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Examples

of the Influence

of Sanskrit Grammar

on

Indian Philosophy

by RAFFAELETORELLA

In the West,

apart from earlier

isolated

intuitions

(1), it only began

to become

clear at the beginning of this century that language was not merely

ment

of thought and that a farmore

the docile

instru

important one

significant role than the already

of the vehicle for thought should be

and others have

order to capture the given, thought uses a net which is largely linguistic.

been established, philosophical and linguistic research is presented with a new direc

claimed

for it. The works

of E.

Sapir, B.L. Whorf

shown how great a part language plays in structuring reality (2). In

This having

-

tion: that of trying to discern how much

immediate -

thermore, how far reflections on reality -

sciences in general and even the natural sciences -

the subject who has expressed and formulated them. Moving

is apparently

in the experience

of reality

even that which

fur

depends

on the subject's

linguistic structure (3). And,

primarily philosophy,

but also the human

reflect the linguistic horizon of

in this direction are

works

such

seen

as

the

as E. Benveniste's well-known study (1958) on Aristotle's

transposition of grammatical categories of the Greek language onto an

categories,

ontological

philosophy, too, obviously lends itself to being examined from this point

of view. A point of view which, furthermore, fits particularly well into the context

of Indian thought, where the close link between

plane

(but see also Belardi

1985:147

ff.).

Indian

thought and language, or even their

*Extended

August

1987.

(1) Cf. W.

Cardona

1976:

version

I wish

of a paper

read at the VIIth World

A.

Aklujkar

'Die

for his

Sprache

Sankrit

Conference,

held

in Leiden

to the discussion.

23rd-29th

cit. G.R.

to thank Prof.

interesting

is das bildende

contribution

Organ

von Humboldt's

statement:

des Gedankens'

64.

(2) See in particular Sapir 1929, 1931; Whorf

1956.

In spite of the provisional and often

unilateral

a new

character

field of research.

of

the results

obtained,

For

an evaluation

it gave

rise

(3) See

to,

for instance Whorf's

see G.R.

Cardona

1976:63

studies

these

two authors

possess

of the so-called

Sapir-Whorf

ff., with

bibliography;

see

(1956)

on

the Hopi

language:

the merit

hypothesis

also G.R.

of having

opened

up

and of the reactions

Cardona

1985.

An

American

Indian Model

of

the Universe,

The

relation

of Habitual

Thought

and Behaviour

to Language,

Science

and Linguistic.

[1]

151

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complete

brdhmana (4) to Bhartrhari's

angle,

research maintains

identification,

has been

proclaimed

times -

many

from the Satapatha though from a different

But

although

in India,

this

line of

as happens

classical

formulations

(5) and,

the logical-epistemological

schools

of Buddhism.

its validity, which

is, so to speak, universal,

not infrequently, things become complicated.

in India

importance

grammatical

To

the influence of the language as such

and grammatical

other

culture;

speculation,

whose

furthermore,

this

only, but is the common,

from the literary to the

of

of grammar, from? In part

inwhich

the science

surely from its it is inscribed

(7);

one has

and

to add

prestige

that of

a

linguistic

are unequalled

in any

The

tradition

heritage

is not in the possession

of every educated

abound

ones -

does

man.

of specialists

texts -

fundamental

philosophical-religious

sciences

(6). Where

being

is doubtless

in the praises rank derive

The

this privileged the Vedas.

in which

the science of the Holy Word,

sacral, the same context

context

the science of ritual is developed

ritual and grammar

respects like sisters, as L. Renou

-

seem

in their procedures, has shown in a famous article (1941-42;

articulations

and lexis -

in many see also Staal

1982:1-38).

Paspasa

Bhartrhari

are

Most

of

of the aims of the study of grammar

a

religious

character;

'This

is

also

speaks

of

a mysterious

indicated by Patafijali

in the

says

the

door

'vocal'

'vocal'

to

yoga

salvation',

(sabdapfirvayoga,

(8), who

(4) VIII

1.2.7

vag vai matir

// vdgruipata

would

1965:110-11).

vaca

hidam

utkramed

sarvam manute

cf. Renou

'Thought

1941-42:

is language,

105-6.

/

does

because

it is through

sarvam

sa

hi

knowledge

were

poss

to

language

(5) VP

sabdena

that every being

I 115-16

bhasate

na

in this world

in this w o r l d

so'sti

pratyayo

ced

thinks';

loke yah

iabdanugamad

avabhodasya

inwhich

rte / anuviddham

na

iva jfianam

prakaeta

All

the word

identification

issvati

the word

prakdsah

not

pratyavamargini

is,

as

it were,

disappear,

ible'

(transl.

