfilled, they are not perceived as a accessories to action, because they are uttered for the sake of another meaning. Just as light has two powers, namely, the power of being perceived and the power of causing perception of objects, similarly all words have these two distinct powers. Meaning is not understood from words which themselves have not become objects of the sense of hearing. Without being thus received, they do not express meaning by their mere existence. Therefore when the form of the uttered word is not clear, the question 'what did you say' is asked of the speaker. But the nature of the sense-faculties is not similarly grasped (p020end-p021begin) when an object has to be revealed by them. These two aspects of the word, analysed and comprehended separately, act without mutual opposition as causes of different effects. Just as the words 'vṛddhi ' and the like besides expressing their own form are also related to the sounds named by them ... so the word 'agni ' , besides being related to the word 'agni ' (meaning fire) is also related to that everyday use is never linked with grammatical operations. But its capacity to convey that other form, that is, its own form as the meaning, is not obstructed. [UKT¶]

The word which is pronounced in ordinary speech being secondary, since it is for the sake of the other, namely, the thing-meant, is not linked with grammatical operations; and hence we adopt the convention that the grammatical operations are attached to words which symbolise themselves. Whatever common attributes there exist in the object with which anything is compared and the thing which is compared to it, some attributes other than them also exist in the object to which the comparison is made. Whatever quality which is the cause of the excellence of an object is itself mentioned in the form of and object, its own excellence is caused by the qualities residing in it. [UKT ¶]

When a word (like 'agni ' in the Sutra agnerḍhak) which has its own form as its meaning is pronounced for conveying its form, then from that word is discriminated another (namely, the word 'agni ' {ag~gi.} which has 'fire' {mi:} as its meaning). [UKT ¶]

Skt: अग्नि (= अ ग ् न ि ) «agni» -  m. fire - SpkSkt
Pal «aggini» - m. fire - UPMT-PED003
Pal: {ag~gi.} - - UHS-PMD0010
  UKT from UHS: m. fire
Bur: {mi:} - n. 1. fire. 2. light. etc. - MED-339

Before being connected to the thing it means, a name is capable of genitive and nominative constructions, because it has its own form as its meaning. The nominative is prescribed to a name because it is meaningful with its form as its meaning, and it is from the same meaning that the genitive construction in the form 'of it' arises. Some consider that in the Sutra 'svam rupam ' a name as a particular is meant; the universal attached to the particular undergoes grammatical operation. Others think that what is meant by the Sutra is particular instance of the named, and that it is the class which is the name, and that in any given instance one finds only a particular, the understanding of which is brought about by the universal. Both among those who uphold the eternity theory of words, and those who hold that words are created, there are some who uphold its sameness in all instances of its occurrence. Again among the upholders of the doctrine of eternity and of the doctrine that words are created there are those who uphold the plurality of words, i.e., that every occurrence of apparently the same word is really the occurrence of a different word.

(The doctrine of an opponent school is stated regarding the comparative reality of letters, words and sentences): Even when the word is a different word, the identity of the letters is not impaired; and in the same way in different sentences the same word is observed. Therefore the word does not exist as more than its (p021end-p022begin) letters; nor is there a sentence existing as more than letters and the words. (The grammarian's doctrine is given): Just as there are no parts in letters, there are no letters in the word. Nor is there any reality in abstracting the word from the sentence. People follow customary usage and talk of 'words' and 'letters' though basing their theories on different view and on this question what is considered as primary by one school is taken as an opposite way by others. People talk of difference of diction as belonging to the utterance of the Word, which itself is of undivided time, but appears to follow the time-pattern of the speech-sounds, in accordance with the differences in the causes of its being perceived. With regard to the short, long and prolated vowels, since a speech-unit is essentially timeless, and therefore fundamentally different from the speech-sound which reveals it, it is the time of the primary sound which is metaphorically considered as belonging to the speech-unit. It is however after the word has been revealed by the primary sound that the modified sounds are presented to the mind as distinctions of diction, and hence a fortiori the self of the Word is not divided into parts by them.

There are three view among those who hold the theory that words are manifested:
(1) the sounds act upon the sense-faculty; or
(2) they act upon the word or,
(3) they act upon both. [UKT ¶]

The first theory would be analogous to the theory of sight-perception which held that only the sense faculty of sight is acted upon, namely, by attention and application of ointment. [UKT ¶]

The second theory would be analogous to a theory of smell-perception which held that only the thing (for instance, the earth) is acted upon in order that its smell might be received. [UKT ¶] 

According to the third theory, where however, the eye effects the reception of a cognition, it is clear that both the object and the sense-faculty are acted upon by the light; and speech-sounds operate in the same form. [UKT¶]

Certain theorists maintain that reception of the sound takes place without any separation of it from the form of the Word (sphoṭa) {S~hpau:Ta.}; others hold that the sound is not perceptible. According to yet others it is an independent manifesting agent. Just as a chapter or a single verse is apprehended as a unit by means of saying over its component parts in order, but of course the book is not defined at each component part, so likewise the form of a word is apprehended as a unity when the word is revealed by the sound through the agency of causal factors which are appropriate to the cognition of the word, but which are not themselves as such apprehended. Simultaneously with the last sound, the word is apprehended by the mind in which the seed has been sown by the physical sounds, and in which ripening of the speech has been brought about by the telling over of the sounds. As far as the non-existent forms, which a hearer considers as existing in the interval before the complete word has been pronounced, are concerned, this is merely incapacity (p022end-p023begin) on the part of the hearer; they are in fact only means to the apprehension of the complete word. There is the semblance of distinction in cognition; similarly the attributing of distinctions on words is always seen. The word appears to be produced in stages and cognition seems to be dependent on the cognised. Just as earlier numbers in a series should be apprehended for the apprehension of subsequent ones, although the latter are different from the former, so is the apprehension of parts in a unit of speech an aid to the apprehension of the whole.

When in reality revealing units in the syllable, word and sentence function independently of each other, they appear to function in combination, although they are entirely different. Just as looking from a distance or in the dark, one at first misunderstands an object, and later on understands it otherwise in its true nature, similarly during the manifestation of the sentence by its causes, namely, the smaller units like letters and words, the mind first functions as comprehending the component units as real units. Just as there is a fixed sequence in the stages of the transformation of milk into curds and the seed into the tree, similarly there is a fixed sequence in the series of the hearer's perception of the intervening words, phrases, etc. And when they are made up of real parts, the difference in form is really due to the sequence of their sounds. And where words, etc., are considered as not made up of real parts the fancying of parts is a means to the realisation of the total unit.

It is considered by some that the Word is a universal suggested by a number of individuals and these individual speech-sounds, according to them, constitute the sound-pattern of the Word. Just as light reveals objects, the speech-sounds produced by their causes become the cause of the immutable Word. If the Word is revealed like this, does it not mean that it is not eternal? The answer is in the negative: Being revealed is not established as invariably pertaining to non-eternal things. Universals which are eternal are also considered to be revealed by those in which they inhere. In life only concrete objects are found to have relation to place and the like (for instance, time). And even accepting the alternative -- that difference in place, etc., applies also to those that are not concrete objects -- there is no such difference between the speech-sound and the word it reveals.

Just as there exists an inevitable competence of the revealed and the revealer between a perceiving sense-organ and the things it perceives, so does it exist between the word and the speech-sounds. And it is seen that in the case of various smells and the like which are perceived by the same sense-organ, there is a separate causal factor for each substance. ... The object revealed partakes of the attributes of the reflecting medium. This is obvious in oil, water and the like. And surely, concrete objects of the type of mountains cannot have existence except as their reflections in stones, a mirror-surface and the like of incompatible (p023end-p024begin) size. Therefore the period of the speech-sounds and of their secondary variations in the form of diction is assigned to the syllable, word and sentence which are themselves without time-distinctions.

Contents of this page

A different definition of Sphota and Dhvani  

The definitions of Sphota  «sphoṭa » {S~hpau:Ta.} and dhvani  {D~wa.ni.} by another school are given:

The sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is that which is produced by the union and disunion of the speech-organs like the vocal cords. And dhvanis are sounds born of this sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. Whether the speech-sound is short or long, the measure of the word does not change. The subsequent sound, i.e., the modified speech-sounds is expanded or contracted in its form. Like light from a lamp, merely the speech sound undifferentiated as primary and modified is clearly noticed. The long and prolated sounds which are different from the short sounds are produced by the striking of the organs of speech. And the sounds which modify diction arise after the cessation of the movements of the organs. Another school holds that even before the vibrations of the speech-organs have subsided, other sounds are formed from the word as sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}itself, as one flame from another.

