History of Logic from Aristotle to Gödel (www.historyoflogic.com)

by Raul Corazzon | e-mail: rc@ontology.co

Bibliography on Bhartrhari, grammarian-philosopher (First part)


Bibliography (Studies in English) A-Cha

  1. Akamatsu, Akihiko. 1993. "Pratibhā and the meaning of the sentence in Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya." Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques no. 47:37-43.

    Reprinted in Saroja Bhate, Johannes Bronkhorst (eds.), Bhartṛhari, Philosopher and Grammarian, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1994, pp. 37-44.

    "In the second book of the Vākyapadīya (VP), Bhartṛhari sets forth a theory that pratibhä 'intuition' or 'flash of understanding' is the meaning of the sentence (väkyärtha). He discusses the issue of pratibhä in kärikäs 2.143-152. The first kärikä of this section is as follows:

    When we understand the meanings [of the individual words in a sentence] by discriminating them from each other, there arises flash of understanding (pratibhä) which is totally different [from every knowledge of the meanings of the words]. We call that [pratibhä], caused by the meanings of the words, the meaning of the sentence.

    As a beginning, by placing this statement in the philosophical and historical context about the linguistic theory in India, I will reconsider the reason Bhartrhari introduced the concept of pratibhä into his linguistic theory." (p. 37, sanskrit text omitted)

  2. ———. 1999. "The Two Kinds of Anumāna in Bhartṛhari's Vākyapadīya." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 27:17-22.

    "The aim of the present paper is to make clear how Bhartṛhari characterized inference (anumāna) when he put forward the two kinds of anumāna. The problem of anumāna may not be important for Bhartṛhari.

    Although it is evident that he counted anumāna among the pramāṇas,(9) he considered it as indirect and incomplete cognition in comparison with agama. Accordingly it is useless to attempt to estimate his view in the history of Indian logic. Finally, however, we can ask the following question: From where did Bhartṛhari borrow the twofold distinction of anumāna?

    As is well known, Bhartṛhari lived and worked before Dignāga and Praśastapāda. Now we must recall a passage of Dignāga translated by Frauwallner (1968). It runs as follows: “Der Vṛttikāra [= Bhavadāsa] vertritt im allgemeinen die Lehre des Vaiśeṣika von der Schlußfolgerung, da er Sehen (dṛṣṭam) und Sehen dem Gemeinsamen nach (sāmānyato dṛṣṭam) usw. unterscheidet” (p. 87). It is probable that Bhartṛhari also borrowed the view on the two kinds of anumāna from the early Vaiśeṣika system. Bronkhorst (1993) has noted some possible links between Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya and the early Vaiśeṣika; we can see the same possibility in Bhartṛhari’s view on anumāna." (p.20)

    (9) Cf. Aklujkar (1989).


    Aklujkar, Ashok (1989). ‘The Number of Praman. as according to Bhartṛhari, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens 33: 151–158.

    Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993). ‘Studies on Bhartrari, 5: Bhartṛhari and Vaiśeṣika’, Asiatische Studien/ Études Asiatiques XLVII–1: 75–94.

    Frauwallner, E. (1958). ‘Die Erkenntnislehre Klassischen Sāmkhya Systems’, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Süd– und Ostasiens 2: 84–139

  3. Aklujkar, Ashok. 1969. "Two Textual Studies of Bhartṛhari." Journal of the American Oriental Society no. 89:547-563.

    Abstract: "The first half of the article discusses the range of reference and the significance of the title Vākyapadīya. It is argued that the title was originally given to the first two books only of Bhartṛhari's monumental work and that the word "Vākyapadīya" has been explained moreprecisely by ancient writers than is generally supposed. In the second half, the article points out how the published parts of Bhoja's Śṛṅgāra-prakāśa contain a number of borrowings from Bhartṛhari's partly vṛtti of the Vākyakāṇḍā, and how the discovery is significant for a textual study of both the works, the manuscript material for which is extremely insufficient."

  4. ———. 1970. The Philosophy of Bhartṛhari's Trikāṇdi.

    Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation.

