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Friday, November 21, 2008

Sanskrit usages 2:artha

The Pūrvapakṣin in Rāmānujācārya's Tantrarahasya, chapter IV, §3.16, seems to reinterpret ārthībhāvanā as puruṣārthabhāvanā, so “bhāvanā having a human end [as its bhāvya]”, “purpose-[oriented] bhāvanā”. But is this a reinterpretation or the initial meaning of arthabhāvanā? It would indeed seem an innovation of R., who drives from a parallel Vidhinirṇaya (Pārthasārathimiśra's) passage, but emphasises the etymological understanding of arthabhāvanā (whereas the VN passage speaks of arthabhāvanā as puruṣārthasādhana). In fact, the innovation of Kumārila, who distinguished between śabda- and arthabhāvanā seems to presupose the opposition between śabda (as language) and artha (as its object). Nonetheless, I could not find a precise explanation of arthabhāvanā as meaning “the efficient force directed on an external object” or the like. Mīmāṃsābālaprakāśa, a late Bhāṭṭa primer, explains: arthayata ity arthaḥ phalakāmaḥ puruṣaḥ (MBP, II adhyāya; 74.15-16, quoted in Kataoka 2004:167, fn. 190), and Kei Kataoka also suggests (personal communication, 1 October 2008) that “Kumārila probably has in mind puruṣa as artha”. Does this mean that the object of the arthabhāvanā is a person's [activity]? Should, hence, arthabhāvanā be interpreted as artham bhāvayati –arthaś ca puruṣavyāparaḥ iti bhāvaḥ? Or rather, bhāvanā means vyāpāra and arthabhāvanā means arthasya, puruṣasya, vyāpāraḥ (with the puruṣasya as the agent)? This latter solution goes, I fear, too far. But how else could puruṣa be the artha?

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