// 'There

intertwined

is no cognition with the word.

cease

in the world

figure.

and

If this eternal

identity

of knowledge

knowledge

Iyer

to be knowledge;

it is this identity which

makes

(6) Cf. Haracaritacingimani

is

the

tapasam

best

root

of

all

uttamam

XXVII

I, p.

269

sarvavidyandm

ca

mukhyam

angesu

vyakaranam

vyakaranam

113

'Grammar

'Grammar

is the most

is the most

important

important

of all sciences';

of the six auxiliaries

MBh

1 pradhdnam

satsv

disciplines

of the Vedas';

Dhvanydloka

(vrtti) prathame

hi vidvamso

because

vaiyakaranah vyakaranamllatvat

grammar

sarvavidyandm

'First among

the sages

are

1980:91,

fn.

3; VP

I

chandasam

aigam

ahur

/ yat

tat punyatamam

jyotis

that

is nearest

to

that Brahman

all

sciences

of

the Vedas,

of

that

supreme

so

essence

lights'

(transl.

Iyer

1965:16-17).

is

the

of

as geometry,

has

been

traced

back

to

a

sources.

also VP

See

also

Seidenberg

1962.

1

16

idam

adyam

padasthanam

'This

desire

is

the first step

in

salvation'

(transl.

the

Iyer

pravibhajyate

/

tad

vykaranam

the grammarians,

11-12

asannam

vyakaranam

tasya margo

the

sages

sciences',

cit. Bhattacarya

tapah

/ prathamam

the auxiliary

to the attainment

brahmanas

tasya

'The

budhah

'yam afijasah

//

//

praptariipavibhagaya

all

of

is

the

yo vacah

paramo

rasah

austerities,

the

one

the

first among

the

shortest

route

differentiation,

of the holiest

of

I

the growth

1960-61,

of sciences,

based

mainly

on

such

Indian

14a

tad dvaram

sa moksamananam

the

is

yad

straight

ekam

apavargasya;

ajihva

royal

cf.

" Grammar",

discipline

assumed

(7) Even

Seidenberg

(8) VP

vanam

/ iyam

liberation,

again

VP

I

this

22

152

discipline

called

declared.

This

 

which

has

ritual

context;

cf.

siddhisopanapar

ladder

to

leading

1965:22).

agamya

And

param

[21

the Word

rajapaddhatih

for

all who

bahudha

road

prakriybhedair

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vagyoga)

despite

background

(see Iyer 1964 and Gaurinath

the character

-

this origin

Shastri

1980:79-85).

But

the vydkaranasastra,

-

confers on it

and which will always remain in the

sense of the term, both

sacred

is the science of language

in the broad

and ordinary

word

as object

language, which in a civilization

are

like the two

sides of

like the Indian one, which

the same

Having is eminently a civilization

coin.

the

of the word,

among the reasons at

became

and the standard of excellence

the root of the prestige also

par excellence,

Ingalls

(1954)

that this discipline

it enjoyed.

The

creating

a model

Staal

very soon reached

science of language

for other branches

are

thus

of

the science

As D.H.H.

learning.

and J.F.

(1965) were

the first to show,

grammar in India occupied

the place held by geometry

in ancient Greece

as themodel

science.

model

The Euclid

of India was

Panini with his Astddhydyi

and was more

which

also became

a

later by the

for rigorous and succint exposition

or less imitated

texts which,

in the most

varied

fields, aimed

at being normative

().

that the vydkaranasastra

depends

every thinker's cultural heritage, whatever

tendency,

this presenting

The weight

carries

in philosophical-religious

that

it is an

literature

part of

so to speak,

can

primarily on

the fact, already mentioned,

important

school he may belong

itself as over

to. This,

'universalistic'

and above

the factions,

already be detected

four Vedas

at birth

(sarvavedapdrsdda),

Pratisakhyas and the

Siksas

in this discipline,

(10). The

which

sets out

to be valid

for all the

of the

unlike a related discipline

'secular'

such as the phonetics of this attitude

counterpart

is found

later

in

its claim

to be

valid

for any darsana,

philosophical

systems,

to the exclusion

of none,

its object

cannot do without

being words,

(").

which

Grammar

all

brahma-dhigamyate

that

supreme

(9) The

kdrika -

Srautasitras

// 'That which,

is attained

though

one,

is variously

of Grammar'

flanked

ambit

in grammar

interpreted

(transl.

