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VAC.

4RAMBHANAM
by
F. B. J. KUIPER

Leiden
The word vdcdrambhat~am in the celebrated exposition of Udd~laka's doctrine Yathd somyaikena m.rtp#.zd,ena sarvarh m.rnmayati7 vij~dtarh sydd, vdcdrambhan, aff~ vikdro ndmadheyam, mrttikety eva s a t y a m . . . Ch. Up. 6.1.4 is a well-known crux interprettm~. In spite of the fundamental importance of this passage, on which even materialistic doctrines have founded their claim to be orthodox and in agreement with the druti, 1 neither the syntactical relation between vdcdrarnbha.nam and the following two words, nor its formation, nor even the exact meaning of -drambha.na-alone is clear. Keith's remark that "the sense of vdcdrambha.na (of dubious formation) is uncertain ''~ is as true to-day as it was in 1925. Since vdcdrambhaoam is clearly a compound, and since the possibility of its containing a case form vdcd 3 may safely be ruled out, the word is apparently composed of vdcd- and drambhatja-. The substitution of stems in -d for feminine root nouns is a well-known feature of popular Sanskrit and Prakrit. Thus Pkt. disd-, which is attested as early as the A~okan Pillar Edicts (hida ceva disdstt ca), and P~tli disd- (e.g., disdsu vissutd Vimanavatthu 416) have their counterpart in ep. Skt. didd- (e.g., diddsu Mhbh. IV. 55.19 Bomb.). Owing to the popular character of the word, however, there is a tendency in the NW. and Eastern recensions of the Rfimayan.a to replace died- of the Southern recension by other readings (cf. Jacobi, Dos Rdmdyan. a, p. 6 f.). As for vdcd-, it is but seldom used in Skt. (e.g., tis.rbhir vdcdbhil.~ Paficat. IV, p. 3 P z ed. Biihle0, but in P~di and Prakrit vdcd-, resp. vdd- are the c o m m o n equivalents of Skt. vdc- (Pischel, Gramm., w 413). Since "popular" and 1 Cf. H. Jacobi, Festschr~ft Ernst Kuhn, p. 38. 2 The Religion andPhilosophy of the Veda and Upanishads (1925), p. 530, n. 3, 3 E.g. Hillebrandt, Veda-Chrestomathie, p. 115. Not quite clear is Renou's translation of vdcdrambha.nath ndmadheyam as "Une d6nomination (substantielle) qui a prise (sur la r6alit6) par le langage (seul)" Etudes vddiques et pd.nin~ennes, I (1955), p. 23. Different is the case of Rigv. vdcd-stena-.

