This volume is the outcome of the international seminar on Bhartrhari: Thought, Language and
Reality held in New Delhi on 12-14 December 2003 as part of the centenary celebrations of
Mitilal Banarsidass. In this seminar, scholars from all over the world presented their
interpretations of Bhartrhari's Philosophy, some in the light of the modern trends in
philosophy and linguistics, others in the backdrop of Indian tradition.
This volume contains almost all the papers presented at the seminar along with some other
papers invited from scholars who could not participate in the seminar to make it
comprehensive. The papers discuss the metaphysics of Bhartrhari and his ideas about questions
concerning language and reality. Some of the papers compare Bhartrhari with Western
Philosophers and linguists like Wittgenstein, Grice, Searle, Humboldt, Chomsky and Goldberg,
thus showing his contemporary philosophy and linguistics. It is clear that after the initial
efforts in the fourth of sixth decades of the twentieth century, Bhartrhari studies have now
gained a significant momentum.
Mithilesh Chaturvedi teachers in the Department of Sanskrit, University of Delhi. His
publications include Vrttisamuddesa of Bhartrharis Vakyapadiya: A study and several research
papers and articles in journals and magazines. He has translated an anthology of Sanskrit
poetry entitled Kavyasangraha, Part-I from Sanskrit into Hindi. He has also translated three
works from Engilsh into Hindi including Gaurinath Shastri's The Philosophy of word and
meaning. Currently he is engaged in an annotated Hindi translation of Helaraja's commentary on
the third Kanda of the Vakyapadiya.
The year 2003 A.D. marked a century of Indological publishing at Motilal Banarsidass. What had
begun as a humble business enterprise in Lahore in the year 1903, has over the decades,
blossomed into a house of international repute in the field of Indology. During these
momentous years, we have undergone several vicissitudes and passed through many a testing
time. Our commitment to the mission of Indology has, however, remained unshaken. If anything,
it has only gathered strength and momentum.
The centenary year, celebrated at MLBD during 1903-04, was our humble tribute to the founding
fathers of this House. Several programmes and functions were organized in different parts of
the country. These programmes concluded with a three-day international seminar on Bhartrhari:
Language, thought and Reality at the India International center, New Delhi, on December 12-14,
2003, in which some of the most eminent scholars and specialist deliberated on the subject,
taking into account, inter alia, the contemporary relevance of the rich legacy of this
As we sat to finalise the theme of the seminar, taking into account its propriety and
relevance to the occasion, the question that exercised our minds was, "What does a publisher,
in particular a publisher of Indological literature, do?" On this we debated through long
hours extended over several weeks. We consider it consider it necessary to share, in brief,
the process we underwent in taking the final decision.
The scholar, the specialist or the researcher delves deep into the universe of word and
thought. He surveys the vast empire of the masters of the past, gleans the choicest pearls
from its treasure-trove and, in the glow of his intellectual experience, weaves a garland of
letters and words and, in the process, makes value additions of major significance, so that
the connoisseurs of words, thought and meaning enjoy and enrich themselves. There, then, are
the creative writers too who, with the warp and weft of words, weave the magic of emotions and
thoughts to reach out to the generations, present and future, that stay under its spell. As
years move on scholars, specialists and experts of a different time delve into that creative
universe of emotions and thoughts to experience the nature of reality as enshrined in their
And a publisher becomes the vehicle, the transport, the medium, on which this great empire of
learning, wisdom and creativity rides to so across to the present and future generations of
the learner, the wise, the creator and many a lay reader who simply seeks his delight in the
realm of letters. Millennia of variegated Indian wisdom have inspired authors to increasingly
enrich our inheritance and placed a pleasant responsibility on the Indological publisher is
the common link between the author and the scholar of the reader.
And for both, author and publisher, while exploration of the nature of Reality may be the
raison d-etre for this effort, it is the word that is their wherewithal in this pilgrimage.