Now regarding what constitutes the substance of speech: It is held by some that air, the atoms or consciousness become speech. There is an endless number of variant views in this matter. The air which is stirred by the speaker's effort following his desire to speak strikes the speech centres and produces speech. Even powerful objects are broken by air which possesses the attributes of speed and accumulation, blowing with the capacity to cause such breaking. The atoms, which unite and separate, transform themselves into shadows, light, and darkness and also into speech on account of their possessing all possible capacities, i.e., capacities to be transformed into all things. When their capacity is being revealed these atoms which are called speech, prompted by the effort of the speaker, collect together like clouds in the sky. Finally, regarding the consciousness theory: Again, the inner knower who exists in the subtle quintessential speech transforms himself into audible speech for the purpose of revealing his nature. It, taking the form of the mind and ripening in the fire of the stomach enters the life-breath, and it is then uttered. The breath which has become the substratum of the mental principle is suffused with the mind's attributes and manifested after it passes through the fire of the stomach. Breaking up its inherent knots, i.e., its continuous currents, the breath reveals the syllables through different and distinct speech-sounds and merges into those syllables themselves. Yet another view about sound ... Sound, though it is ever existing, is not experienced because it is too subtle. It is realised through the appropriate causal factors just as air is through fanning. (p024end-p025begin)

The view of yet another school is that the powers of speech resident in the breath and in the mind undergo transformation into speech at the centres of speech production and assume the distinctions of revealed speech. The power which is based on words controls this universe. This universe which has a single Intelligence [UKT: God?] as its soul is perceived as manifold through the word as the eye. Since it is seen that distinctions between two things, for instance between a ṣadja and another musical note become clear when explained in words, therefore all manner of things are determined as being only understood through words. Those who are versed in the Vedas know that this Universe is the transformation of speech. It was out of the Vedas that this universe was first evolved. In this world the knowledge of the proper action entirely depends on speech. Even a boy has this knowledge of the proper action, having in him the accumulated experience of the past. That first movement of the organs of speech, the upward sending of the breath and its contact with the centres -- these would not be possible but for verbal imagination in the child. In this world no comprehension is possible except as  accompanied by speech. All knowledge shines as permeated by speech. If it is denied that the permanent stuff of knowledge is speech, then that light, namely knowledge will not shine in the form of recollection. It is speech which makes recollection possible. It is speech which binds all branches of knowledge of arts and crafts. Everything, when it is produced, is classified through it. This speech exists within and outside all living beings. Consciousness can exist in all creatures only after it is preceded by speech. It is speech which prompts all mankind to activity. When it is gone, man, dumb, looks like a log of wood or a slab of stone. It is when the distinctions such as subject versus object obtain in the state of wakefulness that the agent functions in connection with an object. But when such distinctions do not obtain, in the state of sleep, speech itself remains in the form of an object.

Whether things are identified with the self, or with the Supreme, they become established in the form in which they are introduced by words. It is words which establish things. Even when the cause for verbal expression, i.e., an object, is entirely non-existent, descriptions of the forms of such a thing through words is found, as in the case of a circle made by a fire-brand. Further, speech which exists within the speaker as his self is said to be the great Bull, identity with which is desired. Therefore, attainment of faultless speech is the attainment of Brahman. He who knows the secret of its functioning enjoys the immortal Brahman.

Bhartṛhari {Bût~tRa.ha.ri.}, from the Vākyapadiya , translated by K. Raghavan Pillai

[UKT: End of 1. Bhartṛhari: On Syntax and Meaning, p.019-025, translated from Skt. by K. R. Pillai, from the Vākyapadiya (5th century) ]

Contents of this page




2. Bhartṛhari's View of Sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, p.375-388, by B. K. Matilal 

Critique: Bimal Krishna Matilal

After studying at Calcutta and Harvard, B.K. Matilal (1935-91) taught at the Universities of Toronto, Pennsylvania, Chicago and California (Berkeley). Between 1976 and 1991, the year of his death, he was the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College.

Among his more important publications are :
Logical and Ethical Issues of Religious Belief (University of Calcutta, 1981
Logic, Language and Reality (Motilal Banarsidass), 1985
Perception: An Essay on Classical Indian Theories of Knowledge (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986), and
The Word and the World (Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1990).

Matilal occupies a very important place among academic philosophers dealing with India as a field of study. Unlike his predecessors in the field, Matilal avoids being confined to speculative philosophy alone. In the tradition of Russell and Wittgenstein, he engages his attention in the language of philosophy and the philosophy of language. We see in his work a fruitful combination of profound understanding of modern philosophical schools and methods and an intimate knowledge of Hindu and Buddhistic classics. It is therefore that Matilal is able to illuminate modern Western linguistics in the light of Buddhist theories of perception as well as to bring back into intellectual currency the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} debate between Bhartṛhari and Nāgarjuna-Dinnāga. The extract reproduced here forms a chapter in Matilal's The Word and The World (pp.84-98)

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Bhartrihari's View of Sphota 

UKT 101128, 151224:

The original paper is made up of sections (without captions) 01 to 06. I've given captions of my own for your easy reading. Note "Sphota" {S~hpau:Ta.} is spelled with {Ta.},  स्फोट «sphoṭa» 'bursting, opening'. It reminds me of Spring flowers bursting forth out of a barren ground at the end of a Canadian Winter.


Sect. 01 : Was Bhartrihari's View of Sphota really his ?

The sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} doctrine has been most prominently associated with Bhartṛhari [fl. 6th/7th CE]. But scholars have held different views about the exact significance of this concept in Bhartṛhari's thought. The situation is further complicated by the fact that later grammarians attribute a much crystallized and ostensibly different doctrine of Bhartṛhari but also to Patañjali पतञ्जलि {pa.tiñ~za.li.} [fl. 150 BCE/2nd c. BCE]. (p375end/p376begin)

Early Indologists (Keith, 1928, 387; De, 1925, 180) described sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} as a mysterious or mystical entity, and this was probably due to its association with Bhartṛhari's notion of śabda-brahman or the Eternal Verbum (Sastri, 1959). But this was a mistake. In spite of its metaphysical and underpinning which M. Biardeau (1964, 268) rightly emphasized, there is a linguistic treatment of the concept well-documented by Bhartṛhari himself, and other grammarians . Brough (1951, 34) and Kunjunni Raja (1969, 97-148) were right to stress the point that sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} was not a mysterious entity. [UKT ¶ ]

Skt: Sphota स्फोट «s~phoṭa» 'bursting, opening'  'spurt' --> {S~hpau:Ta.}
What do I understand by the Hindu word śabda-brahman ? First, the following are from PTS dictionary and MLC (Myanmar Language Commission) MEDict.

Sadda [cp. late Vedic śabda ; BSk. śabda ...] 1. sound, noise ... 2. voice ... 3. word ... ; Sadda-kovida a grammarian or phonetician ; Sadda-dhātu element of sound ; Saddha-naya science of grammar , etymology
Saddha-bheda word analysis ; ... ... ... -- PTS-674

{thûd~da} - n. 1. meaningful speech sound ; word ; term. 2. grammar . (Pali {thûd~da.}) -- MEDict-517

Speaking from my own experience as a {yau:gi} in Myanmar Buddhist Meditation practice, particularly of the Sunlun {swun:lwun:} school, I have the experience of "seeing" flashes of light, or scenes of various kinds, or "hearing" words (commonly described as {a-roän} 'hallucinations') coming into my mind which had been "concentrated" or "focused" for sometime on the touch of breath on the nostrils. The meditation master who had been observing the {yau:gi} usually would notice a change in the facial expression of the {yau:gi}. The meditation master would remind the {yau:gi} to get away from these 'hallucinations' and concentrate only on the "happenings" in the body. Usually, these "happenings" are aches and pains in the various body-muscles which had been forced to stand still in the yogic posture. I wonder if these ('hallucinations' in Buddhist parlance) are taken to be śabda-brahman of a Hindu. - I wait for comments from my peers. -- UKT101128 .

There is another dispute that is connected with it; whether the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} in Bhartṛhari is simply the linguistic sign in its aspect of meaning-bearer (Brough, Kunjunni Raja), or whether it represents an abstract class of sounds sorted out and extracted by the listener from gross matter (Moshi, 1967, 40). Cardona (1976, 302) thinks that Brough's thesis should be modified since Bhartṛhari also talks about varṇa-sphota {S~hpau:Ta.}, which refers to a sound unit of the language system, not to any meaning-bearing speech unit. Iyer (1969, 158-9) has, however, refuted Joshi' rather sweeping comment that Bhartṛhari's sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} had nothing to do with the meaning-bearing speech unit. In Mahābhaṣya-dīpīkā  Bhartṛhari reinterpreted Pantanjalī's use of the word śabda [Pali-Latin: sadda ; {thûd~da}]. This was noted by Pantanjalī as the meaning-bearing element in the Paspaśā section. Bhartṛhari glossed this as sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} and characterized it as eternal.

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Sect. 02 : śabda  and sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}

UKT 151213: Skt-Dev Sabda शब्द «śabda» {shûb~da.} is Pal-Myan {thûd~da.} & Bur-Myan {thûd~da} 'sound'. See my note on śabda. And of course to the Buddhists it has nothing to do with Eternal Verbum or the Word of God because, Buddhists do not accept the notion of an eternal God.

Skt-Dev: शब्द śabda (= श ब ् द ) m. sound, word, title - SpkSkt

In Vākyapadīya  Bhartṛhari clearly develops the threefold doctrine of sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} related to letters [graphemes ?] or phonemes, words and sentences. This is explicitly mentioned in the Vṛtti. Sometimes he uses śabda and sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} interchangeably, which might have been the source of confusion. [UKT ¶ ]

UKT 090910: Whenever we talk of language, we should include the 'language of the deaf and mute' - the sign language. There are many sign languages in the world such as the American Sign Language (ASL), the British Sign Language, etc. which do not depend on spoken/written languages. The medium of transmission is the sound-wave in case of spoken/written languages, whereas in case of sign language it the visual part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Therefore the "threefold doctrine of sphota {S~hpau:Ta.}" must relate to signs/graphemes/phonemes, words and sentences.

The sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is further described as partless and indivisible, and as devoid of internal sequence. A pada-sphoṭa, i.e., sphoṭa identified as word, seems to be a meaning-bearing unit. But, for Bhartṛhari, the vākya-sphoṭa, i.e., the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} in the form of a sentence, is the most important. In the second kāṇda of Vākyapadīya, he deals with various definitions of the sentences, and finally concludes that a sentence is a sequenceless, partless whole, a sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, that gets 'expressed' or manifested in a sequential and temporary utterance. This is also the primary meaning-bearing element.

