Friday, March 22, 2013

āpātadhī in Vedānta Deśika and Rāmānuja

Reading Vedānta Deśika (aka Veṅkaṭanātha) often means having to do with syntetic expressions which can be understood only if one knows their background. One of such cases is āpātadhī or āpātapratīti, which recurs in the Seśvaramīmāṃsā, the Mīmāṃsāpādukā and in other texts by Vedānta Deśika (I owe this last notation to Marcus Schmücker).

An āpātadhī/āpātapratīti is, literally, a 'dropped down notion'. But what does it mean for a notion to be fallen down? I was first stimulated to read its antecedents in Rāmānuja's Śrī Bhāṣya by Halina Marlewicz' The question of the unity of Karmakāṇḍa and Jñānakāṇḍa according to Rāmānuja (available here). There, she translated this expression as follows:
[…] due to an instantly apparent (āpāta) and clear ascertainment of a durable and eternal effect, which is immortality, [which ascertainment is obtained from] the Upaniṣadic statements, occurring in the same part of the Veda of one's own Vedic tradition acquired by learning, one becomes qualified to study Uttara Mīmāṃsā […]
(adhyayanagṛhītasvādhyāyaikadeśipaniṣadvākyeṣu cāmṛtatvarūpānantasthiraphalāpātapratītes tan […] śarīrakamīmāṃsāyām adhikaroti). 

However, I am not completely convinced by the idea of equating āpātadhī with a sort of instantaneous enlightenment, as if it were due to a śaktinipāta.
Consider, by contrast, the following statement in a previous page of the Śrī Bhāṣya:
āpātataḥ pratītir vidyata eva, tathāpi […] āpātapratīto 'py arthaḥ saṃśayaviparyayau nātivartate.

The context is that of VS 1.1.1, discussing whether one needs to undertake a further study of the Vedānta, although one has already studied the phonic form of the Veda. The propounder says:

There is indeed a notion [of the content of the Veda] which derives out of descending down [automatically, from one's study of the phonic form of the Veda], nonetheless the meaning [of the Veda which one has acquired through] a descended cognition […] is still liable to doubt and contradictions.

If I am right, then, the āpātadhī is the cognition of the Veda's meaning one obtains automatically, as a consequence of one's study of the phonetic form of the Veda. This is still not stable enough and could be assailed by doubts, thus one needs to study the meaning of the Veda systematically, through the (Pūrva and) Uttara Mīmāṃsā.

For further posts on Vedānta Deśika's Seśvaramīmāṃsā, see this one and this one (in Sanskrit).


Unknown said...

Dear Elisa,

I think āpāta here means prima facie / provisional. Āpāta is also used in this sense in Bengali. Thus, as you say in the last paragraph, when one has an āpātadhī = prima facie / provisional / working knowledge of the Vedic texts, arising out of a study of its phonetic form, he “needs to study the meaning of the Veda systematically, through the [Pūrva] and Uttara Mīmāṃsā(s)”, with a view to divesting it of all doubts. Otherwise, how could one make sense of such Vedic statements as ‘yajamānaḥ prastaraḥ’? Āpātadhī may also be treated as śabdajñānam as distinguished from arthajñānam – this interpretation is consistent with the idea embedded in the famous Sanskrit adage, ‘āvṛttiḥ sarvaśāstrāṇāṃ bodhādapi garīyasī”.

elisa freschi said...

thank you, Sudipta, it is nice to receive further evidences!

elisa freschi said...

…I am not sure I got the connection of āpātadhī and āvṛttiḥ etc.

Unknown said...

Dear Elisa,

Āvṛttiḥ would here, by extension, mean āvṛttijaṃ jñānam = śabdajñānam = āpātadhī [according to my second interpretation above]. It is different from bodha = arthajñānam.

windwheel said...

Prior to the Destruction of Babri Masjid, Professors at SOAS would defer to me, a youngster, on Indology. We brought over qualified people to serve the Community.
Then, Babri Masjid happened. We did not create it. Things changed.
I remember, my wife was as Italian as Elisa Freschi. But she took tuition from people who had genuine knowledge of Skt. and Tamil. I paid for that tuition as was right and proper and befitting my status as the son of my Mum & Dad.
You know, when some one leaves a comment on the Internet, it does not mean they are smarter but are better at Google or other Search.
Fuck Sanskrit- it is not a language but a collocational Credentialist availability cascade- fuck Purva Mimamsa- Sankara tells us to do it in his most famous hymn- 'dukring karane'= it is the essence of Brahminism, my ancestral Religion, that I support and encourage the ORIENT AND ABIDING REALITY not the Occidental and doomed Shadow INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM NIGHT.
Elisa, I like you, I've asked you to send me your M/S's. I don't want to be a fucking rude cunt on your blog- though that is what blogs are for- BE LESS SURE OF YOURSELF.
Skt. does not exist. Learn from the true 'experts'. Make your own mind up.
Heck! I eat beef and drink wine.
But that beef is the Eucharist of Christ-as-Cow and my Wine is that of the 'twice born' apostle of Non-Violence, Dio- nyysisan.
Sweetheart, you aint bright enough to invent Philosophy from this sort of shite. Could do if, like me, you went for Maths- Concurrency, Matching, negative probability- but you aint smart enough.
Nor do you know the texts at all well.
I have made various helpful comments at different times.
I drink a lot. I'm a poet. I'm old. But YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO MAKE ME THE BAD GUY.
Sudipta Muni is shaping up to be the Amartya Sen of Skt.
Someone must stop him. It is a terrible waste.

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