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A Comparative Study of abda Vypras

according to Naiyyikas, Mmsakas and


Vaiykaraas

THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE


MAHATMA GANDHI UNIVERSITY
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
IN
SANSKRIT

By

SHARMILA N.S.
PUTHENPURAYIL,
VALAYANCHIRANGARA P.O.,
PERUMBAVOOR, ERNAKULAM

RESEARCH CENTRE

CHINMAYA INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION,


SHODHA SANSTHAN,
ADI SANKARA NILAYAM,
VELIYANAD, ERNAKULAM

DECEMBER 2010

Dr. A. Ramaswamy Iyengar


Former Director,
Chinmaya International Foundation,
Shodha Sansthan,
Adi Sankara Nilayam,
Veliyanad, Ernakulam, Kerala - 682 319.

CERTIFICATE

This is to certify that this thesis, A Comparative Study of abda Vypras


according to Naiyyikas, Mmsakas and Vaiykaraas
Vaiykaraas, submitted for the
award of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, in the Faculty of Language & Literature
of the Mahatma Gandhi University, Priyadarsini Hills, Kottayam, is the record of
bonafide research carried out by Sharmila N.S.
N.S., under my guidance.

Bangalore
24.12.2010

Dr. A. Ramaswamy Iyengar

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

It is with immense pleasure that I express my sincere gratitude to my guide


Dr. A. Ramaswamy Iyengar who has given me instructions to complete this research
project. I am very grateful to my teacher, Retd. Principal, Prof. R. Lakshmikutty
for her generous care. I owe much to Smt. K.P. Prasanna, Principal, Govt. Sanskrit
College, Tripunithura and Dr. P.N. Sudarsanan, who have rendered to me in the
completion of this work. Finally, I should like to place on record my indebtedness
to the officials in the Research Centre, CIF, Veliyanad, Ernakulam and the library
staffs in Govt. Sanskrit College, Tripunithura, for providing me with adequate
facilities for carrying out my research.

SHARMILA N.S.

PREFACE
In Indian Philosophical parlance, language is usually called abda. abda,
essentially means sound (dhvani), both in its articulate and inarticulate aspects.
The articulated form of sound is 'verbal'; and this verbal knowledge or abda-jna
constitutes a major source of knowledge. The word 'abda' is as old as life on the
earth. It is not at all an over statement that the most of the stock of knowledge of
human beings and animals is possible not by pratyaka, anumna or upamna but
by abda. Due to this reason, the nature, importance, significance and applications
of abda attracted the attention of philosophers in India even before two or three
thousands years ago. But in Western philosophy, discussions concerning the nature
of language appears to have started very recently.
Among the different epistemological systems, Padvkyapramastras viz.
Vykaraa, Mmsa and Nyya school play a crucial role attaining precision and
perfection in philosophical expressions; and hence they assume supreme significance.
Concerning the nature and structure of language, the contribution of
grammarians in general and that of Bharthari, the author of Vkyapadiya in
particular is really remarkable. The study of abda however has been discussed
right from Yaska's Nirukta. Pini has incorporated certain special stras for this

vi

purpose. Later Patanjali discusses these issues and hints at the well-known theory
of sphoa. It is elaborately discussed and developed further by Bharthari. Nagea
and Koabhaa also provide valuable contributions to this field.
Nyya system is an analytical system of human behaviour since this system
mainly discusses about the nature of knowledge, relationship between language
and reality, philosophy of language, reality of universe etc. In their opinion,
'nishreyasa' or 'apavarga' can be attained through knowledge only. Knowledge is
based on language viz. words & sentences. Hence in Nyyastra, the study of
abda, artha, abdavypra and bdabodha assumes a prominent place.
Mmsa system contributes very profusely to the Indian theory of meaning.
This is the first system to undertake the analysis of sentence and its meaning
systematically. It has greatly contributed to the development of linguistics, especially
semantics, in ancient India by propounding various theories of verbal cognition.
Among the theories, the theory of the correction of the expressed or
Abhihitnvayavda and the theory of the expression of the correlated or
Anvitbhidhnavda have significantly drawn the attention of Western scholars.
From all these we arrive at a conclusion that Indian thinkers have concentrated
a lot on the theory and practice of verbal communication, and they have left no
stone unturned in analysing different dimensions of language. An analysis of the
topics related to language (abda) plays an important role in moulding the character
of individuals and hence this topic demand a serious study as it contributed largely
to the Indian theory of meaning.
The present thesis is the result of my endeavour as a research student of M.G.
University. The purpose of the attempt is to present a comprehensive view of the

vii

epistemologists regarding abda. Hence the various concepts of connecting abda


are found elaborated here in a comparative and comprehensive setting.
The thesis comprises of five chapters. In the first chapter, the importance,
historical background and major contributions of language are illustrated. Then the
various topics concerning abda are described. In the second chapter, nature and
concept of pada & padrtha (word & meaning), akti, locus of akti and
aktigrahopyas are elaborated. Third chapter deals with the different abdavypras
like Abhidh (akti), Lakan, Vyajana, Ttparya etc.
In the fourth chapter, different concepts of bdabodha are taken into account.
Last chapter delineates many concepts in Indian Philosophy of language and finally
a conclusion is arrived at, after the comparison of various views.

ABBREVIATIONS
AB

Aitareya Brhmaa

AK

Amarakoa

AS

Atdhyyi

AU

Aitareyopaniad

AV

Atharva Veda

AVM

Abhidhvttimtka

BG

Bhagavadgta

BHC

Bhacintmai

BP

Bhapariccheda

BPS

Bhpariccheda edited by Pacnana stri

BR

Bh-ratna

BS

Brahma Stra

BSSB

Brahma Stra nkara Bhya

BU

Bhadrayakopaniad

Chn.UP

Chndogyopaniad

CSAINP

Concept of Sentence Analysis In Nyya Philosophy

DL

Dhvanyloka

GSV

Gautama Stra Vtti

HIL

History of Indian Literature (Winternitz)

HSL

History of Sanskrit Literature (Keith)

HYP

Haa Yoga Pradpik

ix

IP

Indian Philosophy (Radhakrishnan)

ITM

Indian Theories of Meaning

JNV

Jaiminyanyyamlvistara

Kr

Krikvali

KD

Kvydara

KIR

Kiravali

KLSV

Kvylankara Stra Vtti

KP

Kvyapraka

KS

Kvynusana

KT

Kiravali Tk

KU

Kenopaniad

LM

Laghumanjua

Muktvali

Maitr. UP

Maitr Upaniad

MBH

Mahbhya

MB

Mahbhrata

MK

Maikaa

MM

Mnameyodaya

MS

Mms Stra

Mun. UP

Mundakopaniad

N. Bha

Nyya Bhya

ND

Nyyadarana

NDV

Nyya Darana Vimara

Nir

Nirukta

NK

Nyyakoa

N. kus

Nyyakusumjali

NM

Nyyamajari

NS

Nyya Stra

NSM

Nyya Siddhnta Muktvali

NSMR

Nyya Siddhnta Majari

N. Vr

Nyya - Vrttika

PC

Padrthacandrika

PLM

Parama Laghu Manjua

PMS

Prva Mmsa in its Sources

PP

Prakaraa Pacika

PR

Puyarja Commentary on VP

Prana. UP

Pranopaniad

PS

Paninya ika

PWM

Philosophy of Word & Meaning

Rg

g Veda

RG

Rasa Gangdhara

RS

Raghu Vama

b. Tar

bda - Taragii

AK.V

aktivda

xi

SB

barabhya

SD

Sahityadarpaa

SDK

Shityadarpaa (Kane)

SDS

Sarvadarana Sagraha

iv. Dr

iva - di

SK

Smkhyakrik

SN

atcakra Nirpaa

SPB

Skhyapravacanabhya

SRP

grapraka

SS

Sphoasiddhi

SSP

abdaaktiprakika

ST

Subodhini Tka on aktivda

SU

Svetvataropaniad

TB

Tarkabha

Tbi

Tattvabindu

TBR

Tdyabrhmaa

TC

Tattvacintmai

TD

Tarkadpik

TK

Tarkakaumudi

TP

Tarkapda

TR

Trkikaraka

TS

Tarkasagraha

xii

TU

Taittiriyopaniad

TV

Tantravrttika

UP

Upaniad

VB

Vtsyyana - bhya

VBS

Vaiykaraa Bhuana Sra

VM

Vkyrthamtka

VMV

Vkyrthamtka Vtti

VP

Vkyapadya

VPB

Vedantaparibha

VS

Vaieika Stra

VUP

Vaieikopaskra Bhya (on NS)

VV

Vkyavtti

YS

Yogastra

CONTENTS
Page No.
Preface

Abbreviations

viii

Introduction

1-6

Chapter 1 - ABDA - A MAJOR SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE 7-47


1:1

Language (Vk) - A General Outlook

1:2

Major Contributions of Language (abda)

1:3

Importance of Language

1:4

Historical Background of Language

11

1:5

Concept of Language

13

1:6

Derivation of Language

14

1:7

Relation between Thought & Language

15

1:8

Various Levels of Speech

16

1:9

1:8:1

Par

1:8:2

Payant

1:8:3

Madhyam

1:8:4

Vaikhar

The Unit of Language


1:9:1

Varavda

1:9:2

Padavda

1:9:3

Vkyavda

18

1:10 Concept of Akara

21

1:11 Importance of abda (Pada or Word)

22

xiv

1:12 Concept of abda

25

1:13 Concept of abda as a Prama

28

1:14 Nature of abda

32

1:14:1 Eternality of abda Naiyyikas Stand point


1:14:2 Eternality of abda Mmsakas' Stand point
1:14:3 Eternality of abda Grammarians' Stand point
Chapter 2 - PADA & PADRTHA THE SOUL OF THE SPEAKER

48-93

2:1

Importance of Pada & Padrtha

48

2:2

Analysis of Pada & Padrtha

49

2:3

Pada (Word) - Its Nature & Definition

51

2:3:1

Grammarians' View

2:3:2

Naiyyikas' View

2:3:3

Mmsakas' View
Conclusion

2:4

Classification of Pada
2:4:1

Yaugika

2:4:2

Rha

2:4:3

Yogarha

2:4:4

Yaugikarha

57

2:5

Concept of Padrtha (Word - Meaning)

63

2:6

Relation between Pada & Padrtha


(Word & Meaning) or Concept of akti

68

xv

2:7

2:8
2:9

Locus of akti
2:7:1

Aktivdina

2:7:2

Jtivdina

2:7:3

Vyaktivdina

2:7:4

Jtyktivyaktivdina

2:7:5

Jativiitavyaktivdina

2:7:6

Apohavdina

2:7:7

Jtydivdina

73

aktigrahopyas (Means of Knowing the


Meaning of Words)

78

Concept of Vkya (Sentence)

83

Chapter 3 - ABDA VYPRA - THE ROOT OF


THE USE OF LANGUAGE

94-146

3:1

Concept of abda - Vypra

94

3:2

Word Relations - Different Opinions

95

3:3

Different abda - Vypras

96

3:4

Primary Signification (Abhidh)

97

3:5

Secondary Signification (Lakan)

104

3:6

3:5:1

Concept of Lakan

3:5:2

Definition of Lakan

3:5:3

Essential Condition for Lakan

3:5:4

Different Views on Lakan

3:5:5

Classification of Lakan

Vyajana (Suggestion)
3:6:1

Concept of Vyajana

122

xvi

3:6:2

Importance of Vyajana

123

3:6:3

Definition of Vyajana

126

3:6:4

Classification of Vyajana

127

3:6:4:1 bd Vyajan
3:6:4:2 rth Vyajan
3:7

Ttparya
3:7:1

130

Concept of Ttparya

Chapter 4 - BDABODHA - A DISTINCT FEATURE OF


VERBAL KNOWLEDGE

147-192

4:1

Introduction

147

4:2

Concept of bdabodha

148

4:3

Derivation of the Term bdabodha

151

4:4

Definition of bdabodha

151

4:5

Process of bdabodha

153

4:6

Various stages in the Process of bdabodha

154

4:7

Central Nucleus of a Sentence

156

4:8

Two Types of bdabodha

161

4:9

4:8:1

Khaabdabodha

4:8:2

Akhaabdabodha

Different Theories of bdabodha


4:9:1

Anvitbhidhnav da

4:9:2

Abhihitnvayavda

4:9:3

Sphoavda

4:9:4

Ttparyavda

4:9:5

Sasarga - maryda - vda

163

xvii

4:10 Necessary Conditions of bdabodha

174

4:10:1 Logicians' View point


4:10:2 Vaiykaraas' View point
4:10:3 Mmsakas' View point
4:10:4 lakrikas' View point
4:10:5 Vedntins' View point
4:10:1:1 kka
4:10:1:1:1 Types of kk
4:10:1:2 Yogyat
4:10:1:3 satti or Sannidhi
4:10:1:4 Ttparya
Chapter 5 - CONCLUSION
5:1
5:2

5:3

193-234

Distinction between Eastern & Western


Concept of Philosophy

194

Concepts of East & West - Similarities &


Dissimilarities

196

5:2:1

Concept of Language

5:2:2

Important aspects of Language


(abda or Word)

5:2:3

Relation between Word and Meaning

5:2:4

Power of Words

5:2:5

Understanding the Meaning

Major issues connected with abda An analytical survey


5:3:1

abda (Word)

204

xviii

5:3:2

Nature of abda (Word)

5:3:3

Unit of Language (Speech)

5:3:4

Padrtha (Word - Meaning)

5:3:5

Relation between Word and Meaning

5:3:6

Vkya (Sentence)

5:3:7

abda - Vypara (abdavtti)


5:3:7:1 Different abda - Vypras

5:3:8

Analysis of Sentence - Meaning

5:3:9

Principal or Chief qualificand


in bdabodha

5:3:10 Cause of bdabodha


5:3:11 The Process of Comprehending the meaning
CONCLUDING REMARKS
BIBLIOGRAPHY

229
235-246

A Comparative Study of abda Vypras according to


Naiyyikas, Mmsakas and Vaiykaraas
Introduction
From time immemorial man is aware of the importance of knowledge.
Because knowledge reveals the world and with the help of this revealed world
we can interact with other people properly. Hence, Man thinks about knowledge
and gradually analyse it. The earliest record of Indian knowledge and wisdom
are contained in the hymns of g-veda, in various Sahitas, Brhmaas,
Upaniads and later in the books of Ethics, Ntigranthas and Laws. So we can
say that though the philosophical thinking begins with the g-veda itself;it is
prominently revealed in the hymns like Nsadeeya skta, Purua skta and the
sktas ascribed to Drghatamas. Of these,the sktas of Drghatamas contain the
germs of the dualistic realism while the Puruasktas and Devsktas show the
germs of monistic idealism. On the basis of this monistic idealism or dualistic
realism, there arose six philosophical systems in India.
These six schools of Indian thought are known as stika(orthodox or vaidika)
daranas on account of their recognising vedic authority. They form a group of
'saddaranas' -viz. Prvammsa of Jaimini, Uttarammsa of Bdaryaa,
Skhya school of Kapila, Yoga school of Patanjali, Nyya system of Gotama and
Vaieika school of Kanda. Side by side with these orthodox schools, there
developed Nstika (non-orthodox or heterodox) or avaidika (Non-vedic) schools

of philosophy, as they came to deny the authority of the veda and the existence of
God. These three are the Bauddha, Jaina and Crvakadaranas.
Most of the philosophical systems of India take up the problem of language
as a part of their epistemological concern, otherwise known as prama sstra.
These systems draw a clear line of distinction between cognition or jna and
knowledge or pram. While analysing the concept of pram, they categorise different
methods or means of knowledge or prama.
Among the Nstikas and stikas, the Crvkas opine that the world can be
revealed by only one form of knowledge ie perception. The Buddhists and the
Vaiseikas hold that the world can be revealed by perception and Inferential
cognition. But according to the Skhyas, the world can be revealed by perception,
Inferential cognition and verbal cognition. The Naiyyikas hold that the world is
revealed by four types of knowledge ie perceptual cognition, Inferential
cognition,analogical cognition and verbal cognition. But according to Prbhkaras,
there are five types of cognition ie perception, inference, analogy, verbal cognition
and the pre-supposition or presumption. The Bha school thinks that we need six
types of cognition to reveal the world. These are:- the above mentioned five types
of the Prbhkaras and the sixth being 'Anupalabdhi' ie not finding something which
is fit to be found. Similarly according to the Paurikas, in addition to the above
mentioned six types of cognition, the world is revealed by two more forms of
knowledge namely, a cognition generated by 'Aitihy' and a cognition generated
by 'Sabhava'.
In short all the schools of Indian philosophy regard certain means of knowledge
as valid. The word Prama signifies the essential means of arriving at valid

knowledge. As such it is defined as 'Pramkaraa prama'. Here pram means


valid knowledge and that which makes valid knowledge possible is therefore called
prama.
Among the different epistemological systems, Naiyyikas opine that language
encodes the knowledge which is to be verbalised. The Nyya theory of reality is
based on the theory of knowledge and accordingly, the discussion of pramas
acquire a great importance in the Nyy system. They have reduced the number of
the eight type of knowledge and also argued that among the above mentioned eight
types, five to eight may include in the first four types, and there is no need to give
a special status of distinct type of valid instrument of knowledge or prama. In
their opinion, language is the medium through which the speaker or the writer
transmits his knowledge to the learner or reader. Hence the Naiyyikas call the
universe as padrtha,the referent of language. This language is usually refered as
abda in all the schools of Indian philosophy and this abda prama constitutes a
major source of our knowledge. Like other Orthodox schools of Philosophy,
Naiyyikas accept the sabda-prama or verbal testimony as a means of right
cognition. Therefore Gautama, the author of Nyya stra wrote the aphorism'ptopadea abda'.
In human life, language occupies a very significant place because we use
language for communication and that performs the role of advancing and generating
thought. Like every philosophical problem, concerning language also admit of
altenative approaches and under standings. This accounts for variety of philosphies
of languages. The science of language is the most outstanding contribution that the
scholars of ancient India have made, and in this linguistic literature, Vedic Sika or

phonetics, Vykaraa or formal Grammar and Nirukta or Etymology has a unique


place not only in India,but also in whole world. Of these,the Nirukta of Yska
mentions the names of several authorities and shows that the speculation on meaning
and language had begun long before Yska and it also stated that at the end of the
Vedic period, metaphysical and syntactical problems of language had been fully
stated. On the basis of these problems, the schools of Indian philosophy have
developed their views. Hence a comparative study of abda-vypras or wordfunctions in Indian thought has flown into different channels in divergent direction.
Connecting with this study, there have been raised several issues that have
been discussed by the different schools of Indian thought. In this field, Ritualism or
Mmsa, Grammar or Vykaraa and Logic or Nyy systems have made the
most significant contributions to the development of the philosophy of language,
by analysing word (abda or pada), sentence (vkya) and their meaning (padrtha
and vakyrtha) in the most scientific way. Besides them, the newer schools of these
systems ie Navyas have contribute many significant theories of linguistics and
philosophy.
Among the different epistemological problems, concept of abda, abdavypra and bdabodha ie the process of comprehending the meaning of a sentence
demand a serious study as it contribute largely to the Indian theory of meaning. In
the above mentioned topic, Nyya sidhnta muktvali,the famous Nyy text of
Vivantha sums up the latest thinking of Nyya scholars. With the help of the
comparative study of the technical terms illustrated by Vivantha,
''Padajna tu karaa dvra tatra padrthadh
bdabodha phala tatra aktidh sahakri;''

we should get a clear picture about the concept of abda, abdavypras and
bdabodha according to Mmsakas, Naiyyikas and Vaiykaraas. Here we
can see the terms pada, padrtha, akti and bdabodha respectively function as
karaa, Dvra, Sahakrikraa and phala. All these terms are concerned with the
concept of cause and effect.
The present study contains five chapters. The first chapter is abda-A major
source of knowledge'. The second chapter is 'Pada and padrtha - the soul of the
speaker'. The third chapter is 'abda- vypra- the root of the use of language'.
Fourth chapter is bdabodha-a distinct feature of verbal knowledge'. Fifth and the
last chapter is 'Conclusion.'
The first chapter explains an out look about the language [abda] like the
importance of language, its historical background,major contributions of language,
its concept,derivation etc. Because language is the prime vehicle for the conveyance
of meaning. Therefore in the study of abda vyaparas, language has a prominent
place and then only the abda, pada, padrtha and vkya. Various thinkers have an
opinion that there is a close relationship between thought and language. Hence it
described in the first chapter. Then the various levels of speech, the unit of language,
concept of akara, the importance of abda,the nature and concept of abda- all
these are explained in this chapter.
The second chapter begins with the illustration of the above mentioned karika
of abdakhaa viz''Padajna tu karaa dvra tatra padrthadh
bdabodha phala tatra aktidh sahakri;''

In the opinion of Vivantha, the knowledge of words (Pada-jna) function


as an instrument (Karaa), the process (dvra) (vypra)is the knowledge of the
meanings of the words (padrthadhi), the product (phala) is the Verbal cognition
(bdabodha) and the knowledge of denotative function (akti) is the auxiliary cause
(Sahakri kraa). Among these technical terms 'Pada' is first. Hence firstly this
'Pada' is illustrated. Here the definition and classification of pada, the nature and
meaning of padrtha, relation between pad & padrtha (word & meaning) ie akti,
its importance, the locus of akti, the ascertainment of akti or aktigrahopayas,the nature and definition of sentence, also have been described.
Third chapter deals about the different abda - vypras or word-functions
like Abhidh (akti), Lakan, Ttparya and Vyajan. These functions function
as the root of the use of language which plays an important role in our thought
communication.
In the fourth chapter, the concept, derivation and definition of bdabodha,
process of bdabodha, various stages in the process of bdabodha, central nucleus
of a sentence and like wise two types of bda bodha, the different theories of
bdabodha, necessary conditions of bdabodha has been taken into account.
Last chapter describes about the many concepts in the Indian philosophy of
language which are unknown to Western analysts. For example - the concepts of
sphoa, apoha, anvitbhidhna etc. Here noticed the basic distinction between Eastern
& Western concept of philosophy, many similarities and dissimilarities of the
concepts of East & West, the major issues handled by the Indian epistemological
systems etc. Then finally reach a concluding point after the comparison of the
views of Indian epistemologists- all these are included in this chapter.

Chapter - 1
ABDA- A MAJOR SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE

1:1 - Language (vk) - A general outlook.


In the opinion of the scholars in all parts of the world, language as an instrument
for scientific enquiry that engages itself into the study of meaning and potentiality
of expressions. Among these the Vedic Orientalists believe that language or vk is
the supreme reality exists for the society since the communication of meaning or
thought is possible only by means of language and the members of the society
would orally communicate the brhmaic mantras for the correct employment of
languages.
According to the Atharvaveda,the ultimate principle of all language or speech
is the supreme being. The atapata Brhmaa says that the ultimate reality even
beyond the Lord of creation is vk or speech. On the basis of Taittirya Sahita,
Indra is the first Grammarian,for he analyses language or vk into roots of words
and offers grammar to language. Mndukya Upaniad says that which is beyond is
the ultimate vk as identified with pure consciousness or caitanya, out of which the
world of beings comes as a construction. Here the sound 'Aum' symbolizes reality.In
addition to these, Upaniads very clearly state that words can convey the external
objects like water, fire etc; and the nature of highest and purest speech is described
more fully in the Upaniads. Prtikhyas also give etymological explanation of

words and also the statements regarding the phonetic laws. Hence we can say that
the etymology as a science and as a separate branch of Linguistics developed in
India with Prtikhyas and also with Nirukta of Yska. By composing Nighanu,
Yska arranged words systematically and explained their meanings can rightly be
said to be the first author to treat etymology as a science most essential for the
understanding of language. Yska divides language into four parts -Nma,akhyta,
upasarga,and nipta (Nouns,Verbs, Prefixes and Particles). On the basis of this
division of language, the different systems of Indian thought developed their views
and finally they have reached their own conclusions.
1:2 - Major Contributions of Language (abda)
Among the various contributions related with language (abda), the most
outstanding contribution of the philosophers of ancient India is the philosophy of
language. Contribution of Yska is really a valuable achievement in the field of
philosophy of language. Nirukta of Yska,the oldest available specimen of
etymological analysis is the first book where we can see the beginnings of linguistic
analysis in Indian thought. Yska divided the language into four parts-Nma,
akhyta, upasarga, and nipta. Of these,the first one is a meaningful division of
speech which stands for the uniqueness of referend in space1. The second one is
used in the sense of the result of action. This type of analysis was placed first by
Yska and later it is accepted by all the Indian Philosophers and Grammarians. So
Yska is considered as the founder of logical syntax of language as well as the
analysis of it.
The Atdhyyi of Paii, the Mahbhya of Patanjali, the Vrtikas of
Ktyyana are the famous books next to the Nirukta. Bharthari, the philosopher,

grammarian, and poet lived centuries ago to Dain presumed abda as Brahma ie
all pervading. The world of scholars consider his great work Vkyapadya as the
ocean of abdastra. Bharthari, in his work upgrade the discussion of the subject
- abda and artha ie abdrthaparylojana-to the state of a darana. Among the
different systems of thought, to the philosophy of language, Mimsakas and
Vaiykaraas have made very remarkable contributions, while Naiyyikas play an
important role on the empirical level. Bharthari, being one of the principal exponents
of the grammarian school, made a significant contribution on the issues relating to
philosophy and the structure of language. This fifth century philosopher of language
and grammar has long being disregarded as a mere Grammarian. His famous work
Vkyapadya, as the title indicates, is about sentences and words. Unlike other
Grammarians, in this work, he talks less of the grammar of sentences and words
and more of their philosophical dimensions.
Among the Mmsa texts,- Mmsa Stras of Jaimini, lokavrttika, Tantra
vrttika, Prakaraa pacik, The Tattvabindu and the Mnamayodaya contributed
to India. The Nyya school of Indian logic has its basic text in the Nyya Stras of
Gautama, on which Vtsyyana wrote the Nyyabhya then Nyya vrttika, Nyya
kusumanjali, aktivda, Vyutpattivda, Nyya Siddhnta Muktavali, Tarka
Sagraha are the popular texts related to abda.
1:3 - Importance of Language
In every field of study, solutions of the various problems can be taken out
only through the medium of language. Especially in Indian Philosophy, various
theories of meaning derive from the basic concept of language which is the only
means of communication. These theories of meaning are simply the explanations

10

of knowledge, which, a listener acquires from the words of a speaker, and in this
sense it is basically a theory of understanding. In short language is the nucleus
around which all the linguistic problems have cropped up.
Language or speech is the vehicle of communication amongst the members
of society. We live, move and have our being in language. Language is one of the
most precious gift given by God to men and this is the innate wealth of man. In
acquiring knowledge, language is an important factor. We can share our experience
or ideas with others through the medium of language. All kinds of knowledge had
been handed over to us in the form of language. Dain said that there would have
been the blind darkness in all the three world (lokas) had there been no light of the
word illuminated2.
Language plays a role of unchallengable importance in our life and it is a
fascinating aspect of human behaviour. Not only it makes distinction between man
and animal, but mediates human knowledge also3. Importance of language is clearly
explained by the seers of gveda-Those who do not appreciate the beauties of
speech cannot see language, even when they are seeing, cannot hear it, even when
they are hearing, but those who understand the language know the speech well.
They know the exact form of speech, because the speech unfolds her secrets to
them like a beautiful maiden garbed in colourful dress4.
Language is the prime vehicle for the conveyance of meaning; and the best
means for our communication. It also regarded as the creation of God which He has
put every where. This is the reason that every one on the earth is indebted to speech.
It is through speech that one sees, breaths and hears others. This shows the social
importance of speech. Communication among the members of a society through

11

language is very necessary for the existence of the society and also for the existence
of its members. For the conveyance of meaning, language is the only vehicle. Without
language, one can never convey his ideas to another and this only distinguishes
man from animals. Without speak, the distance between two men were very long.
In this manner we can guess the importance of language.
In Indian tradition of knowledge, the language has occupied a most significant
place. Out of six constituents or agas of vedic knowledge, the four of them are
deal with the various aspects of language alone.viz. Sika means phonetics,
Vykaraa means descriptive linguistics, Nirukta means Etymology or Historical
Linguistics and Chandas means metrics. The contribution of Yska is really a
valuable achievement to the philosophy of language. On the basis of the concept of
language, different systems of thought have made their distinct contributions to the
various aspects of linguistics and semantic analysis. Here language is usually referred
as 'abda' and abdapramaa constitutes a major source of our knowledge.
To describe our past, present or future events in our life, we always use
language. Also to express our wishes,emotions, desires, commands etc. then
also we use language. Speech is thus a universally exerted activity having at
first definitely utilitarian aims5. So we can conclude that the basic function of
language is communication and communication is the most widely recognized
function of language.
1:4 - Historical Background of Language
We can trace the beginning of speculation on language back to the Vedas,
Sahitas, Brhmaas and the Upaniads. If we regard the Vedas as the earliest

12

written record, we find that the people at that time began to think of language as the
highest Gift that the providence has bestowed upon them.
Some opine that the word is as old as the Vedas. While some others hold that
Indra was the first man to analyse the speech and give a grammar to language. Thus
they establish that Indra was the first Grammarian. So it is true that the beginning
of the analysis of language and of meaning is firstly found in Vedas and then these
are gradually developed in Vykaraa and Mmsa. Pini, the great Grammarian
was concerned more with the form of language than with its meaning. He has
thoroughly investigated into the nature of parts of speech and etymological
derivations of words. He has tried to explain the spoken language of his time by
providing a scientific explanation of words.
The Orientalists opine that Vk owes its origin to God and they personified it
as a Goddess in Vedas.Syaa explained that the father of Vk is Ambha and it
is the substratum of whole cosmos, unique and has the complete identity with
Brahman6. For the evidence of this, a g Veda mantra also can be cited7. The
Vaidika seers8 viewed that Vk which is spoken by all animals. World came into
existence from logos9 (Vk)and this speech is eternal10, Thus speech is a divine gift
to man but he acquires it through imitation. Mmsakas, Bharthari and Dain
strongly agreed with this view.
Yska, the author of Nirukta mentions the names of several authorities and
shows that the speculation on meaning and language had begun long before Yska.
Thus from the Nirukta, we can be sure that at the end of the vedic period,
metaphysical and syntactical problems of language had been fully stated.

13

1:5 - Concept of Language


Language is a complex phenomenon and also essential for mankind. It is used
to express the things and events as they are actually seen. Language is also used as
a means of acquiring knowledge. Thus the language technically known as abda
has been treated as a prama. Language is conceived in g veda, the active power
of Brahman. In Yajurveda, we find Vk is considered as the supreme wifely akti
of Prajapati named as Vcaspati. In Brhmaas, the primeval waters are considered
to have been created out of Vk by prajpati. In Mndkya Upaniad, the real is
symbolised by the word 'OM'.
In the oldest work of Indian tradition, ie in the Veda, Language is stated as an
indivisible entity (avykta vk) but the later works, Brhmaas, Nirukta etc, depict
the analysis of it. Then the Philosophers, Logicians, Grammarians and Linguists
opine that sentence is the unit of language. According to the Mmsakas, we
learn language from our elders, who in their turn learnt it from their elders and so
on. But it is impossible to trace the first elder. So they conceive that language is
andi or eternal.
Man is a language using and name assigning being, and this facet of human
existence is because of the gregarious nature of man to communicate natural instinct
of human being. Communication necessarily depends upon some mode of
communicating, and language is the most effective mode available to human being
for this purpose. In communication, one must use only meaningful language.
Meaningless language is like a tree without blossom and fruit.
Language is not to be taken very lightly. It ought to be valued and regarded.
Those who do not pay due attention to the use of correct language are condemned.

14

The task of language is not confined to communication alone. It also performs the
role of advancing and generating thoughts. Because of this two fold role, language
occupies a very significant place in human life. Thus in the structure of language,
words and sentences are the component elements. Though words constitute sentences
and sentences form the language, the meaningfulness pertains to both of them; and
both of these are possessive of meaning. To convey word-meanings we use words
i.e. abda or pada. So to convey meanings, words must possess certain signification
or relation (functions) with the meanings. Thus De Sauure, has proposed his sign
theory that language or word, as a linguistic sign, is the signifier (significant) and
meaning is signified (signifie).
From the above characteristics of language, we can conclude that language is
a God-given gift to man and the main purpose of language is communication. This
language is a collection of sentences and sentences are the collection of words.
Therefore it is important to know the background of language. From the words of
Bharthari also the study of language is highly significant. He identifies language
with the ultimate reality, which has neither beginning nor end11.
1:6 - Derivation of Language
The word 'bh' (language) is derived from the root 'bha,' which means 'to
speak'. On the basis of this reason, the language of animals and birds cannot be in
the limit of language because that would be considered as 'avyakta-vk' and only
human language will be in the limit of language.
To define human speech, Greeks used the word 'Logos' which distinguishes
man from animals. There is no existence of speech without this power of thought

15

and therefore Greeks use the word aloga for animals which is opposite to Logos.
Like the derivation of language, the word 'Man' or 'Manuya' is derived from the
root- 'Man' means 'to think'. Yska etymolozies it in his Nirukta that manuy
kasmat/Matva karmi sivyanti12.
1:7 - Relation between Thought & Language
Indian philosophy considered that language and thoughts are intimately
connected. Various thinkers have an opinion that there is a close relationship between
thought and language. Because thinking about language makes use of language.
Language is not an accidental accretion to thought, but its very essence. Also
language is the only way to express one's thought or emotion. In ancient India,various
systems of thought came to present vast and variegated discussions about the
language i.e the problems of meaning etc. and from these discussions the philosophy
of language formed.
The trend of thought regarding language continued to acquire new dimensions
with the various schools of thought in Vedic & post vedic periods. The speculations
about the problems of word, meaning etc. began with the g Vedic thinkers.
Thus according to Nirukta, it can be stated that at the end of the Vedic period,
metaphysical and syntactical problems of language had been arose and gradually
on the basis of these problems of thought, different epistemological systems
developed their views also. These epistemological systems develop new trends in
their thought and approaches in the context of different issues and come to form a
some what separate school of thought i.e Navyas or modern schools of Nyaya,
Vykaraa etc.

16

1:8 - Various Levels of Speech


From the very ancient times, there is discussion among philosophers
that Language, which we use to express our ideas is the only level of speech. In g
Veda, we can see that vk is divided into four sections. Of these three are the
internal levels of speech and fourth is the audible one or rtragrhya. Later on
Bharthari, the great Grammarian discussed the four levels of speech par, payanti,
madhyam and vaikhari. According to Bharthari, speech is manifested through
the vocal organs (Vagindriyas) which are seated in the stomach, heart, throat, head,
root of the tongue, teeth, nose, lips and palate etc13. According to the Pinya
Sika, there are helping organs such as 'ura' in manifestation of speech.14
1:8:1 - Par - The first deepest and subtlest form of speech is known as par.
It is located in the muldhra cakra (below the genitals) and is beyond
experience or lokavyavahartta. While payanti is accessible to the
yogins by means of super normal perception,but par is even beyond
that15. Para is motionless (nispanda) state of undifferentiated abda
which is devoid of such particulars as letters (Vardi-Viea-rahita).
Nagea holds it as the potential factor of creation16. At this stage, it is
like the yolk in the pea-hen's egg. All the variety and picture sequences
of the colours of a fully grown peacock is already present in it. Later,
this potential manifests it out17.
1:8:2 - Payant - This is the second stage of vk. The level of speech which
deeper still is known as payant. It originates in the region of the navel
(nbhi) and is subtle (skma) Payant is the very feeble state of abda

17

in vibrations and accessible only through extra- sensory perception


(alaukika-pratyaka). It is not divisible into parts18.
1:8:3 - Madhyam - The third stage of speech is Madhyam. The
internal(bhyantara) level of speech just below Vaikhar is known as
Madhyam. It originates in the heart (hdaya) and is inaudible to others.
It is like the silent speech of inner state and associated with intellect
(buddhi). The word and meaning are in the form of empirical mental
expression(saskra). It takes the form of nda to express the meanings
of words19.
1:8:4 - Vaikhar - Vaikhar is the fourth stage of speech. The external form
(bhya rupa) of speech which becomes audible (rotragrhya) is known
as Vaikhar20. This is the word in its gross form (sthlarpa), which refers
to the objects and their connected meanings. The sound is produced by
the exercise of vocal organs21. Our communication is possible only by
vaikhar. The contact of our body with vocal organs is called Vikhara
and the vk which is manifested in the place of such contact is known as
Vaikhar22. One can hear the words only at this level of speech.
Thus we can conclude that the four levels of speech is known as- Transcendent
speech, Subtle speech, Inner speech and Manifest speech. Of these, the first three
are sub-vocal and the fourth, Vaikhar is the speech in its vocal stage, that is called
language. The par which is the underlying root of speech is seated below the
genital, payant is located in the navel, Madhyam is located in the heart and
Vaikhar is located in the throat23. Vaikhar is the gross word (Sthla abda) which
refers to the gross object (Sthla artha). Madhyam is that inner state of silent

18

speech which is ideational and associated with buddhi. The two-fold aspects, viz.
nma and rpa function simultaneously as abda (word) and artha (meaning). These
four fold stage can be traced in the g Veda, which says, while the former three are
hidden into the cave, the fourth is spoken by men24.
1:9 - The Unit of Language
Unit of language is an important issue among the different systems of thought;
so what is the unit of language? Is it a letter (Vara) or a word (pada) or a sentence
(Vakya)? Connected with this question, there are three views propounded by the
epistemologists.
Of these, the first view is held by the Mmsakas. In their opinion, varas
or the letters constitute the unit of language and hence they are known as varavdins.
The second view is advocated by the Naiyyikas. In their opinion, word or pada
constitutes the unit of language and hence they are known as padavdins. The third
view i.e. it is the sentence or vkya that constitutes the unit of language is propounded
by the Vaiykaraas and hence they are known as Vkyavdins.
1:9:1 - Varavda - According to the Mmsakas, Varas or letters are the
ultimate unit of language. In the opinion of abara Swmi, the word
'cow' i.e. gau is nothing by a combination of the constituent letters (g,
au and )25. In their opinion, a combination of letters constitute a word
and a combination of words constitutes a sentence26. They also agree that
a sentence has no separate entity of its own apart from letters. While
sentences and words consists of parts, the individual letters are niravayava
or partless and akhaa or indivisible27. Hence in their view, the ultimate

19

units are letters and not words or sentences. The letters alone are abda in
the real sense of the terms and constitute the basis of all meaning28.
Kumarilabhaa establish Vra vda and in his view, the meaning
emanates from letters29. Vara vdins opine that it is the vara which lie
at the root of all cognition of meaning (arthapratyaya-hetu) and a word is
nothing but a collection of letters and there is nothing beyond them which
can be regarded as the bearer of meaning 30. A word can have no
significance apart from the letters31. Thus the upholders of Vara vda
regard letters and not words or sentences as ultimate units of expression.
1:9:2 - Padavda - The Naiyyikas are of the view that word (pada) constitutes
the real unit of language; and not the letters(varas). They refute the
Varavda of Mmsakas and the Vkyavda of Vaiykaraas.
Naiyyikas opine that isolate letters cannot be regarded meaningful; and
thus meaningful word is the unit of language. Individual letters cannot
convey the sense. For eg:- The word 'ghata' means 'pot'. But 'tagha'
means nothing. Such nirarthaka or meaningless combinations of letters
do not constitute a word in the real sense of the term. Hence they define
pada as that which possesses potency of generating a meaning;32 and the
essence of a word in its denotative capacity33.
Against Varavda, the Naiyyikas put forward this main argument
that every letter taken by itself do not convey a meaning and as the letters
pronounced are evanescent, and they cannot combine together to form a
word. Hence isolated letters cannot be regarded as meaningful 34.

