[Advaita-l] Mamamsakas view is that understanding the meaning of a Mantra is useless---

sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org
Fri Feb 11 06:35:13 CST 2005

According to the Mamamsaka view understanding the meaning of a Mantra is

Respected Jaladhar ji,

>>>>>>>>>And I think the host of commentaries from Sayanacharya etc. who
were deeply immersed in the
Mimamsaka view shows this.

I don't think so. Sayana was a Vedantin and many times gives Vedantic
interpretations of the Mantras. After all, he was the younger brother of
Madhava, who later became Vidyaranya of the Pancadashi, and was a student
of Swami Shankarananda, one of the two greatest commentator of Gita in my
view. The second one is Madhusudana. However, most of Sayana's
interpretations are Yajnika interpretations, following the Sutras and
Brahmana. But let me make it clear not all. He too, gives optional
Adhyatmika interpretations, and at times, where he is bound to, gives only
Adhyatmika interpretations of the Mantras. But, whether "he was deeply
immersed in the Mimamsaka view" I disagree with this. He doesn't share the
common believes of the Mimamsaka like Apurva etc. I'm very well aware that
he quotes 18 Sutras from the Mimamsa Darshana, but that is just to show
how Jaimini places a great effort to prove that even the Arthavaada
portion of the Veda is authentic.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>In an earlier email you mentioned the view of
Kutsa mentioned in the nirukta that the mantras
are meaningless and that Yaskacharya vehemently
objected to this view. Mimamsakas would also I
think object to such a view.

Sir, you are totally wrong. I don't know what Bhagavan Jaimini thought
about such things, I don't think that he would have told his students not
to understand the meaning of the Vedas. But the traditional Mimamsakas
traditionally deny any need of understanding the significance of a Mantra.
Let me clarify this point. There is such a discussion in the
Purusharthanushasana Sutra starting with the Sutra "vaidhamarthanirNayaM
bhattaguruvidheH pumarthAvasAnAt" (which is a Purvapaksha sutra, which
tries to prove that one should understand the meaning of the Mantras) and
the next 15 Sutras. The conclusion of the Mimamsaka siddhanti is that the
AdhyayanaVidhi ("svaadhyaayo adhyetavyah") is fulfilled only by knowing
the letters, there is no need of knowing the meaning. The need of knowing
the meaning of a Mantra has been totally condemned there by the Mimasakas.
Such an Ashastriya conclusion shows very clearly that the Mimamsaka
Siddhanti in this text hadn't studied the Samhita, Brahmana, and even not
the Aranyaka. That is why I say Mimamsa mainly deals with Vidhi and
Viniyoga, as described in the Kalpa Sutras. It has nothing to do with the
real Veda. Except that the Vakyavadharana Linga etc. stuff are extremely
helpful in asserting the meanings of the Veda Mantras, apart from that it
is useless for a person who wants to do serious research into the Veda
Let me tell you that Sayana highly refutes this view of the Mimamsakas in
his Rig-veda Bhashya Bhumika, by citing all the Vedic proofs that stand
against this Mimamsaka view.

>>>>>>>>>>I think your experience is in part due to your North Indian

I don't know whether the Author of Purusharthanushasana Sutra was North
Indian, or South Indian. I still haven't come across any south Indian
Karmakandin Pandit who knows the meaning of the Mantras that he recites.
We have a wonderful temple of Mother Kamakshi, the most beautiful south
Indian temple here in Rishikesh and Haridvar. One can have a look at it by
clicking on the following link http://www.omkarananda-kamakshi.org/ .
Great Pandits, including the main priests of the Kamakshi Temple in
Kanchipuram come here. At the inaugoration we had around 50 Pundits from
TamilNadu and Bombay, but not one of them can even speak Sanskrit
fluently, what to say that they would understand what they are reciting. I
bow down to them, they are extremely well-versed in Karma Kanda, have a
very very pure pronunciation of Vedas compared to the North Indian
pandits, who are horrible, but where the meaning of the Mantra comes into
question, they are NILL. They even don't know the meaning of the Shrividya
Mantras from the Shrividya Saparya Paddhatih correctly. Sorry, but I'm
just telling the truth. I had done the proofreading of the book after it
was proof-read by some of the priest from Kanchipuram, including the main
priest of KanchiPuram, and still the proof had printing mistakes on every
single page. Sorry, I don't want to offend them or Him, I have great
respect for his personality and Shrividya Sadhana. But what is this?
On the contrary, Arya Samaj in North India, highly advocates the
understanding of the meaning of the Vedas. Don't think now that I'm an
Arya Samaji. I totally disagree with the way of interpretation by Swami
Dayananda. He totally rejects the Brahmanas and the Aranyakas, and the
Upanishads and Gita. I feel that they, together with Shankara and Sayana's
commentary, are the only authentic source to understand the true hidden
significance of the Vedas, apart from the Nirukta and its commentaries.
How can one reject them? Therefore, his interpretation turns out to be
really funny and there is no depth in it. Just some funny assumptions and
nothing for spiritual aspirants.
However, there are some good Vedic Scholars also in Varanasi, that have
studied the Bhashyas.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>I admit I don't know the literal meaning of all the mantras
I recite either.

I would very kindly request you to stop with that. "Whatever is recited
without understanding is only pronunciation, Like dry wood doesn't burn in
ashes, that doesn't give any fruit anywhere". This is a very clear
quotation that has been quoted by Bhagavan Patanjali and Bhagavan Yaska in
the beginning of their Mahabhashya and Nirukta. I admire your scholarship
in the field of Mimamsa and Vedanta, and I bow down to you for that.
Please bless me. But at the same time I would pray to you that even if
people like you would continue with such practices, it would be a great
misfortune for the Indian Culture and Vedism. I tell this to every Pandit
that I come in contact with.

>>>>>>>>>>>>But why make a hard task even harder by starting from scratch
instead of
building on the existing centuries of tradition?

Who says my method of interpreting the Vedas is not traditional. I have
based my views on the Veda itself, and is according to the Brahmanas,
Aranyakas, Upanishads, Gita, Nighantu, Nirukta with its commentaries,
Panini's Ashtadhyayi, Shankara's Bhashyam. I don't say it is against the
Yajnika interpretation as done by Sayana, it is just different from them.
I have taken endless help from Sayana's commentary in understand the words
of the Rig-veda. Yes, it is opposed to some views of Mimamsa and some
other traditional view of the Smriti, which I find no more beneficial in
today's modern time. And I mostly refute a statement of the Smriti only
when my view is based on a Vedic Statement. So, in this way it is all
traditional, according to the Advaita Sampradaya, in which I have been

>>>>>>>>>>>And the key to solving this problem is not to change the
methods of the pandits but to increase the level of Dharmic
knowledge in the general public.

I do that by going to different cities in India and outside India, and
give talks on the Gita, Upanishads and the Yoga Sutras. India today is
lost in Ramacaritamanasa and Bhagavatam. You wouldn't believe me that
their are people who don't even know that a book like Gita exists, and
many of those who know that such a book exists think that this is a book
that is recited only when somebody dies. Few people have heard about the
Upanishads, generally people ask what is it? I'm trying my best to bring
these texts into the attention of the common people.
So, I hope you understand my point.
Love and respect to you,
Siddhartha Krishna

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