Vudora Those birds, which come and sit on our laps and stay in the mountain, drink those tears of joy and bliss which flow from the eyes of those noble sages who continually meditate upon the great Brahma. The seven neetii verses of Devi Mahathmyam form one of the cornerstones of […]. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. He was born in a Brahmin family in Kerala. Thou art the apple of my eye, the Prema of my heart, the very Life of shatk life, the very Soul of my soul, the Illuminator of my intellect and […]. One must have only a single friend whether a king or an ascetic.

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The conventionalists, on the other hand, hold that the analytic language is primary in that it contains within it all the structural features that may be used to create meaningful speech. For the Buddhists, meaning is a function of social and linguistic convention and reference is ultimately a projection of imaginative consciousness. Bhartrihari puts forth a theory of language which, rather than starting by taking fundamental ontological, epistemological or social sides in these well-established debates, starts from the question of how meaning happens, how it emerges from the acts of both speaker and audience, and, constructing this theory first, what he believes to be appropriate metaphysical, epistemological and soteriological implications are drawn from it.

For Bhartrihari, linguistic meaning cannot be conveyed or accounted for by the physical utterance and perception of sounds, so he puts forth the sphota theory: the theory which posits the meaning-unit, which for him is the sentence, as a single entity. According to him sphota signifies spoken language, with the audible sound dhvani as its special quality.

This is so because for Bhartrihari, meaning is conveyed by the sentence. The meaning of the sentence, the speech-unit, is one entire cognitive content samvit. The sentence is indivisible akhanda and owes its cognitive value to the meaning-whole. Thus, its meaning is not reducible to its parts, the individual words which are distinguished only for the purposes of convention or expression.

The sentence employs analyzable units to express its meaning, but that meaning emerges out of the particular concatenation of those units, not because those units are meaningful in themselves.

We analyze language by splitting it up into words, prefixes, suffixes, etc…. Words are only abstracted meaning possibilities in this sense, whereas the uttered sentence is the realization of a meaning-whole irreducible to those parts in themselves. This fundamental unity seems to apply, also, to any language taken as a whole. Sphota is therefore the cause of manifested language, which is meant to convey meaning.

Bhartrihari explains that the apparent difference between sphota and dhvani arises as we utter words. Initially, the word exists in the mind of the speaker as a unity but is manifested as a sequence of different sounds-thus giving the appearance of differentiation.

But what holds the act to its ability to convey intended meanings? This intuitive level of understanding, constitutive of the sphota, is teleological in its nature and structure in that it contains all potential possibilities of meaning-bearing dhvanis and their order of manifestation. But, what guarantees that the hearer of speech properly comprehends what is uttered? It is a cognitive state evident to the hearer…not describable or definable, but all practical activities depend on it directly or through recollection of it.

However, linguistic convention, shared by speaker and hearer, cannot account for the flash of comprehension. If that were the case, we would not have instances where communication breaks down in spite of the shared language between speaker and hearer.

Thus, while the audible words are necessary for such verbal comprehension to occur in the hearer, they are not sufficient. It is her own ability to understand meaning referred to by these words, by virtue of sharing the same sphota with the speaker, which completes the act of cognition. It is at this point that the philosophy of language has for Bhartrihari religious implications of both ontological and interpretive scope.

Just as various sentences might sound different in the mouths of different speakers and yet convey the same meanings, various Vedas may seem different in form and style, but there is a unity carried by the underlying sphota, which ensures that it is the same truth, or dharma that is expressed throughout the texts. Bearing in mind that Brahman is the ultimate referent of all speech forms, this higher reality is manifested in the sacred texts-whose efficacy ritual, soteriological, epistemological depends upon our ability to correctly apprehend its meaning.

The sphota concept makes such interpretation possible. Again, the sphota expresses a meaning-whole behind individual letters and words. The implication for the truth of Vedic discourse is clear, for that truth is already present in the speaker the Veda and is potentially present in the consciousness of the hearers the practitioners.

The implications of this method are explained in the following section; here, we examine the source of our cognitions. But in order for one to give their assent to a worldview that renders to language the cosmic and salvific roles Bhartrihari does, a theory that posits that language is the medium of ultimate knowledge, one must be convinced that language in general has the capacity to yield ordinary knowledge.

Given the way Bhartrihari conceptualizes language, as not primarily referent directed, but instead as referent-constructing, we need to look at how the grammarian thematizes the knowledge-conferring power of language within his own peculiarly unique framework.