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F . B . J . KUIPER

Pr~kritic speech forms are k n o w n to occur in the C h a n d o g y a Upani.sad 4 the use o f vdcd- is n o t surprising. As for -drambhan. a-, it is ( a p a r t f r o m the translations which merely assign to it a m e a n i n g conjectured f r o m the context) 5 i n t e r p r e t e d in a c c o r d a n c e either with Rigvedic drdmbhan, a- " h o l d , s u p p o r t " o r with the verb d rabhate " t a k e s h o l d of, seizes". Since however b o t h w o r d s are t a k e n to be e t y m o l o g i c a l l y c o n n e c t e d a n d a-rabh- is stated to m e a n also " t o lean u p o n " , n o clear distinction is generally m a d e between b o t h m e a n i n g s : It c a n n o t be denied, indeed, t h a t the m e a n i n g "seize" c a n easily develop to " t a k e h o l d of, lean o n " , cf. e.g., Ital. appigliarsi " s i e h anhalten, sich festhalten, sich stiitzen". Still, the d e r i v a t i o n o f ardmbha.na- f r o m d-rabh- " t o seize, t a k e h o l d o f " is u n a c c e p t a b l e , since the occurrence o f nasalized derivatives o f IE. *labh- w o u l d be inexplicable, 7 while, o n the o t h e r hand, the R i g v e d a has also a w o r d rambhd-, m. " p r o p , s u p p o r t , staff" (in d tvd rambhdff~ nd fivrayo rarabhmd, gavasas pate VIII. 45. 20ab, adj. rambhin-), for which the s u p p o s e d semantic d e v e l o p m e n t is ruled o u t because labhate ( w i t h o u t d-) only m e a n s " t o o b t a i n " (AB.SB.). s T h e r o o t rambh- is o b v i o u s l y a n extension o f IE. *rein-; cf. Lith. remiit, r~mia~, ret~ti " t o s u p p o r t " . 9 T h e locative in 4 Cf. H. Oertel "Zur Ch~ndogya Upani.sad," Studia Indo-Iranica (Ehrengabe IV. Geiger), 1931, pp. 134--138, Przyluski BSOS, V, pp. 303-306, the use of the local Dravidian word mat.acf-, etc. 5 E.g., "?besondere Bezeichnung" (PW, I, p. 188), "ein Nothbehelf der Rede, eine blosse Redensart" (PW, VI, p. 55), "eine Wortklauberei" (BShtlingk, Chfind. Up.), "Behelf im Ausdruck" (HiUebrandt, Veda-Chrestomathie, p. 115, Aus Brahmanas und Upanisaden, p. 81), "(die Verschiedenheit) bloss im Worte liegt" (Winternitz, Gesch. der altind. Lit., I, p. 214), "a verbal expression", "a matter of words" (Keith, The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upan., p. 530), "a matter of wording" (Coomaraswamy, HJAS, I, p. 61 n. 38), "affaire de langage", "creation de langage" (Senart), "a verbal distinction" (Hume), "(nome) derivato da V~tc" (Maryla Falk, 11 mito psicologico nell" India antica, p. 391). 6 E.g., "auf Worten beruhend" (Deussen, Allgem. Gesch. der Philosophie, I, 2, p. 148): "Anklammerung" (p. 149), "an Worte sich klammernd" (pp. 41, 356, Seehzig Upanishaden, pp. 154, 160); "a mere phrase (lit. a hold or support of language)", CappeUer, Skt.-Eng. Dict.; "un appigliarsi alia parola" (with note: "la individualith dei singoli oggetti sta aggrappata unicamente alle parole") (V. Papesso, Chand. Up., p. 189). Oldenberg, Lehre der Upanishaden, p. 70, translates "es haftet allein am Worte", V. A. Sukhtankar, WZKM, 22, pp. 142, 145: "beginning with speech". 7 Cf., e.g., Pokorny, Idg. etym. Wb., p. 652. s Delbriick's suggestion (Vergleichende Syntax der idg. Sprachen, II, p. 423) that rabh-, labh- may originally have meant "sich an etwas halten, klammern" is due to a misinterpretation of the Vedic facts but shows that he was aware of the difficulties involved in the derivatives of rabh- and rambh-. See further Walde-Pokorny, Vergleich. WSrterb. der idg. Sprachen, II, p. 372. Cf. Wackernagel, Altind. Gramm., I, p. 15, on Ved. ramn.dti "befestigen". A variant of rabh- is perhaps Av. rap- (cf. V~k 2, p. 95).

V.&CARAMBHANAM

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aLsdm dffTse.su rambhln, iva rdrabhe RS I. 168.3c " a u f ihre Schultern


