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Monday, July 6, 2009

Again on the classification of prescriptions: is there a rationale behind it?

I started working on the classification of prescriptions in order to make sense of a long passage in Ramanujacarya´s Tantrarahasya. As soon as I could understand it I started getting involved in the (Mimamsa) history which lead to it and in its historical significance. In fact, I could not find any other Mimamsa author classifying prescriptions in the same manner as Ramanujacarya. But, indeed, I could hardly find two authors sharing all the same classifications. In fact, there seem to be several different ways of classifying prescriptions (a boring text by Sankara Bhatta, the Mimamsabalaprakasa, dedicates approximately 20 pages to lists of different classifications of prescriptions).
The most common ones are:
-apurvavidhi,
-niyamavidhi,
-parisankhyavidhi.
And:
-utpattividhi,
-viniyogavidhi,
-adhikaravidhi,
-prayogavidhi.
The last two members are often inverted (so in Parthasarathi´s Nyayaratnamala, and Mimamsabalaprakasa, Mimamsanyayaprakasa, Arthasangraha).
But other classifications are also quite popular:
-karmotpattividhi,
-gunavidhi,
-visistavidhi.
Or also samanyavidhi-visesavidhi, arthakarmavidhi-gunakarmavidhi, utpattividhi-gunavidhi-adhikaravidhi, etc.
All authors seem to refer to a shared reservoir of possible prescriptions. Hence, I expected all those terms to be frequent in Brahmana and Srautasutras. But, as far as I could understand, this is not the case. Nor are they used in other texts I am aware of. Mimamsakas may have started systematising oral lores of sacrificers or they could have created themselves all those subclasses due to their own desire to classify and sistematize Vedic texts.

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