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Mimamsa Nyaya Prakasa - Or Apadevi: A Treatise on the Mimansa System By Apadeva (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAS144
Author: Franklin Edgerton
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Language: English
Edition: 1986
ISBN: 8170300244
Pages: 322
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 480 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

The Mimansa-one of the six philosophy of Indian thought may be best described as a system of legal logic. It undertakes to lay down principles by which the laws of the Vedic rituals may be interpreted. For it regards the entire Veda as a code of law-ritual law.

The present treatise Mimansa Nyaya Prakasa is fairly known text in India- professes to summarize the essential doctrines of the Mimansa system. It is, in fact, the most familiar introductory work to the system known in India. It is the favourite text used by the Hindu Pandits to initiate their pupils into the Mimansa. It surpasses in brevity and clarity the long-winded and fine-spun writings of Kumarila, which has been translated by Ganganatha Jha. It is therefore worthwhile to make it accessible to English knowling world. It has never been translated into any language.

The present edition contains-an Introduction, Translation of the text edited from three different mss. and Indices which includes Glossarial Index of Sanskrit Words, Index of Quotations and Index of English Words.


This book is the outcome of my stay in the city of Poona, August and September, 1926. During this period I read the Mimansa Nyaya Prakasa with Pandit Wamana Sastri Kinjawadekar’s Head of the Poona Mimansa Vidyalaya, which is affiliated with the New Poona College. With the help of Pandit Kinjawadekar’s oral explanation (in Sanskrit) of the text I then made a rough English translation, which I have since thoroly revised with the aid of Chinnaswami’s commentary in the edition to which I refer as "C," and of other works. I have also attempted to trace, so far as possible, all the quotations from Vedic and other texts contained in the book. It would be of some interest to study in this way all the quotations in the Bhasya on the Jaimini Sutras. The results could not but throw light on the history of Vedic tradition. Chinnaswami made a start towards tracing the quotations of our text, but his references are not always accurate or reliable, and are furthermore not as complete as they might be.

The Mimansa system has attracted little attention in the west. The little that has been written about it, as in Keith’s handbook (The Karma-Mimansa), or even in Radhakrishnan’s Indian Philosophy (Volume 2), the work of an Indian scholar, deals. chiefly with the metaphysical and epistemological aspects of the system. But these are relatively unimportant, from the point of view of the Mimansa itself. They are, therefore, practically ignored in the Mimansa Nyaya Prakasa, which is nevertheless recognized as the best introduction to the system. (So Chin-naswami describes it in his Sanskrit introduction, p. 1; and he unquestionably voices the general opinion of Hindu pandits.)

As it appears here, the Mimansa may best be described as a system of legal logic. It undertakes to lay aown principles by which the laws of the Vedic ritual may be interpreted. For it regards the entire Veda as a code of law—ritual law, of course. The sole purpose of the Veda is to lay down a beneficent course of human action: But—especially when regarded from this view- point—the Veda appears to be confused and unsystematic. It needs to be systematized and codified. The Mimansa worked out a system of principles of interpretation and interrelation of the various elements in the Veda. Its object is to formulate a set of rules or logical principles by which the real meaning of the Veda, and the interrelation of its various parts, may be understood, and so applied to human action—duty, or dharma.

The historic importance of the system lies in its application to various departments of Indian literature and culture. In the first place, as we might expect, the commentators on Vedic texts were as a rule trained Mimansakas. Especially the commentaries on the Brahmana and Sutra texts can hardly be under- stood without some familiarity with Mimansa technique. (This is somewhat less true of the commentaries on the mantras, the Samhitas, because the Mimansa deals with them only in an ancillary way, regarding them as only subordinate elements in the Veda; see 203, 239 ff. of this work.) Secondly, Hindu law is deeply indebted to the Mimansa for its principles of interpretation. The ‘legal logic’ worked out in connexion with the code of the ritual could be, and was, equally applied to the interpretation of secular law. This has long been recognized. See e.g. Ganganath Jha, The Prabhakara School of the Parva Mimansa, Allahabad, 1911, pp. 308-317; Keith, Karma-Mimansa, pp. 97-107; and especially P. V. Kane, A Brief Sketch of the Purva-Mimansa System, Poona, 1924, pp. 26-39, in which the author, a distinguished lawyer of present-day India, shows how the Mimansa rules of interpretation still possess the greatest practical importance for the interpretation of Hindu law, and are and should be recognized by the courts.—Furthermore, the Mimansa contains not a little that is interesting from the point of view of theoretical linguistics, as will be shown later. When the time comes to write a general history of linguistic theories, this school will play an important part in the Indian section of that work.

In no other work, probably, are these rules stated as succinctly and clearly as in this Apadevi or Mimansa Nyaya Prakasa; certainly in none that has been translated. It is, in fact, the most familiar introductory work to the system known in India. It is the favourite text used by Hindu pandits to initiate their pupils into the Mimansa. Its only possible rival is the Arthasamgraha of Laugaksi Bhaskara (edited and translated by Thibaut, Benares Sanskrit Series No. 4, 1882). This text is, however, too brief to be clear in many parts, as Thibaut rightly says in his Preface. He there says that he would have preferred the Apadevi, but selected the Arthasarhgraha simply because of its much smaller bulk. Our text is more complete and much more lucid. On the other hand, it far surpasses in brevity and clarity the long-winded and fine-spun writings of Kumarila, which have been translated by Ganganath Jha (see the Bibliography). It seems, therefore, worth while to make it accessible to western scholars. It has never before been translated into any language.

Altho the text has been repeatedly printed in India, and altho I have not had access to manuscripts of it, it has seemed desirable to reprint the text also along with the translation, because anyone using the latter will certainly wish to refer constantly to the former, and because the Indian editions are not readily accessible and are little known in the west.

I have added a Glossarial Index, which is intended to combine the features of an index of important Sanskrit words and a glossary of technical terms. Among the latter I include not only special terms of the Mimansa, but all terms peculiar to Indian philosophical and grammatical systems which occur in the work, and which might not be easily comprehensible to one not familiar with these fields. I hope that in this way the book may be made fairly clear and simple even to students of Sanskrit who have had no previous acquaintance with these technical departments of literature.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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