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Sphotasiddhi of Mandana Misra (A Critical Study)

Sphotasiddhi of Mandana Misra (A Critical Study)


Item Code: IDI782

by Dr. (Mrs.) Usha Rathore

Hardcover (Edition: 2000)

Vidyanidhi Prakashan
ISBN 8186700242

Size: 8.6" X 5.5
Pages: 277
Price: $32.50
Discounted: $24.38   Shipping Free
Viewed times since 2nd Oct, 2008


About The Author

Mandana Misra Spotisiddhi theory tells us how the meaning of a sentence is communicated. But his theory was attacked by the opponents and then Mandana Misra has answered the issues raised by the grammarians, and philosophers. Although the Sphota doctrine of Mandana Misra is not appreciated by Modern linguists, yet many later Grammarians have dealt with the Sphota problem following the philosophy of Mandana Misra. This book deals all these issues in a systematic way.

About The Author

Dr. (Mrs.) Usha Rathore got her Ph. D. degree from Delhi University in the year 1983. Her field of specialization is Grammar. Dr. (Mrs.) Usha Rathore is working as a Reader in the Department of Sanskrit, Mata Sundri College for women, University of Delhi, Delhi. She also taught in Vaish College, Bahadurgarh, University of Rohtak, Haryana.


Among the many perceptual problems which bother philosophers in both the East and West, problems such as those connected with free will, perception, the existence of God and the like, is the problem of what is the nimitta of Sabdabodha (verbal knowledge). How is the meaning of a sentence communicated?

One of the answers to this problem is found in the so-called theory of Sphota propounded by Mandana Misra. It will be the task of this book to show in what way the sphota theory was attacked by the philosophers opposed to the solution offered by the sphota Doctrine and it was in turn answered by Mandana Misra.

The present book e.g. "Sphotasiddhi of Mandana Misra" is based on the complete and critical study of the Sphota. Grammarian understands sphota, the indivisible word as sabda qua denoter. In this book, I have fully utilized the Sphotasiddhi of Mandana Misra and shown that the Grammarian's idea of the indivisible word is not the innovation of a doctrine but a faithful exposition of the verdict of common-sense. Sphota doctrine arose as a solution to the problem of the understanding of meaning. The problem was, how to explain the understanding of meaning from the sounds which are uttered in a temporal sequence. As they do not simultaneously co-exist, they cannot co-operate in order to convey the meaning. The doctrine of sphota is the Grammarian's solution to problem. The Mimamsaka's theory of the meaning and the Naiyayika's theory have come under treatment as the main forces of opposition, against which the Vaiyakarana theory has to contend. The difficulty of the subject and the abstruseness of the arguments both for and against the fundamental doctrine are beyond dispute.

Although before Mandana Misra, the conception of Sphota was given a systematic treatment by the great Grammarians like Patanjali, Bhartrhari etc. but the process of the manifestation of the sphota by the sound was described in an atmosphere free from polemics. No attempt was made to present the arguments of those who believe that the phonemes themselves constitute the word and that there is no entity called sphota over and above them. Thus these great Grammarians had not presented the arguments of the opponents of sphota as a Purva-paksa, to be answered by one before the approved doctrine (Siddhanta) is established. They had stated what they had to say about he sphota in direct statements but not in a polemical style. As Bhartrhari just made some positive statements about the sphota one after another and his conception of sphota emerged out of it. Thus, the sphota's existence as over and above the phonemes was taken for granted. It is true that in the vrtti of Vakyapadiya, there is a reference to the Uttpativadins those who hold that the word is produced and therefore transitory, and not external, as the Naiyayikas held and to the 'Anitya Paksa' but even there the arguments of these opponents are not presented systematically for the purpose of refutation. But this polemical style is greatly in evidence in the Sphotasiddhi of Mandana Misra.

Thus barrying Mandana Misra, the philosophy of Bhartrhari has no supporter and sympathetic exponent and elaborator. Mandana Misra came after Patanjali, Bhartrhari and Kumarila and quotes the Mahabhasya and Vakyapadiya in his Sphotasiddhi and the main arguments of Kumarila against the sphota doctrine supported by quotations from the Sloka-Varttika whenever necessary. Similarly in order to establish the existence of sphota, he presents the arguments of Bhartrhari again in his own words, with of course, quotations from the Vakyapadiya whenever necessary.

Here, a few words are also necessary to be said about Gopalika, a commentary on the Sphotasiddhi made by Paramesvara-II. This commentary is partly explanatory and partly in the nature of references to the works on which Mandana's observations are based. It is a word for word explanation of the Karikas of Sphotasiddhi. Paramesvara II has spared no pains to make the meaning of Mandana Misra clear. He has not aimed at shortness in his explanations. In fact, some may find his commentary too elaborate. In some places, he gives alternative explanations, which also appear to be acceptable. Thus it is quite helpful in deciding the correct text of a Karika.