Hence, Bhartrhari, with his grand preoccupation with the philosophy of grammar, semantics and
thought, was identified as the theme of our seminar.
We are grateful to all the eminent experts and intellectuals of international eminence who
participated in the seminar, at our invitation and made valuable contribution to its
It has taken us rather long to collect, collate, compile, edit and publish the entire material
and, finally, bring it to our readers. The task was, in fact, complex and demanded
perseverance and unrelenting hard work on the part of the editor who made large investment of
his time and labour in order to make it possible for us to bring this volume out.
We hope this volume shall prove useful to all the serious students of the subject and motivate
them to carry further the research in this sphere.
Motilal Banarsidass is a name to conjure with in the world of Indological publications. Their
renown as publishers of original works in Sanskrit and Prakrit and standard research works in
all the branches of Indological learning hardly needs to be emphasized. Their centenary
celebration was an International Seminar on Bhartrhari. The Seminar was resounding success.
Scholars from different parts of the world attended it and contributed to the furtherance of
research in the writings and doctrines of Bhartrhari. Many have contributed to the study of
doctrines and texts in Bhartrhari. Many have contributed to the study of doctrines and texts
in Bhartrhari using the standard methodology of classical philology and historical research.
This methodology depending on text criticism, collation and documentation in now an accepted
part of Indological research. Some papers however attempt studies from a philosophical or
linguistic science point of view.
Earlier Bhartrhari had been placed in the seventh century A.D. on the basis of some traditions
related by I-tsing. Now relying on the evidence from Bhava-viveka and Dinnaga, Bhartrhari is
generally placed not later then the fifth century A.D. He revived the Mahabhasya tradition and
propounded the celebrated doctrine of sabda-brahma. Bhartrhari belonged to the grammatical
tradition, which reflected one side of Vedic orthodoxy, but it tended to differ both from the
Mimamsa as well as from Vedanta. The common objective of the schools of Vedic philosophy was
to search for the original principle of creation. The Upanisads identified that principle with
sat, being or sentience and called it Brahma. The diversity of the world is nothing but names
and forms overlying non-dual being or sentience. The Mimamsakas upheld the eternity of the
Vedic word as varnanupurvi. The grammatical tradition culminating in Bhartrhari identifies the
Brahma as sabda and the sabda as sphota. The celebrated opening verse of the Vakyapadiya:
Anadinidhanam brahma sabdatattvam yadaksaram,
Vivartate rthabhavena prakriya jagato yatah.
Outlines the doctrine in a nutshell. Brahma is the original principle of the world. It is
without beginning and end. It is essentially one and eternal but is capable of differentiation
through its association with its powers. This process of appearing as different without losing
its essential identity is termed vivarta.
Even till the age of Sankara the word vivarta had virtually the same sense as parinama.
Pre-Sankara Vedanta from Badarayana onwards clipped upon the world as a heterogeneous
transformation of Brahma. Brahma is one, eternal and sentient. The world is manifold,
transient and insentient. And yet the world is the parinama or vivarta of Brahma. This
manifestly illogical doctrine leads Gaudapada and Sankara to argue that the world is an
illusory appearance. The Sankhya doctrine of parinama kept sentience outside the process of
temporal transformation. In Bhartrhari however vivarta seems to be the same as a realistic
parinama. But there are many overtones of illusionism. Thus Brahma is differentiated by its
saktis, which include that of avidya. Change and reality are appearances. Objects are meaning
constructs comparable to dream phenomena etc.
