[Advaita-l] Mimamsa Question: karmabheda in SAkAs (Jaimini Sutra 2.4.8 )

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Jan 7 18:21:19 CST 2009

On Mon, 5 Jan 2009, Murali Karamchedu wrote:

> a)  Is it the case that there exists an a-priori set of polymorphic 
> forms of agnihotra (for example), and the specific recension just 
> captures what is sufficient to it? or
> b)  Is it the case that there exists a-priori form(s) of agnihotra that 
> are sufficient archetypes where rishi/acharya initiated variants in the 
> recessions are acceptable? If so, I assume that apaurusheyatva 
> automatically also extends to such prayoga as well; then is this case 
> really different from the previous case?

My understanding is that there is one ideal form of agnihotra and the 
different shakhas give partial (but complete enough for performance of the 
act) and overlapping descriptions of it.  The overlap is sufficient to 
recognize that it is the same act that is being described.  Conversely the 
differences are minor enough to dismissed as merely choices of emphasis of 
different shakhas and their Rshis.  It is like if you asked person A to 
describe me and he said "Jaldhar is a Gujarati Brahmana who is interested 
in Sanskrit and lives in New Jersey. etc." And if you asked person B they 
said "Jaldhars family is from Gujarat.  He wears Yajnopavit, studies 
Mimamsa and has a mustache. etc."  Both A and B have enough facts to 
uniquely identify Jaldhar.  Both A and B emphasize a fact the other 
didn't. Yet both A and B know enough facts in common (even if not phrased 
identically) for us to infer that they are talking about the same Jaldhar.

> c)  Since the complete set is a collection across the recessions, is 
> there an internal criterion for sufficiency within any particular 
> recension? i.e what determines that this particular variant is 
> sufficient in a particular SAkA?

smrti (especially the kalpasutras) and tradition. Also it should be 
stressed that the common features of descriptions of e.g. agnihotra across 
the shakhas far outweigh the differences. So if some borrowing occured 
from here to there it was not a big deal.

Interestingly there is a parallel discussion in the Brahmasutras (3.3) 
on whether the various upasanas mentioned in Shruti are seperate or 
equivalent and this section of the purvamimamsa is explicitly referred to.

For instance Shankaracharya in his bhashya on 3.3.1 says that e.g. the 
upasanas on prana though mentioned seperately in Shuklayajurveda 
(brhadaranyakopanisad) and Samaveda (chandogyopanishad) are to be 
considered the same because of the argument that the agnihotra is one 
despite being described differently in different shakhas.

Shankaracharyas bhashya on brahmasutra 3.3.8 makes an explicit reference 
to the argument put forth in mimamsasutra 2.4.11-12 about the names 
attached to shruti portions.

This demonstrates the two close relationship between the two darshanas.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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