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

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Tue Jan 13 09:57:57 CST 2009

On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 8:14 PM, Murali Karamchedu <murali_m_k at msn.com> wrote:

> Let me start off by apologizing for the 'technical' or
> potentially abstruse nature of this post. I need help in better understanding a
> discussion between the pUrvapakshin and the siddhAntin on Jaimini Sturas 2.4.8
> – 2.4.20.
> Here is the context. The pUrvapakshin introduces the
> argument that if a particular act is mentioned in different SAkAs, they *are*
> different, and provides several reasons for this position. The siddAntin responds
> that they are the same, and identifies the significant characteristics on which
> this sameness is grounded; sameness with respect to samyogA – connection to the
> purpose, i.e it serves the sameness purpose, rUpA – form, i.e it is the same
> deity and material, codanA – the same authorizing injunction and AkhyA – the
> name of the act itself. Differences are acknowledged, but as long as the above
> four criteria for sameness are met, they differences do not render the acts as
> different acts. The siddhAntin then proceeds to systematically dispose of all
> the nine reasons.
> First the pUrvapakshin
> says –
> nAma-rUpa-dharmaviSesha punarukti-nindA'Sakti samAptivacana
> prAyaScittA'nyArthadarSanAcchAkAntareshu karmabheda: syAt
> i.e the differences in the act are characterized by name,
> form, particular details, (unacceptable) repetition, deprecation (of
> specifics), incapability, conclusion, expiation, indication of distinct
> purpose. I will restrict this post to seeking clarification on the first.
> Name: The very fact that there are qualifying names such as
> 'kATaka agnihotra' and 'kAlApaka agnihotra' signifies difference.
> While the pUrvapakshin acknowledges that these qualifiers
> identify the source texts; he stresses that because they qualify acts, the
> qualified act is somehow different.
> This position is rejected on the grounds that the SAkA merely
> identifies the origin of the act; and does not apply to the injunctive aspect
> of the act itself. i.e the prefix kATakA only denotes the text, and does not
> extend to the act agnihotra. In fact, by the very fact that it is agnihotra
> that is denoted in each of the cases, their identity in each is preserved.
> Furthermore, if the prefix kATaka etc were to extend to the acts as well; then
> all the acts would coalesce into one; i.e kATaka agnihotra, kATaka
> darSapUrNamAsa etc would all be just be one act, which is untenable; hence the
> scope of the prefix cannot be extended to the act.
> Then, an interesting point is made; that the name kATaka –
> signifying the teacher kaTa - came to be from a point in time onwards, and did
> not exist a-priori. Now, if the act were considered different because of the
> name, then they could be treated as same *before* kaTA; which would be absurd.

The explanation above assumes a knowledge of various important
concepts in the mImA.msA - vidhi, bhAvana, nAmadheya, etc. In order to
not make this mail excessively long, I am going to take up what I
think is the fundamental issue here. If there is any further interest,
we can try to digress and branch into some of the finer details.
Vidhis (injunctions) are of many types: karmotpatti vidhi, viniyoga,
guNa, vishiShTa, etc., etc. The first and fore-most in most karmas is
the karmotpatti vidhi. This is a vidhi about a karma which has not
been described elsewhere. This vidhi for the agnihotra is quoted in
standard mImA.msA texts as "agnihotram juhoti". A karmotpatti vidhi
indicates only the general nature of the rite and not any of the
details. This is left to gu.Na or viniyoga vidhis. There are various
rules governing how these latter are to interpreted and I'll omit that
here. Also the karmotpatti vidhi itself creates an Arthi-bhAvana -
namely the vidhi is not be interpreted as "He should perform the
agnihotra" - but rather "By the agnihotra he should obtain the desired
object". This is because the vidhi should lead to the questions what
the fruit of the karma is, what the instruments to perform the karma
are, and how to do the karma. The word agnihotra is also a nAmadheya
and does not indicate anything about the nature of the rite itself.
kAthaka cannot be a nAmadheya as different karmas would become the
same. That's all the text is saying here.

Furthermore, the explanation you quote (from what text is this BTW?)
does not mean that there was a "point in time" when the kAThaka
recension came into effect or that there was an "Ur-agnihotra". The
recension may have been known by a *particular name* starting some
part of time - but not started to actually exist at some point of
time. All the vedas are equally anAdi - there is no point of time when
they sprung into existence.

BTW, in general viniyoga vidhis can vary for the same karma - which is
indicated by an original karmotpatti vidhi.

While there is some merit to considering the use of the singular
agnihotram, it's a little tricky. In one place where an injunction
"One should clean the cup" - where the cup is used in singular, some
rules in mImA.msA are used to actually show that it is all the cups
which have been used (although the singular is used) in the mImAmsA
nyAya prakAsha. So, it's a little tricky to invoke the grammatical
usage alone.


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