For Bhartṛhari, however, this is a wrong term: 'meaning-bearing unit'. Sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is the real substratum, proper linguistic unit, which is identical also with its meaning. Language is not the vehicle of meaning or the conveyor-belt of thought. Thought anchors language and language anchors thought. Śabdanā, 'languageing', is thinking; and thought 'vibrates' through language. In this way (p376end-p377begin) of looking at things, there cannot be any essential difference between a linguistic unit and its meaning or the thought it conveys. Sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} refers to this non-differentiated language-principle. Thus I believe that it is sometimes even incorrect to ask whether sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is or is not the meaning-bearing speech unit in Bhartṛhari's system.

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Sect. 03 : sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} vs. nāda

Skt: नाद  «nāda» - adj.  ringing [of bell, etc.], sound - SpkSkt
Pal: nāda - m. (√nad) a sound, cry, shout - UPMT-PED118
Pal: {na-da.} - UHS-PMD0513
Skt: नद  nada  m.  great river, river - SpkSkt

Bhartṛhari begins the discussion of his theory by a reference to the distinguishing of the two aspects of language by his predecessors. In verse 1.44 he says that the linguists comprehend two types of śabda among the upādāna śabda, 'linguistic sound': one is the causal root of its manifestation and the other is applied, being manifested, to convey meaning. Of these two, the second is the linguistic unit properly understood, it is the real language, while the first is what 'manifests' or 'expresses' it. Bhartṛhari, and following him some later grammarians, related this duality to what I shall call the sphoṭa-nāda distinction of language. Nāda manifests sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} and sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} conveys meaning. We need to explain such expressions as <manifests> and <expresses>. The sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is an indivisible unit, a partless, sequenceless whole, which is connected with the verbal dispositional ability of the speaker or the hearer. For the sake of communication between language-users, sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} needs to be made explicit, i.e., potentiality must be actualized, so that the bearer may receive it. This cannot be done without nāda, the sequential utterances of sound elements. This is how the nāda becomes the causal factor for making sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} explicit. The speaker cannot but utter nāda in a particular sequence, and nāda therefore reveals sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} in this way appears (falsely) to have parts and temporal sequences just as the moon reflected in wavy waters appears to be wavy and disintegrated. Since the nāda is also identified with the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, certain spurious features are superimposed on the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}.

The sounds uttered by the speaker make the real linguistic units, primarily a sentence, explicit, but this is the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} of the speaker. Sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is also shared by the hearer, and as a result the hearer's sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is 'awakened' by the utterance of the speaker. This awakening of the hearer's sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is what is called the comprehension by the hearer of the sentence uttered. This is what is meant by the claim that the sentence uttered must 'already be present' in the hearer. From the point of view of the speaker, however, the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}  'already present in him' will be the causal condition for the nāda or the sequential word utterance, which will convey the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} to the hearer. (p377end-p378begin)

The metaphysical view of Bhartṛhari is that whatever is called śabda {þûd~da.} 'language', and artha {ût~hta.} 'meaning', 'thought' or 'things meant', are one and undifferentiated in their pre-verbal or potential state. Before the utterance, it is argued, the language along with whatever it conveys or means is like the yolk of a peahen's egg. In that state all the variegated colours of a full-grown peacock lie dormant in potential form. Later these colours are actualized. Similarly in the self of the speaker or hearer, or whoever is gifted with linguistic capability, all the variety and differentiation of linguistic items and their meanings exist as potentialities, and language and thought are identical at that stage. Bhartṛhari even believes that the nature of the self is nothing but identical with the nature of language-thought. This state of complete identity of language with thought is called the paśyanti stage of language. Before the proper articulation of the sound-sequence or utterance, there is another 'intermediate' stage (called madhyamā vāk) where the language and the thought it conveys are still one and undifferentiated, but at this 'pre-verbal' stage the speaker sees them as differentiable. In other words, he recognizes the verbal part, which he is about to verbalize either to himself or to another, as distinct and separable from the artha, 'meaning' or 'thought'. This perception impels him to speech which results in the nāda-sphoṭa differentiation.

It may be useful to quote here some relevant verses of Bhartṛhari to underline the sphoṭa-nāda distinction.

Verse 1.44: linguists (śabdavidah) comprehend two types of śabda among linguistic śabda. One is the nimitta of the sound and the other designates the object or meaning.

Commentary: In the sequenceless nature of the speech (vāk) both powers, the power to be articulated in sound (audible form) and the power to convey meaning, lie intermixed.

Verse 1.46: Just as light/fire (jyotih) resides in the araṇi stick and (being manifested) becomes the cause for manifesting other objects, śabda resides like wise in the Mind (inner faculty, buddhi) and (being manifested) becomes separately the cause for manifesting the meaning ('as well as itself' added in the commentary).

Verse 1.48: Since nāda (sound) arises in sequence, sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, which has neither a former nor a latter stage and which is sequenceless (akrama), is apprehended (through nāda) and appears to be having a sequence as well as parts.

Verse 1.49: (Thus, properties of nāda are transferred to the sphoṭa. {S~hpau:Ta.}.) The reflected image (of the moon, for example) although it resides in a separate location, seems to share the operation (i.e., movement of the waves in water) of (p378end-p379begin) objects in a separate location; sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} being manifested in nāda shares the properties of nāda in the same way.

Verse 1.52: A figure being grasped by a single awareness is painted on a canvas (part by part) into another complete, unitary figure (for the viewer to grasp it in one sweep). Similarly in śabda, with regard to which the hearer's awareness also arises.

Verse 1.55: Just as fire has both powers - the power to be the object of manifestation and the agent of manifestation - all śabda individually have both powers likewise. (Fire in manifesting itself manifests others; śabda, too, in manifesting itself manifests others.)

Verse 1.56: (For this reason) śabdas do not covey meaning without themselves being the objects of our awareness. They cannot manifest or reveal the meanings simply by their existence, if they (themselves) remain unapprehended.

Verse 1.57: Hence, when from indistinct utterance, the form of the śabda is not apprehended, one asks 'what did he say?' But when the senses reveal objects, those senses do not need to be apprehended themselves.

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Sect. 04 : sphoṭa-nāda  comprehension by the receiver

How is the sphoṭa-nāda  distinction comprehended? Or, we may rephrase the question: how is 'language' comprehended? We have seen that Bhartṛhari has posited three stages of language or speech. The first stage, where there is complete identity of language and thought, is called the paśyanti stage; we can call it 'non-verbal'. The 'intermediate' stage, where despite the identity of thought and language their difference is discernible, can be called the 'pre-verbal' stage. And the third, the vaikhari, can be called the 'verbal' stage. This is how the matter stands from the speaker's point of view. But how does the hearer comprehend it? Bhartṛhari states four different views on this point. [UKT: I've given my subheadings for the 4 views.]

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First view of cognition

According to some, sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is cognized as identical with the sound or nāda  is identical with the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, and they are so to say only two sides of the same coin, the grasping of one cannot be distinguished from that of the other. In other words, he who has not grasped one has not grasped the other. The commentator has supplied a beautiful analogy to elucidate the point. When a piece of crystal is placed near a red japā flower, the piece (of crystal) cannot be grasped or perceived without the colour red, for it now certainly appears red [{p379end/p380begin}] because of the proximity of the red flower. The sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is likewise comprehended along with the nāda that manifests it, one grasps the bits of language as sound or utterance, i.e., the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} as the nāda. It is not clear whether this analogy can be taken to imply that the nāda is only a superimposed feature of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, the real language. For, the piece of crystal is only apparently red due to the conditional superimposition; in reality it is colourless. If the implicit idea is that the nāda or sound is an inessential, conditionally superimposed feature of the real language or the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, then I [B. K. Matilal] do not think this would be in exact accord with the doctrine of Bhartṛhari. Perhaps the analogy is not to be taken too far. It may be that simply the identification of the nāda with the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is what is implied. In that case, this may well be Bhartṛhari's own view. The analogy between a piece of crystal and a bit of language was again used by Bhartṛhari in kāṇda 3 of Vākyapadiya. {wa-kya.pa.di.ya.}. But the purpose of that analogy was probably different. It was to illustrate a point of Bhartṛhari's semantics. Objects meant by bits of language are only created by the language, for language is autonomous just as a piece of crystal is believed to be autonomous (according to the pre-scientific theory of light) in the sense that it 'reflects' objects by according an autonomous status to them (the reflector modifies the object in its own way). This analogy has been used with great ingenuity by R. Herzberger in her exposition of Bhartṛhari's sematics (Herzberger, 1986, 50-3). However, in the context of our comprehension of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} through nāda, the 'crystal' analogy might serve a slightly different purpose. We grasp the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} as reflected in the nāda, and as almost identical with the nāda itself, just as we grasp redness as presented by the piece of crystal, not in any other way.

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Second view of cognition

Bhartṛhari refers to a second view held by some: that the comprehension of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} does not require the comprehension of sounds or nāda as a condition. A tentative argument is given in favour of this view. We know that when we cognize an object, say a pot, through visual perception, we do so through the instrumentality of the faculty of vision, the eye, and it is an established fact that we do not need to know the properties or features of the eye-organ itself. The fact that we have the eye-organ is enough, for this only is relevant for the knowledge of the object. Similarly we comprehend the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} through the instrumentality of nāda, sounds. Patanjali has contended that sound is the attribute of the sphoṭa. {S~hpau:Ta.}. Now when the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is presented through sounds, we comprehend it right away even prior to our cognition of all the sound-symbols, though the latter is indicative of the former. In other words, in this view the cognition of the sounds themselves is not needed prior to our cognition of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. Bhartṛhari has criticized this view, saying that as long as the sounds are uttered they are also (p380end-p381begin) directly perceived by our sense of hearing. Hence it is impossible to comprehend the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} without comprehending the sounds. The view, as its stands, is indeed peculiar. Perhaps the upholders of this view were unconsciously arguing in favour of a distinction between sound-tokens and sound-types, and they accordingly wanted to say that we do not need to cognize the sound-types over and above the sound-tokens prior to our comprehension of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. Sometimes, it may be pointed out, we comprehend the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} even when only a part of the relevant sound-token is heard.