20

The Padavadins regard the pada as a unit of meaning and according to them
pada is a word which ends in some Vibhakti (case ending or conjugational suffix)35.
This pada is made of some root (Prakti) and an affix (Pratyaya) For eg:- gau(cow).
Here the nominative case or gacchati in the present tense is taken as the hearer of a
definite meaning. Thus the potency of generating a sense lies in the terms as a
whole and not in the individual letters.36
Thus we can conclude that in the opinion of Padavdins, the concept of an
indivisible sentence or akhaavkya is a mere fiction;37 and they suggests that
words alone are real.38 Also the Padavdins mention the denotative capacity lies in
the words alone; while the varavdins hold that the denotative lies in letters39.
1:9:3 - Vkyavda - While the Mmsakas are Vara-Vdins and the
Naiyyikas are Padavdins, the Vaiykaraas are known as Vkyavdins.
According to them, the real unit of language is a sentence (Vkya) and
not words or letters. This view has expounded Bharthari, the great
Grammarian in his Vkyapadya. In his opinion, apart from that of a
sentence, there is no separate existence of letters or words and sentence
which alone is the real unit40 Vaiykaraas believe in the indivisibility of
the proposition while the others admit its divisibility. The Vkyavdins
advance further arguments to show that the position of the Padavdin is
hardly sound and tenable. In their opinion, the sole purpose of language
is the expression of thought and these ideas and thoughts can be expressed
completely by sentences only. So Bharthari holds that sentence is the
significant expression of thought and which is indivisible into parts.
According to him, grammatical analysis of a sentence is only an artificial

21

device. For eg:- gau carati (the cow is grazing) possesses a unitary
meaning. The division of the sentence into letters or words is only artificial.
Really speaking, a sentence does not consist of parts.41
Thus according to Vkyavdins the component letters and words are only
abstractions and present a resemblance of separate parts (avayavbhsa) in a
whole which is really partless42. Hence the sentence or judgement is one integral
whole which is really indivisible43. So they hold that sentence is the significant
unit of speech44.
1:10 - Concept of Akara
In Indian philosophy, especially in Upaiads, Akara has a prominent place.
In gveda-Sahita, it has been mentioned as the cause of the universe45. In
Brahadrayaka Upaniad, Yajavalkya says that Brahman is Akara46. The
Brahadrayaka further says that the Akara is unseen, but it is seen, is unheard,
but is the listener, is unknown, but is the knower. According to ankara, Akara is
Paramtman and not the letter (vara)47. The kahopaniad also mentions akara as
parabrahma48. vetvatara Upaniad says that49 in Akara Brahman, there are
hidden, the knowledge (vidya) and ignorance (Avidya). Of these, the Vidya is eternal
and the Avidya is mortal and He, who controls both is Sakin50. According to the
Maitr Upaniad, Akara is pure and clean and it is wise, the ordainer, within all,
shining patient and tranquil.51
Mundaka says that as from the blazing fire sparks of light form issue forth the
thousands, the same way many kinds of beings issue forth from the immutable and
they return thither to.52

22

According to the Prana Upaniad, Akara as the substratum (Adhihna) of


the subject self and in the state of suupti, even the subjective self is the seer, the
toucher, the hearer, the smeller, the taster, the perceiver, the knower, the doer, the
thinking self and the person. He becomes established in the supreme undecaying
self53. According to the Atharva Sropaniad, Akara is the origin of kala.54 From
these evidences, we can see that all these Upaniads describe Akara as Brahman.
But in Chandogyopaniad, and in some other Upaniads, Akara has been described
as Aum, prominently the sacred syllable.
Being the essence of the Upaniads, Gta describes the Akara as Brahman55.
Here purua has been mentioned as kara and akara both. This Akara purua is
mentioned as Ktastha56. ankara says that the Ktastha, being the endless causal
seed of the universe is said as Akara57.
1:11 - Importance of abda (Pada or Word)
'Sarvam abdena bhsate'58 - From these words of Bharthari, the author of
Vkyapadya, it is sure that all knowledge is illumined through the word itself.
The ruti extols vk as the primary cause, out of which the entire universe has
evolved. In gVeda, a complete skta glorifies vk. Therein, vk has been
mentioned as Kmadhenu, and it also says that Brahman is the base of the
Vktattva and that is the ultimate truth59. In Yajurveda, we find vk considered
as the supreme wifely akti of prajpati named as Vcaspati. In Atharva Veda
also we can see that the ultimate principle of all language or speech is the Supreme
Being Vk and it is by virtue of speech that all Gods, men and animals live in the
universe60. According to the Atharva Veda, the Vk has been mentioned as

23

Prajpati and the creator of Daiv and suri creation. Vk is described as the
support of Gods such as Mitr -Varua, Indra, Agni and the Avins. In the gVeda,
several hymns are devoted to Vk (speech) and the same spiritual trends are
continued in the Brhmaas and Upaniads.
In the atapata Brhmaa, Vk is identified with Saraswati, who later becomes
known as the Goddess of learning, wisdom and inspiration. It also says that the
Ultimate Reality even beyond the Lord of creation is Vk(speech)61. According to
the Aitareya Brhmaa, Vk as the cause of Artha tattva62 and also says that it is
the foundation of the philosophy of word and meaning. In the opinion of Upaniads,
the Vk functions as parabrahman63. In Chandogyopaniad, Sanatkumara describes
Vk as the base of all thinking and he inspired Nrada to worship Vk64. According
to the Taittirya Upaniad, it is the self from which the entire creation emanates.
From the self emerges ka, from ksa vyu, from vyu agni, and so on65.
The importance of abda is so clear and it has been identified with Brahman
by Bharthari. The word essence (abda-tattva) has been described by Bharthari
as abda -Brahman. In his opinion, vk represents all different branches of sciences
and arts66. Thus Bharthari supports Vivartavda, according to which, the whole
universe is evolved in abda - Brahman67. Bharthari says that as the sun brings to
light the worldly objects, the same way, the Vk Brahman, illumines the whole
universe68. Western scholars give a divine position, to sabda or word69. This brings
out its universality and this abda itself is the fundamental basis of all life and
thought -its divinity. In the opinion of Grammarians, the abdaBrahman (wordGod) is described as the consciousness in all living things. It manifests itself in the
form of vibrations in two ways (1) Nma (Name) and (2) Rupa (form). These two,

24

i.e. abda and artha constitute the contents of the mind and the objective world. The
entire phenomenal world (nama -rptmaka jagat) is evolved from the same
conscious energy (cit akti) which manifests itself in vk or speech. Also they
propounded this Brahman as Nitya, Niranjana, Ajara, Amara and Akara.
According to gama stra, whatever is heard in the form of sound (abda or
nda) is the manifestation of cosmic energy. So long as sound is produced, there is
ka: when elements are dissolved, the formless remains. That formless (nirkra)
and soundless (niabda) quid is called by the name of Para Brahman or Paramtman.70
In Bhgavata Pura, the Word- God is described as infinite and boundless
like an ocean and extremely difficult to comprehend71.
The Mahbhrata says that one who is well - versed in word can attain the
status of the supreme72. According to Tntrik Philosophy, the cosmic seed (vindu)
originates from creative sound (nda)73, Supreme Consciousness (par akti ), that
is manifested through speech is all pervading and partless74.
Vaiykaraas call this abda-Brahman as nitya and niravayava i.e. eternal
and indivisible which is the ultimate cause of the world by the name of sphoa75. In
their opinion, the sustenance and the end of all manifestation. We know the truth
about things through words and we know the truth about words through grammar.
Therefore grammar leads one to the realization of Brahman in the form of the
supreme word. And He who has a firm footing in vyakaraa and is capable of
studying the Veda, realises Brahman. This supreme word forms the essence of this
Brahman; and it is devoid of all distinctions and such distinct entities have their
distinct forms as apparent parts of that word principle76.

25

According to Patanjali, in a Nitya - abda, the vara should be Ktstha,


Nirpa, Niranjana and Acala and thus there is no scope for any Vikra in the vara.
From this, it is sure that Patanjali is clearly the sphoavdin. Defining sphoa,
Patanjali says that which is heard by rotra, known through intellect, expressed
through pronouncing and has its place in ka is abda-sphoa77.
In Advaita Vednta also, the world is described as the Vivarta of Brahman. In
the philosophy of Grammar, the concept of pratibha has been specifically mentioned,
and this pratibha has been mentioned as vakyrtha according to Nagea. In the
opinion of abdabrahmavdins, abda is the cause of this pratibha. They also
propounded that there are two standards of jna, the Samyak jna and the Samyak
prayoga. Grammar is the stra of Samyak - jna and Sahitya is the stra of
Samyak - prayoga. For the fruitfulness of the bda, both are very necessary.
Therefore Patanjali says in the Mahbhya - 'Eka abda Samyak jta
suprayukta svarge loke ca kmadhuk bhavati.'
So we can conclude that the fire of the wooden piece becomes the cause of outer
fire, like-wise abda becomes the cause of different srutis viz. ''Araniham yath jyoti
prakantara kraa | Tadvacchabdopi buddhistha srutn kraa pdhak ||''78
1:12 - Concept of abda
In our world, different people has been used the word 'abda' in different
senses in different contexts to mean 'something'. Here the word 'something' may be
an object, an emotion, an event, a command or a question. But all the systems of
thought agree in this basic point that ravandriya is the sense-organ responsible
for perceiving 'abda'79. On the basis of this, we can say that

26

(a) In a wide sense or very broadly understood 'abda means sound or dhvani
of any kind which is perceived by the auditory sense-organ80.
(b) In a restricted sense, 'abda' means uttered or written strings of words
having a syntax and meaning. In short it means language. Here 'abda is
used to denote a spoken word or pada which signifies something like the
word 'gau' which signifies an animal having a dewlap, a tail, hoofs,
horns etc81.
(c) In a still more restricted sense, 'abda' is used in the sense of sentence
spoken by a reliable person or ptavkya which is taken as authority or
testimony82. This sabda has been recognised to be the means of verbal
cognition (bdabodha).
According to Patanjali, 'abda' basically means sound or dhvani83. In the
opinion of Linguistics, the word 'abda' is used to signify a pada or word. This
pada consists of certain letter or varas84.
The word abda is translated as speech by some85 while some others translated
as word86. Sometimes the word authority is also used as a synonym for 'abda'87.
Mmsakas describe this abda as an eternal substance(nitya dravya) while
in contrast, the Naiyyikas describe it as an attribute of ka and understand it as
anitya (impermanent)88. According to the Nyya-Vaieikas, abda, the sound is
the specific or differentiating quality (Vaieika Gua) of ka.
abda can be explained etymologically in Sanskrit as the sequence of letters
or phonemes from which meaning is sounded or bursted forth89. For eg:- 'cow'Here the sequence of letters or phonemes such as cow, from which the meaning,

27

an individual such as cow, a form such as dew lap, tail, horn etc and the generic
property such as the cowness is sounded or bursted forth. So we can say that cow
is a word.
In modern linguistics, word (abda or pada) is understood generally to be any
segment of sentence bounded by successive points at which pausing (potential or
actual) is possible90. Such a word is recognised as a part of speech conveying an
idea or meaning partly or fully.
The word 'abda' again is technically used in the school of Nyya in the sense
of a pramvkya. A sentence is undoubtedly a specific collection of words. So, a
sentence is inevitably a special collection of sounds.i.e.mutually related articulate
sounds. This abda in its basic character of dhvani is a gua (quality) and not a
dravya (substance).
In the opinion of Gautama- 'ptopadea abda i.e.as a statement of a
trustworthy person91. According to Annabhatta 'ptavkyam abda'; testimony
is a statement of a trustworthy person92. Here pta is sometimes described as an
authoritative person or a person having expert knowledge in a given field.
But for Bharthari, 'abda' means something more than language. It is the
name of a complex phenomenon implying an activity as well as a principle. As a
type of activity, it is something in which all human beings, in fact, all sentient
beings are engaged. The Sanskrit term for it is 'abdana vypra. B.K. Matilal
translates it as languageing93.
Again as a principle, abda stands for the very potency for communicating
thoughts through language. It is the linguistic potency, the very power of

28

conceptualisation, which is the basis of our consciousness as well as the awareness


of the external world. This potency itself is abdatattva, the word principle. This
abdatattva, being the central concept of all forms of phenomenal activity is identified
with the Brahman. Because Bharthari conceives the word principle as the basic
principle of consciousness as well as the awareness of the existence of objects
which are characterised by names and forms. He further conceives this reality to be
without beginning and end (andi nidhana) means all our cognitive episodes about
our inner states of mind as well as the external world are sequential in nature(kama).
Also Bharthari defines the objects as 'abdopagrh. It implies that objects of our
thought are word determined. Be it perception, inference or any other method,
whenever we cognise objects or external reality, we always do so in terms of names.
Without names they are unidentifiable, hence not knowable. So we can say that
without language or abda , these objects cannot be understood.
1:13 - Concept of abda as a Prama
abdaprama means the linguistic method of obtaining knowledge (both
oral and written); and is distinctively different from the other methods of knowledge.
Unlike the methods of perception, inference etc. facts and sense objects do not
form the basis of such knowledge; but its object is language itself. The term
abdaprama is very often translated as 'verbal authority'. Which tends to shift the
emphasis from the linguistic aspect to the 'authoritative' aspect of the theory. But
different schools of Indian philosophy have different views about this abdaprama.
Among the different systems of Indian Philosophy, except Crvka, Bauddha
and Vaieika, almost all the important schools have been recognised abda as a

29

separate prama. But the systems like Crvka, Bauddha and Vaieika do not
recognise abda as a means of knowledge (Prama) of knowing reality.
This prama is a source of practical useful cognition or a content of cognition
or conscious process. It is the basis for knowing the nature of objects that exists in
themselves. In addition to these, prama is a knowledge which reveals itself and
object. It also give rise to valid knowledge.
The word prama consists of the root 'ma', the prefix 'pra' and the instrumental
suffix 'lyu'. It stands in ordinary language for authority. But in logic and language,
it signifies means of right knowledge. This prama should be taken to mean the
object of the knowledge of the instrument of the true verbal knowledge ie. 'abda
pramiti karaa jna viay'.
According to the Crvkas, there is no logical ground or justification for our
believing on the statement of another person; it is only a case of inference and this
inference cannot be accepted as a valid source of knowledge. Hence they should
not be recognised abda or testimony as a source of knowledge.
In the opinion of Bauddhas, if by abda we mean to prove that the person who
makes a certain statement is trust worthy, we reduce it to an inference. Hence the
Buddhists do not recognise abda as a prama. According to the Vaieikas, abda
as a form of knowledge is to be included in inference only and hence they should
not be recognised sabda as a prama.
In the Jaina system, abda is recognised as a separate prama or source of
knowledge. It consists in the knowledge derived from words and it is called
Laukika or secular testimony when the words come from an ordinary reliable

30

person of the world. But when it proceeds from a liberated self of extra ordinary
powers and knowledge is called straja or scriptural testimony and relates to
supersensible realities94. Thus in the Nyya system scriptural testimony depends
on divine revelation, while in the Jaina system, it comes from the perfected and
omniscient finite self.
In the Skhya -Yoga system too, we find a recognition of abda or
testimony as a valid method of knowledge95. The skhyas understand the verbal
testimony in the sense of scripture. But some of the skhyas named abda
prama as ptavacana.96
Naiyyikas named this prama as abda only; and this abda prama is
understood in the sense of a vkya almost by all the Naiyyikas.
Among the Naiyyikas, Gautama himself defines abda as 'ptopadea
abda'97. This means that a communication or the assertion or instruction of a
trustworthy person. Annabhatta, the author of Tarkasagraha defines
abdaprama as 'ptavkyam sabda98. Gangeopdhyya defines abdaprama
in abdakhaa as 'Prayoga hetubhutarthatatvajnajanya abda prama. In
the opinion of old Naiyyikas, 'jyamana abda pramam'. But in the opinion
of Modern Naiyyikas, 'Padajnam abdapramam'. Keavamisra, the author of
Tarkabha opine that 'ptavkyam abda'. But Bhyakra says that
'padasamuhovakyamartha-parisamaptau'.
Some Vedantins99 also agree with this view of Naiyyikas that abda as a
prama is understood in the sense of vkya.They also give the status of abda as a
prama primarily to the Vedas, and also it is known as 'stra, ruti and gama100.

31

In the opinion of Vedantists, abda or gama as a source of valid knowledge consists


in sentences or propositions which assert a certain relation between things101. Also
it is impersonal in as much as God does not create but only reveals the contents of
the Vedas, which are external truths independent of God.
Among the Mmsakas, Kumarila holds a different view. He accords the
status of abdaprama only to vedic instructions. The Prbhkara school of the
Mmsa, takes abda to mean only vaidika or scriptural testimony about the
existence of supersensuous realities102. From this we can say that he initially accepts
pta vkya as authentic, but later on reduces it to anumna(inference), But
Mmsakas gave a special status to the karmaknda portion of the Vedas which
is full of injunctive statements about sacrifices, rites and moral behaviour of man.
In short, abda literally means verbal knowledge. It is the knowledge of objects
derived from words or sentences. Hence abda as a prama defined in the Nyya
as valid verbal testimony. They also opine that a verbal statement is valid when it
comes from a person who knows the truth and speaks the truth about anything for
the guidance of other persons. Hence abda or testimony as a source of valid
knowledge consists in understanding the meaning of the statement of a trustworthy
person. Naiyyikas takes this abda as neither impersonal nor self evidently valid.
It holds that the scriptures have been created by God and require to be proved by
reason as much as anyother from the understanding of the meaning of a sentence.
They suggests that apaurueya or impersonal constituted by the words of the Vedas
and paurueya or personal constituted by the words of trustworthy persons.Thus
we can say that for the Naiyyikas, the Vedas as a system of truth embody, the will
of God. From the Naiyyikas' definition of abda, we can say that the first step in

32

abda or testimony is the perception of the words of a sentence or proposition


setforth by some trustworthy person. In the case of a spoken sentence, we have an
auditory perception, and in that of a written sentence, we have a visual perception
of the constituent words. The second step is the understanding of the meaning of
the words perceived by us. Through this step we can reach the final step ie the
verbal knowledge of objects or the truth about certain objects.
So we can conclude that though different systems of thought have their own
justification to confirm their views about abda prama, all of them agree on one
point that what one understands from the abda of other people, is very much
determined by one's own background. It depends actually upon the culture of the
listener, time and place.
1:14 - Nature of abda
Various scholars, took into consideration another important point regarding
the basic nature of abda. The question whether abda is eternal (nitya) or created
(non -eternal) (anitya) is one of the fundamental problems of the linguistic science
that has been taken up by all the systems of Indian philosophy supporting either of
the view.
1:14:1 - Eternality of abda - Naiyyikas' Standpoint
Among the different systems of thought, the Naiyyikas do not recognise abda
as eternal. They totally oppose the view that speech or word is eternal. Gautama, the
famous Logician gives a number of arguments in his Nyya Stra to establish his
theory of non-eternity of abda or abdanityatvavda103. In his opinion, a sound has
got both a beginning and an end. The drum is silent until it is beaten. Similarly a bell

33

is also mute until it is rung. He says that a sound is produced when there is a sayoga
or contact between two things. Such a contact takes place at some particular point of
time. For example, when we pronounce a letter like 'ka', it is due to the contact of air
with the vocal organ. Thus all words are produced, by some kind of contact and hence
have a beginning. Similarly, when the sound produced, it spread like vctaraga nyya ie first sound gives rise to a second sequence of sound, the second to the third
sequence of sound etc like the first wave gives rise to the second consequent wave and
the second to the third etc and come to an end like passing waves. Hence they are not
eternal or nitya but transcient or anitya. If they are beginning less (andi) or
endless(anata), they would have been always audible inherent in the ear. In this way,
Naiyyikas reject the theory of eternity of abda and the concept of an eternal sphoa
of Vaiykaraas which cannot be established by means of any proof like perception,
inference, analogy or authority.So according to Naiyyikas, abda is momentary and
consequently liable to both destruction and production.
Thus in the opinion of Naiyyikas, abda is not eternal104 and it is a quality of
ka.- Among the Naiyyikas, Vivantha, the author of Muktvali asserts that
though all sounds (abda in all forms) remain inherent as quality in a substratum,
namely ka, they come to be objects of perception only when they are produced
in the ear105. In his opinion, that which originates and gets destroyed is what is
known as anitya and all varas (letters) are transitory106. As sound is proved to be
basically 'anitya' in the sense of being produced and destroyed, the vara also
obviously comes to be 'anitya'. Hence in his opinion, a Vkya is a collection of
padas, a pada is a vara or a collection of varas. When this vara being proved
'anitya', then a pada or a vkya will obviously be 'anitya'.

34

1:14:2 - Eternality of abda - Mmsakas' Standpoint


As against the above notion of the Naiyyikas, the Mmsakas contend that
the abda standing for the Vedas is eternal and impersonal and that the Vedas are
without any author. They were very much careful in asserting the eternity(nityatva)
of abda in as much as the admission of the non-eternality of sabda would mean
non-eternality of the Vedas too107 Dr. Radhakrishnan opine that according to the
Mmsakas, the Vedas are eternal, since the words of which they are composed
are eternal; the relationship between the word and its meaning is natural ....... words
and objects denoted by them are both eternal108. Similarly Jaimini opine that the
utterance only helps to make the already existing word perceptible,109 and also
pointed out that the volume of the word does not undergo increase or decrease,
though the sound proceeding from men increases or decreases. Dr. Gangnath Jh
points out, in the view of the Mmsakas, the meaning of the word cannot be
comprehended except on the hypothesis of its eternality110. The Prbhkaras advocate
the eternality of abda111. They hold that there is no such thing as mere dhvani or
indistinct sound. Nor can the word be regarded as something different from the
letters composing it as might appear from the fact that 'na-di' and di-na though
containing the same letters are not yet perceived by the ear as the same word. All
sounds come to be heard in the shape of some letters only113. The Bhas also
accept abda as nitya. Kumarila recognises abda as an eternal and all-pervading
substance(Dravya)115. His followers also agree with this opinion114.
When the Naiyyikas reject the theory of eternity of abda and the concept
of an eternal sphoa, the Mmsakas' reply to the Naiyyikas by saying that it is
not the abda but a manifestation of it ie dhvani or sound; which has got a beginning

35

and an end. They further says that a word is not created but revealed by pronunciation.
Just as the sun is perceived by many persons and is yet one and the same, similarly
the word also though perceived by many in diverse circumstances is one and the
same. Thus the Mmsakas replaced the Naiyyika theory of the origin of word
ie abdotpattivda by their theory of manifestation of word ie sabdbhivyaktivda.
But the Mmsa theory of eternity of words ie abdanityatvavda does not
mean that all words or sentences are eternal. This means that the eternity of letters
which are indivisible and constitute the permanent basis of all words ie
varanityatvavda. Thus the Mmsakas do not subscribe to the
akhaavkyasphoa of Vaiykaraas. This sphoavda has been criticised by
Kumarilabhaa in his sloka vrtika.
In short, we can say that according to the Ritualists, no place or time can be
found where in the words are totally absent. Speech is established as eternal by
inference as well as pratyabhijna (recognition). In their opinion, the sound 'ga' is
produced, the sound 'ga' is destroyed etc are to be explained as referring to the air
(wind) which manifest such sounds. Thus, only the manifesting air is produced or
destroyed while the actual sound is always existant in its subtle form. So we can
conclude that Ritualists are guided in their theory of the eternality of words by of
the convention that the Vedas are not produced by any human agency' (apaurueya)
and therefore words cannot be held to be anything but eternal.
1:14:3 - Eternality of abda - Grammarians' Standpoint
Among the different systems of thought, Grammarians may be generally
described as the abdanityatvavdins. They too hold speech to be eternal and they

36

assert the eternality of sabda primarily in a different way. According to them, a


word is a series of successive sounds called letters. A series of such letter sounds
manifests one inarticulate sound-essence called sphoa. This sphoa is an eternal
essence that exists corresponding to every word.
But the Grammarians have proposed a more scientific theory of eternality.
According to them, the speech, despite being one, appears to have different forms
or manifestations of different word forms created by the mental impressions of
different syllabic combinations ie 'tattad vara samskrai pratibimbita tattad rpo
ananta padarpatm.' Sphoa theory officially expounded by Bharthari has been
subjected to criticism by various schools of thought, particularly by the Naiyyikas
and the mmsakas. Although this theory attracted both opponents and supporters,
the chief opposition came from the Mmsaka - kumarilabhaa and Naiyyika Jayantabhaa. Mmmsaka's criticism is mainly directed to the point that there is
no sphoa over and above the words. The kumarilaites reject the Grammarian's
sphoa theory by stating that what is heard by auditory organ is only a group of
letters signifying no external entity115.
In short the Mmsakas contend that we learn the meaning of words and
sentences from their use in actual speech contexts, and so much of the sound pattern
in a fixed order which is found applied to a particular sense is taken to be a word
having that meaning. Kumarilabhaa says that the meaning of a word is determined
by usage and as such, those letters in a particular order of sequence one by one
individual, which has expressed the sense to us when we have first learned the
word from our elders will express the same sense at all future times116. Hence, it is
argued by the Mmsakas that there is no necessity for postulating the sphoa.

37

There is no fundamental difference between the approaches of the Nyya and


Mmsa schools towards the criticism of the Grammarian's theory of sphoa. The
eternality of abda, as advocated by the Mmsakas and the sphoavdins, was
subjected to serve criticism by the Naiyyikas. In opposition to the doctrine of
eternality of abda, the Naiyyikas as well as the Vaieikas hold language to be a
creation of man and abda to be non- eternal entity. The Naiyyikas opine that
when we do not perceive the existence of sphoa in the usual course, it is certainly
desirable that letters which are ordinarily perceived, should be regarded as being
expressive of sense. Thus when verbal knowledge (bdabodha) can be easily
explained as occurring from the perception of letters, the Naiyyikas do not find
any justification for postulating a spiritual entity like sphoa as causing the cognition
of meaning. They also says that there is no sphoa apart from the letters.
So we can conclude from the above three views that the Naiyyikas are of the
view that words do not exist before their production by human effort, nor do we
notice any veil which covers them 117. The Mmsakas maintain that words are
manifested in the form of sound by human effort; they are not created by any one118.
But the Grammarians treat 'sabda' as everlasting sphoa, which is expressed by
means of dhvani119.

38

Notes and References :


1.

Pini, As - 1.2.45

2.

Idam andhantama Ktsna jyeta bhuvanatrayam |


yadi abdhvaya jyoti sasra na dpyate ||
- Dain, kvydara, 1.4

3.

Coward, Harold. G, The Sphoa Theory of Language; p.1

4.

Uta tva payan na dadara vcam


Uta tva nvan na aotyenm |
Uto tvasmai tanva visasre
jyeva patya uat suvs ||
- Rg; 10.71.4

5.

Gardiner, Alan. H. The Theory of Speech and Language; p.62

6.

ambhasya maharer - duhit v - nmn brahma - vidu svtmna


astauta | ata sari | sat-cit-sukhtmaka sarvagata paramtm devat |
tena hi ea tdtmyam - anubhvant sarva - jagat - rupea
sarvasydhithnatvena cham - eva sarva bhavmi iti svtmna stauti |
Rg; Syaa Bhya; 10.10.125; p.765

7.

aham - eva svyamida vadmi


jua devebhi uta mnuebhi |
ya kmaye tatmugra kom
ta brahma ta i ta sumedhm || Rg; 10.125.5

8.

daiv vcam ajanayanta dev


t vivarp paavo vadanti |
- ibid; 8.100.11

39

9.

Vg eva viv bhuvanni jaje |


VP. I. 120

10. Vc virp nityaya |


Rg; 8.75.6
11. andi - nidhana brahma abdatattva yadakaram |
vivartate'rtha bhvena prakriy jagato yata |
- Bharthari, VP. I. 1
12. Yska, Nirukta 3-2; p.126
13. Catvri vk parimit padni
tni vidu brhma ye mania |
guh tri nihit negayanti
turya vco manuy vadanti ||
- Rg - I - 164-45
14. Atau sthnni varn ura kantha sirastatha
Jihvmulam ca duntaca nasikotau ca talu ca
- PS. 1.9
15. Yogin tu tatrpi prakti pratyaya vibhge
avagati; Paraym tu na
- Negea; LM. (Vykhy)
16. etad jagad updnameva 'rava', 'par' di abdai vyavahiyate |
- LM; p. 145

40

17. aabhvamivpanno ya kratu


abdasamjaka |
Vttistasya kriy - rup bhgao
bhajate krama ||
- VP. I - 51
18. avibhg tu payant sarvata sahtakram |
svarpa - jyotirevnta skm vganapyini ||
- Svopaja on V.P. I - 142
19. kevala buddhyupdn kramarpnuptini |
pravttim atikramya madhyam vk pravartate | - ibid.
20. Vaikhary tu kto nda
paraavaagcara Ngea; PLM.
21. i.

Samprpt vaktra - kuharam kath - disthna - bhgaa |


vaikhari kathyate saiva bahirvsanay kramt || - Siv. Dr.

ii. Sthneu vidhte vyau ktavara parigrah |


Vaikhar vk prayoktr pra-vtti nibandhan ||
Svopaja on VP. I.142
22. Tatreyam sthana - karaa - prayatna - krama - vyajyamanagakaradivara samudytmik y vk s vaikhar iti ucyate;
Vikhara iti dehendriya - Saghta ucyate tatra bhav vaikhar
- NM. Vol. I. p.343.

41

23. Par vamulacakrastha payanti nabhiga - smta |


Hdistha madhyama jeya vaikhar syt tu kanhaga || - LM.
24. Turya vaco manuy vadanti - Rg. I.164 - 45.
25. Gau iti atra ka abda?
Gakraukra - visarjanya temeva vcakatvam - SB 1.1.1.
26. Vara samha pada padasamha vkyam - Prtha Srathi Mira;
stra Dpika
27. Nanu vakye padni padeu ca varna
Vareu avayava na santi - Prof. Harimohan Jha; Trends of Linguistic
analysis in Indian thought; p. 14.
28. Te varnm eva vcakatvam - ibid.
29. Vartirikt pratiidhyamna
padeu mandam phalamdadhti
kryi vkyvayavrayi
satyni kartu kta ea yatna - Kumarilabhaa; lokavrtika.
30. Varasamudya eva padam, na tu
tadatiriktam sphokhya kicit - Sarva Darana Sagraha
31. Varavyatiriktasya padasya na vcakatvam - ibid
32. aktam padam - TS. p. 50.
33. Padatvam ca vttimatvam - GSV
34. Tasmt varna vcakatva na Sabhavati - SDS
35. Suptianta pada - PS. 1.4.14

42

36. Te varavyatiriktasya padasya vcakatvam icchanti - S.D.S.


37. Te hi akhaavkyam kalpitam ahu - Prof. Harimohan Jha; op.cit; p.17.
38. Padavdina padam eva satyam manyante - ibid
39. Padasyaiva vcakatvam - ibid
40. pade na varn vidyante varevavayava na ca |
vkyt padn atyantam
pravivikta na kacana || - VP. 1.73
41. Nnkvayavam vkyam padam v sphoa vdinam - SS
42. Niravayaveu varapada vakyeu avayavbhsa varbhsa padbhsa
klpanik mithy iti bhva - ST
43. eka abhinnasvabhvam vkyam - ibid
44. Ata eva vkyam eva mukhya
abdo vkyrtha eva mukhya
abdrtha kathyate - MBH
45. Yadakart sambhavatitam vivam - Rg. 1.164.39
46. Etidvitadakaram - BU. 3.8.8.
47. Akaram Paramtma evanavara - BSSB. 1.3.10
48. Akaram Brahma Yatparam - KU 3.2.
49. Dve Akare brahma pare tuanante vidyavidye nihite yatra guhe, karam
tvavidy amtam tu vidy - SU. 5.1

43

50. Anya is tat skitvat - SB. SU. 5.1


51. Ya prajo vidharna sarvntaro kara suddha pta banta Isanta
- Maitri. UP. VII.6
52. Tatakart dvididha saumya bhva prajyante tatra caivpiyanti
- Mun. UP. 2.1.10
53. Ea hi drta.... Prana UP. II. 9
54. Akart Sanjyate kla - AU. 6
55. Akaram Brahma paramam - BG. 8.3.
56. Dva - Vimau puruau loke
Karasckara eva ca
Kara sarvi bhtni
Kdasthokara Ucyate - BG. 15.16
57. Kuto Maya.............Akara Ucyate - ibid.
58. Na so'sti pratyayo loke ya abdnugamdte
anuviddhamiva jna sarvam abdena bhasate - VP. I. 123
59. Rg. 1. 164.34, 35
60. Vcam deva upajivanti vive, Vcam gandharva paava manuy
- AV. 10.8.33
61. Yadv prajpate paramasti vgeva tat - SPB
62. Vk yoni - AB. 2.38
63. BU - 4.1

44

64. Vg v va nmno bhyas vg v gveda vijpayati - CU. 7.2.1


65. Etasmt tmana ka sambhta kt vyu vyoragni - TU. 2.1
66. VP - I - 126-28
67. abdasya parimoyam itymnya vido vidu |
Chandobhya eva prathamam etad vivam vyvartata || - VP. I. 120.
68. The Veda and Vedanta; p. No. 97
69. Coward. H.G. Op. Cit. p.1
70. Yatkincinndarupea sryate srutireva sa |
Yas tattvante nirkr sa eva paramevara
Yvadkasankalpa tavacchabda pravartate
niabdam yatpara brahma paramtmeti gyate - HYP. IV. 101.2
71. abda brahma sudurbodha prendriyamanomaya
anantapra gambhra durvighyam samudravat; BP. 1.2
72. abdabrahmai ninta parabrahmdhigacchati - MB. ntiparva - 270
73. Ndad Vindusamudbhava - SCN
74. Abhivyakta par akti avinbhava laka
akhaa paracichchaktir vypta cidrupii vibhum - ibid.
75. Jagannidnam sphokhyo nitya niravayava abda brahma eva iti - SDS
76. The Concept of Language - p. No. 3
77. Veda & Vednta - p. No. 95
78. VP - p. 103. Krika - 46

45

79. rotramtrendriya grhya abda - MM. p. 218


80. rotragrhyo'rtha abda - VV
81. Yenoccritena ssn lngla kakubha khura vin sampratyayo bhavati
sa abda - MB.
82. ptopadea abda - NB
83. Kastarhi abda................... tasmddhvani abda - MBH. 1.1.1.
84. Vartmaknam abdnm samhram padam - MM.p. 226
Padam ca vara samha - TB p. 14
Yathdarn vikta vara vibhaktyanta padasamj bhavanti
- NS. 22.6
85. Vidybhana 1971 : 444, Keith : 1977; 158, 165
86. Athalye 1974 : 329, C. Bhattcrya; 1975 : 17, 197
87. Datta 1972; 336, Potter 1977; 176, 406
88. abdah........... dravyam.......... tadbhttapadairupekitam MM. p. 218
89. abdyate anena artha iti abda - MBH. 1.1.3
90. Hockett, 1958.
91. NS. 1.1.7
92. TS. p. 59
93. The Word and the World; p. 85
94. US Bist, The concept of Language p. 14

46

95. ibid
96. dtamanumnamaptavacana ca - SK. 4
97. NS. 1.1.7
98. TS. p. 59
99. VPB : p. 189
100. Pratyakamanumnam tatha, stram - PP. p. 44
101. VPB - Chapter IV. p. 103
102. Jha's Prbhkara School of Prva Mmsa - p. 52
103. NS. II. 2. 13-38
104. Ki nitya, athnitya iti anitya abda ityuttaram : VB under ND, 2.2. 13 - 39
105. Sarva abdo nabhovtti; rotrotpannastu ghyate; Kr. 165, Part of BP,
Vide BPS, p. 580
106. tasmdanitya eveti vara sarve matam hi na. Kr. 168 b
107. anityatve hi abdnn aanga prahravat abdtmakn vedn
nityatva hsyat vrajet. MM. p. 228
108. IP. p. 389
109. ibid. 391
110. PMS. p. 150
111. ittham varn nityatvt arthasya pravharpea nityatv
ttatsambandhasy nditay apaurueyatvam; TR. p. 24

47

112. IP. p. 390


113. rotramtrendriyagrhya abda abdatvajtiman dravya sarvagato
nitya kumarilamatemata - MM. p. 218
114. nityatvapakameva vayamdriymahe. MM. 225
115. SV. pp. 95-96
abdo'hi pratyakagrho abhyupagamyate. na ca pratyakena vartirikta
kicitprakate. dhvanayo na pratyekam sphoamabhivyajati. Shityam ca
kramavartin samskradvrameveti tulyam talkalpanam
116. Yvanto yd ye ca yadrthapratipdane
Var prajtasmarthyaste tadhaivbodhaka - SV. 69.
117. Prayatnnanthara Upalabdhe krya abda - NM. 1 - 188, NS. 2.2.18
118. SV
119. Prattapadrthako loke dhvani abda ucyate - MBH. I. p. 39.