Sphota is the unifying principle that connects the word, the grammatical form of the word, and the meaning. Thus, names or singular terms are said by the earliest grammarians to refer to one substance at a time, therefore substance is defined through the relation of reference, and the nature of each substance is so specific that we cannot posit any general properties possessed by all of them.

A substance is that which is said to be distinguished and a quality is that which distinguishes the substance. The Buddhist idealistic claim also argued that the world of experience or phenomena is at base a product of the human imaginative faculty. The Buddhists claim that our cognitive experiences construct our reality; these are modes of consciousness containing cognitive contents and in the final analysis, do not yield any knowledge about reality as it may be outside of themselves.

For the Buddhist, objects are only the external contents of the human imagination. The concept of vikalpa for him implies the following: the structure of language shapes how we categorize the objects of our experience and our descriptions of reality as a whole. Even at the most immediate levels of awareness , we must conceptualize and therefore interpret the contents of sense perception.

The Buddhists clearly distinguish between pure perception nirvikalpa-pratyaksha , which is pre-conceptual, unverbalizable and correspondent to reality, and constructed perception savikalpa-pratyakasha that is conceptual and may therefore be considered a verbalized interpretation of the real. For the Buddhist, the pure sensory core is the real locus of perception. Bhartrihari, as an ontological monist, does not distinguish between a pure perception and a constructed perception such that the former is concept-free and ineffable and the latter concept-loaded and autonomously constructed, because he thinks that perception is inherently verbal.

Not only are sense data and linguistic units non-different, but they are expressive of the unitary principle of Brahman-which is differentiated into the plurality of linguistic objects that make up the world. These Hindu Logicians held that the perceptual apprehension of the object could be distinguished from naming the object. Here, linguistic categories originate in the different substances and attributes that exist in the world. That is to say, significantly enough, that for Bhartrihari, the word makes the thing an individual, and as one moves further and further along the refined categories of what is conventionally known as denotation, the word makes the thing what it is.

For Bhartrihari, the difference the Logicians posit between the ontological and the linguistic would make meanings of all kinds, mundane ones and religious ones, contingent on the circumstances and speaker. But if perception is innately verbal, no perilous bridge need be suspended over some supposed abyss between vision and truth, both in our mundane lives and for the rishis who pronounced the Vedas.

The word then makes the thing, and Brahman makes the world, and so it is entirely proper to speak of words as the creator of all things shabda—Brahman. Bhartrihari and Western Philosophy Although previous Bhartrihari scholarship has progressed rather slowly due to numerous difficulties, within the last decade or so his work has garnered attention from Western scholars.

His theory of language recognizes that meaning is conveyed in formalist terms where meaning is organized along syntactical rules. But it makes the leap, not made by modern Western philosophers, that such a view of language does not merely serve our mundane communicative purposes and see to the achievement of practical goals, but leads to paramount metaphysical knowledge, a knowledge carrying with it a palpable salvific value.

References and Further Reading Bhartrihari. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, Coward, Harold G. Kunjunni Raja, eds. Karl Potter. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Herzberger, Radhika. Bhartrihari and the Buddhists. Dordrecht: D. Houben, Jan E. Groningen: Egbert Forsten, Iyer, Soubramania, K. Matilal, B. Mind, Language, and World. Delhi: Oxford University Press, Oxford: Oxford University Press, See chapter The Hague: Mouton, Potter, Karl, ed. Shah, K. Author Information.


भर्तृहरि - शतक | Bhartrihari Shatak

This Shatak unites the complex knots of life and directly captivate the human heart. People could feel divine acquiring inspiration from the Shataka. One can seldom find anything comparable to Bhartrihari Shatak, especially with relation to philosophy of life. The Vairagya Shataka, Neeti Shataka and Shringar Shataka are related to spirituality, social life and personal life respectively.



Based on this, scholarly opinion had formerly attributed the grammar to a separate author of the same name from the 7th century CE. The leading Sanskrit scholar Ingalls submitted that "I see no reason why he should not have written poems as well as grammar and metaphysics", like Dharmakirti , Shankaracharya , and many others. This distinction may be thought to be similar to that of the present notion of phoneme. Further, words are understood only in the context of the sentence whose meaning as a whole is known. His argument for this was based on language acquisition , e. Unless the child knew the sentence meaning a priori, it would be difficult for him to infer the meaning of novel words. Later Mimamsakas like Kumarila Bhatta c.


Bhartrihari Niti and Vairagya Shataka



Bhartrihari (c. 450—510 C.E.)


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