The Prakaranapancika of Sailakanatha is an important text of Prabhakara Mimamsa, the Prabhakaras along with the Bhatta being two well-known schools of Purva-Mimamsa. The Prakaranapancika presents a detailed account of the Prabhakara system in all its aspects. It explains the eight main issues in which the other systems of philosophy do not agree with the Prabhakaras and the Prabhakara perspective has been strongly criticized. These issues relate to the concept of karya or niyoga, the theory of anvitabhidhana, the Akhyati theory of perceptual error, rejection of abhava, non-Vedic statements communicated through inference, the concept of triputikarana, the nature of savikalpaka and nirvikalpaka and the categories.
This volume presents an exposition on the terse text of Prakaranapancika, giving the Sanskrit verses of the text along with their in-depth translation in English to explain the major theories and concepts of the Prabhakara system. The study of Prabhakara thought is undertaken here in the light of modern developments in the areas of epistemology and linguistics. The focus is on presenting the text with clarity and in a simple and direct manner and, so ritualistic details and laboured arguments supplemented to the main arguments are avoided. It provides the main point, the arguments to support it and then the objections and answers to it given in the text.
The volume will prove of interest to scholars and students of Indian philosophy, with special reference to Indian epistemology and linguistics.
Krishnacharya Tammannacharya Pandurangi (b. 1918) belongs to a family of Vedanta scholars. Trained traditionally in Sanskrit literature, Nyaya, Vedanta and Mimamsa schools, Prof. Pandurangi has had a long experience of teaching Sanskrit. He was a Student of MM Professor Kuppuswami Sastri and P.S. Subrahmanya Sastri at Annamalai University. He is at present Upakulapati of Purnaprajna Vidyapitha and Honorary Director of Dvaita Vedanta Foundation at Bangalore. He has edited a number of Dvaita Vedanta classics with detailed introduction in English incorporating the research points in them. He has been honoured with the Rashtrapati award in 1989 and the Mahamahopadhyaya in 1997 from the Tirupati Sanskrit University.
In Indian Philosophy Vedanta and Nyaya have received greater attention than Purvamimamsa both in the traditional and modem circles of scholars. Within Purvamimamsa the Bhatta texts are widely studied than the Prabhakara. The credit of thawing the attention to the Prabhakara School goes to two distinguished modem scholars viz., Dr. Ganganath Jha and Dr. Kunhan Raja.
The publication of Brhati, a commentary by Prabhakara on Sabarabhasya, and Rjuvimala a sub-commentary by Salikanatha on Brhati provided the source books for the Prabhakara study. A presentation of the Prabhakara thought in English by Dr. Ganganath Jha in his work Prabhakara school of Purvamimamsa enabled the modem scholars to get acquainted with Prabhakara. The publication of Prakaranapancika of Salikanatha edited by Subrahmanya Sastry further augmented the source works. This work was published long back from Varanasi. However, Subrahmanya Sastry’s edition has a commentary i.e., Nyayasuddhi of Narayana which is very helpful to comprehend the text. Sstriji has also added a detailed introduction, brief notes all along the text, and a summary of the main points at the end of each chapter. This edition is very useful to undertake research in the Prabhakara system.
After a careful reading of this text I felt that it has rich material for research. However, its language and style are very terse. The Prabhakara terminology is also quite unfamiliar to modem scholars. The use of the same terms by the Bhattas and the Prabhakaras with different implications also requires clarification. Most of the Purvamimamsa scholars are greatly influenced by the Bhatta approach and the Bhatta interpretation. This comes in the way of comprehending the subtle distinction between the Bhatta approach and the Prabhakara approach.
I felt that it will be a help to younger scholars, if an exposition in English of this valuable text is prepared. A sentence by sentence translation of such highly technical works is not possible. Even if such a translation is prepared taking pains, it will not be intelligible unless one goes back again to the text and traces the contents.
Therefore, in this exposition a simple and direct summary of the content closely following the text is given. The plan of presentation of the main point, the arguments to support it, the objections and answers given in the text is followed. The ritual details incidently mentioned and the laboured supplementary arguments are avoided to maintain the clarity of the central point.
The title and subtitles are given under each chapter. Detailed extracts are also given for ready reference. This will also help the learned readers to check the authenticity of the English presentation. The Prabhakara’s approach is novel and unusual in many respects. There is a good deal of scope for research and giving a new orientation to some of the issues of Indian Philosophy. It is hoped that this English exposition will give deeper insight into the Prabhakara thought and inspire further research.
I take this opportunity to thank the authorities of Indian Council of Philosophical Research for publishing this work.