lehnt sich (die Lanze), wie (eine Frau), die sich anlehnt" (Geldner) points to the conclusion that a verb d-rabh- " t o lean o n " was still in use in the Rigveda. It m a y however soon have come to be c o n f o u n d e d with its c o m m o n e r h o m o n y m d-rabh- " t o take hold o f " . Perhaps this was already the case in d tvd rambhdth nd jivrayo rarabhmd V I I I . 4 5 . 2 0 a b , where the accusative might induce us to render "we take hold o f thee" (cf. Nir. 3.21 drabh6mahe tv6 jir.nd ira dan.dam). In the post-Rigvedic language, in any case, the root rambh- was analogically introduced in forms and derivatives o f rabh-/labh-? ~ As a result o f it, drambhan, acame to be used in the later Vedic language to denote " g r i p " and " b e g i n n i n g " , e.g., drambhan, ato vai vajrasyd 'n. hnd, 'tho dan..dasya, 'tho para~or " a t the grip a thunderbolt is narrow, and so o f a club and o f an axe" AB. 2.35.5,1~ tasmdd dditydrambha.nafi~ t!'ffyasavanam "therefore the third pressing begins with the A d i t y a s " , 3.29.1. It is clear that this later usage does not prove anything for RS. X.81.2

khi7 svid dsM adhi.st.hdnam dr6mbhan, ati~ katamdt svit kathds~t / ydto bh~milh jandyan viAvdkarmd... Geldner's translation "Welches war
denn der Standort, welches war wohl der A n f a n g (und zugleich: der U r s t o f f " ) . . . a2 is, indeed, linguistically anachronistic, since the Rigvedic w o r d can only be derived f r o m rambh- and must mean, accordingly, "point o f support". In this sense it is still used in K~.th. VII.15 (: p. 78, 16 f.) ya e.sa odana.h pacyata, drambhatjam evaitat kriyata, dkraman, am eva (cf. XII.13: p. 176, 9) and in the adjective an6rambhan. 6- " w i t h o u t support, or, f o u n d a t i o n " . Cf. an6rambhan.~ ...andsthdnd agrabha.nd samudrd RS. 1.116.5ab, an6rambha.nd tdmasi prdviddham 1.182.6b (: VII. 104.3b), which are reminiscent of askambhand X. 149. l b (Nir. 10.32) and abudhnd 1.24.7a. Most explicit is again the K~.thaka in andrambha.nam ira vd etad, andyatanam ira, yad antarik.sam X X I . 8 (: p. 47,22). Cf.

10 The earliest instances occtu" in the prose of the YV-Sariahiffts, e.g., sam-anv~rambhayata TS. II. 4.2.2 (note the locative in br6hmann ev6 ks.atr6m anv3~ambhayati II. 6.2.5 "verily he makes the ruling class dependent on the priestly class" Keith). The noun derivative of a-rabh- "to begin" (with a similar semantic development as in Greek "~O,cgz~0~vo~z~, "~po~voF~. "to undertake", Latin incipere) is ~rambh6-, m. "beginning" (SB.+), cf. (anv)arambhaJ.ffya (i.sti-) "introductory (oblation)"; that of a-labh- "to touch (the victim for killing it at the sacrifice)" is alambhana-, n.; cf. 6lambhayati TB. 4-. 11 "an der Handhabe" PW; less good Keith: "at the beginning". Comm.: mhle

saulc.smyam ity arthab. 12 Cf. also Geldner, Glossar: "Anfang, Grundstoff, Element (oder mit R. : Handhabe)'" and his Kommentar, p. 179 f.