    "My completed dissertation could have been published in Professor Matilal's then newly established Journal of Indian Philosophy. However, Professor Matilal did not think he could publish the whole dissertation together in one issue, and, in my view, on the other hand, the chapters of the dissertation were too interdependent to withstand segmented publication. Thus, it remained unpublished. I did not make any effort to have it published elsewhere either, for by that time almost every established scholar who was known to be interested in B [ = Bhartṛhari] had either read it or had acquired a photocopy of it and I had moved on to (or returned to) an activity I had deliberately suspended to complete the dissertation, namely the activity of settling the TK [ = Trikāṇḍi] text. Recently, I have once again been advised by kind colleagues in the field that I should do the minimally necessary revision and have the dissertation published. But now it seems wasteful to publish it without coordinating the textual references with the better or more convenient editions I think I will be able to finish in the next few years." (A. Aklujkar, An Introduction to the Study of Bhartṛhari, (1993), pp. 12-13)

  5. ———. 1971. "Nakamura on Bhartṛhari." Indo-Iranian Journal:161-175.

    "An article by Professor Hajime Nakamura, "Bhartṛhari The Scholar", was published in the fourth volume of the Indo-Iranian Journal (1960: 282-305). That article was a revised translation of a part of Nakamura's Kotoba no Keijijogaku, which is regarded by many scholars to be Nakamura's important contribution to the study of Vedānta in general and to Bhartṛhari studies in particular. Naturally I was very surprised to find in it, as I shall presently demonstrate, a large number of inaccurate translations, remarks, conclusions, and comparisons. My purpose in demonstrating what I consider to be Nakamura's mistakes is, of course, purely that of śāstra-śuddhi "purification of a branch of learning"; the positive aspects of the present article, namely the correct translations of some of the key verses in Bhartṛhari's Trikāṇḍi (1) (TK in abbreviation) and a correct understanding of Bhartṛhari's position, are more important in my view than the refutation of the contents of Nakamura's article." (p. 161, anote omitted)

    (1) (a) It is generally believed that the title of the work to which I refer as the Trikāṇḍi is Vākyapadīya. In a recent article (Aklujkar, 1969: 547-555), I have argued that Vākyapadīya was originally the title of only the first two books of Bhartṛhari's magnum opus and that Trikāṇḍi liis th only ancient name that can refer to the work under study as a whole. (b) Some scholars advocate the view that the composition referred to as Vṛtti (as V in abbreviation) is not Bhartrhari's work and that it is much later than the verses (kārikā) which alone form the genuine TK. I see absolutely no reason to subscribe to this view. In my paper, "Authorship of the Vākyapadīya-vṛtti ", read at the annual meeting of the American Oriental Society (1969) (to appear in Wiener Zeitsschrift für die Kunde Süd- und Ostasiens, vol. xvi, May 1972), I have exposed the weaknesses of the arguments on which this view is based, and I have shown with unmistakable internal evidence that the traditional ascription of the V to Bhartṛhari cannot be doubted by any unprejudiced mind."

  6. ———. 1972. "The Authorship of the Vākyapadīya-Vṛtti." Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens no. 15:181-198.

    "1.1 It has been a long tradition in India to ascribe the Vṛtti (V in abbreviation) of the first two kāṇḍas of the Trikāṇḍi to Bhartṛhari and to accept it as an integral part of the Vakyapadiya."


    "1. 2 Under these circumstances, any doubt about Bhartṛhari's authorship of the V may seem highly improbable; but, today, all scholars who are interested in the Trikāṇḍi, as far as I know, entertain such a doubt. Their uncertainty of opinion usually begins when they realize that the V occasionally gives two or more interpretations of one verse (kārikā). Then this uncertainty is deepened either by the occurrence in the V of the word tatra-lihavat, which, in the usage of some ancient authors, serves as Bhartṛhari's epithet, in a manner indicating reference to a person other than the author (S. Iyer 1965: >xxxi-xxxii), or by a feeling that some divergence of views exists between the V and thekārikā-text (Bi8ardeau 1964a: 5-21 (summarized by S. Yier 1965: xxxiii-xxxiv), 1964b: 260). But doubtful as they may be, no scholar except Madeleine Biardeau is known to me who has declared the traditional authorship of the V to be ill-founded and incorrect. Biardeau has gone beyond the range of uncertainty about the validity of the tradition and reached the conclusion that the V cannot be a work of Bhartrhari, that it must have been written by Hari Vṛṣabha sometime after Kumarila, and that the tradition accepted it as Bhartrhari's work through a confusion of names.

