Bhartrhari as a Monist
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Bhartrhari as a Monist

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Item Code: NAP704
Author: Gayatri Rath
Publisher: Bharatiya Book Corporation
Language: English
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 8185122342
Pages: 118
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Weight 250 gm
About the Book

This Study Covers Four Chapters with an introduction and background of the study, Since the unity in diversity and vice-versa is the verifiable truth, all the plurality (dvaita) derivers its existence from the presence of Advaita the underlying substance of everything. Anything in the world is the same single primeval point of energy, i.e. Sabdabrahman and only the forms of transformation of energy are very many (vivarta, i.e. solely devoted to arthaprakriya meaning analysis) which is a beginning tradition marked by Vakyapadiya is the first full fledged statement and discussion of philosophy of grammar which introduces linguistic monism. Which is a novel doctrine altogether. Though the origin of the doctrine is traceable in vedic samhitas. Thus, Bhartrhari is a great Monist though of a different sort, beside Sankara being a Brahmanvid and his Brahmanvid and his Brahman is of the nature of sabda or logos.

This study envisaged in the book is highly commendable for Its philosophical approach constitutes monism: Its evolution, philosophical semanties of Sanskrit grammarians and Bhartrhari’s linguistic monism etc. The present effort highlights the most complete, holistic perspective of sabdrahman) (the Supreme – word principle) a new vision of philosophy revealed by Bhartrhari the father of semantics.

About the Author

Dr. Gayatri Rath, M.A.,M phil., Ph D.B.ED., CCP in Com. Se working as Research Associate, Postgraduatate Department of Sanskrit, Utkal University, Vani Vihar, Bhubaneswar-751004. A brilliant first class academic career through out, stood 2nd from the Utkal University both in B.A. AND M.A. with the specialization of Grammar. Fellow of UGC-PTRA (W) is actively engaged in personal research since 2004 in the branch of Sanskrit Grammar, about twenty research papers published in national journals besides one book “Linguistic Philosophy in Vakya-padiya”. Membership in a number of National Institution for Research and propagation of Sanskrit languages; participated in about seventeen session of National conferences and seminars with original research papers; having more than twelve years of teaching experience in college and postgraduate department pf the Utkal University.


Philosophical semantics is now being studied in Inida and abroad with renewed interest. The metaphysical position of linguistic monism has attracted human mind since time century A.D. gave to the world a linguistic magnum opus, viz. Vankyapadiya of which the preamble refers to just this metaphysics position of Sabdavaitavada.

The present word entitled “Bhartrhari: A Monist” is a significant study in the line of various works on some basic problems of philosophical semantics. This is based on the Brahmakanda of Vakyapadiya where the author Dr. Gayatri Rath has critically analyzed linguistic monism on the Vedas Upanisads. Brahmasutras and the contributions made there on ancient Indian philosophers like Sankara, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Madhva and Vallabha. Further, she has analyzed Painian tradition where monistic idealism has been stressed as a basic, principle and it is Bhartrhari who has concluded that Sabdatattva and Brahmatattva are interchangeable. In the first chapter of her work named as interchangeable. In the first chapter of her work named as “Monism: Its Evolution” Dr. Rath has vividly explained such ideas by way of a background of her thesis. In the second chapter she has analyzed grammatical tradition and it is third chapter where she has discussed specific contributions of Bhartrhari which reflect her deep undertaking of her chapter where reflect her deep understanding of her subject and her pains taking effort to establish her opinion. In the fourth chapter entitled Bhartrhari’s Linguistic verbal Monism, Dr. Rath has finally stressed that Bhartrhari as a pre-Sankara Advaitin has successfully harmonized grammatical speculations with the sublime teaching of Advaita Vedanta. Grammar as a straight pathway of Freedom can only be realized. When one takes on earnest spiritual approach to indentify oneself with the basic word-principle, the Sabdabrahman. This is Sabdayoga.

I congratulate the author for her remarkable contributions to philosophical semanticsin general and linguistic monism in particular.


This work entitled Bhartrhari : As a Monist is modified version of my dissertation submitted for the award of the Mahabhasya. M. Phil. Degree of Utkal University. Perhaps, the most subtle and Controversial issue in Indian thought is the philosophy of meaning. Bhartrahari, the greatest promoter of grammarians philosophy, author of Vakyapadiya based on good authority, who was the first grammarian to take upon himself the task of evoluing a school of philosophy which is known by the name of verbal monism i.e., supreme word principle, Sabdavaita or Sabdabrahmavada. In Indian thought monism is said to have found expression in three ways i.e., the Brahmadvaita or Bhavadvaita of Vedantists, the Vijnanadivaita of the Buddhist and the Sabdavaita of grammarian. In this small study, fresh light has been thrown on the study of philosophy of Sanskrit grammar in general and Bhartrhari’s linguistic verbal monism in particular Earlier while writing a foreword while writing a foreword to her book, book, Linguistic philosophy in Vakyapadiya, I referred to her brilliant academic career and her serious commitments to study. Her intensive philosophical urge as well as a spiritual approach to life has made her a successful researcher in such philosophical undertaking. I am confident that this work be appreciated by all scholars interested in this field like her previous thesis and a number of paper written to her credit.

