Sureshvara and Mandana Mishra

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Tue Jan 13 17:11:53 CST 1998

On Tue, 13 Jan 1998, Shrisha Rao wrote:

> > example being Vachaspati Mishra who has written authoritative works in
> > Samkhya, Yoga, and Nyaya as well as Vedanta.  We know that Mandan Mishra
> > wrote a work on sphotavada which isn't a view of Purva or Uttara Mimamsa.
> > That doesn't automatically make him a Grammarian.
> Actually, all scholars are grammarians, no matter what school they
> belong to.  They have to be, otherwise their statements, in favor of
> whatever school, would be ungrammatical.  Thus we have Patanjali's
> bhAshhya on the Panini-sUtra-s, Amarasimha's kosha, etc., considered
> authoritative by Vedantins, although their respective doctrines (Yoga
> and Jaina) are not similarly regarded.

Shrisha, you're quibbling. Writing a treatise called sphoTasiddhi is
much, much more than merely being grammatical in one's language usage.
bhartRhari elevates Sanskrit grammar to a school of philosophy in itself.
In his hands, grammar goes from being a subsidiary vedAnga to a
full-fledged darSana. Many mImAmsakas and vedAntins take the trouble to
address philosophical issues raised by bhartRhari and his commentators.
SankarAcArya himself disagrees with some aspects of the sphoTa theory of
bhartRhari, although the latter is also a monist/non-dualist in his
philosophy. So does kumArila bhaTTa. However, maNDana miSra's sphoTasiddhi
actually defends bhartRhari's position *against* attacks by kumArila and
prabhAkara, the pUrva mImAmsakas.

For your information, in later times, i.e. 16th-17th centuries, scholars
like rangoji bhaTTa and bhaTToji dIkshita, and their sons and grandsons,
who were primarily grammarians, synthesized advaita vedAnta with the
grammar notion of Sabdabrahman, and carried on well recorded debates with
dvaita and viSishTAdvaita scholars. bhaTToji dIkshita also studied with
appayya dIkshita, the famous advaita scholar. Read K. D. Swaminathan's
"The Nayakas of Ikkeri" (about the kingdom of Keladi/Bednur) to see
historical records of these debates.

As for patanjali, there is no real evidence to think that the grammarian
is the same as the author of the yogasUtras. And the amarakoSa is just an
early Indian version of a Sanskrit dictionary/thesaurus, and has nothing
to say about the philosophy of Sanskrit grammar, the way bhartRhari and
others do. So, the philosophical convictions of its compiler are
irrelevant. I don't see what your argument really is.


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