[Advaita-l] A few verses from Sri Vādirāja Tirtha's 'Yuktimallikā'

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 06:12:46 CDT 2015

Here are a few verses from the Yuktimallikā of Sri Vādirāja Tirtha:


तत्रापि मानसी नोचेदहन्त्वोल्लेखिनी कथम् ।
दशमस्त्वमसीत्यत्र ह्यहंशब्दो न विद्यते ॥ 30 ॥
त्वन्तामेव ज्ञापयेत्सा नाहन्तां ज्ञापयेद्धि वाक् ।
शब्दो वदेत् स्वशक्यार्यमशक्यार्थं कथं वदेत् ॥ 31 ॥
अहं शब्दाप्रयोगेपि ह्यहमाकारधीत्वतः ।
 दशमोहमिति ज्ञानं न शाब्दं स्वस्थधीर्यथा । 42

The gist of the above verses is: In the sentence 'You (tvam) are the tenth
man', since there is no word 'I' (aham), the sentence, śabda,  cannot
generate the knowledge  (śābdabodha) 'I am the tenth man'.  On the other
hand it will generate the knowledge '*You* are the tenth man' alone.

Supposing I tell a student: 'You have secured the first rank in the exams'.
His understanding will be: 'I have secured the first rank.'  On the other
hand, according to Sri Vādiraja, the understanding of the student will be:
'You have secured the first rank' only and not otherwise since the first
statement does not have the word 'I'.  He argues that the words in a
sentence can convey only what they are capable of and not otherwise.
Hence, the word 'you' in the first sentence can never convey the meaning
'I' to the hearer of the instruction.

It is not that for Vādirāja the sentence will not convey the intended
meaning at all.  He theorizes that the śabda will lead to a certain
'calming down' of the agitated mind (he has taken the 'you are the tenth
man' example) and hence the hearer will attain the experience 'I am the
tenth man' only after the calming down process is achieved.

In any case, it is impossible to explain in this theory as to how the
sentence will generate the pratīti in the hearer: 'you are the tenth man'
when instructed by someone 'you are the tenth man.' [*त्वन्तामेव
ज्ञापयेत्सा नाहन्तां ज्ञापयेद्धि वाक् *।]  Also, even if the 'settlement of
agitation' theory/step is admitted, even for the settlement process to
commence, first the instructed sentence must have conveyed the 'I'
component for otherwise it will never trigger the process of settlement of
the agitated mind.  In other words, the śābdabodha element can never be

In cases which are not of the 'you are the tenth man' (where one can admit,
for argument's sake, the agitation of the mind) type like 'let him sit here
and you, there' when I am providing accommodation to two persons (there is
no room for any agitation in this specific example). Surely the one whom I
am addressing will understand it as 'this other person will sit there and I
in the other designated place.'  He will not understand it as: 'let him sit
here and *you*, there' since as per Sri Vādirāja, the sentence does not
contain 'I' but has only 'you'.: *त्वन्तामेव ज्ञापयेत्सा नाहन्तां
ज्ञापयेद्धि वाक्. *  It is nobody's experience that the word 'you' (tvam)
will generate 'you' (tvam-tā) alone in the hearer.  The mind automatically
converts the 'you' to 'I' even as the sentence is being uttered.

In all sentences such as 'bring that' 'take it away' etc. the hearer, even
though the sentence does not contain 'you', will understand it as 'I have
to bring / take away something'.

Even in the case of the advaitic mahāvākya 'tat tvam asi' [you are That],
where a lot of nididhyāsanam is required to get the aparokṣa knowledge, the
'tvam' is immediately understood as ''aham' and never 'tvam' itself. One
will clearly know that the instruction is directed at oneself and there
will be no confusion whatsoever on this count.

Maybe if there is any explanation provided by commentators to the above
verses, one would get a clearer idea of what the author is saying there.

The above is the yukti of the Yuktimallika.


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