in the different

1965:23).

that

traditions,

is

with

the

the

saturation

last sitra

of Katya

-

sitra

Brahman

'siitra'

by a knowledge

was

arise

later

in

the

It

is,

however,

concision

of silence.

of concise

Iyer

of versified

in

genre -

which

did

not

1963:168).

the domain

genre -

by

of grammar

that kind

but

that

its limit;

suitra which

of

most

probably

it

ritual, soon reaches maximum

it is embodied

with

in the

the work

of

the

(cf. Renou

which

point,

a a, beyond

yana,

that

finding

in the unattainable

begins

of the Astddhydyi

It

in the

is

critical

field of grammar,

the varttika

the combination

a kind

commentary

the starting point

in the margin

originates;

peculiar

suitra-vdrttika constitutes

of the form destined

(cf. Renou

to become

1963:169-70).

to so much

of the technical

and philosophical-religious

literature of India

(10) The

different

it the outcome

status which

grammar

enjoys

in respect

of

grammatical

1963:167).

the other

veddnga,

veddngas of a more

leads

consider

tive character

of a development

to a particular

of an original

samhita

merely

and

linked

(see Renou

one

to

illustra

(11) Cf.

VP

I

14b

and

vrtti pavitram

sarvavidyanam

adhividyam

prakasate

'(Grammar

is)

the

-

purifier

sarvo

hi

apatrapate

science

use

of

all

the sciences

and

shines

in every branch

vyakaranam

in every

a work

branch

on

his

1 15 yatha-rthajatayah

of knowledge'

anugacchati

ata'

ca adhividyam

prakdate,

ca

niyatam

follows

to avoid

the

the

tathaiva

loke

prayena

'What

svasyarm

is meant

even

Cf.

vidyayamg

by

"shines

for composing

also VP

apabhramiaprayogena

'abda-krtinibandhanah/

upon

of knowledge"

subject

is that everybody

and

(transl.

is very careful

of grammar

special

of corrupt

forms'.

sarvdh

all

vidya-na-m esi- vidya

for their communication,

para-yanam

so

'Just as all the universal

is this

science

the basis

of

of things depend

sciences'

the form of their words

Iyer

1965:21-22).

[31

153

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-

it is often

words

(12).

said -

does

not deal with

things, but with words

and meanings

of

And we

sometimes

see grammatical

speculation

very freely using doctrines

that

belong

not

PAninidarsana, which

sometimes to one school, sometimes to another (see Iyer 1950:90-92).

however,

from describing

represents, on the one hand,

That does

prevent Madhava,

in the Sarvadarsanasarmgraha

of this discipline -

the exaltation

a

elevating

reduction

it to

the

rank of a conception

of

the world -

of its claim to universality.

But what

constitutes

and,

on

the other,

the

the core of the so-called

Pdninidarsiana are above all some linguistic-metaphysical implications, particularly developed in Bhartrhari's work.

The

Patan-jali

grammatical

and,

tradition, incarnated principally

later, in Bhartrhari,

in the triad Panini-Katyayana

runs through

the whole

of

some centuries

the

Indian

philosophical-religious

tradition,

entailing

three different

consequences.

The

first, and the most

intrinsic one, is that on nearly every page of themost diverse

texts of philosophical-religious literature we come across grammatical explanations,

of this

a

subtler nature

seen, is attributed to the vydkaranasastra. There is on the one hand, the philosopher's

frequent adoption of the grammarian's modus operandi, with its rules and artifices; and on the other, the more or less conscious appropriation of some of the contents of

grammatical

the presence of which

is so much more

plausible

ifwe

consider

how much

literature takes the form of a commentary. The other two consequences

and are directly

linked to the exemplary

character which,

are of

have

as we

speculation

through

their

reformulation

in

logical

and

ontological

terms (1).

I intend here briefly to consider

the latter case.

Shaivism

who,

between

atizing the teachings contained

of the monistic saiva tradition. I shall deliberately not refer directly

towards the more 'philosophical' sector of the vyakaranasastra (present particularly

in Bhartrhari's work), which has, relatively speaking, been more

concentrate,

instead, on their relations with the more specifically grammatical specu

I shall draw

in particular

some examples from the works

from the literature of so-called Kashmir

of

that extraordinary

chain

took upon

themselves

and

of masters

the 9th and

12th century A.D.,

the task of system

of revealed

texts

to their debt

studied,

and

in the huge and multiform

collection

lation.

The

Spandasamdoha

by Ksemarja,

Abhinavagupta's

illustrious disciple,

is an

(12) Cf.