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Third and fourth views of cognition

The third and fourth views mentioned by Bhartṛhari were also obscure. There were a few thinkers who apparently believed in the metaphysical existence of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} but maintained that it could not be amenable to perception. The reason adduced further confounds the issue, for it is said that the distance that separates the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} from the cognizing hearer makes the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} imperceptible. The upholders of the fourth view understood the matter in another way. distance cannot make the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} imperceptible but can render it rather indistinguishable. In other words, since distance does not remove the object from the field or perception, it can render the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, like an object at a distance, indistinguishable from the environment. Thus, we fail to perceive sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} as a distinct entity. Bhartṛhari obviously rejected these views, and it is difficult to make sense of their notion of sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}.

There is an obvious problem when we say that the sequential and atomic nāda-units in combination reveal or manifest the indivisible, impartite sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. The problem is similar to the problem of perception: how do the parts present the whole? If they present it partially, then the whole will never be presented in one sweep and this will cast doubt upon the contention about the reality of the whole over and above the constituents out of which it is formed. For the grammarians, the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is a whole and it is a metaphysical entity, neither an object of construction, nor an abstraction. So the question arises: How do we perceive it from the utterance of a divisible and sequential sound-stretch? How is the unity perceived through the presentation of plurality? Thus by stating that the sound-stretch manifests the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} we do not explain much or answer the crucial question: How? For surely separate efforts are required to produce different sounds and they are produced in succession. At which point exactly is the unity that we call sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} comprehended? If the unity is cognized at every instant from the beginning, then there is the fault of repetition and redundancy. If it is by the last (utterance of the) sound-unit then all the preceding units (or their utterances) are superfluous, for they have been destroyed at the time of comprehension. [{p381end/p382begin}]

Bhartṛhari answers this objection as follows: For the sake of convenience, let us use the illustration of a word-sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} 'gaud' {gau:} 'the cow'. [UKT ¶]

UKT: This is a poor illustration because the vowel used here is an open-back vowel /ɑ/ represented by the digraph <au>. -- UKT101128

There is a unity here the word. [Typing error?] But the four sound-units or letters, g, a u and h, present the sphoṭa, {S~hpau:Ta.}, each individually. Bhartṛhari says that each letter here is the medium of manifestation of the unity, the whole sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. The problem of repetitiveness or redundancy is avoided by postulating a difference or a distinct property (viśeṣa  {wi.þé-þa.} each time in the resulting awareness or comprehension. [UKT¶]

Skt: विशेष viśeṣa  adj. special, definite, peculiar.
  m. detail, kind, particular, special property, sort, modification, distinguishing feature,
  variety, change, distinction, species, difference. - SpkSkt
Pal: {wi.þé-þa.} - UHS-PMD0908

The first letter (or the first sound-unit) shows the whole, but very indistinctly. It becomes gradually clearer and progressively better understood through successive stages until the last unit is uttered. Although the earlier units disappear when the last unit is reached, the memory-impressions left behind by those earlier units are in the hearer and each time there is a qualitative difference in the memory-impression (samskāra). The sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} itself does not admit of any qualitative or quantitative difference, addition or subtraction, but the impression or image of it may be imperfect and different, due to the imperfect nature of the human intellect. Our memory-impression may be dim or partial, clear or unclear, on various occasions, but the object, sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, will always shine in its undimmed glory.

It may be further argued that Bhartṛhari's explanation of the comprehension of sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is unsatisfactory. For certainly the letters of sounds, g, a, u and h, reveal themselves only individually. That is, we perceive each unit as it is produced. When we produce g or a, it must be perceived as g or a. But gauh is not g or a. The sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is not identical with any of the individual sound-units. To perceive something x as what it is not, is to misperceive x. We call it error. It is some what unparsimonious to first postulate an entity like the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} of gauh and then claim that it is only misperceived in the first, second or third letter, g, a, u. Besides, each misperception is based upon recognition of some similarity between the object present and the object superimposed. In the present case, it is difficult to obtain any satisfactory account of such a series of misperceptions. Bhartṛhari gives a bold reply to this criticism which also has the metaphysical underpinnings of his sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} doctrine. He says that just as the cognition of the lower numbers, 'one' and 'two', is the means for understanding a higher number, say, 'three', although they are each distinct and different, similarly, comprehension of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, either a pada-sphoṭa or a vākya-sphoṭa , is invariably conditioned by the cognition of the so-called constituents, either the sound, g, a, u, h or the word elements 'Devadatta' and 'goes' (in the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} as a sentence 'Devadatta goes') This presupposes an understanding of the Vaiśeṣika theory of numbers. [UKT ¶]

According to this theory, numbers are distinct from one another and they constitute separate entities, and all numbers higher than one are produced by a sort of 'connective-[{p382end/p383begin}]-comparative' cognition called apekṣābuddhi . This is the notion that brings many unities under one number or another. When two things are present, one cognizes both as 'this is one and that is one'. This is the 'connective-comparative' cognition that gives rise to the awareness of 'two' or duality, and similarly with each succeeding number. In this theory understanding of the previous number is the conditioning factor for the awareness of the higher number. Similarly understanding of the distinct sounds or distinct word-elements is the means for the awareness of the combined unity, the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. Besides, Bhartṛhari claims that for the sphoṭa, {S~hpau:Ta.} or what he would call the real language, to convey some meaning to the hearer, it is an essential and unavoidable condition that it be made explicit through the sequential and transitory nada elements. Just as an episode of knowledge cannot be known or talked about without any reference to what it represents or what is known by it, similarly the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} cannot communicate or convey any meaning (or be known) without its being manifested through the sequential nāda or speech. To have a clear perception of a tree, for example, we must proceed from a distance step by step when the vague and indistinct blur gradually gives way to a distinct shape and identity. Similarly the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, through steps or sequences, is distinctly understood and identified. [UKT ¶ ]

Bhartṛhari claims that a man who has mastered the śabdayoga or obtained the light of the Eternal Verbum (some sages have apparently succeeded in this) can perceive or understand the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} clearly when the first sound is heard, just as a man with perfect vision or unlimited power of sight (if such a man exists) can see the tree distinctly even from a distance. Comprehension of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is equivalent to such a distinct vision of reality.

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Sect. 05 No unanimity in views on sphota {S~hpau:Ta.}

Bhartṛhari has noted also that there is no unanimity among his predecessors regarding the real nature of the sphoṭa. {S~hpau:Ta.}. He refers to several earlier views. [UKT: ¶ ]

According to one, the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is the universal manifested by the individuals which are nāda elements or sounds. The sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is thus the class, of which sounds would be members. The commentary quotes a line from the Mahābhāṣya of Patanjali, where the word sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is used in the sense of the universal. It is universal of the word gauh, not the universal called word-ness. We may call it the word-form, realized through the sequential utterance of the sounds. Some later commentators (cf. Bhaṭṭoji) apparently have taken the class-sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} theory as Bhartṛhari's own. But this is a mistake, and the claim of some modern scholars to the effect that sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is nothing but a postulation of a unitary word-universal should be rejected. another view mentioned by Bhartṛhari regards sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} as an (p383end-p384begin) impermanent entity, produced by the initial sounds resulting form the contacts and separations of the vocal organs. The initial sounds themselves constitute the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} , they do not manifest it. But these sounds, despite being momentary, produce further sounds which spread in all directions, gradually decreasing in intensity, and reach the hearer's organ as nāda. The sound produced initially is the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}, other sounds produced in reverberation are 'sound-produced' sounds (dhvani or nāda). Another view modifies this position, in that it understands both sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} and nāda to be produced simultaneously through contacts and disconnection of vocal organs. They are like the flame and the light of a lamp. We produce both the flame and the light at the same time. The light 'travels', so does the reverberation. The flame is fixed in one place, and so is the sphoṭa, {S~hpau:Ta.} according to this view. None of these views would be acceptable to Bhartṛhari. His idea of sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is different, as already described.

Bhartṛhari draws another interesting distinction between two types of sounds in this connection. They are called the 'primary' sounds (prākṛta) and the 'derived' or 'transformed' sounds (vaikṛta). The usual way to take the 'primary' sounds is to refer to the linguistically relevant sound-sequences which the speaker intends to produce and the hearer expects to hear. It is the shared 'speech' which manifests sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} (where the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} can be prākṛti, the 'original', and hence the prākṛta is the manifestor of the 'original'). These primary sounds are not abstractions, but ideal particulars which have sequences, duration and other qualities-all specified by the particular language system. The long sounds should be long, of required length, the short vowels should be short and so on. But this must be conceived as divested of all personal idiosyncrasies or 'mannerisms' of the speaker who utters them. It is the norm. The non-linguistic concomitants of nay utterance are to be separated from this notion of 'primary' sound. This type of sound is also said to be identified with the sphoṭa, {S~hpau:Ta.}, though of course wrongly, for the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is conceived as a sequenceless, durationless and partless whole. In other words one (wrongly) cognizes the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} as united with this 'primary' sound-series.

