Kaunda Bhatta's VAIYAKARANABHUSANASARA: An Analytical Study

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About the book Kaunda Bhatta's Vaiyakaranabhusanasara is an abridgement of his own Vaiyakaranabhusana. It is a pioneering attempt at logical systematization of Panini's Grammar. It presents an argument to show the reason for the differing interpretations of the Paninian rules by Mimamsakas and Naiyayikas on the one hand, and Grammarians on the other. Through an analysis of verbal roots, conjugational, declensional, primary and secondary affixes, compounds, prefixes and particl...

About the book

Kaunda Bhatta's Vaiyakaranabhusanasara is an abridgement of his own Vaiyakaranabhusana. It is a pioneering attempt at logical systematization of Panini's Grammar. It presents an argument to show the reason for the differing interpretations of the Paninian rules by Mimamsakas and Naiyayikas on the one hand, and Grammarians on the other. Through an analysis of verbal roots, conjugational, declensional, primary and secondary affixes, compounds, prefixes and particles; and a study of sphota, it explicates Grammarians' outlook on verbal cognition. The present study is a critical examination of Kaunda Bhatta's arguments. It brings out the relevance of Paninian Grammar in understanding the modern theories of meaning, semantics and syntax.

About the Author

Sandhya Rathore, after obtaining her Doctoral Degree, taught Sanskrit at Aditi College; Hans Raj college; and Miranda House of Delhi University. She is actively engaged in the promotion of Sanskrit studies for school children. She has authored several textbooks for them.



The Vaiyakaranabhusanasara is an abridged version of the Vaiyakaranabhusana. Both these works, written by Kaunda Bhatta, are a commentary on the Vaiyakaranasiddhantakarikas also known as Vaiyakaranamatonmajjana composed by his uncle Bhattoji Diksita. The Vaiyakaranabhusanasara system- atizes the philosophy of Paninian grammar in a logical man- ner. It is, therefore, a significant aid in understanding the philosophical aspects of Paninian methods and techniques. It can exert a stimulating influence on modern semantic studies even now. But being a difficult text written in a terse style influenced by Navya-Nyaya techniques, it has attracted the attention of a very few scholars.

The present work is devoted to the analysis of the con- tents of the Vaiyakaranabhusanasara. An effort has been made here to study what Kaunda Bhatta propounds and what the Naiyayikas and the Mimamsakas say against the Grammar- ians. Besides giving an analytical exposition of the views of the Naiyayikas and the Mimamsakas, the grounds upon which the Grammarians establish their theories have also been dis- cussed. A glossary of Sanskrit terms has been appended. It is purported to help those readers who are not quite familiar with the kind of terms used in the text of Vaiyakaranabhu- sanasara. English rendering of Sanskrit illustrations has been provided. Some other modifications have also been carried out in the light of the suggestions made in the evaluation report furnished to me by the Indian Council of Philosophi- cal Research.

That Vaiyakaranabhusanasara has been popular is known by the fact that numerous commentaries have been written. on it. Particularly Darpana by Harivallabha, Pariksa by Bhai- rava Misra, KaSika by KP. Trivedi, Prabha by Balakrsna Pancoli are very helpful in understanding the text. Its translation accompanied by notes by Karunasindhu Das, annotated translations of Namarthanirnaya and Lakararthanirnaya respec- tively by Madhav M. Deshpande and Jayashree A. Cune have gone a long way in helping me traverse through some of the difficult portions of the text. I record here my indebtedness to all these scholars. On this occasion I feel deeply indebted to my teacher, Dr. Kanshi Ram, Reader, Department of San- skrit, Hans Raj College, University of Delhi, for his detailed critical comments concerning the method, contents and pre- sentation of the present work. I also thank Professor Avanin- dra Kumar, Dr. Mithilesh Chaturvedi and Dr. Push Raj Jain who read the manuscript and gave useful suggestions. Last but not least I wish to record my gratitude to Professor Ashok Vohra, Member Secretary, Indian Council of Philo- sophical Research for accepting this work for publication.