Patafijali's

statement

(MBh

I,

p.

11)

fabdapramanaka

vayam

/ yac

chabda

asmakam

quoted

pramanam

and

'We have

the word

by

as authority;

what

See

the word

says, that is our authority',

To

1958;

the already

some

quoted

interesting

1980,

commented

specific

Ingalls

1959 -

upon

contributions

the later authors.

to this

Jyer 1950:90-92.

are not many.

1961,

Ruegg

(13) The

line of research

and

of Renou,

in Ruegg

and

Staal

we

can

add Renou

1957

review by

Staal

1960 -,

and, more

recently, Ruegg

1978, Bhattacharya

154

dha

tad

so often

works

remarks

1980-81.

[41

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elaborate

samkaram

few

equals

complex

(yasyonmesanimesabhyar

and

commentary

In

jagatah

the grip

literature

on

the first stanza

a

only of the Spandakdlika

has

the

all the

it to

the

pralayodayau

of

real

/ tam Sakticakravibhavaprabhavam which

interpretative

delirium,

Shaivism

(see

some

parts

explores

of

his aim which

a particular

eye on

stumah

in

/).

the

of Kashmir

Pardtrims'ikdvivarana) and in Tantric literature in general, Ksemaraja

real or presumed

recesses

of the sloka

and

in so doing pursues

expound doctrines of theKrama.

Shaivism, may be condensed

some of the essential

One

themes of these schools, with

of these themes, which

made

of

all'.

No

everything

runs through thewhole of Kashmir

'all

is in all',

self-contained,

'all is

since

insistently repeats

or confines

in the formula sarvam sarvitmakam

be

said

to be

separate Sivatd (as Somananda

and

reality may

is pervaded

by a single nature,

Thus

in the Sivadrti)

or the Power.

there do not really exist separations

of any kind, there is nothing that remains definitively excluded from this circulation

of the dynamism

of Consciousness,

Thus

which

comes about precisely

it is possible

through this infinite

leap or in a cer

melting

and coagulating.

from everything

to make

the

immerse oneself

tain sense, does not have any centre (except the I) or because its centre is everywhere. In order to find confirmation of this principle, Ksemaraja turns to grammatical

speculation

tatha ca dvandvasamase

in the heart of the absolute,

a passage

bhasyam

ity-adi). He

upon

to

precisely because

this absolute,

and quotes

on the theory of the dvandva

'yadi nidariayitum

buddhih

is given this opportunity

passage

reference

(Spandasarndoha

p.

10

evam nidarsayitavyam

by two dvandvas

in the

is apparently

corrupted,

to Katyayana's

in order

thesis

to give

ca'

dhavau

kdrika, which he dwells

but

of yugapadadhikaranavacanatd

ca khadirau

not

fail

at length. The quoted an

unequivocal

(14). Indeed,

according

does

reveal

to Katyayana,

an account of the dual or plural ending attributed

one cannot but consider each member of the compound

others. Each of the words that form the dvandva must thus express both its own mean

to the final member

of the dvandva,

the

as implicitly containing

ing and that of the others.

This

conception,

as we know,

is not shared by Patafijali,

who

brands

it as duhkha

complications -

is

maintain

ca durupapddd

which

within

ca

(5).

He

believes

that, without

far removed

from common

their own meaning.

so many

sense -

unnecessary

which,

are, besides, the direct result of the grouping

the grouping

the dual or plural ending

however,

(samuddya) of the words,

Patafijali's

commentators

quotation that appears in the Spandasamdoha, therefore, though it is introduced by

dvandvasamase bhdsyam cannot come from the Mahdbhsya (and in

Kaiyata

and Nagesa

were

to share

the same point

of view.

fact it does

The

not)

which,

as we have seen, is opposed

to the yugapadadhikara/avacanata;

its source remamIs

unknown.

(14) Vdrtikas

dvandvavacanat);

I-XV

ad

see MBh

P

I,

II

pp.

2.9

430-34;

(in particular

vdrtt.

see also Roodbergen

2

siddham

tu yugapadadhikaranavacane

1974:139-90.

(15)MBh

I, p.

434

iyam yugapadadhikaranavacanata

nama

duhkha

ca durupapdda

to prove'.

theory

of simultaneous

denotation

is difficult

to understand

and difficult

[51

ca

'In

fact, this

155

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This whole

question

is taken up again by Bhartrhari

in the vrttisamuddesla of the

Vdkyapadiya.

His

short discussion

of Ka-tyayana

and Patafijali's