Gopalika does not stop merely after giving the sense of the Karikas, it goes further and also discusses other related issues specially the ones dealing with Prakriya (technical side) of Panini. In all these discussions, it leaves a stamp of its originality. In explaining Mandana Misra's views in the present book, this commentary is heavily relied upon by me. In some places, I have actually quoted it.

A few words are now needed to be said with regard of my book is to evaluate Mandana Misra's text and the critically evaluate Mandana Misra's contribution to Indian Philosophy. So I find it necessary to provide the historical background of sphota on the basis of which Mandana Misra could have developed his ideas about sphota-theory. And to access Mandana Misra's contribution to linguistic philosophy in general and the sphota theory in particular, I also find it necessary to see the after-math development of Sphota in Post-Mandana's period. For that matter, evaluate this book is mainly divided into three parts:

(1) Pre-Mandana's theories on Sphota (2) Sphota doctrine as propounded by Mandana Misra (3) Post-Mandana theories on Sphota Keeping this objective in mind, I have divided the book into eight chapters. In the first chapter, various data has been presented by me to kill the general belief regarding Mandana and Suresvara (the author of the Naiskarmyasiddhi, Brhadaranyaka Bhasya Varttika and the Taittiriya Bhasya) equation. This chapter also deals with the brief account of Mandana Misra's date. The provisional scheme of dates is suggested for those philosophical writers, whose dates have a direct or indirect bearing on the chronological position of Mandana in the history of Indian Philosophy. The works of Mandana Misra are also referred to in it. In this chapter, the derivation of the word sphota with special reference to Mandana Misra is also dealt with.

In the second chapter, the views of those Grammarians, who were prior to Mandana Misra and with whom the theory of sphota found much favour are put forth, because to access the doctrine of sphota as propounded by Mandana Misra, it is felt very necessary to see the theories of sphota as expounded by Pre-Mandana Grammarians. These Grammarians produced not only a most scientific system on etymology and semantics but also a remarkable philosophy of word and meaning. The Varttikas of Katyayana contain some lines which refer to this sphota concept. The Mahabhasya of Patanjali and the Vakyapadiya of Bhartrhari contain quite a number of passages in which the discerning mind notices the germs of philosophical speculations and which may very well serve as the background of a regular system of philosophy as propounded by Mandana Misra.

Scheme Of Transliterationxviii
Regarding Mandana Misra : The author of Sphotasiddhi and his contribution to Indian Philosophy - Derivation of the word 'Sphota'
CHAPTER 231-81
Pre-Mandana Grammarians on Sphotta : Vyadi, Panini, Katyayana & Patanjali Definition of Sabda according to Patanjali- Eternality of Sabda as propounded by Patanjali-Patanjali's conception of Sphota and Dhvani-The nature of phonemes according to Patanjali-Patanjali's view on the succession of Phonemes-Bhartrhari-Sabda and Artha-Eternality of Sabda according to Bhartrhari-Types of Material World according to Bhatrhari-Types of Sound according to Bhatrhari-Types of Sphota according to Bhatrhari-Relation between Sounds and Sphot in the viewpoint of Bhatrhari
CHAPTER 382-127
Anti Sphota Philosophers : Mimamsakas & Naiyayikas- Mimamsakas' views on Sabda-Mimamsaka's view on sentence and assertion of Padavada-Two Schools of Padavada-Abhihitanvaya-vada-Anvitabhidhanavada-Problem of Temporal series as discussed by the Mimamsakas-Refutation of Sphota according to the Mimamsakas-Nyaya System-Naiyayika's views on Sabda-Problem of Temporal series in the viewpoint of Naiyayikas-Refutation of Sphota according to the Naiyayikas
CHAPTER 4128-136
Word-What is in the viewpoint of Mandana Misra
CHAPTER 5137-155
Varnavadin's objections to Mandana Misra's contentions
CHAPTER 6156-188
Removal of objections leveled against Mandana Misra's viewpoint and the establishment of Sphota
CHAPTER 7189-225
Revaluation of Sphota as explained by Mandana Misra-Sphota is not different from the phonemes and yet it is different in the viewpoint of Mandana Misra-Error leads to truth : says Mandana Misra- Sphota as a Universal Entity according to Mandana Misra-Eternality of Sabda in the viewpoint of Mandana Misra-Types of Sphota in the viewpoint of Mandana Misra- Doctrine of Sphota based on Sruti Texts according to Mandana Misra
CHAPTER 8226-241
Influence of Mandana Misra on later Grammarians-Mandana Misra and the Modern Linguistics
CHAPTER 9242-248
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