Chapter - 2
PADA & PAD
RTHA - THE SOUL OF THE SPEAKER
PAD

2:1 - Importance of pada & padrtha


The philosophers conception of the world and its status often determines how
the word should relate itself to the world of objects and events. It should be kept in
mind that the words themselves are not meaning; but they express the meaning. In
Bharthari's language, the form of word is the conveyor or the expression ie vcaka
and that which is conveyed or expressed is the meaning ie vcya.
When a speaker intends to say something, he has to take care of two aspects of
language viz. to express in appropriate form of words and the exact meaning that he
wants to convey. Before translating his thoughts into audible form, both the elements,
the form of words and meaning ie pada & padrtha are present in potential form in
his buddhi. The particular vcya (the contents of meaning) and vcaka (the word forms) are grasped by the speaker before he starts making utterance.
Similarly the hearer also grasps these two elements word and meaning, before
deciphering what the speaker intends by his utterance. So in linguistic
communication, like the speaker and hearer, both the vcya and vcaka play equally

49

prominent roles. Bharthari, in broad sense, calls the vcya as artha (meaning)
and the vcaka as abda (words)1.
From these words of Bharthari, we can say that for the fruitfulness of a
linguistic communication, pada & padrtha-both are very necessary; and without
these, a communication should never happen. Hence we can address these two
elements pada & padrtha as the soul of the speaker;
2:2 - Analysis of pada & padrtha
Vivantha, the author of Nyya Siddhnta Muktvali has made a deep
analysis of the two terms - pada and padartha; or he gives a general description of
bdabodha in this manner.
''Padajnam tu karaam dvram tatra padrthadh
bdabodha phala tatra aktidh sahakri''2In his opinion, the first step of verbal knowledge (bdabodh) is the
knowledge of words or cognition of sound or word (padajnam). This cognition
of word is the instrumental cause (karaa) of verbal knowledge and this cognition
may be through hearing the sounds or through seeing the words (in written forms)
By stating the cognition of words as the instrumental cause of verbal knowledge,
Vivantha establishes that hearing the words only is not the instrumental cause
of verbal knowledge. Because even in the absence of the cognition of uttered
sound, there arose verbal knowledge from the written form also.
Knowledge of the meanings of the words (padrthadh) is the operation
(dvra) (vypra) of verbal knowledge. In this process, the knowledge of denotative
function (akti) is the auxiliary cause (sahakri kraa). Without the knowledge

50

of denotative function, it is impossible to have the recollection of the meanings of


words. Denotative function is the relation of the meaning of a word with that word
and this recollection should be produced by words with the help of the significatory
function (vtti). Otherwise when some one hear the sound of 'ghaa', he will have
the recollection of 'ether' through the relation ship of inherence (samavya) and by
which he will also have the verbal knowledge of ether. On the other hand, if
significatory function is accepted as the relation between the word and its meaning,
then the above said problem will not happen. Without having the knowledge of
this akti, one cannot recollect the meaning of a word. So the knowledge of akti
is very essential in verbal knowledge.
Final result of this process is verbal knowledge (bdabodha) which is the
knowledge of the relation of the meanings of words. Thus the verbal cognition
resulting from the words that are being heard ie uttered.
ie. abdcchrutjjyamno bodha bdabodha
So we can say that the process of bdabodha ends only after the recollection
of meanings of words in that particular sentence. The above mentioned karika of
Nyya Sidhanta Muktvali helps us very much for the correct understanding of
bdabodha. In this karika, we can see the technical terms 'pada' 'padrtha' 'akti'
and 'bdabodha'. After the complete study of these terms, we should get a clear
picture about the concept of abda, abda vypra and bdabodha. Among these
technical terms, 'pada' is first. Hence firstly illustrate this 'pada' and then the
connected topics related with pada. Then after 'padrtha', the relation between
pada & padartha ie akti aktigrahopyas etc.- have all been taken up for thorough
investigation in this chapter.

51

2:3 - Pada (word) - Its Nature & Definition


Collection of letters is called pada or word. We usually believe that the
words always mean a particular object or fact. This word is a symbol of some
ideas or that which is communicable by the speaker makes an understanding in
the mind of the hearer is known as word. The scholars of different systems of
thought have no different opinion amongst themselves that the basic constitution
of pada or word by vara or varas (letters). But these scholars took into
consideration an important point regarding the nature of pada (word) that 'whether
this word is a meaningful unit or only the collection of letters'? Based on this
view, different epistemologists define pada (word) in different ways.
2:3:1 - Grammarians' View
Some grammarians, Pini etc. have adopted grammatical criterion and
defines pada as that which contains as its end either an inflectional (sup) or a
conjugational (ti) suffix (vibhakti)3
For instance, in 'g naya'; where g (cow) occurs in declensional ending
and naya (bring) occurs in conjugational ending, and hence are words.
Others, Bharthari etc. have adopted a metalinguistic criterion and defined
word as a meaningful linguistic symbol or an eternal verbal essence (sphoa) from
which meaning bursts forth. So according to him, a metalinguistic symbol such
as 'cow' (go), from which the meaning cow, bursts forth, after utterance, is a
word. In his opinion, the eternal verbal essence (sphoa) is meaning bearing vehicle,
from which meaning is burst forth.
i.e. 'sphuyate anena iti sphoa' and the meaning, which is burstforth i.e.
'sphuate iti sphoa'

52

This sphoa is derived from the root 'sphu' which means 'to burst forth'. In
its linguistic sense, it can be defined as that which burst forth the meaning. Then it
is the bearer of meaning.
i.e. 'vcaka abda'.
Secondly it is defined as an entity which is manifested by the letters.
Explaining these two aspects of words, Bharthari begins his discussion about this
topic4. Hence the words are two kinds- one being used as the bare words for the
grammatical construction and the other being invariably used to convey a definite
sense or meaning.
In the opinion of later grammarians, influenced by Bharthari, words in reality
are nothing, but the eternal letters or phonemes assume the forms or manifestation
of different words due to the reflections of different word - forms created by the
mental impressions of different phonemic segments. (i.e tattad vara samskrai
pratibimbita tattad rpo ananta rpatm iva panna)
From all these we can conclude that Indian Grammarians such as Pini and
Bharthari, perceived word mainly as linguistic and metalinguistic entity and
therefore analysed the same linguistically and metalinguistically (metaphysically)
as the linguistic form that ends in inflectional affixes and as the eternal verbal
essence that bursts forth meanings.
2:3:2 - Naiyyikas' View
Naiyyikas have adopted both epistemological and semantical criteria to
analyse word. In their opinion, word as a means of valid knowledge of word meaning and therefore, analyse the same as the means of sentence - meaning

53

(vkyrtha bodha) or verbal cognition (bdabodha) How ever, they have held
that such a word must be uttered by a reliable (trust worthy) speaker to become
valid means of knowledge.
We can see the first definition of pada in the Gautama's Nyya sutra that 'the letters ending with an affix form a word'4. In his opinion, letters constitute the
word and any letter which is not ended into suffix cannot be a word.
Vtsyyana gives another definition of pada that the letters which are not
deformed (vikta) and ended with an affix form a word5. Then he classifies the
affixes into two classes viz 'sup' and 'ti' affix. Thus words are also of two types nouns and verbs. The word which ends in 'sup' suffix is 'noun' and the word which
ends in 'ti' suffix is known as a 'verb'.
Vtsyyana's definition of pada is further explained by Vcaspati mira that letters
can be deformed by 'gua sandhi etc'; but deformation in the 'prakti' is not possible6.
In the opinion of Uddyotakara, the definition of pada is- 'te var
yathdarnam vikta vibhaktyant padasamjak bhavanti'7. Instead of affixes,
he classified the words into two- nma and khyta.
In his opinion, 'Upasargas or prefixes' and 'niptas' can be submerged in the
nouns and verbs only. Vivantha defined word8 and which is similar to that of
the definition of word presented by Gautama. He explained affix (vibhakti) into
vtti and the letters which have vtti should also have wordness (padatva)9. Hence
he agreed the two types of affixes viz- 'sup' and 'ti'.
ankara mira in his vaieikopaskra holds that word is a collection of syllables
possessing convention conducive to verbal cognition. i.e. 'sanketavad varatvam padam'10.

54

Jayanta Bhaa, the author of Nyya-Majari and Bhsarvanja, the author


of Nyyasra has not given any definition of pada.
Later in Tarkabha, Keava Mira defined pada as a collection of letters,
which constitute a single conception11.
Annambhaa holds that 'pada' is that which is endowed with the power of
functional relation such as denotation etc.
i.e aktam padam'12 which means that possessed of akti is word. Vivantha13
also puts forth the same idea of the word
From all these we can conclude that the tradition of Old Naiyyikas regarding
the word that which ends in an affix is called a word. This similar idea can be
seen in the commentary of N.S by Amarendra Mohan Tarkatrtha.
Among the Navya Naiyyikas, Gangea defined pada as a collection of
letters14. Later in a commentary of Tattvacintmai, we can see that padatva
(wordness) lies in the 'varasumhatva' (the collection of letters)15.
According to Laugki Bhskara, which signifies a sense is called a word.
i.e. artha vcakam padam16. In his opinion, only the meaningful words as
pada, not the meaningless.
Later on, Jagada stated that word should be meaningful and this
meaningfulness can be a kind of 'akti' because Logicians' pada is endowed with
the power of denotation. Otherwise, how could be a compounded word considered
as a pada17.
His another definition of pada is that which ends in a termination, is called
a word18.

55

So in ancient period, the Naiyyikas' definition of word was based on the


form; where as in the modern period it was based on the meaning. Prof. V.N. Jha
says that we can compare this concept of pada of Modern Naiyyikas to that of
morpheme or bound morpheme to be more precise, in Modern Linguistics19. Thus
in Nyya system, pada or word is the minimum meaningful unit of a sentence.
2:3:3 - Mmsakas' View
Mmsakas, especially Prbhkaras, unlike Grammarians, have defined
word Syntactico-Semantically. They were greatly influenced by their
anvitbhidhna theory, and therefore, have held that words are the collection of
letters that are capable of producing the word- meanings as Syntactico- Semantically
related to action.
'i.e. Varn padam prayogrha anvitaikrthabodhak'
Like Rhetoricians and Logicians, Mmsakas adopt basically a semantical
criterion to analyse and define word. They can be admitted to have held that words
are those that have inherent (natural) power to convey their meanings, and therefore,
are conducive to the recollection of word- meanings. They were greatly influenced
by Anvitbhidna theory. Thus, they define word as a collection of syllables that
are competent to be used in language and convey a singularity of meaning syntactico
- semantically related to other word - meanings such as action.
Conclusion
It can be observed that word (abda) has been viewed variously by the scholars
belonging to the three different branches of Indian epistemology:- Logicians have
defined word mainly from the view point of verbal cognition i.e. that word (or

56

knowledge of word depending upon whether Prcyas or Navyas are speaking) is


the unique cause of verbal cognition since the verbal cognition is the ultimate goal
of human utterance.
While the Grammarians, mainly Bharthari and his followers, have defined
the same (word) from the view point of production of meaning i.e. that word is an
eternal entity that can burst forth the meaning to its listener since nothing but an
eternal entity (nitya varas) that is distinct from the instantly perishing syllables,
can produce the meaning.
On the other hand, Mmsakas have defined the word from the view
point of impersonal and eternal syllables which assume the form of the word
through the efforts of the speaker with the help of the manifesting wind since
only the impersonal vedas can be authoritative in impelling the people to
undertake various rituals etc.
It should be noted that Indian epistemologists hold the unanimous view that
the term 'pada' is used in the sense of only the 'finished word' with inflectional
endings etc. where as 'abda' can be used in the sense of base as well. Hence
Grammarians approached the problem of 'pada' from the view point of only the
syntactical entity and hence stated that the same is what ends in either declensional
or conjugational affixes.
i.e. 'suptiantam pada'.
While the Logicians approached the problem of 'pada' from the view point
of a semantical entity as well and hence stated that the same is what is endowed
with the functional relation such as denotation. i.e. aktam padam'.

57

So among the Logicians, only the scholars belonging to the early school of
thought or Prcyas regard the words to be the means of verbal cognition; whereas
the scholars belonging to the new school of thought or Navyas, regard the
knowledge of words to be the means of verbal cognition. They disagree with the
view of the Prcyas and propose that it is knowledge of words and not words
themselves as such, which is the means of producing verbal cognition.
According to them, Verbal cognition is possible through even the verse of
silent person (mauniloka) or hand- gesture (hastaceta) provided that one is able to
recollect the words alone be considered as the unique cause of verbal cognition.
Thus, Navyas such as Gangea define words as those which are produced from the
correct understanding i.e. knowledge of the exact nature of the referents which, in
turn, produce the utterance 'ie prayoga hetu bhta artha tattva jna janya abda.'
Finally we can reach a conclusion that the Grammarians and Logicians approach
the problem of word from two different angles, but arrive at almost an identical
conclusion. While Grammarians approach the problem of word from the view point
of a syntactical entity and hence conclude that only pada i.e. word which has
inflectional or conjugational endings, can be used in the language as it can refer to
syntactical relations, the Logicians approach the same problem from the view point
of a semantical entity and there fore conclude that only, pada, i.e. the word which
refers to meaning, can be considered to be the cause of verbal cognition.
2:4 - Classification of Pada
Yska, the author of Nirukta, classifies pada (word) into four groups20:- Nma
(Noun), khyta (verb), upasarga (preverb), and nipta (particle) (prepositions).

58

Pada

Nma
(name)

khyta
(verb)

Upasarga
(preverb)

Nipta
(particle)

He defined nma (name) as a meaning of 'static referend21 By matter (sattva)


is meant that entity which agrees with gender and number unlike action (bhva)
Such as cow (go), Rama (Rma) etc. Substances which can be expressed by
means of pronouns eg: this is that (idam tat) fall under the category of nouns.This
is a meaningful division of speech which stands for the uniqueness of referend
in space.22
According to Yska, the verb is 'bhvapradhna'23. He defines a verb- word
as one wherein the activity is prominent such as naya (bring) etc. which is
used in the sense of the result of action. This type of classification firstly done
by Yska and later it is accepted by all the Grammarians and other Indian
scholars. Hence Yska is considered as the founder of the logical syntax of
language as well as the analysis of it. According to Yska, upasarga (preverb)
such as 'pari, upa' etc and nipta (prepositions) such as 'ca' (and) etc. comes
under this classification.
Yaska's classification of words into four groups was mainly due to the analysis
of sahitas into its constituent parts (padas) In this classification, Nma (noun)
(substantive) can be taken to represent sattva (thing or entity) - such as krakas
where as verb(khyta) can be taken to represent bhva (the process of action)
such as making or being, the center piece of any sentence. Also the preverbs

59

(upasargas) such as 'pari' etc. are mainly those that change the meaning of verbs
and do not have independent existence as such, and the niptas (particles) such as
'ca' constitute a large number of words whose meanings are determined by the
context. So we can say that this classification represents the very core of language24.
Ngea, the famous Grammarian classifies Abhidh into three varieties25. In
Nage's classification, the yaugikarha variety of the Naiyyikas is left out. He
says that yaugikarha padas are actually homonymous words. So he excluded
this variety from his classification.
Among the Old Naiyyikas, Vtsyyana appears to have accepted the
Grammarian's division of the words into 'subanta' and 'tianta' varieties by way of
classifying and illustrating affix (vibhakti) as Nmik and khytik. Thus according
to him, words are of two types-nouns and verbs. The word which ends in 'sup' suffix
is noun, opposite to it, the word which ends in 'ti' suffix is called a verb26.
Words

Nouns

Verbs

e.g. brhmana etc

e.g. pacati etc

Uddyotakara classified the words into 'nma' and 'khyta' instead of affixes
as already done by Vtsyyana. In his view, upasarga (prefixes) and niptas can
be submerged in the nouns and verbs only27. Vivantha also agreed the two types
of affixes viz 'sup' and 'ti'28.
Among the Navya Naiyyikas, Gageopdhya classified pada into two primary and secondary29 (mukhya and gaua) The word which is rooted in

60

convention (saketa) is called the primary word. It is the direct meaning of a


word30. While, in secondary words, primary meaning of the word is not applicable
e.g.:- gagy ghoa'Pada
mukhya
(Primary)
e.g. go - ghadi

gaua
(Secondary)
e.g. 'gagy ghoa'

Jagad classified padas into five varieties:-31 Rha, Lakaka, yaugika,


yogarha and Rhayaugika. Of these only the first four varieties are recognised
by Jagad as genuine and the fifth variety, namely, Rhayaugika is mentioned
only as something recognised by others. Annambhaa mentions only three kinds
of aktis as yogarhi, yoga and Rhi
On the basis of nature of the primary meanings signified by them, Vivantha
classifies the words into four groups32
1. Yaugika (derivative) (etymological)
2. Ruha (conventional)
3. Yogarha (derivatively conventional) (etymologo- conventional)
4. Yaugikarha (derivative and conventional) (etymological cum
conventional)
This is the four-fold classification of the denotative (akta) words. This
classification good only in respect of Nmapada (Nouns)

61

2:4:1 - Yaugika
A word is named 'yaugika' when only the meaning of the 'avayava' or its
component parts comes to be understood. Here the stem or the base, the prefixes
and the suffixes are known as 'avayava'
For e.g.:- The word 'pcaka' (cook)33 This word is derived from the root 'pac' with
the help of the suffix 'aka'. Here the root 'pac' means pkakriya (act of cooking) and the
suffix 'aka' means karta (agent) Then 'a' in 'pac' comes to be '' by the rule
'taddhitevacmde34'! Thus we get 'pcaka' and the meaning of this word is 'the person
who cooks' by the denotative functions of its parts (avayavaaktya) or by its derivatives.
From this example we can say that a 'yaugika' word conveys the meaning of
only the 'avayava' or component parts, nothing more or nothing less.
2:4:2 - Rha
When its meaning is conveyed by the denotative capacity of the word as a
whole (samudyaakti) without any care to the denotative capacity of its component
parts, (avayavaaktinirapekay) that word is called a rha.35
e.g. 'go mandala'. The word gau' comes to be formed according to the
'udi sta' 'gamerdo' etc. and comprises of the component parts, the root 'ga'
and the suffix 'das' which should give the meaning as 'something that goes'. But
the primary meaning of the word is 'a cow' in general irrespective of the fact of its
moving or sitting idle and this primary meaning is derived irrespective of the
component parts of the word.
This Rha word which conveys an idea as a whole. In this type, the total
capacity of the word serves the purpose and the etymology of word is not at all

62

taken into consideration. Thus we can say that where, irrespective of the denotative
function of the component parts, it is understood only through its collective
denotative function, it is called conventional.
2:4:3 - Yogarha
Derivatively- conventional (yoga- rha) word is that which conveys an
identical meaning through both derivatively and conventional significations or
where both etymological and conventional meanings come together as only one
item, the word conveying such a meaning is considered to be yoga - rha36.
The word 'pakaja' (lotus) is an example of this variety of words. The
etymology of the word 'pakaja' is 'pake jyata iti' 'paka + jan + a'. Hence the
etymological meaning of 'pakaja' is an object which grows in the mud, and
conventionally it means a 'lotus' and thus signifies the same. Here we can say that
the word 'pakaja' by means of the denotative function of the word as a whole
(samudyaakti) conveys the meaning of lotus and this is connected by the relation
of non - difference, with that which has origin from mud (pakajanikart) which
is the meaning of the same word by the denotative function of its parts.
2:4:4 - Yaugika rha
A word is called 'yaugikarha' or etymological cum conventional when its
meaning is determined either by the derivation i.e. its component parts or by a
convention concerning the whole word irrespective of any derivation37. In other
words, in case of a yaugikarha word, the etymological and conventional
meanings comes to be independently understood.

63

For e.g:- The word 'udbhid' etymologically means which grow up perforating
the ground (ie tree, plant, creeper etc.) and again conventionally it means a sacrifice
of this name38.
From this classification of pada, we can see that conventional meaning is
stronger than the etymological meaning.
i.e. yogd rhir balyasi'
Some later Mmsakas have come to admit this entire four fold classification
of padas into Rha, yaugika, yogarha and yaugikarha39.
2:5 - Concept of Padrtha (Word- Meaning)
'Padasya artha padrtha'. The term 'padrtha' stands for the meaning of a
word and it is a compound word consists of two elements:- pada and artha. Padrtha
might have been first discussed in grammatical treatises. When we compare a
sentence to our body, in which words are different parts of that body and the soul
- its meaning only.
It is place, time and context which determine the meaning of a word. A
slight phonetic change can not only change the meaning of it but also impart an
opposite meaning to it. From this we can see that only meaningful words are
inevitable for communication; and in this process both the speaker and listener
take part. By the term 'meaning' the response created in the listener's mind when
the speaker utters a word is implied.
Both in Vedic and Classic literature- the use of word is for knowing the
meaning "Real knowledge is clarity of meaning''. Without the full exposition of
meaning, knowledge cannot be attained. Even a long time study of vedas is useless

64

unless the meaning is properly understood. This view has been expressed by Yska
in his Nirukta. This means that the chanting of Vedas without knowing the meaning
is simply bubbling. Similarly words, uttered without knowing meaning is akin to
a hearth filled with dry wood having no access to fire. He who has ''learned''
Vedas without knowing meaning is just like a pillar carrying a useless burden. On
the contrary, the one who has mastered the meaning will wash away all his sins
and will attain the heaven of bliss.
Person to person relation is dependent on the exchange of meaningful word.
This meaningful word helps the survival of the world. Man's relation, not only
with man but with the entire universe is based on meaningful word. Such an ocean
of word is limitless; otherside of it, i.e. meaning also is infinite.
In the opinion of Ogden and Richards40, meaning is the central problem
of language because the sole purpose of a sentence is to convey a complete
idea towards something to the hearer and that idea is the meaning only, which
previously exists in the mind of the speaker and by utterance, that image take
place in the mind of the hearer. Clearly speaking, the place of meaning in a
sentence is same, as the place of thread in a garland. Because a thread combine
all the flowers in it, same is the case with meaning because where there may
be the set of words like 'gau as'va brhmaa hasti etc.; yet they do not
convey any meaning and therefore cannot be the sentence. If 'S'denotes the
speaker and 'H' the hearer. Between S and 'H' meaning plays an important
role. In this process utterance 'U' sentence 's' and language 'L' also take part.
It can be shown as

65

U-S
L

In our earliest record, Vedas, we can see the importance of meaning. After
this, Upaniads also expounded the importance of meaning. From the time of
Yska, the study of language began in India. Later on, the various schools of
Philosophy and Grammar have paid much attention to the study of linguistics and
the problem of meaning has been taken into account.
The term 'padrtha' is also used as synonyms with abhidheya, prameya, jeya
etc. In Sanskrit, the word 'artha' is used for meaning and Macdonell translated the
term 'artha' as 'the sense of the word'.41
The term 'pada' is defined by the Grammarians as that which contains as its
and either an inflectional (sup) or a conjugational (ti) suffix. The term 'artha'
connotes 'meaning'. Thus the word pada, together with artha, constitutes padrtha.
It literally means a nameable or denotable thing or a thing which corresponds to a
word. To Udayana, a padrtha is that which is denotable by a word. According to
Annabhaa, it as the object which is characterised by name ability. Knowability
is the definition of padrtha, given by Vivantha. He further says that abhidheyatva
and prameyatva are the other terms acceptable for the definition of padrtha.
According to Gautama, a padrtha means indivisibility, form and genus. For
instance, in the usage 'ghaamnaya' (bring a jar), the term 'ghaa' means the object
which is distinguished by the individuality of the jar, its shape and genus.

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Puyarja, a commentator of Vkyapadya discussed the meaning in detail


and gave eighteen definitions of meaning42! By giving the sixteen definitions of
meaning, Ogden and Richards defined it.
It can be shown as431) An intrinsic property
2) A unique analyzable relation to other things
3) The other words annexed to a word in the Dictionary
4) The connotation of a word
5) An essence
6) An activity projected into an object
7) i)

An event intended and

ii) A volition
8) The place of anything in a system
9) The practical consequenceness of a thing in our future experience
10) The theoretical consequences involved in or simplified by a statement.
11) Emotion aroused by anything
12) That which is actually related to a sign by a chosen relation
13) i)

The Mnemic effects of a stimulus Associations acquired

ii) Some other occurrence to which the Mnemic effects of any


occurrence are Appropriate
iii) That which a sign is interpreted as being of

67

iv) What anything suggests In case of symbols


That to which the User of a symbol actually refers.
14) That to which the user of a symbol ought to be refering
15) That to which the user of a symbol believes himself to be refering
16) That to which the interpreter of a symboli)

Refers

ii) Believes himself to be refering


iii) Believes the user to be refering.
According to Siddheshwara Varma, meaning has been defined in terms of a
relation in the philosophy of language44. In the view of Ngea Bhaa, the particular
relations between the word and the object is known as meaning45. This relation is
the power which exists in the object46. Buddhists defined meaning in terms of
negation. Prof. R.C. Pandey considered the meaning as product of convention. It
is a relation from word to an object, i.e. the power of word, it is from a definite
word to a definite thing or referend47. The power of word is called vtti48.
In the view of Naiyyikas, power which is concentrated in words denotes
the meanings of those words.49 This power is stated as the wish or desire of God
that, 'a certain word would denote a certain fixed meaning50. The power is eternally
associated with a word to its usually direct meaning51. Thus, the meaning of words
depends upon the permanent and eternal will of God.52According to the Navya Naiyyikas, not only the will of God determines the meaning of word, but also the
will of an ordinary person also53.

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Meaning can be classified as either word-meaning (padrtha) or sentence meaning (vkyrtha) The main difference between these two are - padrtha stands
isolated i.e. unrelated with respect to other items and hence does not convey a
complete idea; while vkyrtha, is related to other items and hence conveys a
syntactical relation and also a complete idea.
From all these we can conclude that the essential nature of a word lies in its
meaning. A word is that which has a fixed relation to some object, so as to recall
it whenever it is heard or read; i.e. it means an object. In the opinion of
Mmsakas, word has natural capacity to express the meaning it does: but
according to Naiyyikas, a word comes to have a meaning which has been assigned
to it by convention.
2:6 - Relation between Pada & Padrtha (Word & Meaning) OR
Concept of kti
The Scholars from East and West together agree that word as a thing, having
power or significance in it. But what is this power? or akti? In their opinion, all
words have a certain power; and this power is a unique existence in things like a
seed. Seeds are the cause of plants; and these seeds have the power to produce
plants. But when some insect has bitten the seed, it is incapable of growing plants.
They say that there is some hidden power in the seed, which is not sensed yet, and
it can produces the plant. But an insect can take away this power of seed to grow
the plant. From this example54 we can say that words have power to mean and this
power of meaning is inherent in them. It cannot be shaken by any external force.
These words are meaningful by their very nature55; and there is no word which is
not meaningful.

69

In India, speculations about the nature of this relation subsisting between


word and meaning has been a controversy among the Philosophers, Grammarians
and Rhetoricians. These scholars have assumed a direct relationship between word
& meaning (abda & artha) and they have made a deeper and more thorough
analysis of this relation than the Western scholars.
In Indian philosophy, there are two main schools, Mmsa and Nyya
school support to the origin of this abdrth relation. Of these two main views one is natural (nitya) and the other is conventional (smayika or saketika). The
first view is propounded by the Mmmsakas and the second by the Naiyyikas
According to the Mmmsakas, the significative power is inherent in the
words themselves. In their opinion, the relationship between a word and its meaning
is eternal in the sense that it stands ever fixed by nature without a beginning or
end56. They believe in the perennial continuty (pravhanityat) of the word and
meaning. They also assert that we learn language from our elders, who in their
turn learn it from their elders and so on. Thus it could be traced back to any
conceivable period of human society and it is not possible to trace the origin of the
relationship to a person57. So the Mmsakas conceive that language and for that
reason the relation between the word and its meaning is andi or eternal, and the
signifying power is inherent in the words themselves. So they call this power as
'akti' and maintain it as an independent reality58.
The Grammarians also agree with the Mmsakas that the permanent
nature of the relation between word and meaning is to be understood from popular
usage itself59. They also say that this relation is fixed and permanent. Right
from Vydi upto Ngea, all of them have given a serious thought to it. Bharthari

70

propounds the theory of identity- in- difference between the word' and its meaning
and he also agree with this natural relationship between word and meaning60.
This natural relation between word and meaning has also been explained in
terms of yogyat or the innate capacity of the words. Bharthari suggest that
just as the indriyas or the organs of perception have a natural power to perceive
what comes into their purview, so also words have a natural capacity for
conveying words61. Ktyyana has admitted the relation of the word and meaning
as eternal62 and Patanjali has given a long discussion on it in his Mahbhya63.
According to the Grammarians, not only the relation between word and meaning
is eternal, but the word and its meaning are inseparable also. As soon as a word
is pronounced, the referent, it stands for, is denoted; and as soon as we think of
a referent, it makes us pronounce the word. That is why Kalidasa says that word
and its sense are in close union (sampktau)64.
In the opinion of Navya- Naiyyikas, akti is an important factor because
without this akti, they cannot explain the connection between a word and its
meaning. Generally speaks that 'akti means Smarthya65. They do not accept
akti as a category. But in the context of a sentence, it is a type of power which
conveys the meaning of a word. According to the Naiyyikas, 'akti or 'power' is
the convention made by God, that a certain word has certain meaning66. Laugki
Bhskara opinions that convention (saketa) is existing from eternity, such and
such a thing is to be understood from such and such a word67. So they concluded
here that language is the creation of God, and each word is capable of conveying
a particular sense because God has no will in it.

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In the opinion of Navya Naiyyikas, the meaning of a word is determined


not only by the will of God, but also by a simple will of the person, who names it.
e.g:- On the eleventh day of the birth of a child, the father names him and henceforth
the child is known by that name. So they essentially propounded the name theory
of meaning so far as single words are concerned68.
The Prcy logicians deny this later types of akti; but they named them
simply conventional (pribhika) and on the other hand those words derived
from God are akta.
According to them, a word can have both the origins- ie human as well as
divine. Because of this reason the author of Tarka- praka defends the oldNaiyyikas view69. Athalye and Bodas were accepted the Navya- Naiyyikas view
and they deny the divinity of language origin70. Annabhaa, the author of Tarkadpik' defined this akti in another way. According to him, power is the relation
of a word and object that always serves to revive the memory of that object71,
whenever the word is spoken. Vivantha also agree with him72.
The Naiyyikas do not agree to the view of the eternal relationship between word
and meaning. If there were an eternal relation between word and meaning, a word
would have expressed the same meaning at all places and at all times. More over, by
accepting this theory, different words should not be used to express a single meaning.
So they considered it as conventional and is based on the will of God or mere will.
So we can conclude that this is a common experience that everyone firstly
hears a word, then they understand its meaning. The meaning which is manifested
by a listener is only due to the akti and this akti, which lies in that specific word.
This relation between word and meaning i.e akti, which give rise to bdabodha.

72

In short, there are different views on the relation between word and meaning.
Some of these are given below:
1. The older Naiyyikas hold that the relation is dependent on the will of
God (Ivarecch)73
2. The Neo-Naiyyikas are of the view that this relation depends on mere
will (whether divine or human (icchmtra)74
3. The old Naiyyikas are of the opinion that the akti (primary denotative
capacity) does not lie in dhunika saketa
eg:-Such proper names as 'Deva Datta' are non- connotative75.
4. The Neo-Naiyyikas are of the opinion that even such words possess
akti76
5. The Vaiykaraas regard the relation between word and meaning as
one of revealer (vcaka) and revealed (vcya) as determined by the
potency (akti) of the word77.
6. Some older Naiyyikas take the relation between word and meaning as
avinbhva (i.e. non- existence of the one without the other)78
7. Patanjali is of the view that the relation between word and meaning is
one of identity (tdtmya). That which is the word is also the meaning
and vice verse79.
8. Some Mmsakas regard the denotative capacity(abidh akti) of a
word as a separate entity80.

73

9. According to Kumarila, the relation between word and meaning is neither


one of difference (bheda) nor one of identity (abheda) but one of identity
in difference (bhedbheda)81.
10. According to Prbhkaras and his followers, the potency (akti) of a
word is of two kinds viz.
(i) nubhvik i.e. that which gives the meaning of word
(ii) Smrik i.e. that which arouses the memory of objects signified82
11. According to Buddhist Logicians, the akti of a word lies in what they
call Apoha83. They do not recognise any eternal universal (nitya jti)
like gotva (cowness) or ghaatva (potness). According to the
Apohavdins, when we call a number of objects by the same name, eg:ghaa (pot) what happens is the cognizance of likeness with and
unlikeness from other objects.
For example, the word blue (nla) means that which is different from nonblue (anla). Thus what we call by the name of blue colour is nothing but
that which is different from what is different is known as atadvyvtti or
tadbhinna bhinnatva. It is this that constitutes the real meaning of the word.
The Buddhist Logicians call this power (akti) of word by the name of apoha.
It is a negative concept as it explains the meaning in negative terms.
2:7 - Locus of akti
There is a great controversy among the different philosophical systems
regarding the locus of akti i.e. 'Where this sanketarp akti is apprehended'?
The problem here is that whether a word through akti signifies a certain generic

74

meaning (Jati) or the idea of a particular object (vyakti) or a form (kti) or more
than one of these entities. In other words, the issue is what does a word like 'gau'
or 'ghata' exactly denote? Here the akti with regard to the form 'cow' constituted
by dewlap, tail, horn etc. or to the particular object 'cow' or the common property
'cowness' or all the two or three of these meanings together?
Based on this point, numerous opinions have come into discussion among
these scholars who can be broadly divided into seven groups in this context
1) Aktivdina

2) Jativdina

3) Vyaktivdia

4) Jtyktivyaktivdina

5) Jativiita vyaktivdia and Jaty - ktiviita - vyakti - vdina


6) Apohavdia and

7)

Jtydivdina

2:7:1 - Aktivdina
Among the scholars, the Jainas may be identified as Akti vdins. They believe
that akti i.e. generic shape or form is the meaning of word84. According to them, the
word 'gau' or 'cow' does not denote a particular cow, but all the cattle of the form of
cow. They say that this kti is nothing but 'avayava' that every object (vyakti) must
have. Obviously then as kti gives the idea of a vyakti. This theory holds good in
case of specific kinds of the animal and Botanic kingdom i.e. flora and fauna, but it
is not applicable in the case of things whose generic shape or form are not fixed.
2:7:2 - Jtivdina
Patanjali informs us that it was Vjapyyana, who first initiated the view of
Kevalajtivda. Vedntins as well as the Mmsakas, both the Bhas and

75

prbhkaras can be identified as kevalajtivdina. They hold that only the jti or
the universal is the import or denoted sense of a word85. Consider a word 'gau' or
'cow'- They opine that if we take the particular as the primary sense of word there
are millions of cows in this world itself, the cows as individuals vary widely
amongst themselves in respect of age, configuration, colour and the like. On the
contrary, there we take the universal as the primary sense of word and not the
particular. They emphasized that the denotative force acts primarily on the universal,
because that is the only vitalizing element in any substance. Hence in their opinion,
the word 'go' in a sentence 'gm naya' denote gotva only. Jagadi mentions this
view of Bhas that the word 'gau' in a sentence 'gm naya' denotes gotva and
it is through the svraya vttitva sabandha86. This view was accepted by
Grammarians, Mmsakas and Rhetoricians also.
2:7:3 - Vyaktivdia
Smkhyas and a section of Naiyyikas who can be described as Vyaktivdins.
The Vyaktivdins opine that it is the individuals and not the abstract universal which
form the context of perceptual knowledge. They say that in a sentence 'g naya' ,
only the particular cow is brought and not the universal of all the cows of past,
present and future. Therefore they maintain that akti is to be admitted only in Vyakti
and not in Jati which remains only as the akyatvacchedaka of the former87. More
over, if we take the universal as the primary sense of the word even then the particular
is taken account of, because the particular is a part of the universal.
Modern Naiyyikas opine that the word 'ghaa' primarily denotes the 'ghaa
vyakti'. For e.g.:- when a sentence like 'ghaam naya,' or 'gm badhna' is
uttered, the intention is the particular entity jar (ghaa -vyakti) or cow is to be

76

brought or tethered here, not the universal (jti). In their opinion, the capacity
of being the subject of any act i.e. artha kriykritva resides in the concrete
object i.e. in vyakti alone88.
2:7:4 - Jtyktivyaktivdina
According to the old Naiyyikas, the particular, the form and the universal,
all the three are the primary meaning of word89. Of these, Gautama, the founder
of the Nyya school of thought who initiates the Jatyktivyaktivda. He says
that any one of the three entities, namely kti (configuration), vyakti
(individual) and Jati (universal) cannot by itself be the denoted sense of a word.
In his opinion, all the three entities, namely Vyakti, kti and Jti get combined
to be the import of a word, and hence the word 'tu' in the stra 'vyaktykti
jtayastu padrtha' is significant90 Vcaspati mira, the author of Ttparyatk
says that the word 'go' having been pronounced, any person who comes to know
the animal denoted by the word 'go' will comprehend the particular, the universal
and the form simultaneously. In the sense of a word all the three factors are
present, but in a given context only one factor becomes predominant while the
other two remain subordinate.
2:7:5 - Jativiitavyaktivdia
In the context of the issue under discussion, the Navya Naiyyikas can be
divided into two groups identified as jtiviitavyaktivdins and
Jtyktiviitavyaktivdins.
The scholars of the first group do not seem to pay any heed to the view that
kti is the import or a part of the import of a word. Regarding Jti and Vyakti,

77

they take a balanced view and there by make a fresh contribution on the subject.
In their view, a Jti (the universal) alone can never be the denoted sense of a word.
A word consists of two elements, a base, nominal or verbal and a suffix. The
import of a suffix is case, gender and number. But the individuals are innumerable
and hence it should be restricted only through a reference to the universal which
underlies all these individuals. So they contend that the individuals as determined
by an universal (Jativittavyakti) be the import of the word.91
The other group including Vivantha are 'Jtyktiviitavdins' in the sense
that they include the concept of kti also along with Jti as qualifying the denoted
vyakti92. Really speaking, this is the development of the old view.
2:7:6 - Apohavdia
Among the scholars, The Buddists are called Apohavdins and they believe
that the import of all words is 'apoha' or 'atadvyvti' (distinction from all other
different objects). They refuted both the opinion of Mmsakas and Naiyyikas
in this context and traced a new path that the primary import of word is 'apoha' or
'atadvyvtti' ie 'differentia from all things'. The Bauddha scholars maintain that
anything understood is momentary (kaika) and a word denotes a particular object
as belonging to a particular moment only. In their opinion, an object of today
being completely different from another of tomorrow. As all things or 'kanika,'a
jti is impossible in view of its own nature. Therefore, what do we understand by
the ghaa, neither the external object (vyakti), as we do never know the external
objects in their real form, nor the jti, for jti is nothing more than a mere conception
formed by our mind and imposed upon what we call external objects. According
to them, we never know what ghaa or what ghaatva is; but we know only what it

78

is not viz. it is not 'pata' or kudya or anything else. This is a negative approach and
else. P.V kane also explains this position.93
2:7:7 - Jtydivdina
The Vaiykaraas and the lakrikas may be identified as Jtydivdins.
They hold that the import of a word is either a Jti or gua or a dravya or again a
kriya. Thus they believe in four sets of words. Grammarians first come to believe
in words signifying these four entities and hence there are Jtiabdas, Guaadas,
Dravyaabdas and kriyabdas94. These four kinds of words denote the attributes
(updhis) belonging to the Vyaktis (individuals). The words do not directly signify
the Vyakti.
Like Vaiykaraas, lakarikas also believe in words signifying four
entities viz. Jtiabdas, Guaabdas etc. Thus we can say that lakrikas follow
the Vaiykaraas even in the matter of bringing out the relative difference between
the four entities of words; and they do not differ from the Vaiykaraas to the
problem of the import of words.
2:8 - aktigrahopayas (Means of knowing the Meaning of Words)
aktigraha (the apprehension of meaning) can be had in various ways. The
number of ways prescribed for learning the meaning of a new word ie for obtaining
the knowledge of akti in particular context is not always the same with all scholars.
Among the Naiyyikas, Vivantha, the author of N.S.M. explains eight means
for knowing the denotative function. 95 But Annabhaa recognises only
Vddhavyavahra as the aktigrhaka. In his opinion, only usages of elders is the
way in this regard96. Gangea, a predecessor of Vivantha97 comes to admit that the

79

knowledge of all words primarily results from the observations of the usage of elderly
persons ie Vddhavyavahra. In the opinion of Jagadia, the knowledge of saketa
first takes place in all cases through vddha vyavahra98 and only thereafter, scope
arises for the knowledge of akti through other factors like Upamna. From this we
can see that according to the Naiyyikas, Vddhavyavahra gets more recognition.
Among the lakrikas, Vmana 99 recognises only koa (Lexicon)
(dictionary) in this context. But after this period, Vivantha kavirja, a modern
lakrika have come to admit more than one way in this regard. According to
him, Vddhavyavahra or usages of elders is the most important way and he adds
two others like 'Prasiddha padasamabhivyhra' and 'ptopadea'100.
Of the Grammarians, Ngea101 admitted all the eight fold means for obtaining
the meaning of a word. But he considers Vddhavyavahra as aktigrhakairomai
ie the chief of the factors determining the denotative power of words.
Ktyyana begins his Vrttikas with the statement that the relation between
words and their meanings is got from worldly usage.
Skhya admitted only three ways for learning the meaning of words102.
They are :- ptopadea, Vddhavyavahra and prasiddhapadasannidhi.
From the above, we can see that though the number of ways suggested for
acquiring the knowledge of new words varies in different treatises, it is interesting
to find that Vddhavyavahra is invariably recognised by almost all the scholars
of various schools including Mmsa also. In the view of the Prbhkaras also,
the most important method of learning the words is the Vddhavyavahra or usage
of elderly persons103.