The 'secondary' or 'transformed' sounds may therefore be taken to be individual instances of utterance that either reverberate or continue to show to individual peculiarities of the speakers, various differences in intonation, tempo, pitch, etc. The description here is a bit obscure, for it is also said that the manifestation of the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} still continues to happen or take place (after the first manifestation by the 'primary' sounds) with the help of the 'transformed' or 'secondary' sounds. 'Difference in the speed of utterance' (vrttibheda) is also a factor in the 'transformed' sounds. They continue to manifest the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} again and again uninterruptedly for a longer period. They are said to resemble the light (p384end-p385begin) of a lamp which travels and continues to reveal the object as long as the lamp is lit. This analogy is not very helpful, we may try another characterization. It is said that the slow utterance of a short a sound does not turn it into a long a sound, nor does speedy utterance of the latter turn it into the former. The primary sounds a or a are unchanged although the speed becomes a factor in the 'transformed' sound. In his commentary on the Mahābhāṣya, Bhartṛhari again refers to this distinction, but he matter there is further complicated by a reference to the two kinds of primary sounds (Iyer, 1969, 171). Kunjunni Raja's description of the 'primary' sound as the acoustic image or the abstract sound pattern is much too influenced by a knowledge of modern linguistics (Kunjunni Raja, 1969,120). That the 'transformed' sound may be just 'reverberations' after the utterance (of the primary sounds) which reveal the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is a possible interpretation which receives support from Helaraja in his commentary on the third kāṇda of the Vākyapadiya. But by 'reverberation' we need not think of the echo or returning sound but extend its sense to include the continuous producing of the sound-series after the initial sound is produced by the impact of the vocal organs. This may presuppose the Vaiśeṣika theory of sound, according to which the first sound is produced by impact, etc., and is believed to be a momentary entity, which dies at the next instant but nevertheless generates another similar sound-individual, which in its turn generates another before begin destroyed in the next moment, and so on. This process continues for a while and then stops (on reaching the hearer's organ). How long the process will continue and how far it will 'travel' , will depend upon the intensity of the originally produced sound. Bhartṛhari does not contribute to the Vaiśeṣika theory of sound-production, but it seems that he would accept this process of sound-travel with one crucial change made in the theory - instead of talking bout production of a new sound at every moment, we should talk about the new manifestation of the same sound at every moment during its persistence.

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Sect. 06 Śabda-brahman - the Word-principle

monism n. Philosophy 1. The view in metaphysics that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system. 2. The doctrine that mind and matter are formed, or reducible to, the same ultimate substance or principle of being. - AHTD

See my note on Shabda-Brahman

Bhartṛhari's philosophy of language is ultimately grounded in a monistic and idealistic metaphysical theory. He speaks of a  transcendental word-essence (śabdatattva) as the first principle of the universe. His sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} doctrine is finally aligned with the ultimate reality called śabda-brahman. A self-realized person attains unity with the word-principle -- a man of perfect knowledge. There is no thought without language, no knowledge without word in it. Consciousness vibrates through words, and such vibrating consciousness or a particular cognitive mode motivates us to act and obtain results. Hence language offers the substratum (p385end)

[Page 386 is not part of this book preview.]

(page 387begin)
5. A further modification of the above view is that each word in the sentence contains the whole sentence-meaning, though it is only partly revealed by it. These last three views are supportive of a sort of contextualism. Words may have isolated meanings, but when they are in isolation they cannot express such separate or isolated meanings or meaning atoms. Each word in connection with another word has a designation (meaning), which we should call 'connected designation'; it designates a connected entity. This is ascribed later on to the Prābhākara school of Mīmāṃsakas, and nicknamed anvitābhidhāna , ' connected designation'. The idea is that since, in order to talk about a word, we talk about a word used in some sentence or other, its meaning cannot be known in isolation. We must necessarily talk about the word's contexual meaning or rather its meaning in connection with the meanings of other words in the sentence.

Bhartṛhari refutes all these five notions of the sentence, and rejects both atomism and the sort of contextualism that has been defended by the second group of Mīmāṃsakas. He puts forward instead a holistic framework and argues that a sentence might be understood as an indivisible sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. The sentences as well as their meanings are indivisible units. It is for the sake of convenience as well as for facilitating our learning and understanding of a language, that we break the wholes into parts and smaller units and correlate words and word-meanings. The indivisible sentence is either internal to the language-user (any member of the speech-community) or external to him. It is externalized through its manifestation in speech or nāda. And through such manifestation it appears to have divisions (and this is true of both the sound-aspect and the meaning-aspect), although essentially it remains indivisible. In order words, appearance of divisibility of sentences and sentence-meanings is deceptive. It is like the 'cognition of multiplicity' (citra-jñāna). Although the cognition in such cases is one and indivisible, one sees plurality in it. A drink from the punch-bowl will have a plurality of flavours and tastes, but it is one and unique drink -- a whole.

Bhartṛhari underlines this indivisibility aspect by offering three more definitions of the notion of the sentence in addition to the five already mentioned.

6. The sentence is the class of the sequences of words, or the universal resident in the sequence of words. Or,

7. It is the whole string of words without any divisible part.

Both these definitions refer to what has been called the 'external' sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} above. The former regards the sentence as a universal while the later regards it as a particular whole. Technically the later grammarians called them the jāti-sphoṭa and the vyakti-sphoṭa, respectively.

8. The last definition refers to what has been called 'internal' sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}. The sentence is a whole piece of cognitive awareness. (p387end-p388begin) These three so-called definitions may be just recognition of the three different levels of the realization of the same sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} or three different ways of capturing the same reality, sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} the sentence. The sentence-meaning in all these cases is declared to be given by pratibhā, i.e., by a 'flash of understanding' of what is being communicated. This flash of understanding is also declared to be holistic. We do not obtain it bit by bit. That is why some people are said to understand the meaning of the sentence even before the utterance of the whole sentence.

Several points are not made clear here. The correlation between the 'external' and the 'internal' sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} must be a crucial factor here. For, an ordinary sentence with indexicals, be it in the form of a universal of the sound-sequence or a concrete and particular sound stretch, will have to have a different sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} as the speaker, time and place change. This distinction can be maintained by associating the external sound-pattern with the 'internal' sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} of the speaker, which reveals itself to him at a particular time and place. This question has not been raised in this way and therefore the answer has not been given or discussed. Besides, if the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} is the real language or a particular language system, as Bhartṛhari seems or string of sound-units having sense, but to what is only made explicit in a system-of sound-unit, not, that is, to the nāda exclusively, but to what is 'manifested' by nāda, the sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.}.

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Bhaṭṭoji-Dīkṣta, Śabdakaustubha, Vol.1. ed. Rāmakṛṣṇa Śāstrī; Vol.II, ed. Vindheśvarī Dvivedin and Gaṇapati Sāstri Mokate, Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series, Varanasi, 1898-1917.

Biardeau, M. Theorie de la Connaissance et Philosophie de la Parole dans le Brahmanisme Classique, Paris, 1964 .

Brough, John. 'Theories of General Linguistics in the Sanskrit Grammarians', Transactions of the Philological Society, 1951, 27-46.

Cardona, George. Panini : A Survey of Research, Mouton & Co., The Hague and Paris, 1976.

De, S.K. Studies in the History of Sanskrit Poetics, Luzac & Co., London, 1925.

Herzberger, R. Bhartṛhari and the Buddhists, Studies of Classical India series No. 8, D. Reidel Publishing Co., Holland, 1986.

Iyer, S. Bhartṛhari, Deccan College, Poona, 1969.

Joshi, S. D., The Sphoṭa-nirṇaya of Kaundabhaṭṭa, Poona, 1967.

Keith, A. B. A History of Sanskrit Literature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1928.

Kunjunni Raja, K. Indian Theories of Meaning, Adyar Library, madras, 1969.

Sastri, G. A. The Philosophy of Word and Meaning, Sanskrit College, Calcutta, 1959. [{p388end}]

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UKT notes

Eternal Verbum : śabda-brahman / DEI VERBUM

- UKT 151224
The search engine Google, gave the following when I search with the string: Eternal Verbum. In going through the following we must remember that:
  #1. Jesus the son of Mary was an Asiatic speaking Hebrew. He was a Jew. He is proclaimed as Christ the Savior by the only a few in Palestine in Asia during his life-time and soon after death. He is not considered to be the Savior by those of Abrahamic (Jew) and Islamic (Muslim) faiths. The Christians were persecuted and driven from the Asiatic mainland. They took refuge in Europe.
  #2. The main author of European Christians, Saul who later became Paul, wrote in Greek and not in Latin. He was Jew. He was a tax collector who became suddenly blind on his way to Damascus, and was cured by a miracle because of which he became a Christian.
  #3. The language in which Christianity prosper in Rome is Roman-Latin which is different from Greek-Cyrillic.
  #4. What we are reading is in English-Latin.

With so many languages involved, the original message must have been modified changing the meaning! I wonder what Jesus the son of Mary would have said if he were to read the following article. Would he blame the Popes who claim to be mouthpieces of God, just as Gautama Buddha blamed the Brahmana-Poannas for corrupting the Véda!

Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum ,
solemnly promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, on November 18, 1965 -  http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html 090910 , 151224


1. Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith, the sacred synod takes its direction from these words of St. John: "We announce to you the eternal life which dwelt with the Father and was made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you, so that you may have fellowship with us and our common fellowship be with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:2-3). Therefore, following in the footsteps of the Council of Trent and of the First Vatican Council, this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on, so that by hearing the message of salvation the whole world may believe, by believing it may hope, and by hoping it may love. (1)

Chapter 1. Revelation itself

2. In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1 Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. (2)

3. God, who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20). Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved (see Gen. 3:15) and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation (see Rom. 2:6-7). Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order to make of him a great nation (see Gen. 12:2). Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident father and just judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries.

4. Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (see John 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as "a man to men." (3) He "speaks the words of God" (John 3;34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do (see John 5:36; John 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14:9). For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal.

The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13).

5. "The obedience of faith" (Rom. 13:26; see 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) "is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals," (4) and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving "joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it." (5) To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His gifts.

6. Through divine revelation, God chose to show forth and communicate Himself and the eternal decisions of His will regarding the salvation of men. That is to say, He chose to share with them those divine treasures which totally transcend the understanding of the human mind. (6)

As a sacred synod has affirmed, God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason (see Rom. 1:20); but teaches that it is through His revelation that those religious truths which are by their nature accessible to human reason can be known by all men with ease, with solid certitude and with no trace of error, even in this present state of the human race. (7)

UKT: End of Chapter 1.

... ... ...

Chapter 4 : the Old Testament

14. In carefully planning and preparing the salvation of the whole human race the God of infinite love, by a special dispensation, chose for Himself a people to whom He would entrust His promises. First He entered into a covenant with Abraham (see Gen. 15:18) and, through Moses, with the people of Israel (see Ex. 24:8). To this people which He had acquired for Himself, He so manifested Himself through words and deeds as the one true and living God that Israel came to know by experience the ways of God with men. Then too, when God Himself spoke to them through the mouth of the prophets, Israel daily gained a deeper and clearer understanding of His ways and made them more widely known among the nations (see Ps. 21:29; 95:1-3; Is. 2:1-5; Jer. 3:17). The plan of salvation foretold by the sacred authors, recounted and explained by them, is found as the true word of God in the books of the Old Testament: these books, therefore, written under divine inspiration, remain permanently valuable. "For all that was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Rom. 15:4).

15. The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all and of the messianic kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy (see Luke 24:44; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10), and to indicate its meaning through various types (see 1 Cor. 10:12). Now the books of the Old Testament, in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men. These books, though they also contain some things which are incomplete and temporary, nevertheless show us true divine pedagogy. (1) These same books, then, give expression to a lively sense of God, contain a store of sublime teachings about God, sound wisdom about human life, and a wonderful treasury of prayers, and in them the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way. Christians should receive them with reverence.

16. God, the inspirer and author of both Testaments, wisely arranged that the New Testament be hidden in the Old and the Old be made manifest in the New. (2) For, though Christ established the new covenant in His blood (see Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25), still the books of the Old Testament with all their parts, caught up into the proclamation of the Gospel, (3) acquire and show forth their full meaning in the New Testament (see Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:27; Rom. 16:25-26; 2 Cor. 14:16) and in turn shed light on it and explain it.

UKT: End of Chapter 4.
There are more chapters in the original article.

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- UKT 151224

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemma-psycholinguistics 151224

In psycholinguistics, a lemma (plural lemmas or lemmata) is an abstract conceptual form of a word that has been mentally selected for utterance in the early stages of speech production. [1] A lemma represents a specific meaning but does not have any specific sounds that are attached to it.

UKT 151224: If lemma represents meaning but does not have air-vibrational sound (hearing based) attached to it, it could apply to sign-signal (sight based) of sign-language.

When we produce a word, we are essentially turning our thoughts into sounds, a process known as lexicalisation. In many psycholinguistic models this is considered to be at least a two-stage process. [UKT ¶]

The first stage deals with semantics and syntax; the result of the first stage is an abstract notion of a word that represents a meaning and contains information about how the word can be used in a sentence. It does not, however, contain information about how the word is pronounced. [UKT ¶]

The second stage deals with the phonology of the word; it attaches information about the sounds that will have to be uttered. The result of the first stage is the lemma in this model; the result of the second stage is referred to as the lexeme.

This two-staged model is the most widely supported theory of speech production in psycholinguistics, [2] although it has been challenged. [3] For example, there is some evidence to indicate that the grammatical gender of a noun is retrieved from the word's phonological form (the lexeme) rather than from the lemma. [4] [UKT ¶]

UKT 151224: Speakers of Bur-Myan language, a language without grammatical gender, would take the lemma to be of more importance.

This can be explained by models that do not assume a distinct level between the semantic and the phonological stages (and so lack a lemma representation). [3]

The concept of lemma is similar to the Sanskrit sphoṭa (6th century), an invariant mental word, of which the sound is a feature. [5]

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Nāda [Sk. nāda , see nadati ] loud sound, roaring, roar -- PTS-349
Nādi (f.) = nāda , loud sound, thundering (fig.) -- PTS349

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nāda 090827 in lang.htm

Skt: नाद «nāda» --> {na-da.}
Pal: nāda - m. (√nad) a sound, cry, shout - UPMT-PED118
Pal: {na-da.} - UHS-PMD0513
  UKT from UHS: m. violent sound, brave speech

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- UKT 090910, 151211:

Sadda [cp. late Vedic śabda ; BSk. śabda ...] - downloaded PTS-Dict p133 & pdf727/804
- 1. sound, noise ... 2. voice ... 3. word ... ;
¤ Saddha-bheda word analysis. ¤ Saddha-vedhin shooting by sound. ¤ Saddha-sattha science of words, grammar. ¤ Saddha-siddhi analysis or correct formation of a word, grammatical explanation. 

{thûd~da} - n. 1. meaningful speech sound ; word ; term. 2. grammar . (Pali {thûd~da.}) -- EMDict-517

From Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9Aabda 090910
Redirected from Śabda


Śábda is the Sanskrit for "sound, speech" In Sanskrit grammar, the term refers to an utterance in the sense of linguistic performance.

In Indian linguistics

Katyayana stated that shabda "speech" is eternal (nitya), as is artha "meaning", and their mutual relation. According to Patanjali, sphoṭa {S~hpau:Ta.} "meaning" is not identical with shabda, but rather its permanent aspect, while dhvani "sound, acoustics" is its ephemereal aspect.

UKT: In trying to analyze the Skt: artha 'meaning', take note of the similarity in spelling of two Pali words: {ût~ta.} and {ût~hta.}.
¤ {ût~ta.} - - UHS-PMD0035
¤ {ût~hta.} - - UHS-PMD0037

Om, or Aum ॐ {OÄN}, a sacred syllable of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism is considered to be the first resonating vibrational sound within an individual being. It also denotes the non-dualistic universe as a whole. In Buddhism [presumably Mahayana], Om corresponds to the crown chakra and white light.

UKT: The Bur-Myan pronunciation of the word {OÄN} has no trace of the <m> /m/ at the end. It is a fully open sound sung with an open mouth because of the {þé:þé:ting}. This sound is probably not present in English and presumably in other IE languages. I am writing this based on my own pronunciation. I wait for comments from my peers. - UKT101126

Bhartrihari on the other hand held a shabda- advaita position, identifying shabda as indivisible, unifying cognition and linguistic performance, ultimately identical with Brahman. Bhartrhari recognizes two entities, both of which may be called shabda, one is the underlying cause of the articulated sounds, while the other is used to express the meaning. Bhartrhari thus rejects the difference posited by logicians between the ontological and the linguistic. His concept of shabda-brahman identifying linguistic performance and creation itself has parallels in the Greek concept of logos.

Language philosophy in Medieval India was dominated by the dispute of the "naturalists" of the Mimamsa school, notably defended by Kumarila, who held that shabda designates the actual phonetic utterance, and the Sphota {S~hpau:Ta.} school, defended by Mandana Mishra, who identified spotha and shabda as a mystical "indivisible word-whole".

UKT: More in Wikipedia article.

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UKT 151224

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabda_Brahman 151224

Shabda Brahman or Sabda-brahman means transcendental sound (Shatapatha Brahmana III.12.48) or sound vibration (Shatpatha Brahmana Vi.16.51) or the transcendental sound of the Vedas (Shatpatha Brahmana Xi.21.36) or of Vedic scriptures (Shatpatha Brahmana X.20.43).[1]

Shabda or sabda stands for word manifested by sound ('verbal') and such a word has innate power to convey a particular sense or meaning (Artha). According to the Nyaya and the Vaisheshika schools, Shabda means verbal testimony; to the Sanskrit grammarians, Yaska, Panini and Katyayana it meant a unit of language or speech or vac. [UKT ¶]

In the philosophical terms this word appears for the first time in the Maitri Upanishad (Sloka VI.22) that speaks of two kinds of Brahman - Shabda Brahman ('Brahman with sound') and Ashabda Brahman ('soundless Brahman'). Bhartrhari speaks about the creative power of shabda, the manifold universe is a creation of Shabda Brahman (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.i.2). Speech is equated with Brahman (Shatpatha Brahmana Rig Veda states that Brahman extends as far as Vāc (R.V.X.114.8), and has hymns in praise of Speech as the Creator (R.V.X.71.7) and as the final abode of Brahman (R.V.I.164.37). Time is the creative power of Shabda Brahman.[2][3]

Purva Mimamsa deals with Shabda Brahman ('cosmic sound or word') which is endowed with names and forms and is projected in vedic revelations (the mantras, hymns, prayers etc.). Vedanta deals with Parama Brahman ('the Ultimate Reality') which is transcendent and devoid of names and forms. One has to become well established in Shabda Brahman before realizing Parama Brahman. Vedas are not the product of conventional language but the emanation of reality in form of Shabda (sound, word) which is the sole cause of creation and is eternal. Purva Mimamsa, an esoteric discipline, from the point of view of spiritual growth aims at attaining the heavenly happiness by realizing Shabda Brahman (cosmic sound) by conducting yajnas that help control the senses and the mind; when the mind and the senses are subdued the inner subtle sound is realized as Shabda Brahman. [4]