Even though Bharthrari's vivarta is close to parinama, in the sense that it is not an illusory
transformation, vevertheless it is not real change either. The differentiation of forms or the
process of activity in time is regarded by him as appearances only. These changing appearanes
serve empirical purposes. The inward nature of Brahma is hidden in consciousness. But it has
the power of expressing itself as communication. This capacity of self-expression and
communication gives it the character of word. The essence of the eternal reality of Brahma
expresses itself in the diversity of the empirical world as the word and meaning. There is no
doubt that creative power is definitely attributed to speech. This theory of sabdadvaita and
also that of creation by word and thought can only be understood as self-expression. It would,
thus seem that Bhartrhari is committed to a realistic theory of the world. However, if we
reflect over the nature of he meanings intended by words or the objects projected by thought,
it is difficult to see how these could be called real. The object of speech and thought can
hardly be said to have any reality apart from their appearing to consciousness. The linguistic
model of creation shows the purely phenomenal nature of the world far more clearly than the
older Vedantic analogy of the clay and the pots made out of it.
Ekameva yadamnatam bhinnam saktivyapasrayat,
Aprthaktve pi saktibhyah prthktveneva vartate.
In particular it is the power of time with its assumption of divisions and parts, which
imposed the process of change in Brahma as the ground reality.
Adhyahitakalam yasya kalasaktim upasritah,
Janmadayo vikarah sad bhavabhedasya yonayah.
As a result of differentiation the unity of Brahma appears to be split into the world of
subject, objects and experiences.
Ekasya sarvabijasya yasya ceyam anekadha,
Bhoktrbhoktavyarupena bhogarupena ca sthitih.
For Bhartrhari the scope of perception and inference is limited to empirical objects. The
knowledge of supra-sensuous reality can come only from the agama. Even the intuitive knowledge
of the seers depends on the agama. The gateway to the understanding of the agama is the
science of grammar.
Praptorupavibhagaya yo vacah paramo rasah,
Yat tat punyatamam jyotis tasya margo yamanjasah.
Sabda as the matrix of the world is to be distinguished from speech and language as found in
common experience. These belong to dhvani or sound and immanent regulatory order. One may say
that just as the graphic form of the word stands for the phonetic form, the phonetic form
stands for the ideal word as a significator, which is inseparable from thought.
Vikalpa-yonayah sabdah vikalpah sabda-yonayah.
Behind the spoken and conventional language there is a deeper language of thought. This in
turn is the discursive form of intuitive or pasyanti, mental psychological or madhyama and
phonetic or vaikhari. At the level of sound as dhvani language of speech becomes divided into
numerous languages or speeches. Each language uses a different set of phonemes in a different
order to signify the same or similar objects. But this dissimilarity of words and their
constructions at the level of dhvani disappears largely at the psychological level so that
different languages become translatable and their meanings intelligible even without their
specific linguistic form. This suggests the notion of sphota as an ideal word which has no
necessary connections with the particular sound patterns. For the grammarians pada-sphota was
an abstraction from vakya-sphota. Ideally there is one or comprehensive affirmation, an
infinite judgment unified in a single self-expressive act of the omniscient consciousness.
This is pranava, the matrix of the Veda from which begins the tradition of knowledge (agama)
increasingly diversified into the sciences.
Bhartrhari's ideas on language were foud highly suggestive by Buddhist logicians who however
used them for purposes of their own. For the Buddhist, the word is the inbuilt force of
illusion in thought not the revelation of reality. But they agreed that sabda and vikalpa are
inseparable. Vikalpa is not a pure signifier like some ideal word. It is a determination or
differentiation, marker in the stream of experience. Consequently meanings are not
self-subsistent or independent objects. They are mental constructs. Some of these reflect
innate tendencies of the mind, anadivasana. It deserves to be noted that these categories have
been regarded as purely logical or transcendental in Western thought which abhors the
psychologising tendency. In Bhartrhari however, what is revealed at the level of thought is
not the original product of the psyche but a reflection with inevitable distortion of a
The Kashmir saivas accepted the doctrines of the multiple levels of language. Somananda had
been very critical of the doctrine of Bhartrhari, largely because he understood Bhartrhari's
sabda-brahma as a insentient principle. This however is a misunderstanding. Later philosophers
of the Pratyabhijna School held a different view. Since pasyanti appears to refer to the
knowledge of Sadasiva, they posited a fourth state called para. Sankaracarya rejected the
concept of sphota altogether and placed sabda including the Vedas in the phenomenal world.