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A brief explanation of eight well-known methods used for obtaining the


knowledge of akti is given below :2:8:1 - Vykaraa or grammar - It is with the help of grammar that one can
understand the significance of a word. We learn the meanings of the
roots, suffixes and derivatives from grammar. We all knew that the most
important use of grammar is to help people to learn a language quickly
and correctly. For eg:- 'Mitra bhti' and 'Mitra bhti'. Here the same
word 'Mitra' when used in the masculine gender, we get the meaning as
'Sun' and when we used the same word 'Mitra' in neuter gender, we get
the meaning as 'friend'.
2:8:2 - Upamna or analogy - One can know the denotative function from
comparison also. A man who does not know what a gavaya, a particular
species of animal looking like a cow can identify it through perception
aided by the description of the animal heard previously. He is told that a
gavaya is like a cow, and then, if he actually meets a gavaya in the
forest, he is able to identify it at once. This method of knowing is
considered by the Mmsaka-s and the Naiyyika-s as a prama or
means of knowledge different from perception and inference. By using
this method, we can identify any herbs and plants.
2:8:3 - Koa or lexicon (dictionary) - Third means of knowing denotative
function is koa or dictionary. Dictionary gives us the knowledge of the
equivalent word - meanings with regard to a particular word. We know
that Amarakoa etc. gives the knowledge of the synonyms like svarga,
nka etc.

81

2:8:
2:8:44 - ptavkya or the direct statement of a trustworthy person is another way
by which we may learn the meanings of words. When a trustworthy person
says that the word 'pik' means 'Kokila' ie 'Cuckoo'. The listener who does
not know the meaning of the word pika, understands the denotative function
of the word 'pika' as in Kokila. ie 'Kokila pikapada vcya'.
2:8:
2:8:55 - Vddhavyavahra or the usage of words by elders is the most important
way among all the eight methods. In actual life, this is the natural way of
observation. For example:- when the elder person directs another person
'Bring a cow' or 'Bring a jar'. On hearing these words a jar is brought by the
latter. Seeing this, a boy who is standing near by understands that the
action of bringing the jar is brought about by the sentence 'bring a jar'.
Afterwards by means of sentences like 'take away the jar', 'bring the cow'
and so on by inclusion and exclusion of respective words, the boy grasps
the denotative function of words like jar and so on.
2:8:6 - Vkyaea or the rest of the passage in the context or the remainder of
the sentence is the sixth means of determining the akti of a word. We
know that certain words have two or more primary meanings. Such words
may have ascertained on the strength of Vkyaea ie the rest of the
passage. As for example, in the Vedic passage 'yavamayacarurbhavati'.
Here a doubt arises with regard to the meaning of the word 'yava'. The
word 'yava' is used in the sense of 'barley' by the cultured people or
ryas; and in the sense of 'Kagu' (panic seed) by the uncultured men or
Mlecchas. When we have to consult the rest of the passage like 'yatrnya'
etc. which describes the yavas flourishing with green leaves at a time

82

when other plants are found withering away. Or we may have recourse
to another passage read together with 'yavamayacarurbhavati'. This
passage, namely 'Vasante Sarvasasyn'104 etc. also describes the
longawned yava's rejoining in the season of spring, when generally all
herbs and plants come to be devoid of leaves. On the strength of either
of these two passages, we come to be confirmed in the notion that 'yava'
in 'yavamayacarurbhavati' means the Barley.
2:8:7 - Vivti or explanation - Vivantha observes that even on the strength
of Vivaraa, one can ascertain the akti of a word with regard to a
particular meaning. Vivaraa or Vivti is the statement of the meaning
of a particular word by means of another synonyms or a word having a
similar meaning. For example :- The sentence 'ghato'sti' is explained by
putting the sentence 'Kalao'sti' and as a result, one can understand the
meaning of the word 'ghaa' as 'Kalaa'. Here we actually come to know
the meaning of an unknown word through a commentary describing the
meaning. Similarly 'pacati' means 'pkam karoti'.
2:8:8 - Siddhapadasnnidhya (prasiddha padasnnidhya) or the syntactic
connection with words already known is the eighth means of knowing
denotative function. Vivantha explains in N.S.M., that Snnidhya
(Proximity) to prasiddhapada (a well-known word) helps us to ascertain
the akti of a word so long unfamiliar or aprasiddha.
For example :- From the sentence 'iha sahakratarau madhuram piko
rauti' which means that 'A pika singing sweetly on the mango tree'. Here
the word 'pika' is unfamiliar, while the words 'Sahakrataru', 'madhura'

83

and 'rauti' are already familiar. But the unfamiliar word 'pika' having
physical proximity with the familiar words comes to convey the idea of
Kokila as its akyrtha.
So we come to a conclusion that the akti of the word 'pika' is ascertained on
such a ground with regard to a cuckoo (Kokila).
2:9 - Concept of Vkya (sentence)
In Sanskrit, vkya or sentence is a cluster (combination) of words (padas).
But a mere collection of words without a mutual relation among the concepts
(padrtha sasarga) does not constitute a vkya. For example, a jumble of such
unrelated words as 'pot', bring, 'cow', 'Devadatta' etc. does not make a sentence.
In order to convey the collective meaning of a sentence, the words require the aid
of some accessory properties or a sentence in order to be a sentence must fulfill
the following conditions:(1) kk (expectancy of words)
(2) satti (juxtaposition of words (sannidhi)
(3) Yogyat (compatibility of words)
The ancient and the modern philosophers together accepted these three
properties105. In their opinion, sentence is a group of words having the three above
stated qualities. Hence Keavamira, the author of Tarkabha has given the
definition of the sentence is 'Vkyam tu kk yogyatsannidhi-matam padn
Samha106'. According to this definition, mere collection of words cannot be
considered as a vkya or sentence. But there should be kka, Yogyat and
Sannidhi among the words. For this reason, a collection of words like 'cow, horse,

84

man, elephant', etc. is not a sentence because it has no expectancy (kka).


Similarly 'Spray with fire' is not a meaningful sentence, as the two words are
lacking in congruity (yogyat) but 'Spray with water' becomes a sentence. Similarly
if the words 'g' and 'naya' are uttered one by one with an interval of an hour
between them and not together, the two will not become a sentence, because these
two words lack proximity (Sannidhi). Thus, the words collectively denote a sentence
and hence in Tarkabha, we can see the definition of 'pada' as the collection of
letters and that collection of letters107 constitutes a simple conception109.
In the opinion of Keava Mira, a sentence is a collection of words and
through the denotation of their meanings, they produce in the mind of the hearer;
they convey meanings that are capable of being construed without incompatibility
or contradiction and they are close enough to produce the desired meaning without
undue delay107.
The most common definition of a sentence which is found in the Navyanyya texts is simply a group of words is called a sentence110. Annabhatta defines
sentence as 'padasamuho vkyam'111. ie collection of padas is a Vkya; 'Vkyatvam
ca Viitrthaparasabdatvam' is the definition of Vkya found in Nyyakoa. Which
means that statement which causes a qualified knowledge is a sentence.
Amarasimha defines a sentence as a group of words ending in verbal suffix
and case affix or as a verb, related to the Kraka112. Jagadia defines sentence as
that having an arrangement of words which have mutual expectancy113. The
definition of sentence given by Vekaa Subrahmaya Iyer is completely identical
with abdaaktiprakika 114. According to him, words which are expectant,
congruent etc. denote their meanings.

85

Notes and References :


1.

tmarpam yathjno jeyarpam ca dsyate/


artharpam tath abde svarpam ca prakate - VP I. 50

2.

NSM Krika. 81

3.

Suptiantam padam - As - 1.4.14

4.

Te vibhaktyant padam - NS.2.2.58

5.

yathdarna vikt var vibhaktyant pada samj bhavanti


- N. Bh. p.656

6.

C.S.A.I.N.P - p. 38

7.

N.Vr. p.656

8.

te var vibhaktyant padam -VV. p.656

9.

athav 'vibhakti' 'vtti' 'anta' sabandha tena vttimatvam


padatvamiti - ibid 659

10. V.U.P. 156


11. padam ca vara samha/samhactra ekajna viay bhva - TB
p.126
12. TS. p. 40
13. aktam padam - NSM p. 119
14. vara samha padam - TC.p. 482
15. Vara - Samha padamiti, vara samhatva rpa padatvamityarthaComm.on. TC p. 482

86

16. TK. p. 44
17. nanu padatva yadi aktimatvam, tad samsasya atha thvat
vibhakti sahakrepi katham tat prayoga - krnaknti on SSP. p.70
18. Pada vibhaktyantam - ibid
19. Prof. V.N. Jha; studies in Language, logic and epistemology
20. tad ynyetni catvri padajtni.....nmkhytecopasarganiptaca
- Nir 1.1
21. Sattvapradhnni nmni - ibid
22. As - 1.2.43
23. bhava-pradhnam khytam - Nir.1.1
24. V.P. Bhatta; Gaddhara's aktivda; p.2
25. aktistridh rhhir yogo yoga- rhica - LM p. 105
26. Vibhakti dvay - nmikykhytiki ca, brhmana pacatti udharaam N. Bha. p. 656
27. yadi dvay vibhakti - rupasarganiptstarhi na padasajaka? na nmniantharbhvt- upasarga nipta nmn saght, yasmdha avyayd
lopa iti, te subantatvt tenaiva samght iti/ N. vr.pp. 656-57
28. vibhaktica sup-ti-rup- VV.p. 656
29. tad-dvividha mukhya - gaua bhedt - TK. p. 44
30. Yat akti - vtty yamartham upasthpayati, tat tasmin arthe mukhyam/
yath go- ghatdi vyaktyupasthpaka go-ghadipadam / ibid.

87

31. rhaca lakakacaiva yoga- rhaca yaugikam taccaturddha, parai


rhayaugikam manyate'- dhikam- SSP p. 72
32. taccaturvidham- kvacid yaugika kvacid rha kvacid yogarha
kvacid yaugikarha - NSM.p.119
33. ibid
34. A critique on abda - p. 146
35. yatrvayavaakti - nirapekay samudykty ghyate tad rham NSM.p.119.
36. yatra tvavayavaakti - viaye samudyaaktirapyasti tad yogarham ibid
37. yatra tu yaugikrtha - rhyarthayo svtantryea bodhastad
yaugikarham - ibid
38. Udbhid yajeta pasukma - TBR 19.7.3 JNV 1.4.1
39. tacca padam caturvidham. rham, yaugika yogarham
yaugikarham ca..... etc. Tp. vide BHC. p.59
40. Ogden and Richards; The meaning of meaning - p.1
41. Quoted by Raja K.Kunjunni in ITM; p.49
42. artho'daadh/ tatra vastumtram-abhidheyaca/ abhidheyo'pi dvidha stryo laukikaca ................... kriyntara- iti V.P. Puyarja; a
commentary of V.P. 2.79; pp. 152-55
43. Ogden and Richards- op.cit pp. 186 - 187

88

44. Varma, Siddhewara - 'Analysis of meaning in the Indian philosophy of


language', JRASGBI, 1925; p.21
45. i) LM. p.28
ii) TC. Vol (iv), part(ii), p.627
46. LM, ibid
47. Pandey. R.C. op.cit; p.187
48. Saketo lakan crthe pada vttih/ - V.P. Bhaa; op.cit; p.1.
49. aktam padam - TS. p.50
50. Ivara - saketa akti- V.P. Bhaa; op.cit; p.6
51. atrevarapadasya nityatvaparicyakatay nityasaketa aktiriti evrtho
bodhya - Haridas comm.on. aktivda.
52. tay crthabodhaka pada vcaka yath gotvdiviita bodhaka
gavdipada tadbodhyo'rtho gavdirvcya, sa eva mukhyrtha iti ucyate
- ak. V; p.6
53. i) navystu ivarecch na akti, kintu icchaiva tena - dhunikasamketi'te' pi akti astyeva ityhu - NSM.p.115
ii) navystu varecchaiva na akti/ kintu icchaiva/ tena dhunika saketite' pi ssti iti vadanti/ NK.p. 854
iii) ekdae ahani pit'- itydi ruti vacanena............navyai ucyate varecch na akti, api-tu icchaiva/ tena asmt padd-ayam- artho
boddhavya iti asmaddnm icch api akti/ Singh; Kliprasd
- NDV. - p. 185

89

54. U.S. Bist; The concept of Language; p.137


55. Pandey. R.C; Problem of meaning in Indian philosophy; p. 183
56. U.S. Bist; The concept of language; p.137
57. This is called pravha- nityat, W.S. Allen, The origin and development of
Language; This is different from the natural theory of the Greek scholars
who believed that 'in giving names to objects the primitive man was inspired
by some innate quality or psychological; effect of the thing itself'
58. V.P. Bhaa; op.cit; p. 7
59. Ktyyana's vrttika begins:Siddhe abdrtha sabandhe lokata..........; see also Patanjali's bhya on
that Bharthari says (VP; I 23): nity abdrthasabandh.
60. Nity abdrthasabandh - VP. I. 23
61. Indriyn svaviayeu andiryogyat yath/
andir arthai abdn sambandho yogyata yath. VP. p. 70
62. A critique on abda - p. 85
63. tadapi nityam yasmin tatvam na vihanyate - MBH vol . I.p.64
64. RV - I. 1
65. akti nma smarthyam - Sigh, kliprasad; op.cit. p.183
66. i)

asmt paddayam - artho boddhavya itvara - Saketa akti - TS; p.50

ii) NSM; p.115


iii) ak. V; p.6

90

67. asmt abddayam - artho boddhavya itykarako' ndi saketa aktiTK. p.44
68. ekdase ahani..... NDV. p. 185
69. 'dvdae ahani pit nma kuryt'- iti ruti/ tath ca dvdasaha kl - pitrdiUccrita nmatvdin nmavcya iu ity kraka- icchay- ivarea
tda- ruti praa yand - dhunika saketo' styeva quoted in N.K.; p.854
70. TS. p.333
71. i) artha- smtyanukla pada- padrtha- sabandha akti - TD p. 50
ii) pada-

padrthayo

vcya-vcaka

-bhvaniyamaka

sabandhntaraakti iti bdikvadanti - NK; p. 855


72. aktica padena saha padrthasya sabandha/ NSM p.115
73. idam pada amuarthabodhayatu iti iavarasaketa- ibid
74. icchmtra akti iti navyhu - ibid.
75. dhunike tu saketite na akti -ibid
76. dhunike saketite'pi sakti iti navy- ibid
77. padapadrthayo vcyavcaka bhvaniymakam sambandhntara akti
iti bdik - vadanti - NK.p.855
78. avinbhava eva akti iti prc - TP
79. Yo'yam abda sa eva artha
Yo' yam artha saeva abda
akti iti hu

91

81. kamrilamate padd bhinnamabhinna vkyam - TP


82. padaakti dvividh nubhvik
Smrik ca, dy abdnubha vajanik srik tu padrtha
smti janik - ibid.
83. apohrthe akti iti bauddh manyante - ibid.
84. VBS. p. 181
NS. II. 2.62
85

PWM. p. 138

86. Subartha- karmatvdau sv-raya vttitvasabandhenaiva praktyarthasya


gotvde skktvat - SSP.p.81
87. BPS. p. 438
88. Vyaktveva akti natu gotvdi jtavapi iti navy hu NK. P.855
89. Vyaktyktijtayastu padrtha - NS. 2.2.68
90. ibid
91. TS pp. 317-18
PWM p.142
92. Ashokkumar Goswami; op cit; p. 129
93. SDK . p. 42
94. SSP. 77, K.18

92

95. aktigraham vykaraopamnakoptavkyt vyavahrataca


Vkyasya ed - vivte vadanti snnidhyata siddhapadasya vddhNSM. p.115
96. aktigrahaca ................ madhukardi
vyutpattidarancca- TD vide TS .pp. 319-23
97. vddhavyavahrdeva............
abdavyutpattyadhnatvt. TC.pp. 460-63
98. SSP. pp. 103-04
99. abhidhnakoata padrthani- caya - KLSV. 1.3.5
100. SD p. 32-33
101. PLM. p.27
102. tribhi sambandhasiddhi - SS 38.
103. vdhavyavahraprvikaiva sarv vyutpatti - VM.p.2
104. vasante sarvasasynm jyate patratana
modamnca tithanti yav
kaiaslina SB - 3.6.1, JNV - 1.3.5
105. i) TB p.121
ii) TS p.52
iii) TK.p.45
iv) N.kus- p.390
v) kr.krika. 82

93

vi) SSP. p.3


vii) VM 1-8
viii)VMV p.37
106. TB p.121
107. padam ca vara - samha - TB p.126
108. samhactra ekajna- viaybhva - ibid.
109. ibid. p.125
110. i) TC. p. 482
ii) NK. p. 730
iii) TS. p. 50
iv) TK. p. 44
111. TS. p. 50
112. ti - subanta- cayo vkya kriy v kraknvit - AK. Krika; 1.6.2
113. i) mitha skka abasya vyho vkyam- SSP krika. 13.
ii) yda - abdn ydrtha- viayitknvayabodha pratyanukla
parasparkk tda-abda- stoma eva tathvidhthe vkyamibid p.64
114. Padnykkitsannayogyrthn tara- sagatn |
svrthnabhi- dadhantha vkyam...|| b. Tar. p. 2

Chapter - 3
ABDA VYP
VYP
RA - THE ROOT OF THE
USE OF LANGUAGE
3:1 - Concept of abda - Vypra
We use words to share our ideas with other people. This word has a fixed
relation to some object, so as to recall it when ever it is heard or read. So we may
say that words are significant symbols; and to convey the meanings the listener of
the words must recognise the words which he listens, as linguistic expressions of
the objects or notions which the speaker wants to convey. When the listener
understands the ideas of the speaker, then we can say that words become the
means of communication.
Indian epistemologists have traditionally explained this linguistic expression
of words as the relation or function of words ie 'abdavtti' or 'abdavypras'.
This relation between a word and the substance which is responsible for
the recalling of substances is the basis of verbal import1.
This relation functions as the root of the use of languages which is the
means of thought communication.

95

In the opinion of epistemologists, each word has a certain inherent power or


capacity to express certain meaning or ideas. This power of expression (capacity)
is the relation of words known as abda vypra or abda akti. This vypra
serves as the link between the words and the meanings.
3:2 - Word Relations - Different Opinions
Among the epistemologists, Naiyyikas hold that word - relation is the relation
of words to their meanings conducive to the reference to the word-meanings which
in turn are the cause of verbal cognition.
In full agreement with his predecessors Vivantha recognises the knowledge
of vtti or vttidh is responsible in the matter of a 'padajna' giving rise to
corresponding 'padrthajna' which leads to the corresponding bdabodha2.
Grammarians hold that word relation (vtti) is a property of words conditioned
by particular word- meanings (tattadartha nirpita abdadharma) According to
them, the relation existing between a word and the object which controls or decides
the signifier and the signified. Such a word- relation produces a mental impression
about words which is conducive to verbal cognition.
Mmsakas opine that every word has its own natural relation to the object
which it signifies. Like fire possesses the power of burning, words possess a natural
potency to mean certain things independently of the will of any person.
From this we can say that the essential nature of abda (word) lies in
possessing akti or function by which meaning is communicable to the hearer.
The recollection of meaning is necessary only to presuppose the relational function
of a word without which the knowledge of bdabodha would be impossible.

96

In general, word relation is held to be relation of words. A word is a


combination of letters. But every combination of letters is not a word in the real
sense of the term. For example - while 'gau' (cow) is a word, but 'tau' is not a
word. So it is said that it is only a meaningful combination of letters, which
constitutes a word. Therefore Naiyyikas opine that power which is concentrated
in words denote the meanings of those words.
Thus, we can conclude from the above that words have a power to mean and
this power of meaning is inherent in them. It cannot be not shaken by any external
force. There is no word which is not meaningful. This word may have different
meanings according to the different ways in which it may be related to an object.
Hence, different epistemologists opine that when we use language for
communicating our ideas to others we may use different word functions or abda
vypras. The Naiyyikas call it significative power (vtti). This vtti is the potency
of a word to denote or mean something. Thus a pada is that which possesses the
denotative capacity ie vtti3. It is this vtti, ie the relation between word and meaning
which gives rise to verbal cognition or bdabodha4
3:3 - Different abda - Vypras
To convey a meaning, different epistemologists have admitted different functions
of a word. (abda vypra). According to them, each word has a certain inherent capacity
or power to convey certain meaning. Among the different systems of thought, the
Naiyyikas have admitted two functions of a word to convey a meaning:(i) akti, the power of primary signification (denotation)
(ii) Lakan(Implication) ( the power of secondary signification)

97

The Mmsakas have admitted two functions of a word:(i) Abhidh


(ii) Lakan
The Viykaraas have admitted three functions, namely,
i) Abhidh or akti
ii) Lakan
iii) Vyajan
The lakrikas have generally recognised three functions:(i) Abhidh (primary meaning)
(ii) Lakan (secondary meaning)
(iii) Vyajan (Terting meaning)
Some lakrikas have come to recognise another function, namely
(iv) Ttparya
3:4 - Primary Signification (denotation) akti (Abhidh)
Naiyyikas have generally used the term akti to mean abhidh. This akti
is termed by Logicians as saketa (desired intention) iccha (wish) or samaya
(the relation of one occasioning the other.) akti or denotative power is defined
as the relation between word and sense by which meaning is cognized, when
ever a word is heard. Therefore it is the direct relation of word to its meaning. It
is called conventional because a word directly means an object due to its
conventional image.

98

This convention may be established by the will of God or by the will of man
(speaker) (icch) And the desire of the speaker is either of the form that such and
such a word should convey (denote) such and such a meaning (thing referred to)
(idam padam amum artham bodhayatu)5; or the form that such and such a meaning
(thing referred to ) should be conveyed (denoted) by such and such a word (asmt
padt aya artho bodhavya)6. For instance, the desire that the word pot (ghaa)
should refer to the sense of pot is the signification. Here the signification means
the power or capacity of words (akti) convey a particular meaning.
Among the Logicians, the Prcyas hold that primary signification (denotation)
is conventional expressive power which has the form of only desire (will) of God
(Ivarasaketa); and therefore, primary signification is found to occur only in
conventionally expressive words such as 'cow' (go).
However, the Navyas, hold that primary signification (denotation) is
two fold: - namely, desire (will) of God (Ivarasaketa) and that of modern
authors of scientific works such as Paini (dhunika saketa); And therefore
primary signification or denotation is found to occur in both conventionally
expressive words such as 'cow' (go) and technically expressive words such as
'nad' 'vddhi' etc7.
Thus the words, which express (denote) their objects through such a
conventional expressive power or denotation are conventionally expressive words.
For instance, the words 'cow' (go) etc. which express (denote) their objects such
as cow through such an expressive power (desire or will of God) are conventionally
expressive words.

99

Therefore according to Logicians, the primary signification is of two kinds:


- the technical expressive power (paribha) and the conventional expressive power
(akti) Here, the technical expressive power (paribha) is the primary signification
(desire) of modern (recent) authors. The word, which conveys (denotes) the meaning
through such a technical expressive power (desire of modern authors) is considered
to be the technical word (pribhika pada) For instance, the meta - linguistic
words such as 'nad' and vddhi' which convey (denote) the sense of the feminine
stems ending in '' '' and second modification or increase of vowels respectively
through the technical expressive power or desire of the modern authors of science
(such as Pini etc) are technical words (pribhika - pada)
It should be noted here that, according to the Prcya' Logicians, only the
conventionally expressed meaning, and neither the indicated meaning not even
the technically expressed meaning is the primary meaning.
Similarly the Navyas divide the primary signification or denotation (saketa)
as technical expressive power (paribh) and conventional expressive power (akti)
Thus, the Navyas hold that the primary signification is the desire (will) of the
speaker8, which covers both the technical expressive power of technical words
used by modern authors and the conventional expressive power of conventional
words used by God and other trust worthy persons.
But Mmsakas are not specified the primary signification as the will of
God, and the same is held to be the will of speaker in general. Then the will of any
speaker to express any meaning from any word could become the associate cause
of any cognition. And therefore, they reject such a theory of Logicians and establish

100

that an innate capacity of words to express the meanings is the expressive power
ie primary signification.
Also, the Prbhkara Mmsakas, who hold the twin theories that word
express only the universals (generic properties) such as the cowness and also that
words are conducive to the cognition of individuals as associated with other word
- meanings such as action, ie Krya, have proposed that expressive power is
basically two fold: - that which is conducive to the recollection of word meanings
(universals) (smrika), and that which is conducive to the verbal condition of
individuals as related to other word meaning, action or krya (nubhvik).
It should be noted that a separate entity such as denotation (abhidh) which
is to be perceived by the signification of the speaker is the power or capacity of
words. According to them, the power or capacity of words ie denotation is a distinct
entity from the word relation, and is the object of the knowledge of signification
which is the associate cause conducive to the verbal cognition by facilitating the
word reference.
But Grammarians maintain that a distinct relation of words which regulates
the denotation of words in meanings is the power of words. According to them,
the denotation is not itself the power of words; but rather, the relation perceived
between the word and meaning which can regulate the denotation that such and
such word refers to such and such meaning is the power of words. Thus, they have
distinguished the power of words from the denotation of words.
Here it is concluded that while the Logicians consider the same as the
signification or the desire of the speaker, the Ritualists maintain the same as a

101

distinct entity known as denotation. And the Grammarians' view is that the power
of words to be the relation that regulates the denotation of words in distinct senses.
They are guided by the fact that a regulating factor is necessary to regulate the
denotation of a word in a specific sense.
On the other hand, lakrikas have generally accept the term 'Abhidh' to
denote primary signification9.
This 'Abhidh' is the 'akti' of Naiyyikas.
Abhidh conveys the primary meaning by a power or akti and this akti is
the convention made by God that such and such a meaning should be understood
from such and such a word10. The power by which the conventional meaning
expressed is called Abhidh and the word to which this power belongs is called
vcaka. It is the direct relation of word to its meaning.
According to Mammaa, that which denotes the direct and conventional
meaning is called vcaka11,
Vivantha says that since Abhidh conveys the conventional meaning to
our understanding, it is the primary power of a word12.
The definition of Vivantha implies that the two adjectives skt (direct)
and saketita (conventional) as given by Mammaa are not germane to the definition
of Abhidh. He retains only one adjective ie saketita.
But according to Mammaa, not only what is conventional; but what is also
direct is the import of the vcaka words. In his opinion, there are certain polysemous
words and the meanings of these words are determined by the context in which

102

they occur. He says that a polysemous word can be restricted to one meaning by
certain contextual factors13.
Thus for lakrikas, convention is the basis for the primary relation between
the word and its meaning. According to them, a word is 'vcaka', (expressive)
only when it conveys a meaning through direct convention. But they treat Abhidh
as different from the conventional relation. Jaganntha, author of the
Rasagagdhara follows the Naiyyikas fully in this regard. In his opinion, abhidh
is same with the conventional relation14.
So we can see that according to Mammaa, Abhidh is the power of words
by which conventional meanings are conveyed15. He says that the sense of a word
cannot be comprehended without convention. That sense get from the word is
called its direct meaning which is other wise known as abhidheya.
According to lakrikas, this sense may be of four kinds- Jti, gua,
kriy or yadcch. They hold that the import of a word is either Jati, or a gua, or
a dravya or again a kriy. Thus they believe in four sets of words and they may be
identified as Jatydivdins. Hence to the lakrikas, there are jatiabdas,
guaabdas, dravy abdas and Kriyabdas16.
In the opinion of lakrikas, the signifying power of a word (saketa) applies
not to the individual (vyakti), but to the updhis which reside in the individual.
Updhis are of two kinds, viz(i) Vastudharma ie the essential property residing in the thing.
(ii) Yadcch ie a name or epithet attributed to a thing according to the
wish of the speaker.

103

Vastudharma (natural property) is of two kinds, viz(i) Siddharpa


(ii) Sdhyarpa
The former includes (i) jati (universal) and (ii) gua (quality) The latter (ie
Sdhya rpa) is in the form of kriy (action)
e.g:- cooks17
Mammaa describes that even though 'jti' etc are associated with the individual
(vyakti), sanketa cannot be accepted in the individual because individuals are
innumerable and live in all the three times. If we refer to one individual, it would not
apply to the other. So he accepts updhi saketa, ie the word refers to updhi and not
to vyakti, Yadcch is Samj or proper names. The speaker uses such words
according to his own will. Vivasntha also maintains that saketa is four fold
consisting of class, quality, substance and action. He includes samj under substance.
So we can say that a vcaka word expresses a sense established by convention;
and this sense of a word cannot be comprehended without convention. It should
also be noted here that the word by means of which one understands the denoted
meaning, is called the 'denotative' (vcaka) For e.g:- Cow (go) is the denotative
vcaka of the 'cow' in 'gm naya' and the meanings such as 'cow', which are
denoted, are called primary meanings (mukhyrtha). This is so because, the word
'cow'denotes the cow as the cowness delimited etc. through the primary word
relation (vtti) called signification (saketa)
Similarly in the example 'Gagy ghoa (the village is on the Ganges)
the primary meaning of the word 'Gag' is the river 'Ganges' only, and the meanings

104

such as 'bank' and 'purity' which are indicated and suggested respectively are
secondary or non- primary meanings.
3:5 - Secondary Signification (Lakan)
3:5:1 - Concept of Lakan
In any language, in addition to express their primary meanings, words may
be used to indicate or suggest some secondary meaning also. This meaning is
always different from the primary meaning. In the opinion of Dr. K.Kunjunni
Rja, ''If we take the word as denoting its normal primary meanings, the sentence
may become non-sensical in the context. This produces a 'psychic resistance' in
the listener, and there is a sort of break in the flow. It excites attention and requires
interpretation for understanding the purport. The actual referent of the word has
to be taken as different from its normal one, but in some way connected with it,
either through similarity or through some other relation. This function of the word,
denoting a referent different from its normal and primary one, but some how related
to it, is called Lakan or upacra''18
From this we can say that with the help of the primary signification or
expressive power (akti), words can express primary meanings. V.P. Bhaa
opine that when a speaker may intend to indicate or suggest a secondary
meaning which is different from the primary meaning, but at the same time,
related in someway or other to the primary meaning on the general that the
primary meaning may not fit into context or that secondary meaning may
point out some qualities of the referent or being about some poetical charm or
excellence to the usage.19

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Besides Lakan, the terms like upacra, gau, vtti, bhakti etc. are also
used to refer to this secondary meaning. In English, the word metaphor is popularly
used instead of this Lakan20.
To make a brief study about Lakan, we are to mention Yska first. Because
various examples of Luptopama is 'siha' 'vyghra' etc. can be seen in Yaska's
works and it should later becomes the stock example of Lakan like
'simhomavaka' etc.21 Thus many examples of Lakan without being named
as such occur in Yska's work. Of the Grammarians, Patanjali is the earliest to
recognise the phenomenon of the transference of epithet which is nothing other
than what we call a Lakan. Though he does not mention the terms 'Lakan' or
'guavtti,' he comes to refer to the practice of using a certain word for something
other than what it usually stands for22. Bharthari comes to use the term Gua
alone for the secondarily signified meaning; and no where in his work he has
mentioned the term Lakan. In later works, we can see that 'kkbhyo dadhi
rakyat' is an example of 'upalakaa' ('ajahatsvrth') or of an updnalakaa'
may be said to have originated from Bharthari's kkebhyo rakyatm sarphi23.
In Parama Laghu Maju, we can see the approach of Ngea to lakan is that
he is in favour of Ttparynupapatti which is the Lakan bja.24
Coming to the lakrikas, we find that the secondary function does not
come in use till nandavardhana's time. Bhmaha shall have to be admitted as
the first lakrika to have recognised the transference of epithet i.e. Gau
vtti. An observation of Abhinavagupta also confirms our idea in the matter25.
According to Dain, Guavtti as the cause of certain Alakras and he
recommends its acceptance for the purpose of removing Grmyatdoa in poetry.26

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Vmana comes to use the term lakan in the sense of secondary signification in
general. nandavardhana uses the term Guavtti in a wider sense so as to cover
all possible varieties of secondary signification. To describe this Guavtti, he
uses the term 'amukhyavtti27. By them term Guavtti, Abhinavagupta covers
both the Gau and suddh varieties of lakan. Bhojarja maintain a line of
demarcation between Gua vtti and Lakan 28 . Later lakrikas like
Mammaa29, Vivantha30 and Hemacandra31 gives an elaborate discussion about
lakan and from Mammaa, lakan came to be a generic name for all the varieties
of secondary signification.
Among the Mmsakas, Jaimini used the term 'Bhakti' in the sense of
secondary signification 32. Bdaryaa, the author of Brahmastra use the
term'Bhakti' and abara-Swmin use the term Gunavtti to denote the secondary
signification33. Kumarila is the first scholar who point out that it is the Lakan
function which operates to convey the sentence meaning in each and every
sentence34. Prthasrathi Mira and Nryana Bhaa, the followers of Kumarila
give support to Kumarila35.
Coming to the Prbhkara school, Prabhkara Mira uses the terms Upacra,
Gua and Bhakti for secondary signification under various contexts 36. His
illustration of Guavtti is 'gaurvhika.37 likantha, the follower of Prabhkara,
presents the view of Kumarila and asserts that lakaa cannot be resorted to in
each and every sentence ; but it can be resorted to only when the primary meaning
of a word comes to be discarded as in 'gagy ghoa.38
Of the Naiyyikas, Gautama has used the term bhakti (bhkta) or upacra to
refer to the secondary signification of words.39 But Jayantabhaa has used the

107

term lakan40 for the first time in his Nyya majari and later epistemologists
such as Gaddhara adopted the term lakan for the main secondary significative
function of indicative power or transfer41. Gangea defines lakn as a separate
vtti of words to bring forth a secondary meaning for getting involved in a
syntactical relation with a primary meaning of other words where the primary
meaning of a word fails to do so 42.
3:5:2 - Definition of Lakan
Among the lakrikas, Mammaa has defined lakan as follows:when the primary meaning of a word is not compatible with the meaning of a
sentence, the power of a word by which another meaning connected with
the primary meaning of the word is conveyed through usage or motive is
called Lakana43. He opinions that the three conditions under which lakan
operates are:(1) mukhyrthabdha (obstruction or incompatibility of primary meaning)
(2) Tadyoga (recognisable connection between the primary and secondary
meanings)
(3) ruhi (usage) and prayojana (motive)
Another lakrika, Vivantha has defined lakan44 in a slightly different
language. He opinions that Lakan (secondary sense) is taken recourse to when
Abhidh (primary sense) is not applicable i.e. when the chief meaning (mukhyrtha
or vcyrtha) is obstructed or hampered (badhita) in some way. It gives an occasion
for figurative interpretation (Lakyrtha). In other words we can say that in their
view, when the primary meaning of a word is logically incompatible with rest of

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the sentence, Lakan function is resorted to for bringing into comprehension a


new meaning connected with the failing primary meaning of the word.
Logicians defined lakan in general to be the relation between the primary
meaning and the secondary indicated meaning45. In Padrtha candrika, we can see
that the occasion for lakan arises only when there is an obstruction to primary
meaning46. In other words, if some syntactical incompatibility47 or a hindrance to
the intended meaning48 that necessitates lakan. Another definition of lakan
similar to that of lakrikas is given by some Naiyyikas also49. Later Naiyyikas
described lakan as a akya Sambandha or Svaakyasambandha50. In their opinion,
implication is the relation with that meaning which is denoted by the denotative
function. In krikvali, we can see that implication is the relation with that meaning
which is denoted by the denotative function, because of the incompatibility of the
intention of the speaker51. Gangeopadhyaya defines lakan as a separate vtti of
words to bring forth a secondary meaning for getting involved in a syntactical
relation with a primary meaning of other words where the primary meaning of a
word fails to do so52.
Prbhkara Mmsakas admitted Lakan and it is brought into seperation
by a relation of the primary meaning (the relation being with regard to another
meaning which comes to be designated as the Lakyrtha)53. In the opinion of
Bhas lakana as being based on a relation of the denoted sense of the word that
signifies a secondary sense54. According to the Mmsakas, the primary meaning
(the relation of which with a newer meaning, i.e. lakyrtha, is stated to be the
basis for a lakan) is described as 'Svabodhya' 'Svajpya' and sometimes
'svaakya' also. These terms, in the sense of the primary meaning are applicable

109

not only to a padrtha, but also to a vkyrtha. While in the Bha school, the
primary meaning is the meaning of an individual word, in the school of the
Prbhkaras, it may be the total meaning of a sentence.
According to the Grammarians, Lakan is the attribution or super imposition
of the denotation on a secondary sense. ie. akyatvachedakropa.
For example:- When the word 'Ganges' indicates the bank in 'gagym
ghoah'; the indication of the same bank can be stated to be the super imposition
of the denotation of word 'Ganges' on the secondary sense 'bank'. Thus, this theory
views the indication as an erroneous perception of the denotation. From this we
can see that Grammarians also hold the same view with the Navya Naiyyikas.
According to them, lakan comes for operation because of a Ttparynupapatti'
be not accepted as the determining factor for the operation of a Lakana, in the
expression 'gagy ghosa' the word' ghoa' may mean an aquatic creature by
lakan. In his opinion akyasambandha Lakan56
3:5:3 - Essential condition for Lakan
This is generally accepted that the operation of Lakan is possible where
there is some incompatibility of the primary meaning or mukhyrtha bdha; and this
word- relation is specially assumed with a purpose. Hence Indian epistemologists
together agree on one point that there must exist certain essential conditions (bja) to
assume this relation Lakan. They differ amongst themselves as to what constitute
the essential condition of Lakan; or whether this incompatibility is due to the
failure of a syntactical relation among the words in a sentence i.e. anvaynupapatti
or the failure of the intention of the speaker i.e. Ttparynupapatti.

