Sureshvara and Mandana Mishra

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Thu Jan 15 13:41:16 CST 1998

On Thu, 15 Jan 1998, Shrisha Rao wrote:

> Besides, I think you're confounding philosophy of language with
> grammar; both are certainly proper parts of any serious classical
> doctrine, Vedantic or otherwise, but grammar, unlike the former,
> cannot be "elevated to a school of philosophy in itself," because that

The distinction between "grammar" and "philosophy of language" was not
known to either bhartRhari or Sankara/maNDana. Do not read too much of
modern distinctions into ancient treatises. bhartRhari was a grammarian,
and his sphoTavAda was the philosophy of a grammarian, but it was not a
philosophy only of language - it offered a view of all reality. On the
other hand, Sankara and maNDana were not grammarians simply because they
followed some rules of grammar in their language usage. They were
vedAntins who either agreed or disagreed with sphoTavAda, because
sphoTavAda has something to say about brahman.

Getting back to the original issue, just as maNDana's sphoTasiddhi does
not make him a grammarian, so also his mImAmsA treatises do not make him a
mImAmsaka. He is first and foremost a vedAntin. As for your observation
that if some author writes on both vedAnta and mImAmsA, then he must be a
vedAntin, it is too general. There are scores of authors who would be
described primarily as mImAmsakas or even naiyAyikas, who have written
texts on vedAnta. They are not very well-known, but a quick browse through
the first volume (containing an extensive bibliography) of Karl Potter's
Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies should give you an idea of who they


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