The fundamental theory of Indian classical music, art and poetry is grounded in the theory of Nada Brahman or Shabda Brahman, and is linked with the Vedic religion.[5] The Apara Brahman mentioned by Mandukya Upanishad is Nada Brahman or Shabda Brahman. Shiva Samhita states that whenever and wherever there is causal stress or Divine action, there is vibration (spandan or kampan), and wherever there is vibration or movement there sound (Shabda) is inevitable. "M" of Aum, the primordial vac represents shabda which is the root and essence of everything; it is Pranava and Pranava is Vedas, Vedas are Shabda Brahman. Consciousness in all beings is Shabda Brahman.[6]

When the necessity of directing the Mantra {mûn~tûn} (identical to Ishta) internally and to objects externally is transcended then one gains Mantra chaitanya which then awakens Atman chaitanya, the Divine Consciousness, and unites with it. The Mantra is Shabda Brahman and Ishta is the light of Consciousness. The prana, body and mind along with the entire universe, are all expressions of Mantra chaitanya. At the ultimate level of Shabda Brahman words become wordless, forms become formless and all multiplicity unified in Consciousness residing in that transcendent glory extends beyond mind and speech.[7]

In the Bhagavad Gita (Sloka VI.44) the term Shabda Brahman has been used to mean Vedic injunctions. Adi Shankara explains that the Yogic impressions do not perish even when held up for a long period, even he who seeks to comprehend the essence of Yoga and begins to tread the path of Yoga goes beyond the spheres of the fruits of Vedic works, he sets them aside. [8] In this context Srimad Bhagavatam (Sloka III.33.7) has also been relied upon to high-light the disregard of Vedic rituals by the advanced transcendentalists. [9] Gaudapada clarifies that the letter "a" of Aum leads to Visva, the letter "u"" leads to Taijasa and the letter "m" leads to Prajna. With regard to one freed from letters, there remains no attainment (Mandkya Karika I.23). Aum is Shabda Brahman, Aum is the Root Sound of which creation is a series of permutations.[10]

According to the Tantric concept, Sound is the first manifestation of Parama Shiva; in its primary stage it is a pschic wave. Its very existence entails the presence of spandan or movement ('vibration') without which there cannot be sound; spandan is the quality of Saguna brahman and the world is the thought-projection of Saguna Shiva. The very first sutra of Sarada Tilaka explains the significance and hidden meaning of Shabda Brahman.[11]

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UKT 151224: The place-name {þa-wût~hti.} is familiar to most Bur-Myan, because the place was where Gautama Buddha many sermons, and is the place-name is heard in many Paritta recitations.

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shravasti 151224

Shravasti «ś rāvastī», also known as Savatthi «sāvatthī» in Pali, was a city of ancient India and one of the six largest cities in India during Gautama Buddha's lifetime. The city was located in the fertile Gangetic plains in the present-day district of the same name, Shravasti, ... ... some 170 kilometres (106 mi) north-east of Lucknow. ...

Shravasti is located near the West Rapti River and is closely associated with the life of Gautama Buddha, who is believed to have spent 24 Chaturmases {wa-twïn:lé:la.} here. [1] Age-old stupas, majestic viharas and several temples near the village of "Sahet-Mahet" establish Buddha's association with Shravasti. It is said that the Vedic period king, Shravasta, founded this town.

Shravasti was the capital of the Kosala Kingdom during 6th century BCE to 6th century CE. This prosperous trading centre was well known for its religious associations. Sobhanath temple is believed to be the birthplace of the Tirthankara Sambhavanath [Mahavira] in Jainism, making Shravasti an important center for Jains as well. According to Nagarjuna, the city had a population of 900,000 in 5th century BCE and it even overshadowed Magadha's capital, Rajgir.

UKT 151224: See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna 151224
for this individual. He (c. 150 – c. 250 CE) is widely considered one of the most important Buddhist philosophers after Gautama Buddha.

As mentioned in the 'Bruhatkalpa' and various Kalpas of the fourteenth century, the name of the city was Mahid. There are subsequent mentions showing that the name of this city was Sahet-Mahet. It is also mentioned that a vast fort covered this city in which there were many temples with idols of Devkulikas.

Today a great rampart of earth and brick surrounds this city. During excavation in 'Sahet-Mahet' near Shravasti City, many ancient idols and inscriptions were found. They are now kept in museums at Mathura and Lucknow. At present, the archaeological department of the Indian Government is excavating the site to perform allied research. Jetavana monastery was a famous monastery close to Shravasti.

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaisheshika 101128

Vaisheshika, or Vaiśeṣika, (Skt: वैशॆषिक) is one of the six Hindu schools of philosophy (orthodox Vedic systems) of India. Historically, it has been closely associated with the Hindu school of logic, Nyaya.

Vaisheshika espouses a form of atomism and postulates that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to a finite number of atoms. Originally proposed by the sage Kaṇāda (or Kana-bhuk, literally, atom-eater) around the 2nd century BC.[1]


Although the Vaisheshika system developed independently from the Nyaya, the two eventually merged because of their closely related metaphysical theories. In its classical form, however, the Vaishesika school differed from the Nyaya in one crucial respect: where Nyaya accepted four sources of valid knowledge, the Vaishesika accepted only perception and inference. Although not among Kanada's original philosophies[2], later Vaishesika atomism also differs from the atomic theory of modern science by claiming the functioning of atoms (or their characterization because of which they function in their way) was guided or directed by the will of the Supreme Being. This is therefore a theistic form of atomism.

An alternative view would qualify the above in that the holism evident in the ancient texts mandate the identification of six separate traditional environments of philosophy, consisting of three sets of two pairs.

Literature of Vaisheshika

The earliest systematic exposition of the Vaisheshika is found in the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra of Kaṇāda (or Kaṇabhaksha). This treatise is divided into ten books. The two commentaries on the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra, Rāvaṇabhāṣya and Bhāradvājavṛtti are no more extant. Praśastapāda’s Padārthadharmasaṁgraha (c. 4th century) is the next important work of this school. Though commonly known as bhāṣya of Vaiśeṣika Sūtra, this treatise is basically an independent work on the subject. The next Vaisheshika treatise, Candra’s Daśapadārthaśāstra (648) based on Praśastapāda’s treatise is available only in Chinese translation. The earliest commentary available on Praśastapāda’s treatise is Vyomaśiva’s Vyomavatī (8th century). The other three commentaries are Śridhara’s Nyāyakandalī (991), Udayana’s Kiranāvali (10th century) and Śrivatsa’s Līlāvatī (11th century). Śivāditya’s Saptapadārthī which also belongs to the same period, presents the Nyāya and the Vaiśeṣika principles as a part of one whole. Śaṁkarā Miśra’s Upaskāra on Vaiśeṣika Sūtra is also an important work[3].

The categories of padartha

According to the Vaisheshika school, all things which exist, which can be cognised, and which can be named are padārthas (literal meaning: the meaning of a word), the objects of experience. All objects of experience can be classified into six categories, dravya (substance), guṇa (quality), karma (activity), sāmānya (generality), viśeṣa (particularity) and samavāya (inherence). Later Vaiśeṣikas (Śrīdhara and Udayana and Śivāditya) added one more category abhāva (non-existence). The first three categories are defined as artha (which can perceived) and they have real objective existence. The last three categories are defined as budhyapekṣam (product of intellectual discrimination) and they are logical categories[4].

1.Dravya (substance): The substances are conceived as 9 in number. They are, pṛthvī (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire), vāyu (air), ākaśa (ether), kāla (time), dik (space), ātman (self) and manas (mind). The first five are called bhūtas, the substances having some specific qualities so that they could be perceived by one or the other external senses [5].

2.Guṇa  (quality): The Vaiśeṣika Sūtra mentions 17 guṇas (qualities), to which Praśastapāda added another 7. While a substance is capable of existing independently by itself, a guṇa(quality) cannot exist so. The original 17 guṇas (qualities) are, rūpa (colour), rasa (taste), gandha (smell), sparśa (touch), saṁkhyā (number), parimāṇa (size/dimension/quantity), pṛthaktva (inidividuality), saṁyoga (conjunction/accompaniments), vibhāga (disjunction), paratva (priority), aparatva (posteriority), buddhi (knowledge), sukha (pleasure), duḥkha (pain), icchā (desire), dveṣa (aversion) and prayatna (effort). To these Praśastapāda added gurutva (heaviness), dravatva (fluidity), sneha (viscosity), dharma (merit), adharma (demerit), śabda (sound) and saṁkāsra (faculty)[6].

3.Karma (activity): The karmas (activities) like guṇas (qualities) have no separate existence, they belong to the substances. But while a quality is a permanent feature of a substance, an activity is a transient one. Ākaśa (ether), kāla (time), dik (space) and ātman (self), though substances, are devoid of karma (activity)[7].

4.Sāmānya (generality): Since there are plurality of substances, there will be relations among them. When a property is found common to many substances, it is called sāmānya[8].

5.Viśeṣa (particularity): By means of viśeṣa , we are able to perceive substances as different from one another. As the ultimate atoms are innumerable so are the viśeṣas[9].

6.Samavāya (inherence): Kaṇāda defined samavāya as the relation between the cause and the effect. Praśastapāda defined it as the relationship existing between the substances that are inseparable, standing to one another in the relation of the container and the contained. The relation of samavāya is not perceivable but only inferable from the inseparable connection of the substances[10].