110

Among the Mmsakas, Prbhkaras hold that the operation of Lakan is


caused by the Anvaynupapatti. Some earlier Bha Mmsakas who admit
Lakan for understanding every sentence- meaning56 do not subscribe to either of
the aforesaid views. But some later Bha Mmsakas have come to accept the
necessity of a Lakanbij and hence they admit akyrthnvaynupapatti as the
determining factor for the operation of a Lakan57. Ttparynupapatti is not
obviously accepted by the Bhas as it is not possible in the context of vedic
statements. Old Naiyyikas also hold that the essential condition for assuming
Lakan is the untenability or incompatibility of the syntactico- semantical relation
of the primary meaning with the meanings of the rest of words in a sentence i.e.
anvaynupapatti.
For eg:- Consider the sentence ' gagy ghoa' Here, the untenability or
incompatibility of the syntactico- semantical relation of the 'Ganges', the primary
meaning of the word 'ganga, with the village, the meaning of the word 'ghoa' is
the essential condition for assuming the indicative power of the word 'gaga' in
the secondary meaning of the banks of the Ganges which is quite tenable to be
construed with the village58.
But according to Navya Naiyyikas, the untenability of the speaker's intention
to convey primary meaning (ttparynupapatti) is the essential condition for assuming
indicative power of the word in the secondary meaning. In their opinion, in a sentence
'gagy ghoah', the speaker cannot be held to intend to convey the primary
meaning 'Ganges' from the word 'gag' since the same is not tenable to be construed
with the village, and hence, the same untenability is the essential condition for
assuming the indicative power of the word 'gag' in the secondary meaning of the

111

banks of the Ganges. Here the indicative power is assumed in the secondary meaning
which is intended by the speaker to be conveyed for certain specific reasons such as
the logicality or beauty of the sentence- meaning59. Thus, we can see that according
to Mmsakas and Naiyyikas, untenability (incompatibility) of the syntacticosemantical relation and also that of the speaker's intention to convey primary meaning
are the two essential conditions for assuming Lakan.
Similarly, the Vaiykaraas also hold the same view of the Navya Naiyyikas.
According to them, Lakana comes for operation because of a Ttparynupapatti.
If this Ttparynupapatti be not accepted as the determining factor for the operation
of Lakaa, in the example 'gagya ghoa' the word 'ghoa' may mean an
aquatic creature by Laka60.
According to Mammaa and other lakrikas, three essential conditions
are necessary for the operation of Laka61. In his opinion, obstruction of
primary meaning, tadyoga (substitution of another meaning associated with the
primary meaning) and some convention (rhi) or purpose (prayojana) are the
three essential characteristics of Lakan 61 . He says that in addition to
incompatibility or untenability of the primary meaning, and the untenability of
speaker's intention to convey primary meaning, the sanction for the secondary
meaning by the popular usage for a definite purpose is also necessary, since the
same enriches the content of the literature by facilitating new ideas. Of these
three conditions, the first two are accepted by all writers; but the last definite
purpose is not admitted by all especially by logicians and Mmsakas. It is
only the literary critics who give great prominence to it.62 Vivatha confirms
his view in a slightly different language63.

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In the well - known example of lakan -'gagy ghoa ' (The village is
on the Ganges) - the primary meaning of the word 'gagy' is ' on the river
Ganges'; This is not suitable to the context, since the village cannot actually be on
the stream itself; hence the actual meaning of the word Gag is taken to be
'gagtaa' 'the bank of the river Ganges'; the relation between the normal meaning
of the word and its actual meaning here is one of proximity (smpya) This
secondary meaning of the word is not understood directly from the word, but only
indirectly through its primary and normal meaning. This normal meaning that
occurs to our mind immediately on hearing a word; when this is found to be
incompatible with the context, we resort to laka and get the actual sense which
is related to the normal one and which removes the incompatibility; and in this
present case it may be indicate that the village has the qualities of sanctity and
coolness associated with the sacred river64.
3:5:4 - Different Views on Lakan
There is a problem among the scholars of different systems that whether
there is Lakan in vaky or not.
Among the Mmsakas, Bhas maintain that any vkyrtha (sentence meaning) must come to us in the form of a Lakyrtha (secondary meaning).65
According to them, the function of Laka belongs to a sentence. Whenever any
difficult arises in explaining a vedic text, they have to take the help of Laka.
They regard Laka as a vkya vypra; and also hold that the primary meanings
conveyed by the words through akti or Abhidh lead up to a sentence- meaning
to be conveyed by Laka66! Abhidh ceases to operate after conveying the primary
meaning of each word. These primary or expressed meanings conveyed by akti

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constitute a sentence- meaning. This sentence- meaning is conveyed by Laka.


Thus in the opinion of Bhas, every vkyrtha is a Lakyrtha as because every
vkya invariably requires the operation of Laka to get its meaning conveyed.
But according to Prbhkaras, Laka comes to operate in a sentence only
when it reveals some hindrance for individual word- meanings to be involved in a
syntactical relation in order to give the sentence - meaning. In this way Prbhkaras
reject the notion of Bhas67. So we can see that while the Bhas accept Lakan
in all sentences, not only in vaidika but also in laukika ones, the Prbhkaras find
the scope of Lakan only in sentences which involve anvaynupapatti. For
example:- 'gabhry nady ghoa'68. According to them this is a case of
Laka because they admit Laka with reference to a whole sentence. They
propose that the intended sense, 'the bank of a deep river' is conveyed neither by
the term 'gabhra' alone nor by the word 'nad' alone. If the word 'gabhra' conveys
the Lakyrtha (the bank) and the word nad retains its primary sense, a syntactical
relation between the two words cannot be thought of. Because there is an
impossibility of identification between a bank and a river. Again if the word 'nad'
again is taken to convey the secondary sense (the bank) and the word 'gabhra' is
allowed to retain its primary meaning, a mutual relation between the two words is
not possible; because the bank of a river cannot be deep. Hence they suggest that
the syntactical relation between the two primary meanings i.e. 'deep' and 'river' is
first effected and thereafter, the sentence as a whole, conveys the secondary sense,
'the bank of the deep river' by means of Lakan.
But the Naiyyikas hold that lakan belong only to a pada (word) and not
to a vkya (sentence) In their opinion, akti belongs to the word and hence lakan

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also belongs to the word only. Hence there can be no possibility of Laka as
belonging to a whole sentence69. The accepted position of the Naiyyikas is that
as there is no akyrtha also in it. And consequently there is no Laka
(akyasambandha) in a vkya. In Muktvali, 'vkye tu'70 etc. confirms Vivantha's
position in this regard. Gangea, the author of Tattvacintmai opinions that the
individual word itself conveys the idea of 'anvaya' of its own meaning. The group
cannot convey the idea of an 'anvaya' of the meanings of words belonging to it. It
is because a group cannot have a definite primary meaning of its own. The
akyrtha, therefore, belongs only to the individual word and never a group.
Consequently Lakan as akyasambandha can belong to the pada (word) and
never to a vkya (sentence)71.
For eg:- In 'gabhry nady ghoa' the words 'gabhra' and 'nad', first
get involved in an 'anvaya' and present the idea of 'a deep river'; Then either of the
two words comes to convey the idea of 'the bank of a deep river' as a Lakyrtha.
This Lakyrtha is related to the akyrtha of the word which is taken to have
conveyed the Lakyrtha in the context72.Thus it is not the sentence but a single
word, either 'gabhra' or 'nad' which conveys the Lakyrtha.
Similarly, the Mmsakas admit Laka in certain samsas73 like Tatpurua
while in Karmadhraya they take the meaning of the samsa only as a akyrtha.
They admit it in the entire samsa and not merely in a constituent word of it. To
the contrary, the Naiyyikas including Vivantha admit Lakan not in an entire
samsas but in one of the component parts of it. It is obvious that they do not come
to recognise a Laka also in a samsa as a whole. It is because a samsa is for
them a compressed sentence only. They feel that to recognise a Lakan in a

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samsa will virtually amount to recognising a Laka in a vkya or in a full


sentence. So to avoid recognising Lakan in a Samsa, the Naiyyikas assert that
when ever a Lakyrtha is to be conveyed in a samsa, the corresponding Lakan
operates as belonging to anyone of the component words of the compound.
Vaiykaraas regard Lakana as a vkyavypara. They do not find any scope
of admitting Lakan either in the whole or any part of a compounded word. They
find the purpose served by the akti itself. In the opinion of Mmsakas and the
Naiyyikas, there is no akti in a vkya as well as in a samasa which is nothing but
a condensed sentence (vkya). But unlike the thinkers of these two schools,
Vaiykaraas understand akti as belonging to a samsa as a whole. They want a
samsa to be recognised as a single word endowed with akti and akyrtha. It is
because they are anxious to maintain the status of samsa as a prtipadika. Their
opinion is that if a samsa is supposed to be 'abdasamudya' (a cluster of words)
and not as an 'ekapada' (a single word), it will not be possible to apply the definition
of prtipadika to it. Hence according to Vaiykaraas, a samsa is a single word,
a prtipadika and the meaning conveyed by it is a akyrtha.
For eg:- In a samsa like 'citragu', the entire samsa comes to convey the
meaning, 'the master of spotted cows (gosvmin). This meaning is obviously
different from what should have been the direct meanings of the component
parts of the compound, namely, 'citra' and 'go'. Here according to Vaiykaraas,
'the master of spotted cows' as the immediate direct meaning (akyrtha) of the
samsa itself without any reference to what could have been the direct meaning
of the word 'citra' and 'go'. Thus in the view of the Grammrians, samsrtha is
a variety of akyrtha74. Therefore Vaiykaraas assign the power of expressing

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such additional senses to the compounds, taking the whole as an indivisible unit
of speech.
Among the lakrikas, Mammaa opinions that the secondary meaning
(Lakana) belongs to meaning, but it is imposed on the word by attribution.75
Vivantha partly agrees with Mammaa; but instead of regarding Lakan
as ropit, he regards it as arpit76.
3:5:5 - Classification of Lakan
Among the Naiyyikas, Prcyas hold that Lakan is of four types
a) Jahatsvrth lakan (Jahallakan)
In this type of lakan, the primary sense has to be rejected to a great extent
or losing out denoted meaning ie jahat svrtha. And another sense connected with
it has to be taken to suit the context. Mammaa calls it lakana lakan77.
For eg:- 'gagy ghoa (The village is on the Ganges) Here the primary
sense of the term Gag (Ganges) is abandoned and the secondary meaning 'the
bank of the Ganges' is taken.
b) Ajahat svrth lakan (Ajahallakan)
In some cases the secondary sense includes the primary sense also or the
indication without losing denoted meaning is known as Ajahat svrth lakan. It
is not necessary that the primary sense should be completely excluded in all cases
of transfers78. Some times the primary sense is not substantially modified, but
only specified by context, or restricted by its syntactic function, or extended by
the inclusion of another sense. Mammaa calls it updna lakan79.

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For example:- 'kkebhyo dadhi rakyatm (protect curd from the cows). Here
the implied meaning of crow is the objects which make disturbance to the ghee; at
the same time without losing out the denoted meaning ie crow.
c) Jahadajahallakan
The third is the indication losing and not losing denoted meaning. In this
case, only a part or an aspect of the primary meaning is preserved, while the rest is
rejected80. In a sentence 'So' ya Devadatta' (This is that Devadatta) Here the
term sa ( that) refers to Devadatta as detemined by the past time and space and
the term aya (this) refers to the same Devadatta as determined by the present
time and space. Here indication is assumed in Devadatta losing out 'thatness'; but
not losing out 'thisness'.
d) Lakitalakan
This type of lakan occurs when the relation between the primary and the
actual referents is not direct, but indirect through some other word is known as
Lakita lakan or the indication of the indicated word.
Consider the word 'dvirepha'81. Here the literal meaning of the word is 'a
word having two ''r''s' and it indicates the word bhramara, and through that
word it means the 'bee' or the indication is assumed in the sense of black bee
by assuming another indication for the word 'dvirepha' in the sense of the
word 'bhramara'.
The Navya Nayyyikas accepted the above mentioned three categories of
Lakana. The fourth category is not acceptable to them and according to them, it
can be included under jahallakan itself.

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Among the Naiyyikas, Annabhaa divides lakan into three types as


Jahallakan.Ajahallakana and Jahadajahallakan. It should be noted that
according to him 'Tattvamasi', the famous upaniad vkya is an example of
Jahadajahallakan 82 Vivantha classifies Lakan into two types namely
Jahatsvrtha and Ajahatsvrtha83. According to him, Lakita lakan is a division
of Jahatsvrth lakan. Another Naiyyika, Jagadia divides lakan into five
types namely Jahatsvrth, Ajahatsvrth, Nirh, dhunik and Gaui84.
In the circle of Mmsakas, in the Bhya of abarasvmi, we can see
that two different types of secondary signification in the form of Lakan and
Gau. Another division of Lakan into Jahatsvrth and Ajahatsvrth is revealed
in its treatment by abarasvmin. So we can say that the Mmsakas, as a whole,
classify lakan into Jahatsvrth and Ajahatsvrtha85.
For example:- 'gagym ghoa' Here the primary meaning comes to be
virtually dead, leading to an additional meaning i.e. the secondary meaning.
Similarly 'Yat praveaya' is given as an illustration of Ajajatsvrth, where in
the primary sense retains a part of itself as a participant in the desired syntactical
relation in a sentence. They include Lakita-lakan under the jahatsvrth group86.
Lakan can be classified fundamentally into two types;- conventional
(nirha) and natural (svrasika)87.
Indication or lakan is conventional (nirha) if the same indication is
established on the basis of earlier conventions (nirhmula) and indication is
natural (svrasik lakan) if the same indication is established on the basis of
some purpose (prayojana ml). The first one is niruha.

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For example;- 'ratho gacchati' (chariot moves)


Here the indication of the conjugational ending 'ti' in the sense of the
substratum of the movement is the nirha lakan; since the same is established
by the convention of speakers. The second type is prayojana ml.
For example:- 'gva vae erate (cows lie down at the vicinity of the vaa
tree)
Here the indication of the word 'vae' in the sense of the vicinity of the vaa
tree is the natural indication, since the same is established on the basis of the
purpose of explaining the vicinity of the tree.
Thus, while the former clssification (four-fold) of lakan as Jahallakan
etc. is based on the degree of the intimacy of relation or the relation of the primary
meaning. But the present classification (two-fold) of lakan as nirha etc. is
based on the distinction between convention and the purpose (motif) which makes
the same unintentional (not intended for some purpose) and intentional (intended
for some purpose).
According to some Vaiykaraas, lakan should be classified also as suddha
and gaui i.e. direct or pure and indirect or qualitative. Of these, the first one,
suddh means the indication assumed directly in the secondary meaning due to
untenability or incompatibility of the primary meaning.
For example - yur ghtam. (clarified butter is indeed life)
Here the indication is direct or pure since the indication of the word 'yur' is
assumed directly in the cause or the means of long life due to the incompatibility
of the primary meaning i.e. the life, for being related to the clarified butter.

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The second is'gau' Here the indication assumed indirectly in the secondary
meaning due to the similarity or sharing of the same qualities between two
meanings.
For example:- 'agir mavaka' (Boy is fire)88
Here indication is indirect or qualitative, since the indication of the word
agni (fire) is assumed indirectly in the sense of the firy qualities of the boy due to
the similarity of the qualities between fire and the boy.
From this classification of lakan, we can see that this classification is mainly
due to the incompatibility of the primary meaning and the similarity of the qualities
between the objects.
Among the lakrikas, Mammaa classifies lakan into six varieties. He
first divides lakan into two-updnalakan and lakanalakan89. These two are
suddh as they do not consists of a relationship based on simily. These are called
ajahatsvrth and jhatsvrtha by the Naiyyikas. Both uddh and gau are further
divided into srop and sadhyavasna. These four are added to the first two divisions
of laka viz updnalaka and lakaa laka, get six varieties of laka.
According to Vivantha, lakana can be divided into eighty types. He broadly
classified Lakan into two - Rhi mla and prayojanamla. Each again came to
be divided into updna laka and Lakaalaka which stand for Ajahatsvrth
and Jahatsvrth respectively. Again this divided into srop and sdhyavasn.
Each of these lakas came to be shown either as uddh or as Gau. The
prayojanamla laka again came to have another division because of the
suggested motive involved therein (i.e. prayojanarpavyagya) The suggested

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motive again sometimes pertains to an attribute (dharma) and sometimes to one


possessed of some attribute (dharm). Hence there comes another classification of
the prayojanamla lakaa90. All lakaas are again shown as pertaining to either
a word (pada) or a sentence (vkya).
Mukulabhaa, the author of Abhidh vttimatk classified lakan into three:Sudh, Srop and sdhyavasn. In his opinion, when the actual referent appears to
be aloof and clearly distinct from the primary referent, it is the uddh or pure type.
Similarly when the difference between the two referents is not clear and there is
superimposition of the one on the other, it is called the srop (super - imponent)
type. And when the apparent closeness of the two referents is so great that there is no
apprehension of the difference at all, it is the sdhyavasn type of lakaa. The
third one is the object of super imposition is completely eclipsed or swallowed by
the thing superimposed; the former is not expressed by a word, only the latter is
expressed instead. When the srop and the sdhyavasna types of laka-s based
on similarity, they play a great part in the literary figures of speech. Of these, the
srop type is the basis of the figure of speech rpaka as in 'mukha candra' or 'the
face is the moon'; and the sdhyavasna type is the basis of the figure of speech
'rpaktiayokti' as in 'aya candra' (This is the moon) referring to the face.
In Mahbhya, Patanjali too mentions such figurative usage. Jaimini, the
founder of Mmsa enumerates six bases for figurative usage. Gautama in his
Nyyastra enumerates ten relations between the primary and actual meaning
with examples. He also says that91, the great Mmsaka, Bhartmitr has shown
five relationship that generally exist between the primary and the secondary
meanings - viz-

122

'' Abhidheyena sabandhat sadyt samavyata


Vaipartyt kriyyogt lakan pancadh mata''
Similarly Mammaa, Vivantha, and Hemachandra also give a list of
relation92. In short, relations between primary and secondary meaning can be
arranged in two classes - similarity and relating other than similarity.
It is obvious that the various schools of thought accept that there must be
some sort of relation between the primary and the secondary meaning. This
secondary meaning is not converged immediately and directly. It can be known
only through the primary meaning. In other words we have to understand primary
meaning of the word first and only then does arrives the second one.
3:6 - Vyajana (Suggestion)
3:6:1 - Concept of Vyajana
Among the different abda - vypras or the functions of a word to convey
the sense, vyajana is the third category of relation of word and meaning.
This tertiary power of word is also known as suggestion.
Writers on poetics (Rhetoricians) and Grammarians accept this third type of
word relation in the form of Vyajana (suggestion); and it is entirely different
from akti (abhidh) and Lakana.
Among the lakrikas, nandavardhana was the first who shed light on
the existence and importance of this suggested sense. In poetic world, before
nandavardhana, the earlier poeticians like Bhmaha and Dadin were although
aware of a meaning other than the primary; but they did not try to explain about
this suggestion or how it differs from the primary and secondary meanings.

123

In the opinion of nandavardhana, this unexpressed or suggestive meaning


is the essence of poetic language and to show this meaning, he established the
doctrine of Dhvani93. In his opinion, Suggestion (Vyajana) as a type of wordrelation which facilitates the reference to a distinct sense when the other word relations namely, denotation and indication fail to do so94.
Vyajana (suggestion) as a type of word- relation stands for such
meanings of words as are neither directly nor indirectly related to them. It
differs from abhidh, because abhidh is incapable of causing another
comprehension which is unconventional. The sentence 'Ganagy ghoah'
can express only its primary meaning ie 'a hamlet in the Ganges'. As a hamlet
cannot exist in the stream lakavtti comes in - 'Gagtae ghoa'. This
extension of the meaning enables one to feel the qualities of coolness and
holiness of Ganges. This is the motive (prayojana) of the speaker. This motive
is not comprehended through abhidh due to the absence of convention. So
here a third vypra ie Vyajan has to be accepted95.
3:6:2 - Importance of Vyajana
In the famous example "If you have to go, O dear, do go, may your ways be
auspicious. My birth too would occur in the place where you go''. Here the death
of the beloved is conveyed only through the suggestion and other word relations
such as denotation (abhidh) and indication (Lakana) fail to convey the same.
From the above example, we can see that the intended sense 'You should not
go leaving me behind since in your going my death would occur' cannot be conveyed
by the other relations.

124

In this way the Rhetoricians pointed out the importance of suggestive


meaning.
Vyajana has the capacity of suggestiveness which differs both from abhidh
and lakana. This is the another importance of vyajana that it can carry different
suggestions in different situations.
For eg:- The sun has set
The primary meaning of this sentence, is quite clear and it means sunset
pure and simple.
If this sentence is intended to carry a figurative meaning, it may mean' a
glorious man has died' - This is the secondary meaning (lakyrtha)
But here it is possible that the same example has a third kind of meaning viz
- 'The sun has set'. This proposition may carry different suggestions to different
persons in different contexts96.
To a student, this sentence may mean that it is high time to close up the
studies. But to a herds man, it may mean that it is time to drive cattle home. Such
kind of meaning as suggested by a sentence is known as vyagyrtha or vyagya
and the function of the word involved in the language is said as vyajan.
Vyajan is associated with a richness and complexity which is far beyond
the reach of Abhidh or Lakan. This, there fore, may be regarded as the reason
for accepting 'dhvani' as the yerdstick for judging the genuine from the fake and
the best from the lowest forms of poetry97.
According to Mammaa, the best poetry is that in which the suggested
sense dominates the expressed sense; in the poetry of the second category, the

125

suggested sense balances the expressed sense and in the poetry of the third
category, there is no suggested sense at all. So he calls the best poetry as dhvani
kvya, the Kvya of the second category is called gubhta vyagya and the
lowest kavya is citra- kvya98.
Mammaabhaa also establishes the existence and importance of vyajan
vypra in poetry. According to Mammaa, the more suggestive work of art is the
greater it is. In other words, the greatness of a work of art varies directly with the
quantum, of suggestiveness in it.
According to nandavardhana99, the suggested sense or the implied sense
which resides in the words of great poets is like the grace of a beautiful lady and
this grace is quite different from the beauty of individual limbs or external charm.
The writers on poetics were interested in this third type of word- relation
viz- vyajana as they contributed to the enhancement of the poetic beauty. They
also hold that this to be the most important aspect in the experience of aesthetic
enjoyment; and they have a special regard for the suggestive functions as a unique
characteristic of all great poetry and called it the essence of poetry,
cryas from nandavardhana down wards made out strong case for the
recognitions of suggested sense and the suggestive function as fulfillment of the
literal sense and the denotative function; which they regarded as the starting point
of all poetry. This suggested sense along with Vibhvas, Anubhvas become vivid
and aesthetically satisfying. An emotional situation is an extremely delicate matter
and it requires an equally delicate medium for conveying it and suggestion is
undoubtedly such a delicate medium.

126

3:6:3 - Definition of Vyajana


In the opinion of Vivantha, when the abhidh (ie the primary potency of a
word) has performed its function and the vcyrtha (literal meaning) is known; it
gives rise to an implication which is known as Vyajana or the verbal function
which comes into play over and above the other two functions, Abhidh and
Lakan, is Vyajan with a new meaning and it belongs to both word and meaning
and other allied facts''.
ie Viratsvabhidhdysu
yayrtho bodhyate para
S vttir Vyajan nma
abdasyarthdikasya ca100 !
Like nandavardhana,101 he holds this power to reside not only in words,
but in their meanings as well. Mammaa, does not define Vyajan directly. He
says in Kvya prakaYasya prattimdhtum Lakan samupsyate
phale abdaikagamye, tra Vyajannnpar kriy102
Which means that-''In regard to that intended idea for bringing about the
cognition where of one has recourse to Lakana, and which is cognisable through
the word only, the function of the word can be none other than suggestion.
nandavardhana's definition is implied in this verse103
So, rathastadvyaktismarthya yogi abdaca kacana
yathata pratyabhije yau tau
abdrthay mahkave

127

Which means that - "The meaning and the words which possess the power to
convey the meaning which is not easy to discover are suggestors (vyajana) and
the power which operates in conveying the meaning is called the tertiary power of
the word.
According to Nagea and Appayyadikita that power is called vyajana which
can impartially deal with primary meaning and that which goes beyond104.
Grammarians hold that suggestion is an impression originated from the
imagination and also the knowledge of poetic cleverness etc.
ie vakrdivaiitya jna
pratibhdyudbhda samskraviea105
Thus, whether the suggestion is to be included under denotation etc. or not,
the same is a powerful word relation or function which facilitates the conveying
of an exceptionally charming and poetic sense.
3:6:4 - Classification of Vyajana
Vyajana (suggestion) can occur either in words or in meaning. Therefore
Rhetoricians recognize two varieties of vyajana106 - viz 1) abd vyajan
2) rth vyajan
The Vyajana is called bd, if the implication arises from some specific
word (abdaviea). It is called rth, if the implication arises from the meaning of
the sentence as a whole, and not from any specific word.

128

3:6:4:1 - bd Vyajan
Some words are such as carry more than one meaning. The use of such an
ambiguous word (anekrthaka abda) which gives rise to slea (pun). This
ambiguity of meaning caused by an equivocal expression which lies at the root
of bd vyajan.
For example:- If some one says 'Drata bhdhar ramy'. Here the
Sanskrit word 'bhdhara' means a mountain as well as a king. Bhdharas are
pleasant only from a distance - This sentence has a double meaning. The explicit
meaning is - ''It is a difficult task to climb mountain'.
But the implicit suggestion is ''Live at a respectable distance from the kings''.
Such a suggestion would not have been possible, had the word 'bhudhar'
been substituted by any synonym such as 'parvata' which lacks the other meaning.
So we can say that the suggestive force lies in the equivocal word 'bhdhara'
and hence it is known as bd vyajana.
abd vyajana is of two kinds107, (1) viz1) Abhidhml (ie dependent on primary meaning)
2) Lakanmla (dependent on secondary meaning)
In the above example, the suggestiveness depends on the literal meaning
(vacyrtha) of the word 'bhdhara'. Hence it is called abhidhamul vyajana.108
When the suggestiveness depends upon the figurative meaning (lakyrtha).
It is called lakanml. (The village is on the Ganges) Here the lakyrtha is 'the
village lies on the bank of the Ganges' and the vyagyrtha is ''The village is cool

129

and pure''109. This kind of Vyajan which depends on Lakan is known as


lakanml vyajan110. Such as 'to a student and to a herds man' in different
contexts. These senses emanates from the meaning of the sentence as a whole and
hence it is known as rth vyajan.
In the opinion of lakrikas like Mammaa, Vivantha etc., there are
various factors or conditions that determine the rth vyajan.111. They are the nature of the speaker (Vakt - Vaiitya)
the nature of the bearer (boddhavya vaiitya)
the proximity of some other sentence (anya vkya sannidhi)
the place (dea)
time (kla)
the intonations and gesticulations (kku cet etc.) of the speaker - are the
determinants of rth Vyajan. Eg :- 'Gagy ghoa'. (The village is on the
Ganges) Here the lakyrtha is 'the village lies on the bank of the Ganges' and the
Vyagyrtha is 'the village is cool and pure'. This kind of Vyajan which depends
on Lakan is known as Lakanmla Vyajan.
3:6:4:2 - rth Vyajan
When the suggested meaning depends not on any particular word used literally
or figuratively but on the sense of the entire sentence taken as a whole, the vyajan
is callled rth.
For example:- Gatotamarka (The sun has set) Here the denoted meaning
is that the day is over. This proposition may carry different suggestions such as ' to
close up the studies' 'to drive cattle home' to different persons.

130

It should be noted here that Logicians do not accept vyajan (suggestion)


as a separate word relation. But include it within akti and Lakan or the primary
and secondary meanings.
Bharthari has openly recognized the fact that words can convey more than
literal meanings by establishing his doctrine of sphoa or meaningful linguistic
unit that conveys a distinct sentence- meaning. But Grammarians and lakrikas
have established suggested meanings or suggestion (dhvani) as a third category of
meanings apart from expressed and indicatory meanings.
3:7 - Ttparya
3:7:1 - Concept of Ttparya
Among the lakrikas, it is Abhinavagupta who for the first time refers to
ttparya as a separate vtti or function of words to explain the syntactic unity of a
sentence. This function accepted by the abhihitnvaya theory of verbal comprehension.
According to Abhinavagupta, there are four distinct functions of words :- abhidh,
ttparya, lakana and vyajan. He arranges them under four separate classes112.
In the opinion of Abhinavagupta, abhidh is the power of the words to signify
the primary meaning and it refers only to the universal and not to the particular. In
a sentence, the individual words by their primary function of abhidh refer only to
the isolated word-meanings. The syntactic relation of these is conveyed by the
ttparya akti of the words. The general purport of the utterance or the intention of
the speaker is obviously to give a unified purposeful sentence-meaning. Hence
the words are considered to have a power to convey the syntactic relation among
the various isolated word - meanings. This power is called ttparya akti113.

131

Followers of Abhinavagupta such as Mammaa and Vivantha have proposed


that speaker's intention (ttparya vtti) facilitates the comprehension of syntactico semantical relations between various word - meanings according to the abhihitnvaya
theory. These referents (word - meanings) are obtained from words through the
primary signification of words or denotation (abhidh) and hence, the same is a
sentence - function (vkya vtti). Mammaa in the kvyapraka gives references to
ttparya as a separate vtti and there explained its function also.114
In the Shityadarpaa, Vivantha repeats the same idea and refers to the
ttparya vtti as a separate function as being accepted by the abhihitnvaya theory.115
In his opinion, it is the sentence as a whole that conveys the ttparyrtha and
hence the power of ttparya must rest with the sentence as a whole. On the basis
of the statements of Abhinavagupta and Mammaa, many of the later lakrikas have also referred to this function - ttparya.
It is also notable that among the lakrika-s, nandavardhana refutes ttparya
as an anti-dhvani theory. Even though he refers to the importance of the speaker's
intention in conveying the meaning of a passage, he never refers to ttparya as a separate
vtti or akti of words. He says that in linguistic discourse, there are only three functions
of words to be accepted:- the primary, the secondary and the suggestive.116
Bhoja, another lakrika, has a unique way of treating ttparya.117 He
divides ttparya into three types namely;
expressed (vcya or abhidhyamna)
implied (pratyamna) and
suggested (dhvanirupa)

132

From the verses of Sgra prakaa118, we can see that Bhoja hold 'Ttparya'
is arthadharma and dhvani is abda dharma. Also according to him, ttparya is
internal, is the saubhgya of vk or speech and dhvani is external hit lhvaya
of vk.
Bhoja rejects both abhihitnvaya and anvitbhidhnvda and accepts the
position of the anubhayavdins. He prefers a third view according to which words
convey the sentence-meaning by their cumulative effect or sahatyakrit to the
ttparya akti of words. Jayanta, the famous Naiyyika Scholar attributes this
sahatyakrit to the ttparya akti of words.119
Dhanika, the commentator of Daarpaka advocates the theory that dhvani
is included in ttparya120. According to him, it is not necessary to recognize a new
function called dhvani and there is no limitation of the term ttparya to the expressed
sense. But it can cover the whole range of the speaker's intention and cover all
implications coming up in the train of the expressed sense.121
It may be noted that Jayanta bhaa, the author of Nyyamajar, was the
first to bring forward the theory about ttparya being a separate vtti. After
discussing the various theories about verbal comprehension held by various schools,
Jayanta advocates a modified form of abhihitnvaya theory. In his opinion, words
express their isolated word-meanings by the power of abhidh, and they have
another power, the ttparya akti, which indicates the mutual relationship among
the word-meanings. The function of this power is to reveal the meanings of the
words obtained in a sentence as being mutually related. This power belongs to all
the words in common and lasts till the independent judgement is produced.122

133

This should be very clear that this ttparya akti is the same as the
samsargamaryd accepted by the later Navya Nyya School.123 Professor S.
Kuppuswami Sastri says124 that the additional element conveyed by a sentence,
over and above the separate concepts conveyed by separate words, is the
intended relation of the concepts (padrthasasarga) and this additional
element, which is the distinctive feature of verbal judgement (vkyrtha) is
conveyed through the particular juxta-position of words (sasargamaryda),
and not through a primary or secondary significative power of words (Abidh
or Lakana).
He also says that ttparya has to be accepted as a motivating factor in verbal
comprehension; but there is no need to assume a separate function of words called
ttparya vtti. That is why it has not been accepted as such by later writers.
According to the Prbhkara-s ttparya makes the primary significatory
power itself capable of conveying not only the individual word-meanings,
but their mutual connection as well. Thus even when ttparya is not taken as
a separate vtti, it could be referred to as the motive force conveying the
syntactic relation; infact Parthasrathi Mira himself refers to the function of
ttparya125 and Jayanta quotes Kumarilabhaa in support of his theory that
ttparya is a separate vtti of the words which conveys the syntactic relation
of the word-meanings.126
Mmsakas, as reported by Rhetoricians, formally recognized ttparya
as a distinct sentence function (vkya vtti) that conveys the syntactico semantical relations.

134

Among the Mmsakas, Nryaabhaa, the great authoritative writer on


Bha Mmsa says that ttparya is not a separate factor in conveying the
syntactic relationship of the word-meanings. 127 But some of the ancient
commentators and modern scholars following Bha school, have thus associated
ttparya vtti with the Bha school of Mmsa128.
Among the Logicians, while the Prcyas considered ttparya to be a capacity
or power (akti) of sentence, Navyas considered the same to be merely the fourth
essential factor that facilitates the sentence - meaning along with kk, yogyat
and satti. They have held so mainly on the ground that sentence - meaning or
syntactico-semantical relations between word-meanings, being merely relations,
and not being any meanings (referents), do not require any separate power or
function of sentence to convey them. Hence according to the Navyas, ttparya is
the fourth essential condition of bdabodha.
But in later times, Navya logicians like Gaddhara replaced the concept of
ttparya as a fourth necessary condition that facilitates the comprehension of the
syntactico - semantical relations between word-meanings with their theory of
samsarga maryda (unifying force of relations).
ie bdabodhe caika padrthe aparapadrthasya samsarga
samsargamaryday bhsate.129
So we can conclude that Indian philosophers and epistemologists, especially
Logicians, Mmsakas and Rhetoricians too have recognized the fact that
ttparya or speaker's intention plays a very significant role in determining the
exact meanings of words.

135

In their opinion, words, despite being grammatically correct and semantically


competent, may fail to convey any meaning in the doubt or in the absence of the
knowledge regarding the exact intention of the speaker to convey a particular
meaning. This opinion is very clear from the famous example 'saindhavam naya'.
Thus, they have admitted that the ascertainment of speaker's intention (ttparya)
plays a significant role in the determination of the exact meaning to be conveyed
and hence it is an associate cause of bdabodha.

136

Notes and References :


1.

bdabodhahetu padrthopasthityanukla padapadrthayo sabandha


- LM - p.28.

2.

Padajna tu karaam dvram tatra padrthadh


bdabodha phala tatra akti-dh-sahakri - NSM- Krika .81

3.

padatvam ca vttimatvam -GSV - 2.2.60

4.

bdabodha janaka padapadrtha- Sambandhatva vttitva


- LM - p.28.

5.

TS p.66

6.

ibid

7.

tatrdhunika samketa mukhyrtha ityucyate :- ak.V. pp 5-6

8.

NSM - p.266

9.

Tatra saketitrthasya bodhandagrimbhidha - SD- 2.7.

10. asmtpaddayamartho boddhavya itvarecch samketa akti


- Quoted by Kane in his notes on Shityadarpaa.
11. Sktsaketita yo'rthamabhidhatte sa vcaka - KP 2.7.
12. SD - 2.7
13. Sayogo viprayogaca shacarya virodhit
artha prakaraam linga
abdasyanyasya sannidhi
smarthyam aucit dea klo
vyakti svardaya

137

abdrthasynavacchede
vieasmti hetava - KP.2.20
14. aktykhyo'r thasya......
sambandha vieo bhidha
- RG II p.134
15. Sa mukhyo'r thastatra mukhyo
vypro'sybhidhocyate- KP.2.8
16. Saketo ghyate jtau guadravyakriysu ca - SD.II.4.
17. Updhi dvividha vastu dharma vaktyadcchay sanniveitaca.
Vastudharmopi dvividha, siddharpa sdhyarpaca. siddhopi dvivida
tatrdy jti dvityo gua. Sdhyarpa kriyrpa - NK.
18. ITM - p.No. 231
19. V.P. Bhaa; Gadadhara's akti vda -vol-I.p.No. 54
20. ITM - title page for the chapter on metaphor (Lakana)
21. atha..... kutsym kka iti- NIR 3.18
22. 'Siddham tu striy pumabdenbhidhnt. On 'pumyogdkhyym' - MBH
under vrtika 3. p. 4.1.48
23. Kkebhyo rakyatm sarpiriti blopi codita / upaghtapare vkye na
svdibhyo na rakati - VP: 2.312
24. Vastutastu ttparynupapatti sandhnameva tadbjam - PLM. p.45

138

25. Bhmahenoktam - abdachando.....guavttica iti. Locana, vide DL p.34


26. nithytodgiravntdi guavttivyrayam |
ati sundaramanyatra grmyakk vighate ||
KD 1.95
27. Locana, vide DL. p. 157
28. tatra skdavyavahitrthbhidhyik mukhy. - SRP. p. 223.
29.

KP II .9.12

30. SD.II. 5.11


31. KS - p. 24f
32. Sarvem vaikamantryamaitiyanasya bhaktipnatvt savandhikyato hi
- MS. 3.2.43
33. tadetat grahdilakayitv.....
sammrgdisambandha ..... iti etc. SB under MS. 3.1.14
34. Vkyrtho lakayamo hi sarvatraiva na sthiti - SV.p.229
35. itarem tu..... Mmmsak - NRM - pp 101-102
36. nanu ca..... akyate vaktum - VR. pp 41- 42
37. nanu..... gaurvhka iti - VR. p. 147
38. Vkyrtho lakamo hi sarvatraiva hi lakyate iti; VM. p. 13.
39. N.S. ii. 1.15
40. Satya goabda ....... ghoa prati vasatti. NM part II. p.171
41. V.P. Bhaa; op.cit; p.54.

