Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Classifications of prescriptions (vidhi)

Mīmāṃsā authors propose several distinct classifications of prescriptions. Still, as typical within one darśana, they do not explicitly disagree with former or different ones. Apart from the historical interest of the development of these partly conflicting lists, their interactions offers an instance of the internal elaboration of a theme within one darśana. Vidhis are in fact a peculiar concern of Mīmāṃsā and hence their classification has probably been never influenced by other schools.
Leaving aside minor aspects, such as the lack of one or the other member, one finds variations of the following two classifications:
1. apūrvavidhi
2. niyamavidhi
3. parisāṅkhyavidhi
I. utpattividhi
II. viniyogavidhi
III. adhikāravidhi
IV. prayogavidhi
Some authors try to connect the two. For instance, Gāgābhāṭṭa, a late Bhāṭṭa, prefers the first one and asserts that apūrvavidhi can be further divided into classes I to IV. Nonetheless, he further claims that niyamavidhi and parisāṅkhyavidhi are usually (prāyeṇa) instances of viniyogavidhi.
Rāmānujācārya seems to be drawn by a tendency to rationalise the lists and gets rid of the first one, subsuming apūrvavidhi and niyamavidhi within utpattividhi. Parisāṅkhyavidhi is just left out.


Alessandro said...

The Arthasangraha quotes this verse (yathāhuḥ):

vidhir atyantam aprāptau niyamaḥ pākṣike sati | tatra cānyatra ca prāptau parisaṃkhyeti gīyate ||

Do you know the source?
Definition and example of apūrvavidhi: pramāṇāntareṇāprāptasya prāpako vidhir apūrvavidhiḥ yathā yajeta svargakāmaḥ ityādiḥ |

Def. and ex. of niyamav.: pakṣe ’prāptasya prāpako vidhir niyamavidhiḥ | yatha vrīhīn avahanti ityādiḥ |

Def. and ex. of parisaṅkhyavidhi: ubhayoś ca yugapatprāptāv itaravyāvṛttiparo vidhiḥ parisaṃkhyāvidhiḥ | yathā pañca pañcanakhā bhakṣyāḥ iti |

I understand the three types as determined by the object of prescription. In apūrvav. the object is svarga, which cannot be known by other means but the prescription itself. Not as clear the scope of the other two. Can you clarify?

elisa freschi said...

The verse quoted is Kumarila´s (Tantravartika ad, 42 in Jha´s translation).
Apurvavidhi enables one to know something previously unknown (apurva= pramaa.naantaraapuurva, ´not preceded by any other instrument of knowledge´).
Niyamavidhi enables one to decide about something already know. For instance, one already know that one needs rice to make a purodasa. But how to remove the chaff from the rice grains? A niyamavidhi tells you that you have to thresh rice grains.
The parisamkhyavidhi quoted by you tells you that all other animals but the five ones mentioned cannot be eaten. Hence, while explicitly saying that something may be done it in fact excludes all the rest. I will write more on that.

(I cannot type diacritics at the moment, hope this does not lead to misunderstandings)

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