As the papers of the Seminar show, there has been considerable interest in the study of
Bhartrhari as the philosopher of language. Some papers study specific doctrines and texts from
Bhartrhari following, as mentioned earlier, the methods of classical philology or historical
research. This methodology is well entrenched in Indological or historical research. A few
papers attempt the comparative evaluation of ideas such as pratyavamarsa, dhvani or kala. Some
point to the need for opening the doors of independent philosophical research or of
approaching Bhartrhari from the insights of new direction in linguistic research. The Seminar
succeeds in highlighting the importance of Bhartrhari as a philosopher of language as well as
metaphysician and the immense areas of research which lie ahead. While there are several
partial translations of Vakyapadiya, a complete, lucid modern translation of the Vakyapadiya
itself remains an outstanding desideratum.
Motilal Banarsidass need to be thanked for the lead they have taken in opening up what may be
called a whole new branch of research in philosophy and indology.
This volume is an outcome of the international seminar on Bhartrhari: Thought, Language and
Reality held in New Delhi on 12-14 December 2003 as part of the centenary celebrations of
Motilal Banarsidass. In this seminar, scholars from all over the world presented their
interpretations of Bhartrhari's philosophy, some in the light of the modern trends in
philosophy and linguistics, others on the backdrop of Indian tradition. This volume contains
almost all the papers presented at the seminar along with some other papers invited from
scholars who could not participate in the seminar to make the volume comprehensive. The papers
discuss the metaphysics of Bhartrhari and his ideas about questions concerning language and
reality. Some of the papers compare Bhartrhari with Western philosophers and linguists like
Wittgenstein, Grice, Searle, Humboldt, Chomsky and Goldberg, thus showing his relevance to
problems in contemporary philosophy and linguistics. It is clear that after the initial
efforts in the fourth to sixth decades of the twentieth century, Bhartrhari studies have now
gained a significant momentum.
The keynote address delivered by V.N.Jha at the beginning of the seminar raises a number
question about language which have drawn the attention of philosophers since the Rgvedic
period. Some of them are: How do we speak? How does the listener understand an utterance? What
is the nature of language? How does it capture human thought? Jha also touches upon a number
of other issues such as the purpose of grammar, the subject-matter of the Vakyapadiya and the
philosophical presuppositions of Bhartrhari. He also cautions against taking Bhartrhari's text
outside the context and losing track of the tradition in which Bhratrhari's text outside the
context and losing track of the tradition in which Bhratrhari's work came into being.
In his paper "Veda revelation according to Bhartrhari", Ashok Aklujkar discusses the
connotations of words like saksatkrta-dharman and pratyaksadharman used in Bhartrhari's Vrtti
and earlier by Yaska and Patanjali. He interprets dharma as ‘properties of things'. According
to him, Bhartrhari uses the word veda in more than one sense: Veda in a subtle form as
appearing in the vision of seers comes before the sequential language form of the textual
corpus that is later divided into four Vedas and different sakhas. Aklujkar equates Veda in
pre-revelation stage with para-pasyanti-rupa or the language principle itself and the first
revelation with pasyanti, i.e., the active or the extrovert stage of it. He also thinks that
Bhartrhari's account of Veda revelation is not an expression of faith only but also has
philosophical content and there is empiricist spirit in the account. He further draws the
conclusion that although Bhartrhari has genuine reverence for the Veda, he opts for
theoretical fictions when necessary. Aklujkar has added four appendices, mainly discussing the
relevant Vrtti and Nirukta passages textually, to his paper.
Johannes Bronkhorst examines the question of Bhartrhari's Vedic tradition. On the basis of an
examination of Bhartrhari's Vedic quotations and ritual details, Bronkhorst concludes in his
earlier papers that Bhartrhari belongs to the Manava Maitrayaniya school of Veda. In the
present paper, he tries to explore the extent to which this school may have influenced
Bhartrhari's thought. He compares Bhartrhari ideas with those found in the available Maitryani
Upanisad and in Manusmrti. His conclusion is that the original Maitrayani Upanisad might have
influenced Bhartrhari's thought. He also maintains that Bhartrhari Knew and probably used a
Manava Dharmasastra, which was a predecessor of the present Manusmrti.