139

42. lakan ca ...... vkyrthnvaya - TC. p.660


43. Mukhyrtha bdhe tadyoge rhito' tha prayojant |
Anyortho lakyate yats lakaropit kriy ||
- KP. II Ullasa; Krika 9
44. Mukhyrtha bdhe tadyukto
yaynyortha pratyate |
Rhe prayojandvsau lakan
aktirarpita || - SD 2.5
45. Svaakyasambandha. BP.183
46. Mukhyrthnupapatti
lakanbjam - PC
47. anvaynupapatti lakanbjam - SSP. p.146-47
48. ttparynupapatti lakanbjam - TD, Vide TS. p. 330
49. Mukhyrtha bdhe tadyogo
rhito' tha prayojant
anyortha lakyate yat s
lakanropitkriy - TR
50. akyasambandho lakan -TD vide TS. p. 323
svaakyasambandho lakan NSMR p. 173
51. Lakan akyasambandhasttparynupapattita - NSM. p. 285
52. lakan ca..... Vkyrthnvaya TC. p. 660
53. VM. P - 13.

140

54. Svaakyasambandhavattvam lakan - TP vide BHC. p.57


55. Dr. V.P. Bhaa; Epistemology, Logic and Grammer in the analysis of
sentence meaning; vol. I. XXV.
56. Vayam tu padrth lakanayaiva vkyrtham bodhayantti bruma
- MM p. 94
57. Lakanbijam akyrthnvaynupapatti; TP vide BHC.p.58.
58. V.P. Bhaa; Gaddhara's aktivda - p.59
59. V.P Bhaa ; op cit. 60
60. A critique on abda - p.173
61. KP. II.9
62. ITM. p.232
63. SD. 2.5
64. ITM. p. 233
65. MM. p. 94
NRM. pp. 101-120
66. NRM. p.102
67. VM pp.12-13
68. SSP. p. 140
69. TC. p. 718
70. NSM - p. 290
71. TC. p.721

141

72. ibid p. 722


73. A critique on abda - p. 208
74. ibid, p. 212
75. KP. II Krik 9
76. SD 2.5
77. ITM p.250
78. Tbi - p. 155.
79. ITM. p.250
80. VPB- IV. 26
81. avcyam iti yad vcyam tad avcyatay yad
vcyam ity avasyeta vcyam eva tad bhavet - VP. 3.20
82. Lakan trividh Jahallakan,
Ajahallakan..... tatra jahadajahaditi. yath tattvamasti
TD. vide TS. pp.325-26
83. Lakan dvividh- Jahatsvrthjahatsvrt ca. tatrdyam pradarayati
gagymiti - DK, vide NSM p.285
84. SSP. K. 25 p. 154
85. S ca lakan dvedh jahatsvrtha, ajahatsvrth ca. jahatsvarth
gagym ghoa itydau - BHC. p.57
86. ibid - p. 57 - 58

142

87. V.P. Bhaa ; Gaddhara's aktivda; p.62


88. ibid p.63
89. svasiddhaye parkepa parrtham svasamarpaam
Updnam lakaam cetyukt
suddhaiva s dvidh KP. Ullasa II Krika - 10
90. SD. II K. 5- 12a and the vtti under it.
91. abhidheyena sabandht sdsyt samavyata
Vaipartyt kriyyogt lakan
pacadh mat - AVM. p. 17
92. KP. II 9-12
SD. II 5-11
93. Kvyasytma dhvai- DL. p.2
94. yatrrtha abdo v tamartham upasarjankta svrthau
vyakta kvyaviea sa dhvanir - iti Sribhi kathita - DL. p.33
95. viratasvabhidhdysu yayrtho bodhyate para
s vttir vyajan nma abdasyr thdikasya ca - SD. 2.12
96. Prof. Hari Mohan Jha; op cit; p.117
97. Prof. Angraj chaudhary; op.cit p.133
98. Idamuttamamatiyini vyagye vcyddhvanir budhai kathita
Atdi gubhta vyagyam vyagye tu madhyama
abdacitra vcyacitramavyangyam tvavaram mtam
- KP. Ullasa I Krika 4 to 5

143

99. Pratyamna punaranyadeva


vastvasti vu mahkavn
yattatprasiddhvayavtirikta
vibhtilvayamivganu - DL. p.14
100. SD. 2.12
101. DL; Locana; p.27
102. KP 2.14.
103. DL - 1.8
104. Prof. Angraj chaudhary; op.cit; p.135
105. LM; p.133
106. abhidh lakanmula abdasya
vyajan dvidh... SD 2.13
107. ibid
108. anekrthasya abdasya..... SD 2.14
109. KP. p. No. 175
110. Lakaopsyate yasya
kte ta ttu prayojanam
yay pratyyate s syt
vyajan lakaray - SD. 2.15
111. Vakt boddhavya vkyn
anyasannidhi vcyayo
..... srthasabhava - SD. 2.16

144

112. Abhinavagupta; Locana p.16.


trayo hy atra vypr savedyante - padrtheu smnytmasu
abhidhvypra, Smnypekay arthvagamanaaktir hy abhidh.
Samaya ca tvaty eva, na viee, nantyd vyabhicrc caikasya. Tato
viearpe vkyrthe ttparyaakti parasparnvite, 'smnyny
anyathsiddher vieam gamayanti hi' iti nyyt... bhaktir hi lakavyprasttyakakynive. Caturthy tu kakyy dhvananavypra.
113. ITM - p.No. 214
114. KP. II.6.
'tatparyrtho' 'pi keucit'. kkyogyatsanidhivad vakyamasvarp
padrthn parasparasamanvaye ttparyrtho vieavapur apadrtho' pi
vkyrtha samullasatty abhihitnvayavdin matam.
115. SD. II. 20.
ttparykhya vttim hu padrthnvayabodhane
ttparyrtha tadartha ca vkya tadbodhaka pare
116. DL. p. 194
tad eva abde vyavahre traya prakr - vcakatva guavttir
vyajakatva ca. tatra vyanjakatve yad vyagyaprdhnya tad dhvani
117. Dr. V. Raghavan, Bhoja's gra praka, Second ed; p. 19.
118. ibid - pp - 161 - 8
ttparyameva vacasi vacasi dhvanireva kvye
svabhagyameva guasampati vallabhasya |

145

lvayameva vapui svadategany


ngara eva hdi manavato janasya ||
119. Jayanta, Nyyamanjari, p.371.f.
120. Dr. V. Raghavan, Op.cit, first ed; p 155, Dhanika, Avaloka on Daarpaka,
p 156.f.
121. ibid etvaty eva virntisttparyasyeti kiktam
yvatkryaprasaritvt ttparya na tuldhtam
122. Jayanta, Nyyamanjari, p.371.
Padny anvita pratyyayanti, nnvita abhidadhati nbhidhtri aktir
anvitaviay, ki tu anvayavyatirekvagataniktasvrthaviayaiva,
ttparyaaktis tu tem anvitvagamaparyant...
abhidhtr mat akti padn svrthanihat
te tatparyaaktis tu sasargvagamvadhi
123. Gaddhara, Vyutpattivada, p.1.
bdabodhecaikapadrtheparapadrtha - Sasarga sasargamaryday
bhsate
124. S. Kuppuswami stri, A Primer of Indian Logic, p. 258.
125. Nyyaratnkara on lokavrttika. p. 909.
Yadyapi abhidhvypra padrtheu eva paryavasita, tathpi
ttparyavypter aparya vasitay...

146

126. Nyyamanjari, p. 372.


He quotes the verse from lokavrttika giving the analogy that just as fuel
effects cooking through the flame, words effect the unified sentence - meaning
through their individual meanings.
127. Naryaabhaa, Mnameyodaya, p. 101.
tasmd anvayasiddhau ttparya na kvacit svaya hetu
128. (i) Commentary on kvyaprakaa. II. 6. by Mnikyacandra
Keucid abhihitnvaydibheu ityartha
(ii) P.V. Kane, Shitya darpaa, Notes, p. 86. 'This view is held by that
school of the Prvamms which is called Abhihitnvayavdin'.
(iii) K.C. Pandey, Comparative aesthetics, I. p. 217.
'The followers of the Nyya Philosophy and Bha Mmsaka-s
maintain the additional power of the word, namely the ttparyaakti.'
129. Gaddhara, Vyutpattivda, p.1.

Chapter - 4
BDABODHA-A DISTINCT FEATURE OF
VERBAL KNOWLEDGE
4:1- Introduction
We all knew that everyone uses language for communication. On hearing a
sentence, all of us get the verbal comprehension or bdabodha. This bdabodha
or comprehending the meaning of a sentence has been understood differently by
different schools of thought. This comprehension is quite complex and involves the
role of cognitive faculties and human understanding. Whenever any communication
through sentence is achieved, the different parts of a sentence are comprehended
one by one. But the meaning of the sentence depends upon its totality. The sentence
is an ordered succession of words and the process of apprehension is, therefore that
of succession, but the meaning of a sentence depends upon the total sentence and
not upon any individual words that constitute a sentence.
All the systems of thought agree in one point that different parts of a sentence
are not comprehended together and they are got in a succession one by one. They
agree that when there is the process of comprehension, there is always succession
and never simultaneity. In their opinion, at first one perceives words as such and

148

then he recognises the same as possessing the functional relation of word and
meaning. Once the words are cognized to possess the functional relation, the same
can be used to refer to the particular meanings and there after, with the help of the
recollection of the meanings reffered to,we obtain verbal cognition.
Consider the sentence 'g naya (bring a cow). Here at first one perceives
the word 'G' (cow) and then the word naya(bring) as such. Then he recognizes
a word as possessing, a functional relation with its meaning. Firstly the word 'g
(cow)' can be used to refer to the 'cow- individual' and from the word '-naya(bring)''
the action of bringing respectively and thereafter with the help of the recollection
of the meanings reffered to, (ie cow individual and bringing) the verbal cognition
of 'g naya, is obtained.
4:2 - Concept of bdabodha
This is a common experience that firstly we hear a sentence and then we
understand its meaning. This sentence is composed of words and these words have
got potentiality and through this they are capable of expressing definite meanings.
In Indian philosophy, such cognition of meaning is called bdabodha.This term is
translated as verbal knowledge or verbal cognition in English. Hence we can say
that to explain the comprehension of the syntactic and semantical relations among
various individual word meanings or vkyrthnvayabodha, Indian epistemologists
have used the term verbal cognition or bdabodha.These epistemologists together
agree that this cognition is obtained by first recollecting the individual word meanings
and then comprehending the relations among them. Thus, verbal cognition is a
result of the knowledge of the words and hence, it is different from perception,
inference, comparison etc.

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In Sanskrit, Verbal knowledge is expressed by different words like


bdabodha', 'anvayabodha', 'sasargabodha' or 'vkyrthabodha'. The expression
bdabodha is also known as bdajna and similarly vkyrthabodha is also known
as vkyrthajna. Of these, the term bdabodha means knowledge arising from
words or from a sentence. Anvayabodha or sasargabodha means knowledge of
the relation of the meaning of words. Vkyrthabodha means knowledge of the
total meaning of a sentence or the total relational idea conveyed by a proposition.
From the explanations of the different names of the same term bdabodha, we
come to a point that bdabodha is the valid knowledge (pram) coming from
abda as its source or means(prama).
All the systems of thought universally understand that bdabodha is not
different from the anvayabodha. Therefore they agree that verbal cognition is the
apprehension of a synthesis or relation of meaning caused by words. The object of
verbal knowledge may thus be described as a connection of one word meaning
with another, it is obtained by first recollecting the individual word meanings and
then comprehending the relations among them and it is the result of the knowledge
of the words. Because of this particular character, verbal knowledge differs from
other knowledge such as perception, inference, smti etc.
In Indian philosophy, discussion on bdabodha according to different
epistemologists will mainly follow the three inter related stages of account. Of
these, the first is about the nature of a sentence. The second is about the meaning of
a sentence and the third is about understanding the meaning of a sentence. In this
process, understanding the meaning is the final stage; and this understanding of the
meaning of a statement is called bdabodha. So in the context of abdaprama,

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the bdabodha or valid knowledge is viewed as the phala or result. Thus we can
say that bdabodha is the process of comprehension of the meaning of a sentence
or an expression as understood by the listener. The meaning of a sentence is defined
in three ways:1. Relation of the meaning of the words (padrthn sasarga).
2. One principal meaning qualified by many subordinate meanings
(Ankaguabhtapadrtha viita eka pradhnapadrtha).
3. The connected state of meanings(padrthn anvitvastha)
All these three signify verbal knowledge, recollects their meanings by means
of the knowledge of the significatory functions and arrives at the knowledge of
their relation.
In Vivantha's Nyya Sidhnta Muktvali, the concept of bdabodha is
obviously an epistemological issue. In the first krika of bdakhaa (padajna
tu karaam) Vivantha introduces bdabodha as the 'phala' of the 'padajna'
which is the karaa. The term 'karaa' here means pramkaraa. Pramkaraa
means prama ie a source of valid knowledge. Thus according to Vivantha,
verbal cognition arises only through the knowledge of words. In his opinion, the
knowledge of words (pada-jna) function as an instrument (karaa),the process
(Vypra) is the presentation of the meanings of the words(padrthopasthiti), the
knowledge of meaning (akti) generated by manifold factors like fitness etc: are
auxiliary causes or helpful (sahakri), then the product (phala) is the verbal cognition
(bdabodha). Here we can see that with the help of the above mentioned Krika,
Vivantha explained the complete process of verbal cognition; and he also try to

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show how the bdabodha as an effect results from the operation of some principal
cause along with certain auxiliary ones.
So we can conclude that the understanding of the meaning of a statement is
called bdabodha and this bdabodha as the valid verbal knowledge is the
pram and abda is the prama ie the chief instrument for the attainment of the
valid knowledge.
4:3 - Derivation of the Term bdabodha
The term bdabodha -may be derived in this manner(i) abdasya aya bda; bda bodhah bdabodha.
(ii) abddgata bdah; bdacassu bodhaca bdabodha.
(iii) abdasabandhi ya bodha bdabodhah.It means the knowledge
pertaining to or coming from a sabda.
(iv) abdnmaya bda
Or
abdai nirvtta bda; bdacsau bodhaca bda-bodha.
ie. Comprehension or import that pertains to words1
(v) abdjjyamna bodhah bdabodha.
It means that the cognition arises from words2
4:4 - Definition of bdabodha
bdabodha is the cognition of the meaning of a sentence. It has been defined
as the cognition effected by the efficient instrumentality of the cognition of the

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words3. Thus the meaning of a sentence is called the verbal cognition4. According
to Prof. G.M. Bhattchrya, verbal cognition is the meaning of a sentence and it is
the successful communication between hearer and speaker5. Dr. Veluri Subha Rao
gave the meaning of verbal cognition as comprehension or import that pertains to
words6. Thus the understanding of the meaning of a statement is called, bdabodha.
The word 'bdabodha has also been defined as 'the cognition resulting from the
recalling of things derived from words'7. In other words the cognition of the meaning
of a sentence or vkyrthajna is thus the knowledge of the relation between one
object and another presented by the meanings of words8. Verbal knowledge means
knowledge of the meaning of a sentence,ie.the knowledge of the relation of the
meanings of words.ie. Padrthasasarga jna eva vkyrthajna.
Etymologically speaking bdabodha can be explained as the cognition resulting
from the words that are being heared or uttered (ie abdcchrutjjayamano bodha).
bdabodha literally means that cognition which arises from words9. An
adequate sentence (prama Vkya) is a sentence with a meaning and corresponds
to the English notion of a sentence. The meaning of such a sentence is called the
bdabodha or bdajna10.Vivantha defines it as that cognition which arises
through the knowledge of words11. He explains that the knowledge of words or
Padajna functions as the instrument or karaa, the process or Vypra is the
presentation of the meanings of the words or Padrthopasthiti, the product or phala
is the verbal cognition or bdabodha and the knowledge of meaning or akti is the
auxiliary or Sahakrikraa.
According to Laugki Bhskara, the meaning of a sentence (Vkyrtha)
consists in the mutual relation or sasarga of the meanings presented by the word12.

153

Jagada opine that in this relation one meaning is correlated with another13. The
Ritualists insist that syntactico-semantical relations as superstratumness (dheyatva)
are referred to by the words14.
According to the Grammarians, it is in the form of subject-predicate or uddeyavidheya relation15.
Bhammsakas opine that the relation is one of synthesis16
4:5 - Process of bdabodha
abda implies human speech and it may be understood as linguistic utterances.
These utterances are made by a speaker who is the member of a linguistic community
and the listener listens to those utterances. Then 'how does this linguistic utterance
generate awareness or knowledge of an object in a hearer's mind? or how is
bdabodha attained'? This is an important question and this question leads us to
the mechanism or the process involved in `sabdabodha17.This process of bdabodha
can be described as follows:- At first one perceives words as such and then he
recognizes the same as possessing the functional relation of word and meaning.
Once the words are cognized to possess the functional relation the same can be
used to refer to the particular meanings and thereafter, with the help of the recollection
of the meanings referred to, verbal cognition can be obtained.
For example, consider the bdabodha or verbal cognition of a sentence
'bringing a cow'. Firstly a man perceives the words 'g' (cow) and naya(bring) as
such and then he recognizes the same words as possessing the functional relation of
word and their meaning. Once the words 'g' and 'naya' are cognized to possess
the functional relation, the same words can be used to refer to the 'cow individual'

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and to the 'action of bringing' respectively and thereafter with the help of the
recollection of the meanings referred to ie cow individual and bringing, the verbal
cognition of 'bringing a cow' (g naya) can be obtained.
The above mentioned process assumes the following steps:(i) The speaker makes linguistic utterance with a view to communicate some
knowledge or information to a hearer.
(ii) The hearer belongs to the same linguistic community as that of the speaker
and thus both share the same linguistic competence.
(iii) The utterance is normally expressed through the form of a sentence
composed of words or a word only.
(iv) The hearer correctly recognised each word of the sentence.
(v) The hearer as a consequence could establish the meanings or objects
associated with each word18.
With the help of the above mentioned five steps, we can describe the process
that leads to bdabodha. Here the hearer is having knowledge of the connected
meaning of the utterance, which made by the speaker and thereby, he comes to
know what is being communicated to him by the utterance.
4:6 - Various Stages in the Process of bdabodha
In order to have a clear idea of the bdabodha theory, the various stages of
bdabodha may be studied. While comprehending the meaning of any sentence,
firstly we cognise the word, then its potentiality or akti and from both of these; but
together the recalling of meanings is effected and thus verbal import is

155

engendered.With the help of the above mentioned process or prakriy of bdabodha,


the different stages of the same can be generally described in this manner(i)

First there is knowledge of the relation of word such as 'cow' with the
objects signified by them19.

(ii) When some body says: 'Bring the cow', then the meaning of the word
'cow etc'. is remembered20.
(iii) Such remembrance is caused by the relation of the word with its meaning.
One relative reminds the other21.
(iv) With the help of the knowledge of expectancy(kka) etc; the meaning
of the sentence(vkyrtha) becomes known22.
In the opinion of Kanda Tarkavg23,the steps of verbal cognition are as
follows:eg:- 'ghaam naya' or 'Bring a pot'.
(i) First, the knowledge of the word 'ghaa' (adau ghaapadajna).
(ii) Second, through the knowledge of the word 'ghaa' the observer observes
the presence of pot(ghaapadajanya ghaopasthiti).
(iii) Then the knowledge of the accusative case affix - 'a' (tat
ampadajna).
(iv) With that accusative case affix, the knowledge of accusativeness
(a padajanyakarmatvpasthiti).
(v) After these, the knowledge of pitcher (ghaa) arises, which is qualified
by karmatva (accusativeness) and having relationship with

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substratumness, then we know the meaning of 'ghata'- 'This is a pot' (tato


ghao yam itykaraka karmatva vieyakdheyatva sasarga
ghaaprakraka bdabodha).
4:7 - Central Nucleus of a Sentence
After the discussion of the process of bdabodha, it is very important to
discuss 'the central nucleus of a sentence or what is the most important word in a
sentence?', because the meaning revolves around the nucleus of a sentence .
Epistemologists like Grammarians, Ritualists and Logicians have proposed
three main linguistic theories regarding the central nucleus or principal (chief)
qualificand (mukhyavieya) in bdabodha. Of these, Grammarians accepted verb
as the main substantive24. But in the view of Mmsakas,25. meaning of the finite
verb (khytartha) is the most important word while according to Naiyyikas26.
nominative case is the main substantive.
4:7:1 - According to the Vaiykaraas, it is the verb (kriypada) which possess
an important place in a sentence. Hence they define a sentence as that which possess
a finite verb27.In their opinion, verb is the central axis around which the other words
perform their functions as auxiliary. Hence verb or kriy is the chief substantive
(mukhya vieya) and the kart (agent or doer) serves as its qualified or adjective
(vieana)28. They pointed out that mukhya vieya in verbal cognition is always the
meaning referred to by the verbal root. This theory is based on the fact that verbs are
held to refer to root-meanings as the principal element ie bhva-pradhna akhyta.
For eg:-In the sentence 'Caitro grma gachati (Caitra goes to the village).
Here going (gacchati) is the action, referred to by the verbal root 'gam' (go) is the

157

chief qualificand of all relations. Consequently, all other meanings, referred to by


various words in the same sentence, relate directly or indirectly to the action 'going'.
Here the word 'village', referred to by the accusative word 'grma', is related to
the 'object' or abode (raya) referred to by the accusative case ending '(a)' through
the relation of identity. The same object is related to the effect 'contact' one of the
two meanings referred to by the root 'ga' (go) through the relation of occurrence.
Again, the contact is related to the action 'going' the second of the two meanings
referred to by the same root (gam) through producing :- where as Caitra, the meaning
referred to by the nominative word 'Caitra', is related to the agent (kart) one of
the two meanings referred to by the conjugational ending (ti) through identity.
Further, the abode is related to the action 'going' through occurrence. Thus, the
cognition is that the action 'going' which produces the contact, occurring in the
object

'village'

has

Caitra,

the

agent,

as

its

abode

(grmbhinnrayavttisayogajanaka vypra eka Caitrbhinna kartvtti).


Grammarians hold that such a theory is necessitated by the fact that in
impersonal passive statements such as 'Caitrea supyate' ( slept by Caitra). Here
they have accepted the verbal cognition such as the action 'sleeping' has 'Caitra as
its agent' wherein the action 'sleeping' is the chief qualificand.
Another example 'Rama brings a pot'. (Rma ghaamnayati)'. This sentence
as an act or process of activity leading to the bringing of a pot by Rama.
Consider the statement 'paya mgo dhvati' (behold the animal is running)
consisting two verbs; namely 'behold' and 'runs' express the action 'beholding' and
'running' respectively. Here the action 'running' which has the animal as its agent,
functions as the object; whereas the beholding functions as the chief qualificand.

158

Thus, the cognition produced is that the beholding has the running as its object
which in turn, has the animal as its agent. So we can say that only grammarians
theory explains satisfactorily the verbal cognition produced from this statement.
4:7:2 - The Mmsakas also emphasis the importance of the verb and they
agree with the Vaiykaraas in holding that it is the action which constitutes the
central meaning of a sentence29. They hold that in injunctive and other statements,
optative and other verbal affixes (akhyta) must be accepted to refer to a productive
activity (bhvana). Also, they hold that finite verbs such as 'he ought to make
oblations' (yajeta) must be analysed as 'he ought to do the making of oblations
(ygam karoti). Consequently, each finite verb refers to an action such as 'making
oblations' and activity (bhvana or vypra) such as 'doing' or 'making'.
Mmmsakas considered such productive activity must be the central point
or chief qualificand in verbal cognition produced from sentences; and all other
meanings referred to by the words in a sentence are directly or indirectly related to
the productive activity.
For eg:- Consider the sentence 'Caitra goes to the village' (caitro grma
gachati). Here the nominal base (grma) refers to the village; the accusative case
ending (a) refers to the power called objectness (karmatva akti) which is an
undivisible property. Other nominal base 'Caitra' refers to the agent 'Caitra' and the
nominative case-ending refers to the number (singularity etc) ie-' ekbhinna
Caitravtti kartt nirpik grmanita karmat nirpik ca y kriy tadanukla
bhavn. Similarly, the root 'pac' in the finite verb 'pacati' (Caitra tanula pacati)
refers to the action 'cooking' and the conjugational ending 'ti' refers to the productive
activity. From these examples, the syntactico - semantical relations involved in the

159

referents can be described in the following manner:- The meaning of the accusative
base, the village, is related directly to the objectness through the relation of
occurrence and indirectly through the objectness to the activity; and the same
objectness is related directly to the action 'going' through the relation of conditioning
and indirectly through the action to the impellent force. Here the meaning of the
nominative base, ie 'Caitra', is directly related to the activity through the conditioning
of agentness occurring in him. Thus the verbal cognition produced from the statement
is that the impellent force or productive activity is conducive to the action 'going'
which is conditioning both the objectness occurring in the village and the agentness
occurring in the single Caitra30..
So we can say that Ritualists establish a different theory by interpreting the
rule in this manner- akhyt ie verbal endings refer to the productive as the chief
qualificand; and this interpretation confirms to the established convention that
between the meaning of base and inflectional endings, only the latter is the
qualificand ie productive activity is the chief qualificand in verbal cognition and
hence in the opinion of Ritualists, predicate is the most important factor in the
analysis of sentence meaning.
4:7:3 - In the opinion of Logicians,meaning of the finite verb (khytrtha) is
the most important part31and they laid emphasis on one point that the chief substantive
(mukhya vieya) is the 'kart' (doer) which is in nominative case(pratamnta) ie
the subject of a sentence is the most important part of a sentence. According to
them, all other words including the verb are only subsidiary to it and qualify it in
some way or other (ie directly or indirectly).

160

For eg:- 'Caitra goes to the village' (Caitro grma gachati). Here Caitra,
the agent is the substratum of the activity conducive to the 'going' which in turn,
is conditioning the objectness occurring in the object 'village'32. According to
Logicians, conjugational endings refer to the productive activity only in the cases
where the agent happens to be an animate such as 'Caitra'. But where the agent is
an inanimate, such as a chariot in 'Chariot goes' (ratho gachati) the same refers
through established indication to only an operation (Vypra). Here, the cognition
is that the chariot has an operation that is conducive to the action of 'going'.
Similarly in passive construction too, Logicians hold that the chief qualificand is
the meaning referred to by the nominative word. For eg:- Village is gone to by
Caitra (Caitrea grmo gamyate). Here the instrumental case 'ena' after the word
'Caitra' refers to the activity ie the agentness. The root 'gam' (to go) as usual,
refers to the action 'going' and the conjugational ending (te) refers to the objectness,
which is, in this case, the effect 'contact': where as the nominative base 'grma'
refers to the object 'village' and the nominative case ending (a) simply refers to
the number 'singularity'. Thus the cognition produced is that the village, has the
objectness that is produced by the action 'going', resulting from the productive
activity ie agency occurring in Caitra.
From all these, we can say that while the verb is all important for the
Vaiykaraas and Mmsakas, it is not so important for the Naiyyikas. In
their opinion, verb is not a necessary part of a sentence and they attach a greater
importance to things and lay stress on the noun. These kinds of differences
in attitude leads to the different ways in which they interpret the meaning of
a sentence.

161

4:8 - Two Types of bdabodha


Before mention the various theories of bdabodha, it is better to have an idea
of the two divisions of bdabodha - the Khaabdabodha and the
Akhaabdabodha.
In the first variety, the import is produced as a whole and in the second variety,
the import is produced by parts . Of these two, the former is a stepping stone to the
latter. Because in order to understand the meaning of the whole sentence, it is
necessary that one should know the meaning of parts. Therefore we can say that the
cognition of the meaning of the entire sentence or akhaa vkyrthabodha is
dependent upon a knowledge of the parts or khaavkyrthabodha.
4:8:1 - Khaabdabodha (Verbal Import by parts).
Consider a sentence:- 'Caitrah Hari bhajati '(Caitra worships Hari) Here
Caitra, Hari and Worship - these are the three words comprising the sentence. In
this sentence the word 'Caitra', denotes the person 'Caitra', the word 'su', the case
affix denotes number etc, the word 'Hari' denotes Hari, the word 'am', case affix
denotes objectness or 'karmatva' the root 'bhaj' means activity favourable to love
and Ti, the verbal affix, denotes activity or 'kti'. Such understanding of the
meanings of individual words in a sentence is called khaabdabodha or verbal
import by parts.
4:8:2 - Akhaabdabodha (Unitary Import).
To illustrate Akhaabdabodha, we take the above mentioned example'Caitrah Hari bhajati' (Caitra worships Hari). Here 'Caitra' is the substratum of
the activity favourable to love which has Hari for its object ie 'Hari karmaka

162

prtyanukulaktimn Caitra'. This type of bdabodha is Akhaabdabodha or


unitary import.
Of these two divisions of bdabodha, the akhaabdabodha alone is
bdabodha in the true sense and the other one khaabdabodha is resorted to
only for the sake of explanational clarity. Therefore we can say that the
khaabdabodha has only secondary position while the akhaabdabodha
becomes the chief position.
From the above we can say that verbal cognition by parts
(sakhaabdabodha) is to be effected or perceived before verbal cognition by
unity(akhaabdabodha) can be produced. Consider the sentence 'Caitra
taulam pacati' (Caitra cooks rice). This sentence consists of the three words namely
'Caitra' 'taulam' and 'pacati'. None of these three independent words convey
any complete idea. But the sentence consisting of the same three words can convey
the complete idea of 'Caitra cooking the rice' since all the three meanings are related
to each other. This phenomenon of why only sentence conveys a complete idea is
explained by Indian epistemologists by their theory of bdabodha. So according
to Indian theories of meaning, firstly the individual words denote their respective
meanings and then the individual word -meanings are comprehended as having
syntactico - semantical relations with each other.
Hence we can conclude that in Ancient India, the problem of the unit of speech
or to the study of the problem of meaning, we find two main approaches : the
khaapaka and the akhaapaka. Dr . K. Kunjunni Rja pointed out that we can
roughly analogus these two views are to the Association theory and the Gestalt theory
in psychology. According to the khaapaksa or the analytical method, a word is

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considered as an autonomous unit of thought and sense, and language studies are
made on the basis of words, and the sentence is taken to be a concatenation of words.
Also the study of meaning in India first started by taking word as the unit of speech in
all the schools of philosophy, and this is the reason that the thing meant or referent is
called the meaning of a word33 ie padrtha (padasya artha) in Sanskrit. Likewise the
Sanskrit term 'nmarpa' which stands for the world of things also suggests the view
that objects can be comprehended by means of their names or their visible shapes, and
that the name and the shape constitute the essence of a thing.
4:9 - Different theories of bdabodha
Indian thinkers have keen interest about the process through which sentences
uttered by one person produce verbal knowledge or sense in another person who
listening to it. Regarding the nature of this verbal comprehension arising from a
sentence, there are different theories came into existence. These theories differ
according to the structural peculiarities of different languages.
We all knew that when we hear a sentence, we have some sense. All the
systems think whether this sense arise directly from the words syntactically related
in the form of sentence or through the meaning of the words comprising the
sentence. Here arise this question:- ''How does the synthesis take place?, are the
words synthesised (anvit) before or does the synthetic construction take place
later?'' To solve these problems, different systems have brought forth different
theories. This synthesis of words help us to understand the meaning of a sentence.
Among the different theories of bdabodha, Mmsakas (the advocates
of padavda) brought forth two conflicting theories namely 'anvitbhidhnavda'

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and 'abhihitnvayavda' These schools believe in the existence of individual words


but differ in regard to their meaning. Bharthari, the famous grammarian accepted
as an 'akhaa- vkya sphoa' or 'sphoavda'.
Jayantabhaa, the famous old Naiyyika introduces the theory known as
'ttparyavda' and Navya Nyya school accepted 'sasargamaryadvda' and it is
the same as the 'ttparyaakti'.
Among the Rhetoricians, Mukulabhaa accepted the theory of
'samuccayavda' and andavardhana 'accepted 'dhvani - theory'.
4:9:1 - Anvitbhidhnavda
Among the two theories of Mmsakas, the first view ie it is the synthesised
concepts that give rise to the expression is known as Anvitbhidhna vda.
This theory is initiated by Kapila and elucidated by the Prbhkaras.
Prbhkara and his followers accept the Anvitbhidhna theory and they
maintain that the words expressed are already related together and they collectively
generate the meaning in an automatic way. This view is known as
anvitbhidhnavda35. In other words, the words themselves convey the connected
sentence meaning gradually step by step.
'Anvitbhidhna' is a compound word analysed as 'anvitn
abhidhna 5 (expression of things ie meanings), as they are syntactically
connected.
In the opinion of C.D. Bijalwan, the literal meaning of 'Anvitbhidhna vda'
is the theory of expressions of the correlated36.

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Prbhkara Mmsakas opine that words themselves convey their meanings


(anvitapadrthas) and their mutual relation, so that the 'padrthas' conveyed by
padas do not convey the 'vkyrtha' ie there is no 'abhihitnvaya'.
In their opinion, the individual words do not convey any meaning except in
the context of a sentence, and a word must always be associated syntactically with
an injunctive verb. The sentence is the unit of speech, though the word which is
the product of analysis from the sentences can be considered as the unit of language4.
According to this theory, from the very beginning, the meaning of the word
is understood as related to some other thing. Hence there is no need of postulating
an additional synthesis or construction over and above the related meanings. In
their opinion, an isolated word is mere a abstraction.
For eg:- the word 'cow'. By practical usage or lokavyavahra one can know
the meaning of the word 'cow'.
ie someone says ''Bring the cow''-then there is a cow is brought. After this
the same man says:- ''Take away the cow''- Then the cow is taken away. A child
stand near by becomes acquainted with the meanings of such words as, 'bring'
'take away' 'cow' etc.
Prbhkaras and his followers opine that this understanding of the meanings
of these words happened by means of observation of such behaviour of bringing
and taking away ie 'vpodvpa'.
So they conclude that a word like 'cow' is never used in isolation and according
to them, the meaning of a sentence (vkyrtha) is nothing but the related meaning.
For eg:- the word 'cow' must always be related to some other word like

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'the cow is white'


'the cow is grazing'
'bring the cow'
'feed the cow' and
'milk the cow' etc.
Thus the word 'cow' always stands is some relation to other concepts.
Thus the anvitbhidhnavdins add that primary capacity (akti or abhidh vtti) of a word lies in denoting a related meaning and this theory has been
formulated by Prbhkara and has been elaborated by lkantha Mra.
So we can say that the theory of 'Anvitbhidhna' is primarily derived from
the behaviour of man. Because in normal behaviour, man uses sentences for the
purpose of communication; and not isolated and unconnected words. Without
already knowing the nature of a sentence, one cannot collect isolated words into a
sentence. The Prbhkaras elucidate this theory by laying particular stress on the
natural method by which children learn the meaning of words. When a child hears
a sentence uttered by one elder to another and observes the action, he understands
the whole meaning by the whole statement. Though there are many words in a
sentence, the unity of sentence - meaning is achieved through the unity of purpose.37
4:9:2 - Abhihitnvayavda
The term 'Abhihitnvaya' is itself significant. It means 'abhihitn
padarthna anvaya' which literally means38 'the theory of correlation of the
expressed'39 or 'agreement of those things that are expressed by word's40.
According to this theory, the words convey their meanings individually and
the meaning is obtained by the mutual relationship of words. Here, though the

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meaning of individual words can also be comprehended separately, but as far as


the sentence - meaning is concerned, it comes out by the association of words and
their meanings constitute the sentence.
Among the Mmsakas, Kumarila Bhaa and his followers accept the
'abhihitnvaya' theory and in their opinion, all words convey their own meanings
separately. ie each word first presents only a general concept as indicated by the
denotative power (akti) of the word. The Bhas maintain that the sense of a
sentence is derived through the meaning of the words. The meaning of a sentence,
according to the Bhas is a concatenation of the individual items expressed by
the words.
Kumarila says that before apprehending the total meaning of the sentence,
we must have pre-acquaintance with the independent words taken in isolation.
When such independent words bearing cognized independent meanings come
together in a sentence, those independent meanings are caught in syntactical relation
and thereby we get the total meaning of the total sentence.
In their opinion, a sentence is nothing but a get together of independent
words arranged in a syntactical structure, and the syntactical meaning is nothing
but a get together of independent meanings, organised in the syntactical meaning
structure. In short, a sentence is a structure of related words and a sentential meaning
is a structure of related meanings.
This theory may be called some sort of brick and mortar theory of sentential
meaning. Because brick, mortar, iron and cement are the constituents of a building
structure, but mere accumulation of these elements do not go to form a structure.

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The building is a structural organisation, in which the constituents are to be arranged


and organised in a certain way and thus the constituents must enter into a certain
type of mutual relation.41
Here the separate meanings are first conveyed by separate words, and then
the words and their meanings are grasped as entering into the syntactical relation.
The separate word meanings cognized in the syntactical relation constitute a defined
new meaning (viita ekartha) which is the essential meaning and which as
such is the distinct object of verbal cognition. Thus, those who advocate the
'Abhihitnvayavda, are inclined to make association (sasarga) as the meaning
of a sentence42.
Consider a word 'cow' denotes only a cow- in- general (go-smnya) as
unrelated (ananvita) to another word.
They opine that the different words become related together by a synthetic
construction or sasarga maryd.
The meaning of the sentence arises from a synthesis or anvaya of the words.
This anvaya is take place in accordance with rules of kka or expectancy,
satti or juxta position, yogyat or compatibility and ttparya or intention of the
speaker. This view is that which is expressed or abhihita is construed by mutual
synthesis of words or parasparika anvaya is, known as abhihitnvaya - vda.43
They maintain that the primary denotative power ie akti or abhidh - vtti
of words is to reveal only a general content or svarupa mtra and not the relational
aspect (apekbuddhi). The meanings when strewn together like a garland of flowers
give rise to a verbal cognition. The different words in their job and cease functioning

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and the meanings thus got are synthesised and generate a knowledge of the meaning
of the sentence44.
Kumarilabhaa conceives that the function of words continues upto the
cognition of the sentential meaning. The knowledge of 'padrtha' is the mediating
operation (vypra) through which the meaning of the sentence is communicated
by the padas. Just as fuel cannot directly do the cooking, but only through the
flame of fire, so padas cannot directly communicate vkyrtha, but only through
the padrthas, as remarked Kumarila45 .
So we can conclude that according to abhihitnvayavdins, the constituent
words of a sentence present only their isolated meanings, which are combined
according to syntactical rules (ie juxtaposition etc.) and the meanings are then
brought under a synthetic or constructive process which gives the intended
meaning46.
4:9:3 - Sphoavda
It is Bharthari, the author of Vkyapadya, who is the first Grammarian
to have presented a systematic treatment of the conception of sphoa. According
to Bharthari, words have no reality of their own. The entire sentence is to be
taken as an indivisible, integral unit, and its meaning is also an instantaneous
flash of insight (pratibh) or intuition, which has no parts. The indivisible
sentence is analysed into words and further into roots and suffixes but this division
is not real. In his view, the sphoa has so many parts. Therefore, Bharthari
accepted an 'akhavkya - sphoa'. The existence of words in language is on
a par with the avidy stage47.

