Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Since a long time (see this post) I am looking for a blog which deals (at least also) with Indian philosophy, that is, not just with texts, but also with contents.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
bhāvanā → instrument, e.g., sacriﬁce
procedure, e.g., rites composing the sacriﬁce
object to be brought about (heaven)
object to be brought about, e.g.,bhāvanā →instrument (sacriﬁce)
śabdabhāvanā → instrument procedure
Monday, February 15, 2010
Within Rāmānujācārya's Tantrarahasya's discussion about the meaning of exhorative suffixes (liṅādi), an objector proposes that the apūrva implies the action (TR IV §3.12). This means that the apūrva should possibly be denoted according to its own nature (svarūpa), that is, independent of an action. This possibility is withdrawn since:
• implication –like metaphore– presupposes that one already knows about the connection between the implier and the implied entity. But this cannot be the case in regard to apūrva and eﬀort.
• the apūrva cannot be denoted according to its own nature, because its own nature depends, in order to be realised, on the action.
One might wonder why is metaphore possible and implication impossible. In other words, why is it possible that one gets at action through metaphore via apūrva, whereas the same action cannot be implied by the apūrva? I have not yet found a comparative discussion about the two, but I think they work in the following two ways:
liṅ etc. → apūrva
→ (apūrva) ⇒ action
liṅ etc. → apūrva
(with → indicating primary denotation and ⇒ indicating secondary denotation)
The second case seems to be excluded because it is not possible that the apūrva in itself signiﬁes the action, whereas it is possible that the exhortative suﬀixes secondarily denote it, through its link with apūrva. But why is the apūrva-action link enough for metaphore and not for implication? The only hint one ﬁnds in the text (§3.12) is that to the lack of an explicit (Vedic) statement enabling the implication. This might refer to the fact that the link between action and agent (the acceptable instance of implication) is proved through sense-perception. Since, however, sense-perception cannot attain apūrva, one
can only know about its links through a Vedic statement (śabda). Unfortunately, no such Vedic statement exists. On the other hand, metaphore is possible because the action is already within what can be denoted by the exhortative suﬀixes, though secondarily. As soon as one realises that the apūrva is not at the moment denoted, one immediately turns to the next potential meaning of the exhortative suﬀixes, i.e., the action.
Summing up, the apūrva cannot by itself imply anything, since there is no instrument of knowledge about it. On the other hand, exhortative suﬀixes denote primarily the apūrva but, in case this is not the meaning, the action.
However, I wonder whether a theory of karman could ever be proved to be true in the same way as a fertilizer is (the author does not mention any other example). One is reminded of the controversy about God's existence and the impossibility –according to the present author– to solve it in terms which have nothing to do with it (in other words: truth criteria for fertilizer are not necessarily the only possible ones). The theory of karman is of philosophical (not just psycho-analytical) interest because it is a defensible explanation of the existence of evil/the non-homogeneity of destinies/etc. A further problem in the paper is its insistence that the theory of karman is a moral one. Hence, since it is utterly immoral (because we have to suffer the consequences of former people), it does not hold. However, in most Indian philosophical texts I am aware of, the theory of karman is rather a mechanical explanation of the uninterrupted chain of actions and consequences, lacking any moral character. Lastly, the author's insistence on a Freudian interpretation of the theory of karman is challenging. However, I don't think it has anything to do with the theory of karman as a philosophical concept –rather, with its narrative and social outputs. In this sense, it does not make sense to accuse the theory of karman of lack of consistence on the strength of narratives such as that of Śakuntalā. The philosophical theory of karman and its upholders are not responsible of its use in epics and narratives… no more than Christian theologians are responsible of the use of heaven and hell in contemporary Holliwood films! That said, the essay is fascinating and thought-provoking.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
principal prescription ←directly contributing auxiliaries
indirectly contributing auxiliaries
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
According to both the Bhāṭṭa and the Prābhākara school of Mīmāṃsā, the relation betweeen a word and the entity it means is perpetual (nitya). Nonetheless,this does not amount to say that everyone, upon hearing for the ﬁrst time a word, automatically understands its meaning. Rather, one needs ﬁrst to acquire proﬁciency in language use through the usage of elder people and through the ensuing activities (both these aspects may be referred to as vyavahāra). E.g., after having heard one's grandfather ordering:“bring [the] cow!”,one sees one's father bringing a cow.
Through many similar instances, one eventually learns the meaning of the words “bring!” and “cow”.
But, according to the Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā, the meaning conveyed by the Veda is a duty (kārya) which is apūrva, that is, “non preceded [by any other instrument of knowledge]”. This means that no worldly instrument of knowledge can enable one to grasp an apūrva kārya. Hence,how could it be possible to learn the relation between a word and a meaning such as theapūrva kārya through the usage of the seniors? And if this is not possible, how could one understand the meaning of the Vedic words referring to it? In fact,though the relation between Vedic words and the apūrva kārya is ﬁxed,a meaning can be grasped only by people who have previously understood,by means of the linguistic usage of senior speakers,its relation with the word signiﬁying it. Nor can it be said that one can learn the meaning of Vedic words referring to an apūrva kārya through the Veda itself, as in this case there would be a vicious circle (the elders' usage would depend on the Veda,whose understanding depends on the elders' usage). Summing up (the last element is the result of the previous one/s)
- 1. senior speakers linguistic usages
- 2. ensuing activities
- 3. comprehension of worldly meanings (vyutpatti) by younger people
- 1. comprehended worldly meanings
- 2. comprehension of Vedic meanings
However, if the Vedic meaning to be comprehended has no antecedent in the world, this process cannot occur. Or, a vicious circles takes place, since the practical activity cannot but be based on the Veda, when a meaning that is accessible only through the Veda is at stake:
- 1. apūrva-content imparted from the Veda
- 2. one looks at practical activity to comprehend it
- 3. practical activity cannot but be based on the Veda
- 4. one looks at the Veda to understand the apūrva
- 5. loop
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
In general Jaimini describes the sacrifice without mythological and cosmological references. He uses words like prakṛti-vikṛti (archetype-ectype), pradhāna-guṇa (primary element-qualification), nāma-rūpa (name form) and dharma in outlining his structure of the sacrifice, words used elsewhere, in systems such as the Vaiśeṣika or Sāṃkhya, with cosmological reference. But he makes no such reference; he claims the words as his own but uses them with limited, particular and ritual and grammatical senses. In general, the world is merely loka: that neutral place whence elements of the sacrifice come. It is the realm of what merely is, where things are religiously indifferent or only potentially relevant before being introduced into the sacrifice.(Clooney 1986:203)