The two schools of Purvamimamsa viz., the Bhatta and the Prabhakaras are well-known. Both claim Jaimini sutras and Sabarabhasya as their sources. Some scholars have tried to trace some of the concepts of the Prabhakaras to Badari whose views are quoted in Jaimini sutras. Attempts are also made to identify Bhavadasa and Bhartrmitra as the precursors of the Prabhakara view. References are also found to some old Prabhakaras as Cirantana Prabhakara and Jarat Prabhakara. Their views are quoted on two important topics viz., on the number of categories and the nature of akhyati. ‘Prameya Parayana portion of Prakaranapancika is not available. However, its commentator Narayana lists the eight categories mentioning samkhya and sadrsya as the seventh and the eighth. However, the view of the old Prabhakaras quoted by Vidyaranya in Vivaranaprameya Sangraha mentions visesa and niyoga in place of Samkhya and sadrsya. In respect of akhyati also the old Prabhakaras had slightly a different explanation from the one commonly given. Their view is quoted in Istasiddhi of Vimuktatman. From this it is clear that the Prabhakara’s thought had an early base and Prabhakara only rejuvenated it.
It is difficult to ascertain whether Sabarabhasya mainly supports the Bhattas or the Prabhakaras. The most important sutra tadbhutanam kriyarthena samamnayah etc. and Sabara’s remarks on it seem to support anvitabhidhana theory of sentence meaning. Sulikanatha quotes half a dozen adhikaranas to establish karyanvita procedure. All these seem to support this theory. However, a detailed scrutiny of the entire bhasya with the help of a computer has to be made to find out Sabara’s support to one of them entirely or partially. Prabhakara was an younger contemporary of Kumarila. He quotes Kumarila’s views in a number of adhikaranas, such as gunakamadhikarana, abhikramanadhikarana, balabaladhikarana. His only one work i.e., Brhati, a detailed commentary on Sabarabhasya is available.
The literature of the Bhatta school is quite large. There are only seven works of the Prabhakara school. Brhati of Prabhakara Rjuvimala. Prakaranapancika, and Bhasyadipa of Salikanatha, Nayaviveka of Bhavanatha, Tantrarahasya of Ramanuja and Prabhakara Vijaya of Nandisvara. Among these Salikanatha’s Prakaranapancika is the central text. It discusses all important issues and concepts of the Prabhakara school in detail. Two vartikakaras are quoted in it. One is in support of the Prabhakara view, the other is against the Prabhakara view. The latter is Kumarila Bhatta. The First one seems to be an old Prabhakara writer.
Apart from the seven works of Prabhakara school, there is another source to know the Prabhakara thought. The works that criticize the Prabhakra thought constitute this source. The earliest among these are the three important works of Mandana Mishra. His Vidhiviveka, Vibhramaviveka and Bhavanaviveka examine the Prabhakara concept of Karya and their akhyati theory in detail. These were composed before Salikantha. He answers the objections raised in these works. V achaspati Mishra’s commentary on Vidhiviveka quotes Salikanatha’s answers and shows the drawbacks from Mandana’s point of view. Parthasarathi Mishra’s Sastradipika, particularly, Tarkapada portion and his Nyayaratnamala of reviewing Prabhakara thought is continued in the later Bhatta Mimamsa works.
Important writers of Nyayavaisesika and the Vedanta schools also quote the Prabhakara’s theories and criticize. The Karyatavada, anvitabhidhanavada, and the akhyativada are particularly criticized. Nyaya works like Nyayamanjari of Jayanta, Kusumanjali of Udayana, Tatvacintamani of Gangesa review the Prabhakaras views. These works give a clearer picture of the Prabhakara thought and constitute an important source. Modern scholars also have written good many works in English on Bhatta school by way of translations, studies and research papers. There are very few on the Prabhakara system. Prabhakara Mimamsa by Ganganatha Jha and by Paupatinatha Shastry are two important works of Prabhakara Mimamsa. The long introduction to Tantrarahasya by K.S. Ramaswamy is quite informative. The papers on Ni yoga, and Prabhakaras the old and new by M. Hiriyanna and on Karma by Halbfass give an insight into Prabhakara thought. Professor Kuppuswamy Shastry’s two papers on the old Prabhakaras give valuable information about the early Pabhakaras.
The criticism of Prabhakara views is two-fold: (i) criticism of the import of the injunction and the issues connected with the organization of the sacrifice. (ii) The issues connected with the epistemology and the theory of knowledge. In the first area it is mainly a fight between the Bhauas and the Prabhakaras. In the second area, all other systems of Indian Philosophy, particularly Nyaya and Vedanta participate and confront the Prabhakaras.
Among the Vedanta schools, Visistadvaita and Dvaita are a little friendly. Both these have accepted anvitabhidhana theory with some modifications. Visistadvaita theory of yatharthakhyati is closer to akhyati. The concept of difference being an internal attribute of the object is acceptable to Dvaita. In this way the Prabhakara thought is preserved more by its opponents than by its own literature.
Prakaranapancika gives a detailed account of the Prabhakara system in all aspects. These are given in the exposition along with the relevant portions of text in this study. Here the main issues are presented by way of recapitulation of the exposition of the text. There are eight main issues that require special attention. These are: (i) The concept of karya or niyoga is the import of Vedic injunction, (ii) The theory of anvitabhidhana, (iii) Akhyati theory of perceptual error, (iv) Rejection of abhava, (v) Non-Vedic statements communicate through inference, (vi) The concept of triputikarana, (vii) The nature of savikalpaka, nirvikalpaka, (viii) The categories.
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