tantra and prasaṅga in Śrautasūtra, Mīmāṃsā and Grammar
Participants: E. Freschi and Tiziana Pontillo
The project aims at throwing light on a shared prehistory of Śrautasūtra, Mīmāṃsā and Grammar, by means of a special focus on their structural approach to their topics (ritual or language). It shows how, notwithstanding their different objects, all schools share the idea of describing them through the opposition between general and specific rules, with the latter overruling the former. Furthermore, the project shows how, among the more technical devices used for this purpose, tantra and prasaṅga share some similarities ---insofar as they can make an element apply to a context where it is actually absent--- but at the same time represent two opposite models. tantra applies within the precinct of a certain context (i.e., a certain grammatical rule or a certain sacrifice), whereas through prasaṅga an element is applied outside its original context. Last, the project shows that the frame of reference of the authors of Śrautasūtra, Mīmāṃsā and Grammar is spatial. Accordingly, the usual way of referring to devices such as lopa as 'disappearance [of a phoneme]', is plainly wrong, because they imply a temporal perspective which is altogether absent. Instead, the project suggests to describe such devices as instances of substitution, with no diachronic implication.
Retrospect of 2012 (September-December): On the basis of a first article on this topic published before Summer 2012, E. Freschi and T. Pontillo wrote a book entitled ''Rule-extension strategies in Ancient India: Ritual, exegetical and linguistic considerations on the tantra- and prasaṅga-principles''. E. Freschi has presented part of the project during a conference in Cambridge, October 2012.
Any suggestion concerning further directions of research in this field are welcome.
On tantra and prasaṅga, see this post. For an application of tantra and prasaṅga outside their usual precincts, see this post. For my final balance on other projects, see this post.