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F.B.J. KUIPER

Jaim. Br. 1.165L In this compound the old word remained in use until it was transformed into anaramban.a-. 1~ These Vedic texts show dr6mbha.na- to be nearly synonymous with akrarnan, a- and dyatana-, and to be used along with such words as adhi.st.hdna-, dsthdna-. The commonest word for the basis or foundation which is lacking in the sea and the sky is prati.st.hd- in Vedic (cf. Jaim.Br. III.273, where AkQp~ra Ka~yapa tasmin [scil. samudre] prati.st.ham aicchat), and alamba(na)- in the later language. ~ In this sense vdcdrambhan, a- was understood by Sal~kara and Mfidhva. 15 It might be objected, it is true, that at the time when t h e Chandogya Upani.sad was composed drambha.na- had been replaced by -dramban. a- (cf. Ch.Up.2.9.4 quoted below~Z), whereas d-rarnbh- had come to function as a root form of d-rabh-. A recent study by J. A. B. van Buitenen however sheds a new light on this side of the problem. He points out that Uddfilaka's speculations in Ch.Up.6 are closely connected with a cosmogonical myth, reference to which is made in several philosophical hymns o f Rigveda X (e.g., in X.81.4, where the terms adhi.st.hdnam and dr6mbhan, am occur) and "that his use of the term drambhan, a was inspired by its place in the entire idea-complex concerning the emergence of the many from the one...,,1~ He further stresses the r61e of V~tc in Prajfipati's creative act and concludes (op.c., p. 162): "The drambhan, a and adhi.st.hdna, the forest and the tree on which Vi~vakarman v~tcaspati stood when creating was identified with vdc/brahman. The vikara 'that which is separated out of the underlying stuff that is the material cause', that which appears as name-and-form, derives from (drambhan. a-) Vdc as the creating word of the creator, that force with which he is able to create. Udd~daka, who insists emphatically on the uniqueness of the first cause that is sat, must have conceived of this vdc as the power of creation of s a t . . . " The new problem of the notions associated with vdcd-, which this inter13 For yad idam antarik.sam anarambha.nam B,~U 3.1.6 the corresponding reading in SB. 14.6.1.8 is anaramba.n6m (against anarambha.ndm 4.6.1.2!). Similarly ChU. 2.9.4 tasm~t t~ny (scil. vay~rhsi) antariks.e 'naramba.nany ~d~y~'tm~naJiz paripatanti. The form aramba.na- survives in P~li aramma.na- (Geiger, Pali, w 45). The later use of alambana- for arambha.na- seems to be due to fusion as well as to substitution. 14 Cf., e.g., niralambe - gokasagare Kathfis. 67.56, niralambanam ambaram R~tm. 4.67.25. 1~ ~afikara (ad ChU. 6.1.4) explains vacarambha.nam: vagarambha.nam, vag~lambanam ity etat, while Madhva (ad Brahmas. 2.1.14, where the Ch~ndogya-passage is referred to) renders it by adhis.t.hanam. (For divergent interpretations in Indian commentaries see Vidhushekhara Bhattacharya, IHQ, 12, 1936, pp. 342-344). Cf. also S~tyan.a'sgloss alamb(h)anarahita- for Rigvedic anarambha.n6-, and ~afikara on ChU. 2.9.4. 1~ Indian Linguistics, 16 (Chatterji Jubilee Number, 1955), p. 157 ft. (esp. p. 160).

VACPd~AMBHANAM

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pretation introduces cannot be discussed in this brief note. Van Buitenen's general interpretation may be correct, although from his paraphrasis (based, as usual, on the supposition that vikdra is the subject, and vdcdrambha.nam the predicate) it does not become clear how the compound should be taken grammatically. If it is a tatpuru.sa (as would be most natural in the case of vikdra being the subject), "standingground of Vfic" can hardly be taken to mean "deriving from Vac". On the other hand, the meaning "based on the word (V~c)" might most easily be accounted for by taking vdc6rambhan, am as a bahuvrihicompound (like dditydrambha.na- quoted above), which, again, would involve the necessity of regarding vdcdrambhan, am vik~ro ndmadheyam as three predicates (as Oldenberg rendered it). 17 This, indeed, would seem to be the most natural interpretation of the whole passage. In any case, whatever meaning will have to be attributed to v~cd-, the explanation of vdcdrambhat3am should be based on the Rigvedic meaning "basis, foundation" of-drambha.na-. Any connection with RS. X. 125.8b, is where the goddess Vac is said to be drdbhamdn, d bht~vandni vlsvd ("alle Welten erfassend" Geldner) is excluded for linguistic reasons.

1~ "es haftet allein am Wort, ist eine Umwandlung, eine Benennung" (Die Lehre der Upanishaden und die Anfiinge des Buddhismus, p. 70); likewise Papesso. 18 As suggested by Coomaraswamy, HJAS, I (1936), p. 61 n. 38.