George Cardona presents Bhartrhari as a faithful follower of the tradition. In Cardona's
opinion, although Bhartrhari on many occasions innovates, he does not lose track of the
tradition. Cardona discusses in detail Bhartrhari's view regarding the sentence and sentence
meaning as impartite wholes and shows that this thesis is not without traditional support.
Bhartrhari says that he bases his conclusions on linguistic behavior and may sometimes ignore
ontological considerations (cf. sabdapramanaka vayam). In this context, scholars have talked
about his spirit of accommodation and his perspectivistic approach. Cardona discusses the
background behind Patanjali's and Bhartrhari's treatment of different semantic issues and the
reasons why they felt an obligation to include different views in their works. He shows that
in spite of presenting several views, both Patanjali and Bhartrhari have a distinct preference
for a particular viewpoint. Wherever essential tenets of grammarians are concerned Bhartrhari
seriously defends his own position.
Madhav M. Despande revisits the notion of sista in Bhartrhari, which he has discussed in some
of his earlier publications. While the sistas of Patanjali are an idealized contemporary
community, for Bhartrhari sista is both a rsi and an acarya. Panini makes a distinction
between rsi and acarya (grammatical authority and teacher) but Bhartrhari calls grammarians
like Panini and Patanjali rsis as well as sistas. He lays emphasis on agama on Bhartrhari is
engaged in re-establishing the Vyakarana tradition which according to his own description had
become obsolete. He claims agamic foundations for his grammatical tradition in order to
distinguish it from non-Vedic traditions. In Deshpande's view, the reification of grammarian
sages was only a small part of this project.
K.D. Tripathi looks at the Vakyapadiya as a work of vyakarna-agama and its first five verse as
the core of that agama. Tripathi discusses Bhartrhari's idea of thought being impregnated by
the word and states that it does not mean that Bhartrhri admits savikalpaka cognition only.
Tripathi views Bhartrhari's notion of vivarta as undamentally different from that of Sankara.
In Bhartrhari's philosophy it is the free will of Brahman which is responsible for its
appearing as experiencer, experienced and the experience itself. The notion of power as
freedom is implicit in the Grammarian's doctrine while it is explicit in Kashmir Saivism.
Tandra Patnaik discusses the relation between language and thought and tries to explore
whether thought is independent of language or language-determined in Bhartrhari's philosophy.
She presents a study of Bhartrhari's philosophy vis a vis the western language philosophers.
How does a listener imderstand a unitary meaning from a stretch of sounds? And how does
language function in limitless ways? Patnik feels that most Western philosophers have failed
to pay attention to such problems because they take much for granted. Bhartrhari's answer here
would be that the power to use language in limitless ways is rooted in the linguistic
competence (sabdabhavana) inherent in each human being. Sphota is connected with this
linguistic competence. Following B.K Matilal, Patnaik understands Bhartrhari's sphota as
language principle. She prefers to propositional content and the speech act.
Mithilesh Chaturvedi in his paper discusses the relation between language and reality
according to Bhartrhari. To explain this relation Bhartrhari admits a two-fold existence in
the field of linguistic usage: mukhya satta and bauddha or upacara-satta. Our linguistic usage
takes place on the basis of an existence created by mental constructs. The paper shows how, by
admitting this two-fold existence, Bhartrhari solves various problems concerning language such
as the problem of negative statements and that of usage expressing absolutely unreal objects
like hare's horn, barren woman's son, etc. This also explains the two way cause-effect
relation between word and meaning and leads to the grammarians' thesis that word and meaning
have a mental status.
Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat discusses the concept of time in Bhartrhari's thought. According to
Filliozat, Bhartrhari conceives time as independence of the supreme principle and thus
reconciles the unity of Brahman with the multiplicity of phenomena. Kalasakti is the first
power which holds its sway over other powers, and which is the main location of
transformational process. Filliozat shows how Bhartrhari's concept of time has considerably
influenced Saiva Siddhanata philosophy. He also points at the close resemblance between
Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya and Bhatta Ramakantha's Matangaparamesvargama.
Hidevo Ogawa analyses Bhartrhari's notion of ‘power' (sakti) which plays a critical role not
only from the point of view of his metaphysics but also from the point of view of his
linguistic theory. Bhartrhari's postulation of power enables him to defend his advaitic
position. At the semantic level, a power is viewed as distinct from substance while at the
metaphysical level it is non-distinct from its locus.
Vladimir P.Ivanow studies Bhartrhari's advaita taking into consideration the concept of vidya
and avidya. Although Bhartrhari considers sastra as belonging to the sphere of avidya, he says
that the vyakarana-sastra is a means to liberation. Ivanov solves this apparent contradiction
by saying that progression from avidya is a natural process in Bhartrhari's philosophy that
presupposes the necessity of both. According to Ivanov, Bhartrhari's position seems to be
close not to Advaita Vedanta but to Kashmir Saivism.
P.K Mudhopadhyay feels that Bhartrhari cannot be called a philosopher of language in the
modern sense on the basis of his theories of sabdabrahma and sphota. But, according to him,
these theories are not integral to Bhartrhari's thought. They are only incidental aspects of
his grammar. There are other theses made by Bhartrhari by virtue of which his philosophy can
be classed with modern philosophy of language, viz.,
1. Language and Reality are one; 2. Language and Thought are one; and 3. Sentence is the
primary unit of language. Mukhopadhyay refers to modern philosophers' versions of these
theses, which are not as radical as Bhartrhari's and are easier to understand, as they do not
mix up metaphysical doctrine with philosophy of language. Examining from a realist's position,
Mukhopadhyay does not find arguments supporting these theses as sound and convincing. He
raises some important questions and also reiterates some old criticism against Bhartrhari,
although the answers to some of his objections may be found in the present volume itself.
R.C.Pradhan in his paper discusses Bhartrhari's philosophy of language. Bhartrhari's sabda
stands for language in the universal sense which is eternal and timeless while speech or
linguistic utterance is a descent from the ideal essence of language. It is the descent form
the timeless to the temporal order. According to Pradhan, sphota is the underlying reality of
all languages and thus spohota and sabda are identical. Pardhan also discusses Bhartrhari's
theory of meaning and his idealist position.
Karunasindhu Das surveys a wide range of literature regarding different approaches to language
and shows how Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya accommodates the linguistic traditions prevalent in its
era and helps their further development in the days to follow. He discusses questions like the
relation of dhvani to sphota and that between word and meaning and sabda and apasbda in
different traditions and concludes that the Vakyapadiya is the source of all these traditions.
Bhartrhari has exercised a sizable influence over the thought-structure of Kashmir Saivism.
Abhinavagupta, the great exponent of Kashmir Saivism holds Bhartrhari in high esteem. The next
three papers throw light on Bhartrhari's impact on Kashmir Saiva tradition and how this
tradition interprets Bhartrhari. Navajivan Rastogi looks at Bhartrhari's philosophy from
Abhinava's perspective. Abhinava adopts Bhartrhari's terminology, reasoning and illustrations.
Rastogi discusses in detail Bhartrhari's statement that there is no cognition in which the
word does not figure. He discusses Abhinava's interpretation of Bhartrhari's thesis,
elaborating in the process its treatment by the Buddhist and Nyaya logicians and the Saiva
Siddhantin. He focuses on Bhartrhari's use of the word pratyavamarsa which he tries to
interpret with the help of Abhinava's works.
