Recognizing the fact that Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya had engaged the attention of thinkers of different schools of Indian philosophy such as Naiyavikas, Mimamsakas, Vedanta’s, Buddhists and Jainas as well as the Agama traditions like Kashmir Saivism, the Varanasi centre of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts organized a series of seminars on the Vakyapadiya of Bhartrhari. It was also decided to start a dialogue between the scholars of ancient and modern western philosophies of language. Accordingly, a three day national seminar on 'Indian and Western Philosophy of Language' was held at Varanasi from February 10-12th, 2011 in collaboration with the Department of Vyakarana, Faculty of Sanskrit Learning and Theology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. The present volume is an outcome of the seminar and contains the revised and enlarged versions of the papers presented by the participants. Some of the papers present and analyze diverse aspects of Bhartrhari's philosophy. Some others critically examine the linguistic thought as developed in other schools of Indian Philosophy. A few of them deal with the issues raised by Western thinkers like Chomsky, Searle, etc.
It is hoped that this volume will be of immense interest to the philosophers of language across countries. It should help them to explore and understand some of the intricate aspects of Bhartrhari's philosophy of language and compare it with the terminology and technique developed by modern Western thinkers.
His important publications are: (1) Indian Realism: A Rigorous Descriptive Metaphysics, (2) The Nyaya Theory of Linguistic Performance and (3) The Religion: A Discourse in Realist Philosophy. He has also edited sabdakhanda of Tattvacintamani.
Dr. Kamalesh Datta Tripathi, Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Sanskrit Learning and Theology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi is an eminent Indologist, author and editor of many books and articles on ancient Indian theatre and Natyas-sastra.
Appointed as a Lecturer in Religion in 1970, Reader in 1977 and Professor in BHU in 1987, he held the office of Dean of the Faculty of Sanskrit Learning and Theology and rendered his services as a Member of the Executive Council of Banaras Hindu University. In his long academic career spanning over four decades, Dr. Tripathi served as Director, Kalidas Academy, and Ujjain for nine years. His major publications are Edition of Paramarthasara, Kalatattvakosa Vol. VII and Nepal Version of Natyasastra.
In recognition of his contribution to the field of Sanskrit theatre, he has been nominated as an Honorary Fellow of Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi. He received 'Certificate of Merit' from the President of India in 2007. Presently, he is serving as Centennial Chair Professor, Bharat Adhyayan Kendra, BHU, and Varanasi.
Bhartrhari's Vakyapadya occupies a central place in
the Indian philosophy of language. In order to grasp
the real import of the issues discussed in different
schools of Indian philosophy and their methodology
it is essential to study the Vakyapadaya, as it reflects the
development of the philosophy of language,
theories of meaning, the relationship between language
and reality in Indian tradition. Many of the pundits
and modern scholars living and working in Varanasi
had serious engagement with Bhartrhari's
Vakyapadaya from the earliest time.
The first editions of Vakyapadaya, edited by
Ramakrishna Shastri Patavardhan, Gangadhar Shastri
Manville et al., were published from Varanasi between
the years 1884 to1937. These pioneering editions were
criticized by several other scholars as not being sufficiently critical. However, their singular merit was that
they attracted the attention of scholar from all over
the world to the text of Bhartrhari. More significantly,
they prepared the ground for extensive studies in the
area of philosophy of language. Many Western thinkers, who were being exposed to the philosophy of
language for the first time in the beginning of the 20lh
century, came to recognize that India had a long and
continuous tradition of philosophical analysis of
language. Following these editions, critical editions were
brought out by Charudev Shastri for Kanda I and part
of Kanda II, the complete Karaka text by K V. Abhyankar
and vs. Lemay and finally the complete editions of
Karaka and commentaries by KA. Subramanian Ayer. In
the 7th and 8th decades of 20th century Pt. Raghunath
Sharma of Varanasi also wrote a modern Sanskrit
commentary on this exhaustive, rich, profound and
Recognizing the fact that Bhartrhari's Vakyapadya
had engaged the attention of thinkers of different
schools of Indian philosophy such as aiyayikas,
Mimamsakas, Vedanta’s, Buddhists and Jainas as well
as the Agama traditions like Kashmir Saivism, acknowledge-
edging the pioneering efforts and contribution of the
Varanasi scholars, and continuing the city's tradition
of learning and scholarship, the Varanasi centre of
the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
organized a series of seminars on the Vakyapadya of
Bhartrhari. Initially, the scholars from Varanasi engaged
in the study of Bhartrhari' Vakyapadaya were invited to
teach and discuss the text along with its commentaries. In the later phases, scholars from all over India
were invited to share their research finding in
national level seminars held on the philosophy of
One of the purposes of holding this seminar is to
add one more dimension to the ongoing Endeavour
of re-visiting and reinventing Bharthari (in the form
of holding the just concluded series of seminars on
Bhartrhari). But what connection I there between
Bhartrhari or the study of Bhartrhari and the philosophy of language? So far as this seminar is partly on the
Indian philosophy of language, it is impossible not to
refer to and study closely the relevant ideas and
doctrines of Bhartrhari.
This is so because Bhartrhari, if none else before
him, is believed to have given us a philosophy of
language independent of any outside influence. True,
but such a contention has also been contested. I Besides, what Bhartrhari gave us is a form of grammatical philosophy which is so unique that it is hard to
relate it to anything Western or at least to the main-
stream contemporary Euro-American philosophy of
language, which in its turn is equally uniquely tied to
Western thought and culture.
So far there may not be any obvious connection
between the study of Bhartrhari or his grammatical
philosophy and the study or enterprise of the philosophy of language. However, his contributions to theoretical grammar and the philosophy of grammar are
likely to be more directly connected to what in Indian
culture and literature corresponds to the philosophy
of language, and hence can be described as the
Indian philosophy of language.
The second question which may be asked is "How
far it is natural or necessary to link the philosophy of
language of two cultures?" - to link the study of Indian
philosophy of language to that of the Western Philosophy of language. Indeed, the classical Indian philosophy of language developed differently from, and independently of any reference to, the standard Euro-American philosophy of language, which developed as late
as the twentieth century.
These two philosophies of language came to be
linked through the works of those philosophy professionals of modern India who work in this field. For
well known historical reasons, the majority of these
scholars happen to have exclusive or greater acquaintance with the modern and contemporary Western
philosophy of language. They usually do not know much
about the classical Indian philosophy of language and
still less about vyiikara1fa in general and Bhartrhari in
particular; yet in the course of their study and research
in contemporary Western philosophy of language, some
of them, for various reasons, developed some interest
in classical Indian grammar and philosophy of language. A similar interest was not observed among their
Western counterparts, barring a few rare individuals.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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