Epistemology and syllogism

The early vaiśeṣika epistemology considered only pratyaksha (perception) and anumāna (inference) as the pramaṇas (means of valid knowledge). The other two means of valid knowledge accepted by the Nyaya school, upamāna (comparison) and śabda (verbal testimony) were considered as included in anumāna[11]. The syllogism of the vaiśeṣika school was similar to that of the Nyaya, but the names given by Praśastapāda to the 5 members of syllogism are different[12].

The Atomic theory

The early vaiśeṣika texts presented the following syllogism to prove that all objects i.e. the four bhūtas, pṛthvī (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire) and vāyu (air) are made of indivisible paramāṇus (atoms): Assume that the matter is not made of indivisible atoms, and that it is continuous. Take a stone. One can divide this up into infinitely many pieces (since matter is continuous). Now, the Himalayan mountain range also has infinitely many pieces, so one may build another Himalayan mountain range with the infinite number of pieces that one has. One begins with a stone and ends up with the Himalayas, which is a paradox - so the original assumption that matter is continuous must be wrong, and so all objects must be made up of a finite number of paramāṇus (atoms).

According to the vaiśeṣika school, the trasareṇu (dust particles visible in the sunbeam coming through a small window hole) are the smallest mahat (perceivable) particles and defined as tryaṇukas (triads). These are made of three parts, each of which are defined as dvyaṇuka (dyad). The dvyaṇukas are conceived as made of two parts, each of which are defined as paramāṇu (atom). The paramāṇus (atoms) are indivisible and eternal, they can neither be created nor destroyed[13]. Each paramāṇu (atom) possesses its own distinct viśeṣa (individuality)[14].

The measure of the partless atoms is known as parimandala parimana. It is eternal and it cannot generate the measure of any other substance. Its measure is its own absolutely[15].

Later developments

Over the centuries, the school merged with the Nyaya school of Indian philosophy to form the combined school of nyāya-vaiśeṣika. The school suffered a natural decline in India after the 15th century.

Criticism by Vedanta school

The Vaisheshikas say that the visible universe is created from an original stock of atoms (janim asatah). As Kanada's Vaisheshika Sutra (7.1.20) states, nityam parimandalam (that which is of the smallest size, the atom, is eternal), he and his followers also postulate eternality for other, nonatomic entities, including the souls who become embodied, and even a Supreme Soul. But in Vaisheshika cosmology the souls and the Supersoul play only token roles in the atomic production of the universe. The Brahma Sutra (2.2.12) criticizes this position as ubhayathapi na karmatas tad-abhavah. According to this sutra, one cannot claim that, at the time of creation, atoms first combine together because they are impelled by some karmic impulse adhering in the atoms themselves, since atoms by themselves, in their primeval state before combining into complex objects, have no ethical responsibility that might lead them to acquire pious and sinful reactions. Nor can the initial combination of atoms be explained as a result of the residual karma of the living entities who lie dormant prior to creation, since these reactions are each jiva's own and cannot be transferred from them even to other jivas, what to speak of inert atoms.

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व्याकरण «vyākaraṇa»


From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vy%C4%81kara%E1%B9%87a 151219

The Sanskrit grammatical tradition of vyākaraṇa (Sanskrit: व्याकरण, IPA: [ʋjɑːkərəɳə]) is one of the six Vedanga disciplines. It has its roots in late Vedic India, and includes the famous work, Aṣṭādhyāyī, of Pāṇini (c. 4th century BCE).

The impetus for linguistic analysis and grammar in India originates in the need to be able to obtain a strict interpretation of the Vedic texts.[citation needed]

The work of the very early Indian grammarians has been lost; for example, the work of Sakatayana (roughly 8th century BCE) is known only from cryptic references by Yaska (c. 6th or 5th century BCE) and Pāṇini. One of the views of Sakatayana that was to prove controversial in coming centuries was that most nouns can be derived etymologically from verbs.

In his monumental work on etymology, Nirukta, Yaska supported this claim based on the large number of nouns that were derived from verbs through a derivation process that became known as krit-pratyaya; this relates to the nature of the root morphemes.

Yaska also provided the seeds for another debate, whether textual meaning is inherent in the word (Yaska's view) or in the sentence (see Pāṇini, and later grammarians such as Prabhakara or Bhartrihari). This debate continued into the 14th and 15th centuries CE, and has echoes in the present day in current debates about semantic compositionality.

Pre-Paninian schools

UKT 151219: I contend that before the arrival of IE speakers, the indigenous peoples of the mainland Indian sub-continent and the outlying island of Sri Lanka, extending into Myanmarpré were populated by various Tib-Bur speakers. The prominent Tib-Bur language was that of Magadha Mahajanapada area - now roughly the present-day area of Nepal and north-eastern India - was Vedic. The speakers had their main gods, Indra, Agni, and Soma. They  had other tutelary nature gods and goddesses (or mèdaws). They had their mantras and yantras. Their defensive weapons were bronze. The new arrivals, those who came through the north-western borders with their IE language and iron weapons took over mainland India, took over the ancient customs, and made the peoples their servants and slaves. They placed their main gods, all males - Mahabrahma, Vishnu, and Siva - over Indra, Agni, and Soma. They wrote stories of local mèdaws being the wives of their male gods. They took over the religion of Mantra and Yantra. They now have a need to formulate a new language to take over the Vedic chants. Panini was the most sucdessful of all ther linguists who turned Vedic into Classical Sanskrit. I contend that Yaska was a Vedic grammarian and his interest was the Veganda - the disciplines which are more useful than chanting of the Mantras with various intonations. The grammar of ancient Vedic must have been simple like the present day Bur-Myan whereas that of Sanskrit complex. It is said that the ancient Magadhi was so simple that even animals and women (whom the new comers had placed in an inferior position), servants and slaves could speak. On the other hand it is only the high castes all males could speak Sanskrit.

Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī, which is said to have eclipsed all other contemporary schools of grammar, mentions the names of nine grammarians.[1][2] A number of predecessors are referred to by Yāska, who is thought to have flourished a couple of centuries before Panini (c. 800 BCE[3]). Many of these individual names actually reflect the opinion of different schools of thought. Some of these pre-Paninian names of individuals / schools are:

The works of most these authors are lost but we find reference of their ideas in the commentaries and rebuttals by later authors. Yāska's Nirukta is one of the earlier surviving texts, and he mentions Śākaṭāyana, Krauṣṭuki, Gārgya, etc. In Yāska's time, nirukta "etymology" was in fact a school which gave information of formation of words. The etymological derivation of words. According to the nairuktas or "etymologists", all nouns are derived from s verbal root. Yāska defends this view and attributes it to Śākaṭāyana. While others believed that there are some words which are "Rudhi Words". 'Rudhi" means custom. Meaning they are a part of language due to custom, and a correspondence between the word and the thing if it be a noun or correspondence between an act and the word if it be a verbroot. Such word can not be derived from verbal roots. Yāska also reports the view of Gārgya, who opposed Śākaṭāyana who held that certain nominal stems were 'atomic' and not to be derived from verbal roots[4]

Of the remaining schools, Śākalya is held to be the author of the padapatha of the Rigveda (a word-by-word pronunciation scheme, aiding memory, for ritual texts).

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Yoga tradition

- UKT 151225. My father, U Tun Pe, had warned me about the Yoga practice of Samahta when I, at the age 16, told him that I would like to join a Buddhist religious group. He advised me against it saying that I still needed moral values of Sila {þi-la.} and he advised me just to be mindful of what I am doing at the present, such as breathing (inhaling & exhaling), and walking (stepping left-foot & right-foot, counting steps). What he was prescribing is simply paying attention to such daily activities, and nothing more. This first step is Attention {þa.ti.} स्मृति «smṛti», or in other words Satipaṭṭhāna {þa.ti.pût~hta-na.} स्मृत्युप्यथान «smṛtyupasthāna». This would unknowingly lead to the first part of Buddhist meditation: Mindfulness of Breathing, {a-na-pa-na.þa.ti.} आनापान स्मृति «ānāpānasmṛti» - a form of Yoga practice in any physical posture to suit your physical body. Though the usual way is to sit with buttocks on the floor and legs crossed comfortably (not necessarily the Lotus posture), it is not a requirement. You can do it sitting in a chair, or lying prone on your bed.

He based his argument on what he had experienced when he as a disciple of U Kyaw Dun (who my father would described as the Arakanese saya from Insein GTI) had practiced Yoga. U Kyaw Dun became mentally deranged when took up what is known as the Earth Concentration and had to retire from work. I am named after my father's mentor but Burmanised to Kyaw Tun. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Way 151225
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_meditation 151225

Mindfulness of Breathing, {a-na-pa-na.þa.ti.} आनापान स्मृति «ānāpānasmṛti», is {þa.ma.hta.} «śamatha». Since, it has no need for moral values, it can lead you to an evil life: for instance, a professional assassin (a murderer for hire) with a concentrated mind planning everything in detail and doing everything with calmness and mindfulness wiping out any giveaway clues!

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga

Yoga योग «yoga» 'Listen' is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in India. There is a broad variety of schools, practices, and goals [2] in Hinduism, Buddhism (particularly Vajrayana Buddhism [3] [4] [5], and Jainism. [6] [7] [8] [7] The most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga.

The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, in ancient India's ascetic and śramaṇa movements. [9] [note 1] The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga-practices is unclear, varyingly credited to Hindu Upanishads[10] and Buddhist Pāli Canon,[11] probably of third century BCE or later. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the first half of the 1st millennium CE,[12][13] but only gained prominence in the West in the 20th century.[14] Hatha yoga texts emerged around the 11th century with origins in tantra.[15][16]

... Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise, it has a meditative and spiritual core.[18] One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is also called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and metaphysics, and is closely related to Hindu Samkhya philosophy.[19]

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