Raeflle, Torella points out in his paper how the attitude of the Pratyabhijna School towards
Bhartrhari has changed in the span of only one generation. While somananda severely criticizes
Bhartrhari, his direct disciple Utpaladeva intergrates Bhartrhari's teaching into his own
system. Torella explores the reasons behind this change of attitude. He argues that Utpala
find a mani ally in Bhartrhari and makes use of his doctrine of language-imbued nature of
knowledge against the Buddhists, who were his ‘most intimate enemies'.
Starting with a discussion on the notion of dhvani in Bhartrhari's works- the Vakyapadiya
karikas and the Mahabhasyadipika (=Mahabhasyatika) – Anna Radicchi studies the occurrences of
this term in Abhivava's works. She takes into consideration Abhinava's use of the word dhvani
in his philosophical works, as well as his musical theory and practice, and proposes that in
Abhinavagupta, dhvani no longer means articulated sound but has a variety of meanings.
In his paper "Bhartrhari and the Jainas," Jan E.M. Houben shows that Bhartrhari refers to the
views of the Jainas along with those of the Mimamsakas, Vaisesikas, Sankhyas and Buddhists. He
also points out that Bhartrhari was familiar with the Jaina views on Prakrit and on how the
word is articulated. Jaina authors like Mallavadin and Simhasuri also pay considerable
attention to Bhartrhari and a study of their works can be of help for a better understanding
and appreciation of Bhartrhari. Houben also shows that Bhartrhari explicitly refers to the
Jainas in the Mahabhasyadipika but the Vrtti on the Vakyapadiya avoids such references, which
"reinforces our impression that the Vrtti is not by the same author."
Toshiya Unebe studies Vakyapadiya, 2.119 in the light of criticisms by Kumarila, Santaraksita
and Kamalasila. Since the vrtti on this karika is not available, the criticism is particularly
helpful for a comprehensive understanding of the view expressed in this Karika.
Next, some of the papers study Bhartrhari in the context of questions related to grammar,
syntax and semantics, Brendan S. Guillon examines the structure and the placement of gerunds
in a sankrit sentence. He analyzes the basic ideas with regard to constituency and word order
in classical sankrit prose and presents morpho-syntactic details to properly situate the
problem about the use of the Noun phrase to express the agent in a gerund phrase. Although the
agent cannot stand on its own in a gerund phrase, its express use in the gerund phrase is not
prohibited by the Astadhyayi. It is in this context that the author expounds ‘Bhartrhari's
rule' and says that it is the ‘Bhartrhari's rule' that precludes the use of the subject in a
gerund phrase since it can be construed as expressed on the basis of the agent of the verb of
the principal clause. He also shows how some unacceptable sentences having a gerund which has
an agent different from that of the verb of the principal clause. He also shows how some
unacceptable sentences having a gerund which has an agent different from that of the verb
phrase of the subordinating clause can be ruled out on the basis of Bhartrhari's rule although
there is nothing in the Astadhyayi to exclude such sentences. Conclusively, subscribing to the
view of desphande (1980), Gillon avers that Bhartrhari's view of gerund is indeed the
treatment originally found in the Astadhyayi.
Arindam Chakrabarti discusses the concept of ‘object' as treated by Bhartrhari who has
discussed various uses of the accusative case in his Vakyapadiya. Chakrabarti starts with the
question of free agency in the context of the definition of the agent in Panini's grammar. The
concept of the agent naturally implies the concept of the object and so Chakrabarti analyzes
with the help of new examples different categories of object given by Bhartrhari. He shows
that Bhartrhari's analysis of the object is relevant in the context of the problem of
intentionality and in the context of contemporary concerns about moral and epistemological
Vincenzo Vergiani deals with Bhartrhari's treatment of ‘sesa relationships'. Sanskrit
grammarians use the term sesa to refer to non-karaka relations. Vergiani discusses different
types of sesa relationships as discussed by Bhartrhari and says that since Karaka is a general
notion and every nominal word may be regarded as connected sense. However it is not karaka in
a formal way as the action involved is not in the foreground. Vergiani thinks that
Bhartrhari's notion of sadhana is broader than that of karaka and embraces at least some sesa
Yoshie Kobayashi shows in her paper how in Bhartrhari's denotation theory' a thing can be
spoken about only when it is connected with a delimiting factor different from it. Thus,
according to Bhartrhari, a universal should have a further universal to be denoted by a word,
and the word expresses its on universal before it expresses the object-universal. In
Bhartrhari, the universals are nothing but mental representations having the property of
consisting in a common characteristic.