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Therefore, in the view of the grammarians, sentence is a single undivided


utterance and conveys its meaning in a flash48. According to them, only such
indivisible sentence - essence is real and all other varieties of verbal essence (sphoa)
such as syllable - essence (vara sphoa), word - essence (pada sphoa) are its
subsidiaries. And such a sentence essence is manifested in the mind of the listener
through the knowledge of the utterance of the last syllable which is pregnant with
the impression created by the succession of preceeding syllables such as cai + tra
+ pa + ca + ti. They hold that assumption of such a unique sentence - essence is
necessitated by the fact that words, which are mere combination of syllables
(Varasamha) are momentary (ie instantly perishing) in nature and therefore
cannot be held to be real.
Also since quickly perishing entities are impossible to perceive, words become
incompetent of possessing any functional relation (vtti) through which they can
refer to meanings. Thus, only indivisible sentence- essence has the competence to
possess functional relation so that the same can reveal the meaning to the listener.
In this way each sentence (essence) has a peculiar ability to create a newer and
newer awareness.
So we can conclude that Grammarians is of opinion that the sentence has a
peculiar capacity and through that capacity it is capable of expressing meaning.
ie 'vkyasya vkyarthe akti'49
4:9:4 - Ttparyavda
After rejecting all other theories, Jayantabhaa, the author of Nyyamajari
introduces the theory named as - ''Tatparya - vda''.

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Among the Old Naiyyikas, Jayantabhaa was the first Naiyyika, who
elaborately threw light on the concept of sentence - meaning or he who discussed
the theories of verbal comprehension in detail.
This ttparyaakti is the same as the samsargamaryad-vda accepted by the
Navya- Nyya school.
Among the Rhetoricians, nandavardhana refutes ttparya as an anti-dhvani
theory. In the opinion of Abhinavagupta, ttparya is that the words by their primary
power (abhidh) refer to isolated word - meaning and the synthetic relation of
these words is conveyed by another power known as ttparya.
Bhoja follows nandavardhana and the Tatparya vdins50! He divides ttparya
into three types namely bhidhyamna (expressed), pratyamna (implied) and
dhvani rupas or suggested.
According to Jayanta, 'Ttparya' is the power of word which conveys a related
meaning of the word contained in a sentence. Words by their primary power,
4known as 'abhidh' denote their primary meanings. But on being used in a sentence,
they have an additional power which continues to work until the meanings are
presented to our consciousness as being in relation with one another in a sentence.51
He opine that we utter words with the object that they will merely
communicate their own primary meanings. In other words, we utter them with the
intention of communicating the meaning of a sentence.
Jayanta quotes Kumarila to state that as sticks of wood burn in order to
perform their main task of cooking. Similarly, words engage themselves in
communicating the meaning of a sentence52.

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Jayanta tries to elucidate the point in a figurative manner. He says that when
we compare understanding as a creeper, knowledge is its main root, the arrangement
of words is its bright sprout, the impressions left by the experience of all antecedent
sounds are its broad leaves, the meaning of words which have been expressed are its
full blown blossoms and the excellent meaning of a sentence is its delicious fruit53.
Jayanta rejects both abhihitnvayavda and anvitbhidhnavda and prefers
a third view according to which words convey the sentence meaning by their
cumulative effect or samhatya karit to the ttparyaakti of words.
Ttparya, virtually is a modified form of abhihitnvaya. But Jayanta has
given it to the status of an independent theory.
So we can say that according to Jayanta, words express their isolated word meanings through the power abhidha, but as far as the sentence is concerned, it is
accomplished through another power, known as ttparya. In his opinion, neither
anvitbhidhna nor adhihitnvaya can explain the exact nature of verbal
comprehension. To dispel the confusion created by the Mmsakas, Jayanta
initiates a new thinking in this field of learning. Not only he rejects both the
Mmsa theories, but has propounded a new theory known as ttparyavda.
From all these we can conclude that Jayanta, as K.K. Raja also observes was
the first to bring forward the theory of ttpaya as a separate vtti54.
4:9:5 - Sasarga - maryda-vda
This theory is the contribution of the Navya- Nyya school; and it is the
same as the ttparya akti. According to this theory, the sentence - meaning is
obtained because of the juxtaposition of meanings. This sentence - meaning appears

173

in the verbal understanding in the capacity of a relation. The meanings presented


to the mind get connected as per the capacity and compatibility. This theory is
very close to the theory of the Bhas55 in the sense that the meanings themselves
have the capacity to connect themselves.
In their opinion, the meaning of a sentence is the relation that exists among
the substances recalled by the several words in it. Hence, the relation between
each pair of things denoted by words in a sentence is understood by means of
syntactical connection.
e.g: - 'Caitra pacati'
Here the word 'Caitra' means the Caitra as the 'doer' and the word 'pacati'
means 'cooks'; which signifies- 'viklittyanuklakti' means that activity favourable
to softening. This meaning is obtained by the syntactical connection or by sasarga.
Sasarga means the connection of the one substance 'Caitra' with the other
substance activity (favourable to cooking) Both of these substances are recalled
by the respective words, supplies the meaning of substratumness. The combination
of the two words is capable of producing the sense of substratumness. In other
words it is the joint utterance of words that produces the particular meaning.
This sasarga is of two types:
(1) Bhedasasarga (Differential relation)
(2) Abhedasasarga (Non- differential relation)
Sayoga (the relation of contact') is included in the variety of bhedasasarga;
and samavya (inherence), vi ay-viaybhava (its cognition) and

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dhardheyabhva (relation of a thing and its substratum) are included in


abhedasasarga.
4:10 - Necessary Conditions of bdabodha
Indian thinkers together agree that the words convey their individual
meanings either through akti (Abhidh), Lakana or if and when necessary
through Vyajana. But the process does not end here. Because the words shall
have to fulfill certain conditions in order to give us a relational thought in the
form of a vkyrtha.
In order to convey the collective meaning of a sentence, the words require
the aid of some accessory properties.
There are different opinions among the scholars in the choice of these
conditions; and hence the number of the essential conditions varies for the right
understanding of a sentence.
The necessary conditions of verbal cognition are enumerated to be three
namely
(i) kka (syntactical expectancy)
(ii) Yogyat (semantical competency) (compatibility)
(iii) satt (contiguity) (proximity)
Some consider Ttparya ( speakers intention) also to be a necessary condition.
4:10:1 - Logicians 'View point
Keava mira, the author of Tarkabha has given a definition of the
sentence56 is-

175

''Vkya tu kk- yogyat sannidhi-matm padn samha''


According to this definition, mere collections of words cannot be considered
as sentence or vkya. But there should be kka, yogyat and sannidhi (satti)
among the words and these are the essential factors for the right understanding of
a sentence.
In the opinion of Vivantha, the knowledge of each of the four conditions,
namely satti, Yogyat, kka and Ttparya57 is to be obtained prior to the
realisation of the bdabodha from a proposition.
He adds a fourth requisite, ttparyajna (knowledge of the intention of the
speaker) to the list of conditions for right understanding of a sentence.
But Jayantabhaa regard 'ttparya' as the separate vtti.
4:10:2 - Vaiykaraas' View point
Among the Vaiykaraas, Paini is known for his insistence on the capacity
(smarthya) of words58. This 'capacity' is the capability of meaning of words to get
united. Hence this capacity or smarthya is actually an ekrthbhva or unification
of meanings59.
Patanjali, the author of Mahbhya explains this smarthya of Paini in the
sense of vyapeka which means that the mutual connection pertaining to the
meanings of words in a sentence60.
Jaimini compares this 'ekrthbhva' to 'arthaikatva'61 and 'vyapek' to
'knka'.
Bharthari wants a group of mutually expectant words to give a single idea62.

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4:10:3 - Mmmsakas' View point


knka (expectancy), yogyat (compatibility) and Sannidhi or satti
(contiguity) are the conditions for the understanding of the sentence- meaning
were first promulgated by the Mmsakas and later on taken up by all other
systems of philosophy with slight modifications.
Among the Mmsakas, Kumarila adds two more conditions to his primarily
accepted kka, namely 'Yogyata' and satti (sannidhi or sannidhna)63.
Later Mmsakas, more or less, come to follow Kumarila's position.
Prbhkaras also admit the involvement of Sannidhi, Yogyat and kka
in giving a bdabodha64.
After this, one more fact called Ttparya (intention of the speaker or the
purport of the sentence) was added to the above mentioned three factors by both
Bhas and Prbhkaras.
4:10:4 - lakrikas' View point
In the opinion of lakrikas, the admission of the earlier three conditions
is universal65.
Among the lakrikas, Abhinavagupta regard 'Ttparya' only as a separate
vtti66.
4:10:5 - Vedntins' View point
Vedntins also accept all the four conditions of bdabodha as such67.
4:10:1:1 - kka (expectancy)
kk is the foremost requirement for the right understanding of a sentence.

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The word 'kka' is derived from the root 'kka' means 'to desire' or 'to
expect something'.
In the classical texts of Nyya and other schools of philosophy, it is identified
with the syntactic property but on the part of the listener it is just the incompleteness
of an utterance.
According to K.K. Raja, 'Akk' is accepted as an essential conditon for
the unity of a sentence68.
e.g:- If some one says merely a word 'bring', then the meaning will not be
complete.
Bring what? It can be a book, a pen, a cow, a cloth etc. In the same way, if
only 'cow' is uttered that also expects something more whether 'to bring', 'to be
fed' or 'milked' etc. But when we say 'Bring a cow' (g naya). Here the two
words 'bring' and 'cow' help each other to make a complete sense. This mutual
expectancy of one word to another is known as kka.
From the above example it is clear that any word taken singly or separately
is not self-sufficient. So in order to convey a full sense it requires to be aided or
supplemented with the help of some other word.
According to Vivantha, the word without which another word is unable to
convey the full meaning of a word is expectant to another word without which it cannot
convey its meaning is called the kkita pada ie the desired or required word69.
In the opinion of Annabhaa, expectancy is 'the inability of a word to
convey the whole meaning of the sentence, that inability is caused by the absence
of some other word.

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ie Padasya- Padntara- vyatireka- prayuktnvaya- ananubhvakatvam


kk70.
For example: If some one says simply 'ghaam' then a desire at one created
to know what about the jar and it is satisfied only when we utter some such words
as 'naya' which can complete the sense. This desire to know, is called kka.
So we can say that the sentence 'ghaam naya' conveys four notion- ghaa
(a jar), apratyaya (the objective relation), + n (the act of bringing) and the
termination of imperative, second person, singular. (the command). If any of these
notion is absent, the sense remains so far incomplete.
This view of Annabhaa clearly explained in Nyyabodhin commentary71.
Annabhaa's definition of kk is further modified by Vivantha, that
if a word 'x' cannot become syntactically connected with the rest of the sentence
without another word 'y' then 'x' has excpectancy (kk) for Y72.
Keavamira has accepted only three requisities regarding the sentence 73,
but he has given only the counter example of kka and has not given specific
definitions of the three requisities74.
According to Udayana, expectancy is neither equivalent to universal
concomitance (avinbhva) between concepts, nor inquisitiveness of the hearer.
It is really equivalent to that element which is capable of giving rise to the supposed
inquisitiveness of the hearer75.
So Udayana's kk is understood as a jijs which means that the desire
to know the meanings of words uttered along with after knowing the meaning of a
particular word.

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Kadatarkavaga gives an example- 'ghaa naya'. He says that here


the word 'a' has the expectancy in it because without it, the word 'ghaa'
cannot produce the Karmatava. Hence 'a'- padatva' is the expectancy in the
word 'ghaa'76
In Tattvacintmani, Gageopdhyya defined kka as the
accompaniment of one string 'x' with another string 'y' in such a way that 'x' would
not generate cognition of the meaning unless accompanied by 'y' 77.
Thus, in his opinion, so long as there is incompleteness of the expressed
meaning, there is kk. The great Grammarian, Ngea says78 that kk is
the desire on the part of the listeners on hearing a word in a sentence to know the
idea which can be related to its meaning in order to get a complete sense.
In his opinion, kk is on the part of the listeners and not on the part of
words or their meanings. Only in a figurative sense, this expectancy is attributed
to the words and their meanings.
Among the Mmsakas, Nryaa bhaa speaks of the necessity of
admitting kk as an essential factor. Otherwise, we shall be required to
recognise a syntactical relation even in the bare string of words like cow, horse,
man, etc79.
Vivantha, the famous lakrika conveyed the same idea that kk
is the absence of completion of an idea (the understanding of a meaning)80.
The Mmsaka-s explain this kk, not only on the basis of the syntactic
incompleteness of the sentence, but also on the basis of the psychological
incompleteness of the idea81.

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According to K.K. Raja, ''words are mutually expectant or a word is said to


have 'kk' for another if it cannot without the latter produce knowledge of its
inter connection is an utterance82.
4:10:1:1:1 - Types of kk
There are two types of kka- 'Utthita' and 'Utthpya'. Of these two, 'utthita'
expectancy is actual and natural expectancy of one word for the other to make a
complete sense
eg:- 'the door' (dvram) Here close (pidhehi) etc. is understood.
The second one is utthpya. This is the potential expectancy which could be
roused if necessary83.
eg:- 'The moon rises' (Udayati candra) Here the noun 'Kumudabndhava'
also appended is made to agree with the verb84. This is a case of avoidable
expectancy, sometimes considered a literary fault.
4:10:1:2 - Yogyat
Yogyat is probably the single most important necessary condition of bdabodha.
This yogyat is variously translated as 'compatibility', 'competency'
'consistency' 'congruity' and 'coherence' etc. Bertrand Russell, while discussing
the significance of sentences, explained a certain kind of possibility, named as 'syntactic possiblity85 which is the essential factor for a sentence; otherwise 'The
moon is made of green cheese' will be considered as a sentence.
Therefore, the more appropriate translation of 'yogyat' may be 'syntactical
possibility'. From this, it is clear that compatibility is not the semantical approach,
but completely connected with the syntax.

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In a very simple way, the words constituting a sentence should be mutually


compatible. A typical example of incompatibility is 'vahnin sicati' (sprinkles
with fire). The act of sprinkling or irrigation can be done with the help of water,
and not with fire, which has the potency to burn and not to irrigate. Thus the
function of the verb 'irrigates' becomes imperative by the word 'fire' which has
been used in the instrumental case (karaa kraka). The two words 'fire' and
'sprinkles' which are of a conflicting nature clash together or cancel each other's
meaning, This stultification of meaning makes the sentence non-sensical. The
combination of the two words is so incongruous or incompatible then it does
not carry any sense. There is an obstruction of meaning (artha-bdha) and
consequently there is no cognition (arthopalabdhi). Hence the words should be
fit enough to be combined together. This fitness of words is called yogyat ie
non- obstruction of meaning86.
Thus Annabhaa defines Yogyat as the 'non-contradiction of meaning'
or 'non-obstruction of meaning. In his opinion, a word is said to have 'yogyat'
with another, when the meanings conveyed by the two are not inconsistent with
each other. Thus, the above example 'Vahnin Sicati cannot be the correct
sentence, because the notions of fire and sprinkling are inconsistent and
incompatible with each other. Similarly these sentences also are meaningless 'jalena
dahyate', 'msa pibati', 'pagu dhvati' etc.
According to Vivantha, 'the connection of the meaning of a word with that
of another is competency87.
According to Bh pariccheda - the compatibility of the meaning of a word
with that of another is called competency88. But the author of Manikaa refuted in

182

this way - 'the non- contradiction of the mutual relationship between the two word
- meanings that are correlative in the syntax89.
Jayanta defines semantical competency as the possibility of the syntacticosemantical relation of one referent to the other. Gange refuted many theories
and defined 'yogyat' as the logical compatibility or consistency of the words in a
sentence for mutual association90.
Gaddhara modifies the definition by stating that yogyat is the word's
reference to the meanings which are semantically not contradictory ie are
compatible (abdhitrthakatvam).
In the opinion of Vivantha, the famous lakrika, yogyat is the absence
of hindrence of obstruction in respect of mutual relation of the things denoted by
the words91.
Of the Grammarians, Ngea understands yogyat as possession of such
attributes by two or more things as make their mutual relation possible92.
Among the Mmsakas, Prbhkaras understands yogyat as the suitability
of words to have syntactical relation with other words of the same sentence. The
knowledge of this yogyat occurs to the mind of the speaker and the listener in a
particular context on the strength of the previous experience of seeing the words
to be in such relations93.
Kumarila Bhaa and his followers admit yogyat as an essential factor for
having a bdabodha as they hold that there can be no bdabodha in sentence like
'Vahnin Sicati' obviously for lack of yogyat between the words 'Vahnin' and
'Sicati'94.

183

4:10:1:3 - satti or Sannidhi (Juxta position)


The third requirement of an adequate sentence is satti or proximity, satti
is also known as sannidhi or sannidhna. This is the juxta position or unintervened
occurrence of two words. satti or contiguity is the utterance of words in a sentence
form by a single person without abnormal delay ie Padn avilambena uccraam sannidhi95 or 'Anvayapratiyogyanuyogi
- padayo ravyavadhna satti'
The knowledge derived from such an utterance causes verbal cognition.
It is defined as the contiguity (temporal when uttered spatial when written)
between words96.
Sannidhi is the utterance of an expression without introducing time gap more
than necessary. 'Sannidhna tu padasysattirucyate97.
For example, when someone utters the word 'g' (cow) in the morning,
and 'naya' (bring) in the evening, the cognition of gm naya (bringing a cow),
that conditions the objectness of cow, is not produced as such an utterance lacks
contiguity; or it will not be able to convey the meaning. The meaning of the words
'g naya' or 'bringing a cow' can be understood only if the words are co-uttered
(sahoccrita). This type of co-utterance (samabhivyhra) of words is known by
the name of satti or sannidhi'98.
If there is an intervence between bring and cow' or those words uttered at
intervals of three hours, each cannot constitute an adequate sentence. Here the
intended meaning is not clear. Thus, it is the condition that words in a sentence
should be contiguous in time.

184

'sattica - avyavadhnena padajanya-padrthopasthiti.


Not only this, that the meaning of two words should be individually
incomplete and must possess the potency for satisfying their mutual wants, but
they also be presented in close proximity, just to show that these are the two
meanings that are also meant to be combined or construed together
eg:- 'girirbhuktamagnimn devadattena99'(hill, eaten, fiery, by Devadatta)
This sentence is wrong because though the words are meaningful but still
they lack contiguity.
The correct order of this sentence should be 'giri agnimn (The hill has
fire) and bhukta Devadattena (It has been taken by Devadatta) Therefore said
that - satti - anvaya pratiyogin yaugapadyena padajanyopasthiti100 which
means that contiguity is the presentation ie remembrance of the correlations of the
syntax conjointly caused by words.
4:10:1:4 - Ttparya (Intention)
In addition to these three essential conditions of bdabodha, some Logicians
like Vivantha add a fourth requisite 'tatparya' (intention) as an essential factor
in the meaning of a sentence.
Ttparya is defined as the utterance of the word with the intention to make
known a certain meaning'tadarthaprattcchay uccaritatva'
Vivantha defined ttparya as 'vakturicch tu ttparyam parikrttitam101,
Among the Logicians, Gangeopdhyya and Vivantha, hold that intention
(desire) of the speaker or vaktttparya is the fourth requisite along with kka'

185

'yogyat' and 'satti' for verbal comprehension. knowledge of it is very essential in


such cases where a word has more than one meaning.
For eg:- the sentence 'Saindhavam naya' can mean either 'Bring salt' or
Bring a horse'. Here the speaker's intention that enables one to choose the
appropriate sense under the given circumstances. Because the word 'saindhava'
refers to more than one meaning such as ' a type of horse' or salt'. Therefore verbal
cognition becomes impossible unless the listener knows exactly what the speaker
intends to convey ie whether the horse or salt.
Similarly a statement - 'ayameti putro rja puruopasryatm'. Here the
word raja (of the king) can be construed with either the word 'putra' (son) or
puruah (man), exact knowledge of the speaker's intention as to which word 'raja'
should be construed with, becomes absolutely necessary.
So we can conclude that the words should be pronounced with a view to
convey the desired sense. Because if a parrot utters the words, 'Bring a cow' it
cannot be regarded as a sentence in the proper sense of the term. This is the reason
that there is no intention to convey the meaning there.

186

Notes and References


1.

Philosophy of sentence and its parts - p.1

2.

NSM-p-115

3.

TS-p.39

4.

Vkyrthajnam bdajnam- ibid. p.54

5.

Navya Nyya; Some logical problems in Historical perspective : p.85

6.

Philosophy of sentence and its parts - p.1

7.

Padajanya padrthopastitijanya bodha bdabodha - BR. p. 190

8.

Ekapadrthe' para- padartha- Sasarga- Viayaka jnam -VV

9.

abdjjyamna bodha - NSM. p. 115

10. Mullati, L.C.OP. Cit. p.42


11. NSM. p. 115
12. Padopasthitn Mitha Sasarga vkyrtha- TK
13. Eka- padarthavat- aparapadartha- SSP- p.22
14. Theory of word, sentence and sentence - meaning- p. 31
15. bdika tu padrthnm Mitha anvayarupa uddeya - vidhaya bhava
sambandha iti hu - TP
16. vkyrtharpnvayaviita pada akti iti bhtt hu - ibid.
17. The philosophy of language - p. 119
18. The word and the world - p.49
19. Prathama gavdi padn gavdi padrtheu sambandha - VV

187

20. tata klntare g naya iti ukte gavdi padebhya gavd arthn smaratiibid
21. Padasya Padrtha smrakatvam ca eka sabandhijnam aparasabandhi
smrakam-vv
22. knkdijnnata tadanantaram (gokarmnukla ktimn tvaiti) buddhi
jyate - ibid
23. BR- pp. 191-93
24. Dhtvartha mukhya vieyatay bdabodho bhavati- KT.p. 297
25. khytrtha - mukhya- vieyaka bodha- ibid
26. Prathamntrtha - mukhya vieyaka bdabodha- ibid; pp.297-98
27. eka ti vkya - MBH
28. eka ti artha mukhya vieyakabodha janaka padasamha-NK
29. Kriyrpa vkyrtha - ibid
30. ekbhinna caitra vtti kartt nirpik grmaniha karmat nirpik ca y
kriy tadanukl bhvan
31. khytrtha- mukhya- vieyaka bodha - KT pp. 297-98
32. grmaniha sayoga janaka gamannukla vyprraya caitra
33. J. Brough - Some Indian theories of meaning; TPS, 1953, p.163
34. anvitnmeva abhidhnam - NK
35. anvitasya parasparamilitasyaiva abidhnam iti anvitbhidhna vda - ibid.
36. Bijalwan. C.D-Indian Theories of knowledge based upon Jayanta's Nyya
Majari. p.245

188

37. VMV : p.2


38. NSM - p.364
39. Bijalwan C.D op.cit. p.246
40. Subha Rao Veluri- Philosophy of sentence and its parts - p.94
41. Sphoa siddhi - p.96
42. Sakhtapake parasparnvaye padrthavaddhikyam sasarga sa
vkyrtha - PR under VP.II. 42
43. abhihitasya kathitasya parasparam anvaya iti abhihitnvayavda- NK
44. Padni hi svam svam padam padrtham abhidhaya nirvtta vyapari. atha
idanm padrtha jta santa vkyrtham gamayanti - SB
45. Vkyrthimataye te pavttau nntaryakam |
pke jvleva khn padrtha-pratipdanam iti || - SV, Krika - 343
46. kkyogyatsannidhivat vkyamasvarp padrthn
samanvaye ttparyrtha - KP.p. 9
47. (i) Iyer, K.A.S- Pratibh as the meaning of sentence' POC; 1940; p.326
(ii) Kaviraj, Gopinath- The Doctrine of pratibha in Indian philosophy
ABORI, 1924
48. Sphottmake Vkye pratibh lakae vkyrthe vkyavkyrthayo
adhysarpa sambandha- PR Under VP.II.2
49. Vkye Uktnvya viay aktiravatitate - LM.p.418 II. 4-5
50. Bhoja, ngrapraka - Madras, p.152
51. Raja, K.Kunjunni - Indian theories of meaning; p.221

189

52. Vkyrthimataye tem pravttau nntaryaka |


Pke jvleva kthn padrtha pratipdanam iti ||
- SV; Vkydhikaraa, karika-343
53. NM- p.373
54. Raja, K. kumjunni- Indian theories of meaning; p.221
55. V.N. Jha, contribution of Nyya system to Indian thought structure - p.55
56. TB.p 121
57. sattiryogyat - kk - ttparya jnam iyate-kr; krika/ - 82
58. Samartha padavidhi AS- p.2.2.1
59. pthagarthnm ekrth bhva samartha vacanam - kthyyana's vrttika-1
60. MBH on V above under p.2.1.1
61. MS 2.1.46
62. VP 2.351. p.45
63. knk sannidhnam ca yogyat ceti ca trayam - TV.p. 445
64. VM p.5
65. Vkya syd yogyatkaksattiyukta padoccaya - SDII.1.p.27
66. S.D. II 20.
67. VPB- p.80
68. Raja, K. Kunjunni- 'kk- the main basis of syntactic unity, ' A.L.B
Vol.21, 1957, p.284
69. Yatpadena vin yasya ananubhvakat bhavet kk - NSM - p.302

190

70. TS - p.52
71. avyavahitottaratvdisabandhena yat-pade-yat-pada-prakraka jna vyatirekaprayukto yda - bdabodhbhva tda bdabodhe
tatpade-tat-padatvam- kk
Nyyabodhin, comm.on TS, p.53.
72. yena padna vin yatpadasya anvay-na-nubhva-katva tena padena saha
tasya kk - NSM. p. 127
73. kk yogyat sannidhicavkyrthajna hetu - TB
74. ata eva 'gau ava puruo hastti' padni na vkya parasparkk viraht
TB, p.121
75. kk padrtha tarhi ka? jijs prati yogyata s ca padasmrita tadkiptayo avinbhve sat rotari
tadutpdyasasargvagamaprgabhva - N.kus; p.398
76. Ucyate - yatpadaniha - yatpada vyatirekaprayukta - ttparya viaybhta
ydnvaya - bodhopadhyakatvbhva tatpadasya tatpadattva
tdnvaya bodhe kk - BR.p. 195
77. abhidhna paryavasnam kk yasya yena vin na svrthnvaynubhva
- katvam tasya tadapasyya vasnam. TC.p. 208
78. PLM - p.33
S caikapadrtha jne tadarthnvayayogyarthasya yajjna
tadviayecch
79. gaurava puruo hasttykkrahite eviha/ anvaydaranttavadkk
parighyte MM. p.99

191

80. nirkkasya vkyatve' gaurava puruo hast itydnmapi vakyatvam


syt SD II
81. anvitasybhidhnrthamuktrthaghaanya v pratiyogini jijs y
skketi gyate.VM.p.7
82. Raja, K. Kunjunni - kka:-The main basis of syntactic unity; ALB,
Vol.21, 1957, pp. 282-95
83. VPB IV 4 & 7
84. LM - p. 505
85. Russell, Bertrand - An enquiry into meaning and Truth; p.170
86. Arthbadho yogyat -TS.p.52.
87. eka padrthe' para - padrtha sabandho yogyat-NSM-p.126
88. Padrthe tatra tadvatt yogyat parikrtita - Kr; Krika - 83
89. tatrnvaya - pratiyogi - padrthayo paraspara - sasargbdho yogyat iti
kecit- MK.; p.70
90. bdhaka pramviraho yogyat - TC; p.262
91. yogyat

padrthnm

parasparasabandhe

bdhbhva.

Padoccayasyaitadabhve' pi vkyatve 'vahnin sicati' itydyapi vkyam syt.


SD. p. 27
92. Yogyat ca... seknvayaprayojakadravadravyatvbhvt PLM. p. 75
93. ki punarida yogyatva nma yat sambandhrhatva sambandhrhamiti
kathamavagamyate. sambandhitvena dtatvt VM. p.9
94. MM p. 99

192

95. TS. p.52


96. Datta, D.M; The six ways of knowing p. 313
97. Kr; krika. 83
98. Ved. pari; IV-10
99. BR. p. 203
100. MK; p.70
101. Kr; krika - 84

Chapter - 5
CONCLUSION
In the preceeding chapters, I have explained some major topics connected
with abda which have attracted the attention of various scholars. The last chapter
sums up the important conclusions arrived at by making a comparative study of
the major issues connected with abda.
In Indian Philosophy, except the Vaieika and crvka, all the systems give
an independent status to abda and its validity. abda has a very important place
in the universe. It is the unfailing valid means of knowledge. It is the utterance of
infalliable and absolutely truthful persons. All other forms of knowledge are
subordinate to it. Hence the acceptance of abda as a prama has a unique place
in the linguistic speculation in India.
The purpose of all philosophical systems in India is to prepare ourselves for
the inquiry in to the goals life. Language has been one of the major tools for
philosophers. Though Indian philosophers are aware of the relation between
philosophy and language, even from the vedic period; later abda emerges as a
separate means of valid knowledge. Right from the vedic seers down to the present

194

age, Indian mind has pondered over the problems related to abda examining all
aspects of language.
Various scholars especially the great thinkers of India, deeply thought about
the akti or power of the sound uttered. Indian scholars scrutinize many details of
language, sound, word, sentence, meaning, suggestive sense, correct and incorrect
words, the purpose of sound and they establish many theories. Western scholars
also accepted and appreciate these theories. Those who live in an atmosphere
where there is no freedom of speech began to understand the value of freedom of
expression and the strength of words.
In our country, abda and abda - vypra dealt with according to different
systems demand a critical study. It provides great scope for further studies in this
field. Epistemological systems like Nyya, Mimsa and Vykaraa have analysed
abda and abdrtha in a methodical and scientific way. Newer versions of these
systems, Navyas, have contributed many significant theories comparable to many
modern scientific theories of linguistics and philosophy.
The abdakhaa of Muktvali reviews several problems related to abda.
Vivanatha - pacnana's contribution in this direction is solid and profound.
After a complete study of the abdakhaa, we arrive at clear conclusions about
the importance of abda. Many concepts and theories like sphoa and
anvitbhidhna etc. can be compared with similar ideas in western philosophy.
5:1 - Distinction between Eastern & Western concept of philosophy
Philosophy means discovering the true nature of a thing. In a broad manner
we may say 'to know a pot as pot and to call a pot, a pot', is philosophy. Indian

195

philosophy is basically a continuous tradition of mostly impersonal ideas leading


to the ideal of life while Western philosophy deals primarily with the personal
ideas of individual philosophers. According to Indian philosophical tradition,
empirical knowledge is to be acquired from sense-organs while in Western
conception, knowledge is to be obtained by pure intellect.1 Philosophy in India is
not only theory, but also practice. It is not only a view of life, but also a way of
life. Hence all philosophical systems in India are committed to the view that there
is unity of theory and practice. Also philosophy in the Indian tradition is valueoriented. Excepting the Crvka school, all other philosophical systems consider
liberation (moka) as the highest value.
Besides the above, there is also a clearly visible difference in the methods
adopted by philosophers in the East and the West. The Indian dranikas how so
ever innovative they may be, never claim that they themselves have propounded
anything; rather they will always endeavour to show their allegiance to the tradition
in the form of veda, gama, former is, cryas or sages. According to Indian
philosophical tradition, mere reasoning cannot lead one to the accomplishment of
goal, it has to be supported by faith in the faculty of others.2 But, Western
philosophers tend to claim that they are pioneers of new ideas, theories or doctrines.
From the above mentioned views of East & West, we can say that darana in
Indian tradition is a continuous flow of concepts towards the final aim where in
various strands are joined, inter related and inter twined. But the Western philosophical
tenets are like a variety of flowers, albeit in one garden, each offering its beauty and
fragrance to the other; but claiming to be separate and independent. This is the basic
distinction of tendency in mind of Eastern and Western philosophers.

196

It must also be noted that the Indian philosophical tradition has always been
directly related with life and living practices while philosophy in the Western
tradition has mainly been intellectually oriented in the sense that it is held to be
the 'love of wisdom'. Therefore even though some philosophers in the West have
been high intellectuals who propounded great theories, these could not continue
for long and came to be contradicted and forgotten in due course of time. Also
Indian philosophers have realized the truth, while the Western philosophers have
only spoken about the truth. 3 This is very clear from the book
'Pactyatattvastretihsa'. In India, though the philosophical traditions are as
old as the vedas, it appears as if these traditions are in the prime of youth with
their doctrines and arguments which are as relevant today as they were in the past.
So we can conclude that the new trends in philosophy which we notice in the
West are to be found in the philosophical traditions of this country with the result
that we can claim that the new is in the old and that the old can sit comfortably
with the new.
5:2 - Concepts of East & West - Similarities & Dissimilarities
India has been a centre of linguistic activity and hence in the East, the
evolution of linguistic analysis was not the same as in the West. Both the two,
East and West have grown and developed independently of each other. They
have different orientations of their own. They pose different questions propound
different theories. There are many concepts in Indian philosophy of language
which are unknown to Western analysts like the concepts of sphoa, apoha,
anvitbhidhna, avacchedakata etc. These concepts do not fall within the field
of modern analysis and have no exact synonyms in English. These concepts

197

cannot be made easily accessible to the English readers because they have lack
of knowledge in this field.
We can see that together with the development of the science of Linguistics,
Logic and Epistemology not only the Eastern philosophers but also Western
Philosophers like Urban, Ayer, Russell, Cassirer and Wittgenstein; Linguists like
De Saussure, Ogden and Ullmann; Rhetoricians like Richards and Empson; other
Psychologists and Anthropologists came to have face various problems in
connection with sentence and its meaning. Among these the following are the
main problems - ie the function of words in conveying the meanings, the meaning
of meaning, the syntactico - semantical relation between the individual word
meanings, the nature of the total sentence meaning and its constituent parts etc.
5:2:1 - Concept of Language
In the East, the 'language' as a concept is as old as Indian culture itself; but in
Western thought, the concept of language and meaning was not discussed at all
prior to the twentieth century 'linguistic turn'.
Through his theory of 'Ideas', Plato made significant contribution to the
analysis of 'meaning'. J.F. Staal, while writing on 'Sanskrit philosophy of Language'
very aptly observes that ''at times almost excessive preoccupation with language
on the one hand and with philosophy on the other, may indeed be regarded as a
characteristic of Indian civilization''4
In the view of the Philosophers in the East and West, 'language' is an important
concept for philosophical speculation. Bharthari, the author of Vkyapadya would
have liked to define man as a 'languageing' animal.5

198

Similarly Aristotle defined man as a 'Social' animal. Because man cannot


live without a society; and hence society is no society without the bond of linguistic
communication. Therefore language is the anchor - sheet of man's individual and
social existence.
5:2:2 - Important aspects of language (abda or word)
Many examples 6 represent extreme importance of language given
by Indian Grammarians and Philosophers. Over and above it, the scholars
from West are of a piece with the orientalists, regarding the divinity of
language (word).
Coward quotes the opening verse from St. John's Gospel Biblical saying 'In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was
God7. K.K. Raja pointed out that to explain the manifold aspects of language
behaviour, Sanskrit Grammarians and the Rhetoricians devoted much thought
to the problem of linguistic philosophy and general linguistics and evolved
different theories.
But the writers in the West, while recognizing the importance of Paini's
method in the formal analysis of Sanskrit language into a system of roots, stems
and suffixes and acknowledging their indebtedness to Paini in the matter of formal
analysis have not yet paid enough attention to the Indian theories about the various
aspects of meaning.
5:2:3 - Relation between word and meaning
All the Indian Grammarians, Philosophers and Naiyyikas accept the direct
relationship between word and its meaning.

199

The same idea is accepted by Western Linguists that there is a direct


relationship between significant and signifie.
Regarding the representation of this relationship Ogden and Richards have
shown it through a semiotic triangle8 which is as follows.

Symbol

er
oth n
to atio
ers rel
ref usal
ca

S
a c ymbo
aus l i z
e
al
rel s
ati
on

Thought or reference

Stands for an
imputed relation

Referent

Ullmann, in about 1950, made an inventory of this evolution in an excellent


synthesis and centered on the triangle of name concept thing.9
Sense

Name

Thing

According to the Ullmann's view, the problem of meaning will be as follows :Suppose a person 'x' wants to know the meaning of 'gau' (cow) then the
process will be :-

200

mb

st

Sy

fer

oli

Re

zes

CONCEPT
(Mental Object)
(Sense - or the picture of an animal
having Sn etc.)

.
NAME
'gau'
(Acoustic Image)

Conventional
Relation

OBJECT OR THING
'Sasndimnpadrtha'
(Reality)

(In all the three triangles, dotted line shows the conventional relation)
The indication of hands show that there is nothing before or after or in other
words there is no specific order. Word, Sense and Object are interlinked by a very
close relationship.
According to the Indian grammarians, the former is the 'prkta - dhvani'
and the latter is the 'Vaikta - dhvani'. The Mmsakas call the former a pattern
of the permanent 'Varas' and the latter is called 'dhvani'.
The Naiyyikas consider the former as a 'class (jati') of which the latter is an
'instance'. Thus, the speech situation can be represented as a rectangle rather than
the usual triangle.
The physical permanent A
word or the word - class
sphota revealed by
prkta-dhvani

B Meaning, thought

Word - Sound, physical, C


phonic word,
Vaikta-dhvani

mental content
object - class

Thing meant referent


external object

201

In this diagram, Direct relation is only between A and B. Relations between


C and D, C and B, A and D - these are all indirect and imputed.
Here we can see that '-' line shows the direct relation and '...' line shows the
indirect relation.
In the above diagram, the upper portion give De Sausure's analysis, and the
portion ABD refers to the Ogden - Richards triangle.
Thus in the opinion of Ogden and Richards, as soon as the word (symbol) is
uttered, the mental form of the thing meant, which they call thought or reference,
is perceived and not the thing meant (referent) itself.
Therefore, the direct relation is between the word and the mental form
(thought or reference) and not between the word and the referent.
With the help of the above mentioned rectangle, Dr. K. Kunjunni Rja
has made clear that De Saussure and the ancient Indian Scholars also held the
same view.
5:2:4 - Power of words
Indian Aestheticians hold that words have three meanings : - namely,
Abhidh (the primary meaning)
Lakan (the secondary meaning)
Vyajan (the tertiary meaning)
Abhinavagupta and Mammaa are of the opinion that the greatness of poetry
varies directly in proportion to the quantum of suggestiveness found in it.