My objective thinking and intense philosophical urge since my childhood increased my special interest in is philosophy in every discipline. My inclination for grammar streamlined this thinking to it’s deep and complete form when I was accepted as a researcher by my enlightened teacher Prof. A.C. Sarangi, supervisor of this project submitted for the M. Phil. Degree of Utkal University. All though a few attempt have been made earlier and the study known by the name of monism i.e., Supreme Word Principle to which the first grammarian Bhartrahri takes upon himself, yet these are not enough and exhaustive. The old philosophy does not have a mere antiquarian sanction but supported by convincing logic. Widespread interest in contemporary western philosophy in philosophy of meaning rouse the interest of modern student of philosophy now a days. This will give the necessary fill up to the study of the problem of word and meaning from the different angle of vision in Vakyapadiya. This present study does not claim to be exhaustive either, the limitations of time and space have not allowed me to make so. However, in the present effort. I have dealth with Bhartrhari’s monistic ideas specially in Brahmakanda of vakyapadiya in which the concept of Sabdabrahman and the general philosophy of Sphota theory are treated in details.

I owe deeply to esteemed Prof. A.C. Sarangi, the Vice Chancellor, Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University Shree Vihar, Puri, for his unflincling support and inspiring guidance. I am extremely grateful to him, who have written a scholarly foreword for this manuscript.

I am also obliged to Prof. R.M. Dash, Visiting Associate Professor of Sanskrit, Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, my reverd teacher, supervisor of my present UGC project, whose suggestions and lucid demonstration in Vakyapadiya class helped my in providing with all required ideas to understand it in its true perspectives.

I am indebted to all the scholars whose views I have quoted in this monograph, which is but a natural trend of research.

This dream would not have been materialized without the extended mental support of Dr. Anirvan Dash of Central Institute of Higher Tibettan Studies, Varanasi, who is a constant vaitaliser to may consciousness level.

This work is an humble offering for this unseen targeted flow, in which I am just floating.

Lastly I am thankful to Mr. K.C. Jain, Proprietor, Bharatiya Book Corporation, Oriental Publisher, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi and his assotiates, for their constant recalling and indulgence for this. I myself take all responsibilities for any error or omissions that might have been left unnoticed in this book.

May the lustrous glow of Sabdabrahman enlighten every individual consciousness.


0.1.1 Preliminaries

0.0.1 The Preamble

Bhartrhari the name stands out the most famous in Philosophy of Sanskrit Grammar whose Vakyapadiya is a metrical discourse. Grammar is the most important of disciplines which have arisen from the Vedas. Grammar leads one to the realization of Brahman in the form of the supreme word. We know the truth about words through grammar. Grammar helps us in purifying our speech and mind. The supreme word forms the essence of the Brahman which is devoid of all distinctions. Speech occupies a key place in the scheme of things. These are the main concept of description of Brahmakanda of Vakyapadiya is called Vakyakanda in which purely linguistic topics are discussed with a linguistic topics are discussed with a linguistic background. The third Padakanda or Prakirnakanda is concerned with the problems connected with words.

0.1.2 The Significance of the Study

Recent trends in the sphere of philosophy show that the problem of ‘language’ and ‘meaning’ occupy the centre stage. The Pioneers of this new trend in the west are Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein. Straw son and Chomsky. This new interest in the area of philosophy of language, especially in the area of semantics, and pragmatics etc. has brought to limelight the diverse facts of the concept of ‘language’. In context of this present developments in the west it is significant to examine the philosophy of language of Bhartrhari which is one of the oldest schools of thought in the area.

Among all philosophical works Vakyapadiya deals specially with science of meaning in grammar. It is unique creation of Bhartrhari a veteran grammarian philosopher. It is hearting to note that Bhartrhari’s Vakyapadiya as well as any grammatical work dealt with philosophy and Indian semantics written on the linguistic principles displays striking similarities in the way, grammatical topics are concerned. Bhartrhari’s Vakyapadiya expounds briefly the philosophical background, made contribution to general linguistics. He has given a definite shape in contributions to general linguistics, I though his ideas go back to Ptj in the grammatical and linguistic traditions and the Vedas themselves. Thus, the significance of taking up such a philosophical study on Sanskrit Grammar lies in highlighting Bhartrhari’s contribution to the study of descriptive semantics in particular and the Sanskrit Grammatical analysis in general.


  Foreword (ix)
  Preface (xi)
  Abbreviation (xv)
  Inroduction 1-10
0.1 Prelimminaries 1
0.1.1 The Preamble 1
0.1.2 The Significance of the Study 1
0.1.3 Background of the Study 2
0.1.4. The present Enquiry : Plan and Presentation 7
Chapter I- Monism : Its Evolution 11-34
1.1 Monism : The Concepts 11
1.2 Monism and other Philosophical Doctrines 17
1.3 Monism : Its Vedic geniesis 20
1.4 Sanskrit Grammarians and their Monistic Attitudes 24
Chapter II- Philosophical Semantics of Sanskrit Grammarians 35-36
2.1 Semantic Notion 35
2.2 Traditions of Grammarian Philosophers 39
2.2.1 Panini 39
2.2.2 Vyadi and Vajapyayana 41
2.2.3 Katyayana 44
2.2.4 Patanjali 44
2.2.5 Bhartrhari 47
2.2.6 Kaiyyata 52
2.2.7 Bhattoji Diksita 53
2.2.8 Kaundabhatta 55
2.2.9 Nagesa 55
Chapter III- Bhartrhari : His Life and Works 57-73
3.1 Bhartrhari's Biography and Authorship 57
3.1.1. Mahabhasyadipika 61
3.1.2. Vakyapadiya 62
3.1.3. Vrtti on Vakyapadiya (I and II Kandas) 63
3.1.4. Sabdadhatu samiksa 63
3.2 Commentators on Vakyapadiya 64
3.2.1 Punyaraja 64
3.2.2 Helaraja 64
3.2.3 Vrsabhadeva 64
3.3 Philosophy in Vakyapadiya 65
Chapter IV- Bhartrhari's Linguistic Verbal Monism 74-88
  Conclusion 89-92
  Select Bibliography 93-98
  Original Works 93
  Modern Works 94


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