Language is indispensable for every human act of knowing. 1 It does mirror the sublime in human culture. Consequently it is not at all unjustified when we say that language is a living culture. So far as our cultural heritage is concerned, it can legitimately be claimed that the richness of the specula- tions about language done in India matches the richness of our cultural tradition. The problem concerning the philoso- phy of language engaged even the Vedic seers. There are many mantras and passages in Vedic literature which speak volumes for the linguistic speculations the ancient thinkers undertook to formulate principles on the practical and on- tological aspects of language. The speech or vac has been described as a subtle, eternal and incomprehensible entity. It is symbolised as a bull.f It has been stated that the bull is characterised by sound and it has four horns which stand for four kinds of words (nama, akhyata, upasarga and nipata). Its three feet represent three tenses (present, past and fu- ture) and two heads and seven hands symbolise two kinds of padas (subanta and tinanta) and seven case-endings respec- tively. Again the speech has been personified as the goddess of speech (vagdevi). One entire sukta (Rgveda, X. 6. 71) has been devoted to the description of the function and impor- tance of vac. It has been divided into four parts. Three parts of vac remain hidden in the cave and it is only the fourth part which is spoken by men. It is stated in a clear and emphatic manner that vac (the power of speech) reveals herself only to those who possess spiritual insight.

In the transitional period, six vedangas were composed to preserve the Vedic tradition. The science of etymology (nirukta) and grammar (vyakarana) are the two ancillaries which have a direct bearing on the evolution of the philoso- phy of language. The treatise of Nirukta by Yaska is the only extant document of ancient Indian etymology. It was com- posed in the forms of glossaries, the Nighantu, in which all the canonical, vocal fragmentary texts of the Vedas are pre- sented as meaningful elements. In addition to many topics of a purely etymological kind, it comprises not a few conjectural exegetical topics which nevertheless have some bearing on the philosophy of language.? He classifies speech (words) into four forms l. Nama (declined nominal form) 2. Akhyata (conjugated verbal form) 3. Upasarga (prefix) and 4. Nipata (particle). A study of the Nirukta evinces that he was familiar with the fact that in etymology, the semantic aspect is as im-. portant as the phonetic aspect. According to him, bhava is predominant in a conjugated verbal form and sattva is pri- mary in a declined nominal form. He observes that the imi- tation of sound (Sabdanukrti) plays an important role in the formation of words, specially in the names of birds such as kaka, etc. He has also referred to the views held by Sakatayana:ll l. All words can be derived from roots. 2. Prepositions have no significance by themselves apart from nouns and verbs to which they are prefixed. And 3. Fanciful derivation of the word satya from two different roots (as, in).

As a founder of a scientific system of grammar, Panini should be regarded as the highest authority. Panini's Astadhyayi comprising about four thousand rules contains a complete descriptive grammar of the Sanskrit language. It is remark- able in several aspects. Adopting the grammatical device of prakrti (stem) and pratyaya (affix), it purports to derive all the forms of Sanskrit language that correspond to correct usage. Panini has referred to two kinds of stems: l. Verbal root (dhatu) and 2. Undeclined nominal form (pratipadika). He has also explained how affixes are to be used after the stems to generate the correct inflected forms of language.

Panini does not define a sentence but the Astadhyayi ap- pears to be based on the theory that sentence is a unit of language containing at least one conjugated verbal form as implied by the rule The dual function of an expres- sion, to refer to both its own form and its meaning, is indi- cated by Panini's rule 1.1.6815 which states that a word (in a grammatical rule) which is not a technical term denotes its own form. The significance of Panini' s grammar lies in the fact that the linguistic thinkers belonging to different schools of philosophy have tried to base their formulations of Iin- guistic principles on the rules of Astadhyayi. As a consequence, a great deal of literature was brought into existence in the form of varied interpretations of Panini's sutras. Moreover, what Panini says on karaka, compounds, taddhita, etc. amply proves that his grammar does encompass the semantic as- pect within its purview.


  Abbreviations ix
  Preface xiii
1 Introduction 1
2 The Meaning of Verbal Roots and Conjugations Endings 11
3 The Meaning of Nominal Stems and Declensional Endings 50
4 The Denotative Function of Compounds 75
5 The Faculty of Import 93
6 Complementaries 107
7 The Doctrine of Sphota 133
8 Concluding Remarks 164
  Glossary 173
  Bibliography 185
  Index 191


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Item Code: IDG883 Author: Sandhya Rathore Cover: Hardcover Edition: 1998 Publisher: Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) ISBN: 8185636419 Language: English Size: 8.7" X 5.7" Pages: 211 Other Details: weight of book 405 gms.
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