What is the basis of masculine of feminine gender when it is applied to words that designate
inanimate and asexual things? Fernando Tola and Carmen Dragonetti discuss Bhartrhari's concept
of linga (grammatical gender) on the background of this question. Bhartrhari gives seven
different definitions of linga in the 13th samuddesa of the third kanda. The joint paper by
Tola and Dragonetti discusses and examines these definitions. In the opinion of the authors,
Bhartrhari does not adhere exclusively to any one of these definitions or vikalpas and all of
them are valid from a certain perspective.
Nuriyuki Kudo discusses the use of the term vakyabheda in Bhartrhari's Mahabhasyadipika. While
yogavibhaga or ‘splitting of a rule' is a grammatical device among the Paniniyas, vakyabheda
or ‘splitting of a sentence' is considered a fault in the Mimamsa tradition. Kudo argues that
in Bhartrhari the term vakyabheda is sometimes equivalent to yogavibhaga, and at other times
it means ‘ a separate rule' or is used in the sense of ‘a rule having an additional mening'.
Thus vakyabheda is a sort of interpretive method. Nevertheless it has a wider denotation than
that of yogavibhaga.
While studying the Indian texts on philosophy and grammar, one is inevitably attracted to
compare and contrast them with modern theoretical currents. Jan. E.M. Houben in his second
paper studies Bhartrhari in the context of cognitive linguistics which is a recent development
of theories that are in many respects opposite to those of Saussure and Chomsky. Houben feels
that structural approaches to language formulated by Saussure and Chomsky which "implicitly or
explicitly guide the students of Bhartrhari are glaringly absent" in Bhartrhari's approach to
language and Panini's grammar. On the other hand, most of the assumptions of cognitive
linguistics accord remarkable well with the ideas of Bhartrhari. Listing seven foundational
assumptions of cognitive linguistics presented by A.E. Goldberg, Houben examines which of them
are valid in the context of Bhartrhari. Houben feels that further studies in this direction
can be highly rewarding both for Bhartrhari studies and cognitive linguistics.
Ana Agud compares Bhartrhari with Humboldt, the German scholar who, she says, was the first
linguist in Europe to develop a true philosophy o language but has largely remained unknown.
She points out some striking similarities between Humboldt and Bhartrhari. For example,
Humboldt talks about the spiritual force of word which is rather unusual in European
tradition. Humboldt tries to explain rationally the problem of unity and diversity which also
Towards the end of this volume, we have a fairly exhaustive Bibliography on Bhartrhari
compiled by Yves Ramseier, which is an updated version of his earlier bibliography published
for the first time in Bhate and Bronkhorst 1993 (Indian edition 1994).
At the inaugural ceremony of the seminar, several speakers had expressed the hope that the
seminar would make a significant contribution to the study of Bhartrhari's thought. The
quality of the papers and the variety of themes covered by them testifies that this hope has
been fully realized.
The idea of holding this seminar germinated and took a shape in the minds of Mr. N.P. Jain,
Prof. V.N. Jha and Dr. Kanshi Ram and was well executed by the team of Motilal Banarsidass
with the able assistance of Dr. Rachana Sharma and Mr. A.P.N. Pankaj. We express our gratitude
to them and all those who have worked to make the seminar and this volume a success. We are
particularly grateful to Prof. G.C. Pande for contributing a very learned foreword to this
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