202

In the West, the chief distinction established is between the denotative and
the connotative powers of words.
In their opinion, the dictionary meaning is not enough to interpret great works
of literature or to write really well. The poet has to make up for deficiencies of
language by violating the lexical meaning of words, by exploiting their connotative
powers in addition to their denotative ones.
Empson calls it 'ambiguity', Cleanth Brooks 'Paradox' and Abercrombie
'Value'.10
The Indian Aestheticians have made a deeper, subtler and more thorough
analysis of the relationship between words and their meanings, than the Western
Aestheticians.
The latter are aware of the problem and have used practically all kinds of
Lakana; but their discussion is not exhaustive.
Similarly concept of Vyajan as adumbrated by nandavardhana has been
richly explored by theoreticians and practising poets in the West; where as the
concepts of Abhidh and Lakan have been more fully explored in India not only
by Aestheticians but by Logicians as well.
I.A. Richards in his 'practical criticism' says that there are four kinds of
meaning and each of them contribute to the 'Total meaning'.
One of them is 'sense - which is equivalent to Abhidh (the primary meaning).
The categories of meaning enunciated by I.A. Richards namely - sense,
feeling, tone and intention may not be equivalent to the categories evolved by
Indian aestheticians; but the move seems to be in the right direction.

203

Intention, as a category set up by Richards, has relevance in the context of


Lakan as defined by Indian Aestheticians. But Richard's concept of intention is
wide enough to cover even suggestiveness.
According to Indian aestheticians, a metaphor corresponds to the concept of
gaui lakan.
Aristotle uses the term in a wider sense so as to include all kinds of Lakana,
not merely those which are based on identity.
Aristotle, like Indian aestheticians, thinks of the extension of meaning as the
first condition under which Lakan operates. According to him, the second meaning
must draw its sustenance from the primary meaning. If they are not connected, they
will cease to be effective and almost certainly appear meaning less.
5:2:5 - Understanding the meaning
Many European and American scholars like Bloomfield, Malinowsky, Sinclair
etc. recognise the importance of context in understanding the meaning of a word.
E.D. Seliniourt confirms this view in his Oxford Lectures on Poetry, says
"words are intellectual symbols, and they are indeed nothing else, so long as they
are imprisoned in the dictionary, but as soon as they escape into a living sentence
they gain individuality from the speaker's voice and the expression upon his face,
and catch subtle shades of meaning; which no dictionary can define, a meaning
not purely intellectual, and capable of infinite variation according to the genius of
him that uses them. We say that such language suggests more than it expresses".11
From all of these we can see that there are certain similarities and
dissimilarities among the concepts of East and West.

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5:3 - Major issues connected with abda - An analytical survey


There are certain issues connected with abda which have absorbed the interest
of Indian thinkers since as early as the vedic times.
To analyse and to compare their theories, here provide a comprehensive
account of abda, artha, abda vypra and bda bodha according to the three
different systems viz- grammar, logic and ritualism.
5:3:1 - abda (word)
In sanskrit language, there are two terms namely 'abda' and 'pada' which
represent words in two distinct stages of linguistic development. Indian
epistemologists have presented a rich and sophisticated analysis of abda and pada.
5:3:1:1 - Among the Vaiykaraas Pini defines pada as that which ends
in either declensional or conjugational affix ie 'suptiantam padam'.
According to Vtsyyana, a non-inflected word (apada) should never be used
in language 'apadam na prayucta.' That is to say that only an inflected word (pada)
and never simply a nominal base-word (abda) should be used in language. Therefore
a mere base- word, unless accompanied by inflections, has no standing at the
syntactical level and therefore cannot be used in the language as a syntactical unit.
We can see that Pini and Vtsyyana have clearly distinguished 'pada' in
the sense of only an inflected word that is competent to be used in language as a
syntactical unit expressing such syntactical relations as subject, object etc. Thus
in their opinion the use of the term 'abda' for expressing the base which may
either be conjugational or declensional. But the use of the term "pada' for expressing
the inflected word.

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5:3:1:2 - Among the Logicians, Gautama defines pada as the sequence of


phonemes, that ends in an inflectional suffix ie 'vibhaktyant padam'.
According to Vtsyyana, a finished form ends either in a case affix or in a
personal ending is word. 'Yath darn vikt vara vibhaktyant padasamj
bhavanti'.
Annambhaa holds that 'pada' is that which is endowed with the power of
functional relation such as denotation etc., or which means possessed of akti is
word.
ie aktam padam'.
Viwantha also puts forth the same idea of the word
5:3:1:3 - In the opinion of Mmsakas, words are the collection of letters
that are capable of producing the word meanings as syntactico - semantically
related to action.
(ie varn pada prayogrha anvitaikrthabodhak)
Conclusion
Some ancient classical Sanskrit grammarians, Paini etc. have adopted a
linguistic or grammatical criterion to analyse word (abda) as a linguistic form
which ends in inflectional (declensional or conjugational) affixes.
Thus for the ancient grammarians, word is a correct linguistic form which is
possible to be used in language to convey some idea.
Later grammarians, Bharthari etc. analyses word adopting metalinguistic
or metaphysical criterion. They defined the word from the view point of production

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of meaning ie that word is an eternal entity that can burst forth the meaning to its
listener since nothing but an eternal entity that is distinct from the instantly perishing
syllables, can produce the meaning.
Logicians have adopted both epistemological and semantical criteria to
analyse word. They have recognized word as a means of valid knowledge of
word - meaning and therefore analyse the same as the means of sentence-meaning
or bdabodha.
Among the logicians, only the scholars belonging to the early school of
thought or prcyas regard the words of trust worthy people when understood
correctly, become directly responsible for the generation of verbal cognition; and
thus assume the status of a peculiar or unique cause (asdhraa kraa); where
as the scholars belonging to the new school of thought or Navyas, regard the
knowledge of words and not words themselves as such which is the means of
producing verbal cognition.
From the definition of pada, we can see that in ancient period, it was based
on the form, where as in the modern period, it was based on the meaning.
Mmsakas especially Prbhkaras, have defined the word from the view
point of impersonal and eternal syllables which assume the form of the word
through the efforts of the speaker with the help of the manifesting wind since only
the impersonal Vedas can be authoritative in impelling the people to undertake
various rituals etc.
They have defined word syntactio - semantically. They were greatly
influenced by their anvitbhidhna theory, and therefore, have held that words are

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the collection of letters that are capable of producing the word- meanings as
syntactico - semantically related to action.
5:3:2 - Nature of abda (word)
We all knew that speech (vk) or abda (word) which is accepted as a means
of communication. This abda is one of the four valid means of knowledge
(prama) and it has been recognized to be the means of bdabodha.
In India, Major epistemological systems like logic (Nyya), ritualism
(Mms) and grammar (Vykaraa) have hold contrasting views regarding the
nature of speech (abda). whether it is eternal (nitya) or non- eternal (anitya)?
This is one of the fundamental problems of the linguistic science - that has been
taken up by all the systems of Indian philosophy.
5:3:2:1 - In the opinion of Naiyyikas, abda is non - eternal. Gautama,
the author of Nyyastra has given a number of arguments to establish the noneternity of abda.
Naiyyikas are known as abdnityavdins and they say that when we
pronounce any letter, it is due to the contact of air with the vocal organ. Thus all
words are produced by some kind of contact and hence have a beginning and there
fore they are not eternal or nitya; but transcient or anitya.
5:3:2:2 - The Mmsakas are known as abdanityatvavdins. According
to them, the Vedas are eternal and impersonal ie without any author. They were
very much careful in asserting the eternity (nityatva) of abda.
5:3:2:3 - According to the Vaiykaraas, a word is a series of successive
sounds called letters. A series of such letter- sound manifests one inarticulate

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sound essence called sphoa. This sphoa is an eternal essence that exists
corresponding to every word.
Conclusion
Naiyyikas oppose the view that the words are eternal. In their opinion,
abda is a quality of ka and is non eternal. It is liable to production and
destruction. If abda was eternal, it could not account for the facts of our auditory
experience; and in that case no statisfactory explanation could be given on the so
called manifestation. If abda is beginning less (andi) or endless (ananta), they
would have been always audible inherent in the ear. In this way Naiyyikas reject
the theory of eternity of abda and the concept of an eternal sphoa of Vaiykaraas.
The word- essence (abda - tattva) has been described by Bharthari as abda
- Brahman which is beginning less and endless. Vaiykaraas call this eternal (nitya),
indivisible (iravayava) abda - Brahman, which is the ultimate cause of the world
by the name of sphoa. There fore Grammarians hold speech to be eternal.
Ritualists, proposed the theory that words are eternal. According to them, no
place or time can be found where in the words are totally absent. Speech is
established as eternal by inference as well as pratyabhija (recognition).
In their opinion, Vedas are not produced by any human agency (apaurueya)
and there fore words cannot held to be anything; but eternal.
5:3:3 - Unit of Language (Speech)
Among the different systems of thought, unit of language is an important
issue. 'What is the unit of language? Is it a vara, or a pada, or a vakya? connected
with this question, there are three views propounded by the epistemologists.

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5:3:3:1 - Of these, the first view is held by the Mmsakas. In their


opinion, a sentence has no separate entity of its own apart from words and words
have no separate entity of their own apart from letters. While sentences and
words consists of parts, the individual letters are 'niravayava' or partless and
'akhaa' or indivisible. Hence in their view the ultimate units are letters and
not words or sentences.
5:3:3:2 - The second view is held by the Naiyyikas. They refute the
Varavda of Mmsakas and Vkyavda of Vaiykaraas. They opinion that
isolate letters cannot be regarded meaningful; and thus meaningful word is the
unit of language. In their view, the concept of an indivisible sentence or akhaa
vkya is a mere fiction.
5:3:3:3 - The third view is propounded by the Vaiykaraas. According to
them, the real unit of language is a sentence (vkya) and not words or letters. In
their opinion, there is no separate existence of letters or words, but sentence which
alone is the real unit. Vaiykaraas believe in the indivisibility of the proposition
while the others admit its divisibility.
Conclusion
In the opinion of Mmsakas, Varas or the letters constitute the unit of
language and hence they are known as Varavdins. The Naiyyikas are known
as padavdins because in their opinion, pada (word) consitutes the unit of language.
Similarly in the opinion of Vaiykaraas, Vkya or sentence constitute the unit of
language and hence they are known as Vkyavdins.

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5:3:4 - Padrtha (Word - Meaning)


The problem of meaning has attracted the attention of the philosophers
throughout the ages. We can say that a sentence is like a body, in which words are
different parts of body and its meaning is the soul. From this we know the
importance of meaning.
Words are accepted as means of communication. In this process, words impart
or transmit the knowledge or idea of certain objects to our mind. When these
objects conveyed an idea to our mind, then they are called meanings. These wordmeanings can be stated in general to be what are conveyed by words or padbhideya.
Different epistemologists differed amongst themselves as to what the words
exactly convey. The problem is whether a word through akti signifies a certain
generic meaning (jti) or the idea of a particular object (vyakti) or a form (kti)
or more than one of these entities.
In other words, the issue is what does a word like 'cow' (go) in 'bring the
cow'. (gm naya) Here the word 'cow', when uttered, can convey (i)

the generic notion of a cow (gotv) ie jti

(ii) the form characterized by the dewlap etc. (sandimatva) ie kti


and
(iii) the individual consisting of four legs etc ie Vyakti
That is to say that the word 'cow' conveys an object which possesses the
generic property of cowness and which has a form characterized by dewlap etc.
and also which is an individual consisting of four legs etc.

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Do we understand the akti with regard to the form 'cow' constituted by


dewlap, tail, horn etc. or to the object 'cow' or the common property 'cowness' or
all the two or three of these meanings together? The issue has given rise to a great
controversy amongst the scholars who can be broadly divided into seven groups :(1) kti vdina
(2) Jti vdina
(3) Vyakti vdina
(4) Jtykti vyakti vdina
(5) Jtiviita vyakti vdina
(6) Jtyktiviita vyakti vdina
(7) Apohavdina and
(8) Jtydi vdina
5:3:4:1 - Among the Naiyyikas, old Naiyyikas opinion that the particular,
the form and the universal, all the three are the primary meaning of a word. In
their opinion, the word 'go' have been pronounced, any person who comes to
know the animal denoted by the word 'go', will comprehend the particular, the
universal and the form simultaneously.
Navya Naiyyikas hold that primary sense of word is the particular as
characterised by both the universal and the form.
5:3:4:2 - In the opinion of Vaiykaraas, general property, form and
individual are the word meanings. However, they use, only two terms namely
'kti' and 'dravya' to cover the generic property, form and individual. Here, the

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term 'kti' can be taken to cover both the generic property and form where as the
term 'dravya' stands for individual.
According to them, the term 'kti' actually means the aggregate of parts
(avayavasamsthna) which consists of form, action etc. And such an aggregate of
parts, is further viewed as the inferential cause of generic property (jtilinga) since
generic property occurs invariably in an individual with the aggregate of parts etc.
Thus, the term kti in grammar can be taken to cover both the generic property
and form. Because the generic property is found in individuals and the individuals
are invariably an aggregate of parts consisting of form, action etc.
5:3:4:3 - Ritualists (Mmsakas) hold quite a different view. According
to them, words should express only those entities that are permanent and economical
compared to the many individuals.
For example, the word 'cow' (go) should express only the entity which is
permanently present in all the cows and economical compared to many individual
cows. Such an entity is only the generic property of the cowness. Thus, the ritualists
hold that words refer to the generic property which ever present in the objects
such as cow. This view is based on the conviction that generic property is one ie
common to all the instances of individuals. Therefore, according to ritualists,
individuals, which are, identical with form, are obtained through presumption
(arthpatti) or indication (lakan).
Conclusion
According to the old Naiyyikas, the particular, the form and the universal,
all the three are the primary meaning of a word. ie 'vyaktyktijtayastu padrth'.

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Navya Naiyyikas claim that while the generic property and the individual
constitute one word meaning, the form constitutes the other word meaning which
represents the aggregate of parts or whole. ie. 'jtyktiviitavyaktaya padrth'.
The Grammarians stated that the words can convey only the form and
individuals and the generic property can be merely inferred through the aggregate
of parts.
Ritualists confirm to the view that only abstract notion ie the generic property
of cowness etc. should be accepted as the word-meaning since the same alone is
eternal and common to all similar individual instances.
5:3:5 - Relation between word and meaning
The problem of the relation between word and its meaning has also been
quite controversial. It has been mainly debated by the Naiyyikas and Mmsakas.
5:3:5:1 - Mmsakas believe in the pravhanityat (perennial continuity) of
the word and meaning. They uphold the supremacy of the vedas on the ground of the
vedic knowledge being infallible. If the infallibility of vedic knowledge is to be
maintained, the language in which that knowledge is to be embodied, should also be
regarded as impersonal, because all personal creations are liable to be fallible. Because
of this consideration, the Mmsakas insist on the eternality of language and they
regard the relation between word and its meaning to be natural and eternal.
In their opinion, we learn language from our elders, who in their turn learn it
from their elders and so on. But it is impossible to trace the first elder. So they
conceive that language and, for that reason, the relation between the word and its
meaning, is andi or eternal.

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5:3:
5:3:55 :2 - The Naiyyikas accept the role of the elders in language like the
Mmsakas but they reject the theory of natural realtionship and advocate that
the relation has a conventional origin. They maintain that the relation between the
word and its meaning is created by God and thus contrary to the Mmsakas
stand point.
5:3:5:3 - According to the Grammarians, not only the relation between word
and meaning is eternal, but the word and its meaning are inseparable also. As soon
as a word is pronounced, the referent, it stands for, is denoted, and as soon as we
think of a referent, it makes us pronounce the word.
Conclusion
The older Naiyyikas hold that the relation between word and meaning is
dependent on the will of God13 (Ivarecch) and it is permanent and is called
abhidh or akti.
The Neo-Naiyyikas are of the view that this relation depends on mere will
[whether divine or human (icchmtra)]14 and it is not permanent and is called
paribha.
According to the Mmsakas, the relation of word with meaning is inherent
or eternal.
According to the Grammarians, not only the relation between word and
meaning is eternal, but they are inseparable also. They regard the relation between
word and meaning as one of revealer (vcaka) and revealed (vcya) as determined
by the potency (akti) of the word.

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5:3:6 - Vkya (sentence)


The study of Vkya (sentence) became the most important concept for
linguists, grammarians, philosophers and logicians. Because any communication
takes place only through the sentences and not through individual word.
This is the general view about a sentence that 'a group of words which make
a complete sense as the expression of thought is called a sentence.'12 But this
definition of sentence can neither satisfies the curiosity of scholars. We can see
that a sentence was defined by many scholars in manifold ways, in different
branches of knowledge from diverse points of views. All of them agree on one
point that sentence (Vkya) is a cluster of meaningful words (padasamha). But
the great controversy is that what kind of cluster constitutes a sentence (Vkya)?
However, different epistemologists define sentence variously by highlighting
different aspects of a given sentence.
Conclusion
Grammarians insist that a sentence must contain only ekati (a single
predicate) otherwise vkyabheda (split of sentence) would become a necessity.
Therefore they attach greater importance to the action expressed by a predicate,
and define sentence as a syntactical unit consisting of a single predicate.
Mmsakas consider the sentence to be connected utterance of words or
samabhivyhra which is nothing but enunciation together of two things which
are principal and subsidiary to each other (eaeino sahoccraam). In their
opinion, enunciation of two things together itself conveys the principal and
subsidiary nature of things without even accusative and other case endings. Hence

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sentence must be admitted to have an inherent capacity to convey such nature of


things ie syntactico - semantical relations.
In the opinion of logicians, sentence is only a statement consisting of words
which produce verbal cognition ie comprehension of syntactico - semantical
relations between word - meanings. They hold so because they have approached
the sentence from the view point of only a means to verbal cognition.
5:3:7 - abda - Vypra (abdavtti)
abda vypra or word relation is held to be relation of words. Every word
has a particular capacity or power of expression which means that the word is
related to its meaning and it conveys only through the relation of expression. This
power of expression serves as the link between the word and meaning.
In India, Naiyyikas, Mmsakas, Vaiykaraas and lakrikas have
analysed functions of words in conveying their meanings. In their opinion, words,
to convey their objects must function or reach out to their objects, and hence they
must possess concrete relationships with their objects. In this way, the words,
which possess such relationships with their objects become the means capable of
conveying their objects to the competent listener.
The terms used in Sanskrit to denote such a word - function or word - relation
are - vtti, samaya (convention), akti (ability) Sagati (connection), Saketa
(signification), icch (wish).
Conclusion
According to the Vaiykaraas, word - relation is a property of words
conditioned by particular word - meaning (tattadartha nirpita abda dharm)

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and such a word relation produces a mental impression about words which is
conducive to verbal cognition.
According to the Naiyyikas, word - relation is the relation of words to their
meanings conducive to the reference to the word - meanings which in turn are the
causes of verbal cognition.
[bdabodha hetu padrthopasthityanukla
padapadrthayo sambandha]
Among the Logicians, Prcyas have maintained conventional origin of the
word - relations on the ground that the desire (will) of God (Ivarecch) establishes
word - relations with objects signified. But Navyas have maintained conventional
origin of the word - relations on the ground that both desire (will) of God and that
of trust worthy persons.
According to the Mmsakas, word - relation or power of words is the
object of the knowledge of signification which is the associate cause conducive to
the verbal cognition by facilitating the word reference.
The Naiyyikas call the abda vypra as significative power (vtti).
The lakrikas use the terms akti, vtti and vypra to mean any one of
the three powers of a word.
The Vaiykaraas also use the term vtti only to mean all the three kinds of
powers admitted by them.
Some of the Naiyyikas using the term saketa along with akti.

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5:3:7:1 - Different abda - Vypras


abda vypra is the function of a word to convey the sense. The different
systems have admitted different functions of a word to convey a meaning.
Among the different abda - vypras, Abhidh (akti) is the primary
meaning. This meaning is directly related to the word and its bearer. The secondary
meaning (Lakana) is the implied relation with that word. This meaning does not
denote an object directly, but we can get the meaning of the word by applying any
implied sense, either by analogy or through usages etc. or when the primary meaning
of a word is not compatible to the context, then there requires a secondary function
and that is Lakan. Here the relation between the word and the meaning is indirect.
Vyajan (the tertiary meaning) or suggestion is the third type of word relation. This function facilitates the reference to a distinct sense when the other
word relations namely, denotation and indication, fail to do so.
Ttparya is another function which have come to recognise by some
lakriks.
Conclusion
The Naiyyikas have admitted two functions of a word to convey a meaning (1)

akti, the power of primary signification

(2)

Lakan

The Mmsakas have admitted two functions of a word :(1)

Abhidh which is the name for the primary function

(2)

Lakan is that for the secondary one.

The Vaiykaraas have admitted three functions, namely,

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(1)

Abhidh or akti

(2)

Lakan

(3)

Vyajan

The lakrikas have generally recognised three functions


(i)

Abhidh (Primary meaning)

(ii)

Lakan (Secondary meaning)

(iii)

Vyajan (Tertiary meaning)

Some lakrikas have come to recognise Ttparya as another function. If


this ttparya vtti is admitted as a function pertaining to a word, the number of
functions of a word for conveying meanings to be four in the scheme of certain
lakrikas.
The approach of lakrikas to these four word - functions was an aesthetic
one; while the approach of philosophical systems like Grammar, Nyya etc. was
practical, utilitarian and non-aesthetic. The lakrikas contributed these four
word-functions to the enhancement of the poetic beauty.
5:3:8 - Analysis of Sentence meaning
We know that bda bodha (verbal cognition) can be explained as the
cognition resulting from the words that are being heared.
ie 'abdc chrutj jyamno bodha'
In India, the epistemology, logic and grammar- all these have contributed to
the development of the analysis of sentence meaning or abdabodha. They form
the integral part of the analysis of sentence meaning, since the epistemological

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theories, the logical analysis of syntactico- semantical relations and grammatical


categories constitute the very basis of sentence meaning. But they differ from one
another in respect of their idea regarding what generates or gives rise to a vkyrtha.
Indian analysis of sentence is based on the notion of what is already
accomplished (siddha) or static and what is yet to be accomplished (sdhya) or
non - Static (continuous)
There are two divisions of sentence analysis- The first one is the things
(factors) which are already accomplished and function as instruments towards the
accomplishment of action. The second is the action which is to be accomplished
through the instrumentality of others.
The factors that contribute towards the accomplishment of the action are
called 'Krakas' and the action which is to be accomplished is called 'kriy'.
5:3:8:1 - According to the Vaiykaraas, the substances (dravya) are static
or accomplished while the action (kriy) are non-static or to be accomplished.
For eg: 'Sa ghaam nayati' (He brings the pot)
Here the words, 'sa' and 'ghaam' are nouns and they convey the static
substances namely an individual like Caitra and the pot; where as the word 'nayati'
is a verb and therefore conveys the non -static thing namely the action of bringing.
The substance such as pot does not change and therefore is static where as the
action such as bringing is continuously changing and therefore is non- static.
Thus, krakas and kriyas which are comparable to noun and verbs constitute
the most basic part of speech in the Indian analysis of meaning.

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5:3:8:2 - In the opinion of Mmsakas, in a statement 'ghata naya' (bring


the pot) the cognition produced is that the activity is conducive to the action of bringing
which in turn is conditioning the objecthood of the pot. According to them, the word
such as 'ghaa' refers to the pot as the abode of the objecthood through the knowledge of
the denotation such as the pot, as related with the object hood referred to by the accusative
case ending (am), is the meaning of the word 'pot' (ghaa) Similarly, the verbal stem
'ni' too refers to the action of bringing as related with the activity through the knowledge
of the denotation that the action of bringing, as related with the activity referred to by
the verbal ending 'a'; is the meaning of the verbal stem 'ni' .
Hence they opine that besides the word meanings even by the syntacticosemantical relations, which relate various word meanings together and therefore
present the sentence- meaning conveyed by words.
They have proposed that agents (object) etc.could be analysed as the
possessors of the actions etc.
5:3:8:3 - In the opinion of Logicians, in a statement 'grmam gacchati' (He
goes to the village), the cognition produced is that the person is the abode of the
effort conducive to the action of going which produces the contact in the village.
Here, the accusative, enjoined in the sense of the object hood, refers to the
super statumness (dheyat) since the other constituents of the object hood of the
village. ie the 'village' and the effect 'contact' are referred to by the accusative base
grma (village) and the verbal base 'gam' (to go) respectively.
They have proposed that all word meanings are to be decided on the basis of
whether or not the same are referred to by any other word.

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Conclusion
Grammarians analyse sentence meaning as the cognition of the mutual relation
of individual word - meanings such as the form of the relation of qualifier (modifier)
and also the qualificand (modificand)
ie 'padrthn mithonvayarp Uddeya vidheya bhva sambandha'
According to the Mmsakas, only those entities which are referred to by
words could be the constituents of verbal cognition; and therefore, nothing which
is not referred to by words could be considered as part of verbal cognition.
In the opinion of Naiyyikas, syntactico- semantical relations (Samsargas) are
mere relations ie they are not referent qualifiers (prakras). They have proposed that
while individual words convey the individual word meanings with the help of kk
etc. through word relations,the relations that relate them together need something
else to obtain them since no word relation is ever established in any of the relations.
According to them, the syntactico - semantical relations such as
superstratumness (adheyat) are understood between the two word meanings
through the principle or force of relations (samsarga maryd). And once the
syntactico- semantical relations are understood, the independent words such as
'ghata' (pot) which are perceived to have word relations in the 'pot' etc, will lead
to the cognition of total sentence meaning with the help of 'kka' etc. Besides
word relation, no need to accept a sentence relation to cognize sentence meaning.
5:3:9 - Principal or Chief qualiicand in bdabodha
Indian epistemological systems together agree on one point that every body
using language for communication, experiences the process of bdabodha, when

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he hears or reads a sentence. But on the basis of the difference in the basic
assumptions of these schools, there is difference in the same Sanskrit sentence or
expression has different bdbodha according to different schools- Nyya,
Mmsa and Vykaraa.
These schools differ very much on the question as to which element in a
sentence should be regarded as predominant. On the basis of this view ,
Grammarians, Ritualists and Logicians have proposed three main linguistic theories
regarding the principal or chief qualificand ie nucleus (mukhya vieya) in
bdabodha.
Consider a sentence 'Caitro grmam gacchati' (Caitra goes to the village).
Based on this example5:3:9:1 - Logicians opinion that the cognition from the above sentence is
that Caitra, the agent is the substratum of the activity conducive to the action of
'going' which in turn, is conditioning the objectness occuring in the object 'village'.
ie grmania karmat nirpaka gamannukla vyprraya Caitra
5:3:9:2 - In the opinion of Vaiykaraas, the cognition from the sentence
"Caitro grmam gacchati' is that the action 'going', which produces the contact,
occurring in the object 'village' has Caitra, the agent, as its abodeie grmbhinnaraya vttisamyoga janaka vypra eka Caitrbhinna
kartvrtti
5:3:9:3 - According to the Ritualists, the cognition from the statement 'Caitro
grmam gacchati' is that the nominal base (grma) refers to the village; however,
the accusative case - ending (am) refers to the power called objectness (karmatva

224

akti) which is an undivisible property. And the other nominal base, namely 'Caitra'
refers to the agent Caitra and the nominative case- ending refers to the number
(singularity etc.) The syntactico - semantical relations involved in the referents
can be described as follows:The meaning of the accusative base, the village, is related directly to the
objectness through the relation of occurrence and indirectly through the objectness
to the activity.
Here the meaning of the nominative base, ie Caitra, is directly related to the
activity through the conditioning of agentness occurring in him.
Thus, the cognition produced from the statement is that the impellent force
or productive activity is conductive to the action 'going'; which is conditioning
both the objectness occurring in the single Caitra.
ie 'ekbhinna Caitravtti kartt nirpikgrmania karmat nirpik cay
kriy tadanakl bhvan'
Conclusion
According to Grammarians, chief qualificand (mukhya viya) in bdabodha
is always the meaning referred to by the verbal root. This theory is based on the fact
that verbs are held to refer to root meanings as the principal element ie 'bhva
pradhnam khytam.' Hence they accepted verb as the main substantive.
ie Dhtvarthamukhya vieyatay bdabodho bhavati.
According to Logicians, agent (kart) is the most important element in the
analysis of sentence- meaning as the same is the only independent (svatantra)
Kraka with respect to action and others.

225

ie prathamntntrtha- mukhya- vieyaka bdabodha


In the opinion of Mmsakas, productive activity is the central point or
chief qualificand in bdabodha produced from sentences as well. And all other
meanings referred to by the words in a sentence are directly or indirectly related to
the productive activity.
Therefore in the view of Mmsakas, meaning of the finite verb
(khytartha) is the most important word.
ie 'khytartha- mukhya vieyaka bdabodha
5:3:10 - Cause of bdabodha
Thinkers of different systems of thought differ from their views regarding
the admission of cause of verbal comprehension (bdabodha kraa)
Conclusion
In the opinion of Vaiykaraas, sentence or vkya is the cause of verbal
comprehension Because they are vkya vdins and they accept the sentence as an
indivisible unit.
According to Naiyyikas, the last letter (carama vaa) along with the
impressions of each of the preceeding varas is the cause of verbal comprehension.
Prbhkara Mmsakas also agree with this view. According to Bha
Mmsakas, the meaning of the words or padrthas are the cause of verbal
comprehension.
5:3:11 - The Process of Comprehending the meaning
The process of comprehending the meaning of a sentence has been understood
differently by different schools.

226

When ever any communication through sentence is apprehended, the different


parts of a sentence are apprehended one by one. But the meaning of the sentence
depends upon its totality.
The sentence is an ordered succession of words and the process of its
apprehension is, therefore, that of succession but the meaning of a sentence
depends upon the total sentence and not upon any individual words which
constitute a sentence. Here it is the problem that of reconciliation between
the process of understanding, the meaning which demands the simultaneity
of the total sentence. The answer to this problem has been given differently
by different schools.
All the schools agree that different parts of a sentence are not received together
and they are only given in a succession one by one.
Consider a sentence namely 'this is a book'. When we hear or to read this
sentence, there is a necessary succession involved. Firstly we hear or read 'this'
then 'is', then 'a' and lastly 'book'. But the meaning of this sentence depends on the
simultaneity only. For reaching to simultaneity the different systems put forward
different opinions.
5:3:11:1 - According to Naiyyikas, when ever different parts of a sentence
are received in a succession, they are retained in memory till the apprehension of
the last part of a sentence and when the last part of the sentence is apprehended,
the memory of the distinct parts which were apprehended earlier is revived and
added on to that apprehension of the last part of the sentence. But when we come
to the last word of a sentence, we remember the meanings of all the preceeding

227

words. So we can say that the meaning of the last word being combined with those
of the preceeding words by means of memory, we have an understanding of the
meaning of the sentence as a whole.
5:3:11:2 - The Grammarians differ from the Naiyyikas and put forth the
theory of sphoa. According to them every successive apprehension of the different
parts of a sentence or a word becomes instrumental in the revelation of a
corresponding sphoa which is present in the mind of the receiver of communication.
Thus, the process of apprehension lies in succession but with the complete
revelation of a sphoa, there is the availability of simultaneity in the form of that
sphoa. Thus though the intermediation of sphoa, a word or a sentence is related
to its meaning; the Grammarian theory of sphoa seems to be quite convincing as
it is supported by our own experience in the form of phenomeno logical reflection
upon language and also by the psychological investigations.
5:3:11:3 - According to the Mmsakas, the words convey both their
separate meanings and the constructed meaning of the sentence. Just as in a machine
the parts perform their respective functions and at the whole, Similarly the word
in a sentence presents their individual meanings till these are construed into the
unitary meaning of the sentence. Hence according to them, the meaning of a
sentence is neither the aggregate meaning of the words not is it quite independent
of their separate meanings. Rather, the sentence is a new combination of the
individual meanings of the words and, therefore, conveys a new meaning.
Conclusion
According to the Naiyyikas, the meaning of a word is presented to the
mind of the listener by the last sound aided by the memory impressions of the

228

preceeding sounds. Since the isolated sound of a word cannot individually present
its meaning, they must do so jointly. Since they come one after another into the
mind, they are not perceived together as a whole. Each sound perceived leaves its
impression behind and the apprehension of the last sound, aided by the accumulated
impressions of the preceeding sounds present the meaning of the word.
The Mmsakas, who defined a word as the aggregate of letters which
make it up are forced to accept a theory similar to that of the Naiyyikas. They say
that the meaning is conveyed by the last letter aided by the impressions produced
in the mind by the preceeding letters.
The main difference between the views held by the Naiyyikas and the
Mmsakas is that the former considered the letters to be ephemeral, whereas
the latter believed that the letters are permanent.
Again, the order in which the letters are uttered is only for the act of utterance
and not for the letters themselves, which,. according to the Mmsakas, are
permanent. But unless we assume the order of sequence to these impressions: the
process of understanding the meaning cannot be explained.
According to the Grammarians, the constituent words have no separate
meanings of their own. They convey only the integral meaning of the sentence in
different ways and degrees. Hence the words lose their individual meanings in
the total meaning of the sentence. In their opinion, every successive apprehension
of the different parts of a sentence or a word becomes instrumental in the revelation
of a corresponding sphoa in the mind of the receiver of communication.
Thus, according to Vaiykaraas, the process of apprehension lies in succession,
but on the complete revelation of sphoa, there emerges simultaneity in sphoa.

229

CONCLUDING REMARKS
Analysis of abda strengthens different systems of thought in different
ways. Nyya provide Indian mind a powerful tool to examine what is wrong
and what is right to solve many basic philosophico - logical problems
concerning the nature of knowledge, form of knowledge and the philosophy
of language.
While Prcina Nyya trains the Indian mind to tackle philosophical issues;
Navya Nyya provides and develops powerful tools to develop ambiguity - free
discourse.
In the opinion of V.N. Jha, the system of Nyya- Vaieika should be
viewed and studied as an analytic system of human behaviour, because its prime
concern has been analysis of human behaviour. Nyaya school of philosophy
opines that 'nihreyasa' or 'apavarga' can be attained through knowledge only.
This knowledge is based on language or sentence. Therefore by analysing the
sentence and exactly pointing out the meaning of a sentence, one can be lead
towards the path of truth.
The greatest contribution that the Nyya system has made is in teaching that
nothing is to be taken for granted by closing one's eyes but everything should be
accepted with open eyes. No authority is higher than logic15.
Nyya system teaches us how to organize our thoughts into a structured
whole and it helps us how to overcome emotion and how to give a logical
foundation to our thinking.

230

In the opinion of Jayantabhaa, the origin of Nyyastra is to clarify the


confusions created by those who did not have faith in the vedic wisdom.
Right from the beginning, the system of Nyya - Vaieika has provided a
perspective to think rationally. The origin and growth of Nyaya- Vaieika system
is through its logical frame- work.
The greatest contribution of Nyya - Vaieika is its development of a framework for argument. It presents a tool which is used by almost all systems Mmsa, Vednta, skhya, Vykaraa, Alankra stra etc.
In other words it trains us to think rationally. Nyya deals with neither
unknown things nor with definitely known things, but only with those that are
doubtful16.
It is very much useful in developing the powers of logical thinking for the
scholars. It finally avers that all knowledge of which one can be conscious is
determinate and indeterminate knowledge is only a logical presupposition.
Like wise the treatment of abda in Mmsa makes solid contribution to
the Indian theory of meaning. This is the first system to undertake the analysis
of sentence and its meaning systematically. It has contributed much to the
development of linguistics, especially semantics by proposing various theories
of verbal cognition.
The theories of the correlation of the expressed or Abhihitnaya vda and
the expression of the correlated or Anvitbhidhna vda have drawn the attention
of Western scholars to a great extent. This view is accepted by the Naiyyikas and
the Vedntins as well.

231

The term 'Mmsa' which occurs in the Taittirya-Sahita, Chndogyo


upaniad etc. means arriving at a certain decision after considering all the pros
and cons about something in question. The aim of the Mmsa system is to
show each and every sentence, each and every word and each and every syllable
of the veda is meaningful and purposeful by interpreting the vedas each and every
sentences if meaningfully. This is the reason why Mmsa is basically a science
of sentence interpretation and bears the names like Vkyastra,Vkyrthastra
quite significantly.
In Western Philosophy, 'Philosophy of Language' becomes a point of
discussion only after Frege, Russell and Witgenstein ie during the last 100 - 125
years or so. But Mmsa system has been dealing with this topic for not less
than 2000 years!
Main contribution of Mmsa in the field of verbal understanding can be
stated in just two words: 'ananyalabhya abdrtha' ie the meaning of the word is
not obtainable from anything else than the word.
Similarly the main aim of the philosophy of grammar is to know the
reality, the base of the universe or the abda- Brahman. The sphoa doctrine
of Bharthari is quite a significant contribution which is both solid and
fundamental at once.
It is only on the basis of the theories of Bharthari, nandavardhama
developed the theory of suggestion or Dhvani- Sidhnta. Bharthari maintains
that it is through Vykaraa that abda - Brahman is known and therefore Moka
is attained.

232

According to the philosophy of grammar, abda is the most significant tattva.


What Bharthari says in this regard is very significant"Just as the light which is in the fire stick acts as the cause of further lights,
the word which is in the mind is the cause of the uttered sound17.
It is Indian grammar especially painian grammar that lays the solid
foundation for the analysis of sentence and its meaning.

233

Notes and References :


1.

Arindam Chakrabarti, dhunika pratcya prama - Mmsa - p.140.

2.

Shashiprabha Kumar, 'abda as prama in Vaieika in abda' - Text and


Interpretation in Indian Thought, pp 103 - 104.

3.

Pauraty v'tha pcty pjy nastattvavedina


Te hivarma sambht na punastattva vdina P. Sri Rama Chandrdu, Pcytyatattvastretihsa - p XXIII

4.

B.K. Matilal, The Word and the World, p.5.

5.

Bharthari, VP - I.127.

6.

i) Uta tva payan na dadara vcam


Uta tva van na notyenm |
Uto tvasmai tanva visasre
jyeva paty usati suvs || g. 10.71.4
ii) Vg v va nmno bhyas vg
v gveda vijpayati - Chan. Up. 7.2.1.

7.

Coward, Harold. G, The sphota theory of language, Op.cit. p.1.

8.

Ogden and Richards; The meaning of meaning; p.11.

9.

Ullmann.S.; The Principle of Semantics; p.69.

10. Prof. Angraj Chaudhary, Comparative aesthetics :- East and West :p.No : 109.
11. Oxford Lectures on poetry, p.5.

234

12. '... a set of words complete in itself as expression of thought...'. The Concise Oxford Dictionary, p. 1035.
13. idam pada amu artham bodhayatu iti ivarasaketa - N.SM. p.115.
14. icchmtra akti iti navy hu - ibid.
15. Prof. V.N. Jha, Contribution of Nyya system to Indian thought structure;
p.80.
16. tatra nnupalabdhethe na nirte pravartate
kintu Samayite nyyasthatanga tena samaya - NM-1-1.
17. ''Araniham yath jyoti prakntara kraam |
Tadvacchabdo'pi buddhistha rutn kraa pdhak ||
- Bharthari, VP. I.46.

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