    1.3 The purpose of the present article is to refute this conclusion.

    Not only do I uphold the validity of the traditional ascription, but I also maintain that the V is an inseparable part of the Vākyapadīya and that it is wrong to think of the Vākyapadīya as a work consisting of kārikās only. Now, there are two ways of establishing this thesis, one negative and another positive. The negative way consists in challenging Biardeau's method of solving the problem of authorship, in pointing out the difficulties to which her conclusion leads, and in demonstrating that the divergences which she notices between the views and use of terms in the V on the one hand, and in the karikas on the other, are superfluous and that some of her interpretations are inaccurate. I have followed this way in a forthcoming sequel article, and hence it would be proper to devote the present article to a positive demonstration of Bhartṛhari's authorship of the V." (pp. 181-185, notes omitted)

  7. ———. 1974. "The Authorship of the Vākya-kānda-tīkā." In Charudeva Shastri Felicitation Volume, 165-188. Delhi: Charu Deva Shastri Felicitation Committee.

    "1.1 Since the date of its publication (1887) in the Benares Sanskrit Series, the ṭikā on the verses of the second book of Bhartṛhari's Trikāṇḍi or Vākyapadīya (Aklujkar 1969: 547-555) has been ascribed to Punya-rāja. A few scholars (e.g. Kosambi 1945:65.9-10, ft7.7-9: Bhattacharya 1954:4-5) have given the name of the author of this commentary as Helā-rāja, but that is obviously due to oversight and is not intended to be a deliberately reached conclusion regarding the authorship of the work. Thus, on the whole, the ascription to Punya-rāja has gone unchallenged in the writings of the compilers of manuscript catalogues, of the editors of Bhartṛhari's works, of the scholars working on Bhartṛhari's views and of the historians of Sanskrit grammar. However, it seems likely to me that a serious mistake has been made in deciding the problem of authorship in this case and that the Vakya-kāṇḍa-ṭikā is more likely to be a work of Helā-rāja, the well-known commentator of the third book of the Trikāṇḍi, than of Punya-rāja. The evidence favouring this view is manifold and considerably strong when taken cumulatively." (pp. 165-166, notes omitted)


    Aklujkar, Ashok. 1969. "Two Textual Studies of Bhartṛhari." Journal of the American Oriental Society, S9:547-63. 'New Haven.

    Bhattacharya, Ram Shankar. 1954. "A New Verse of the Saṁgraha." Poona Orientalist, 19:4-5. Poona.

    Kosambi, D. D. 1945. "The Authorship of the Śataka-trayi" Journal of Oriental Research, 15:64-17. Madras.

  8. ———. 1977-78. "The concluding verses of Bhartṛhari's 'Vākya-kāṇḍa'." Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute no. 58-59:9-26.

    "In this paper I wish to offer some observations on verses 481-490 (1) appearing at the end of the second book of Bhartṛhari's Trikãndi or Vākyapadīya.


    My objective here is neither to review what has been said about them, nor to pronounce judgements on all the controversies they have given rise to. I wish rather to put forward a few considerations that have not so far appeared in print and to refute a few interpretations that have so far gone unrefuted." (p. 9)

    (1) (a) In the present and following publications I shall follow Rau's (1977) enumeration of the Trikãndi kãrikãs. It is the only flawless enumeration we have at present that enables us to refer to a tradition of the Trikãndi text (the kãrikã manuscript tradition) in a form determined by objective textual criticism. It will be highly convenient if the Trikãndi text as preserved in the other (Vṛtti and Tīkā) traditions is critically established by following Rau's enumeration. This I advocate simply as a procedure that facilitate future text-critical research concerning Bhartṛhari. I do not hold that the kārikā manuscripts give us the oldest accessible form of the Trikãndi text. See Aklujkar 1971, 1978.

    (b) The text of verses 481-490 given below is based on a consideration of all known manuscript traditions. In the case of kãrikã manuscripts I have simply followed Rau's lead. It is only the collection and evalution of the evidence of the Vṛtti and Tīkā manuscripts that I have freshly attempted.

    [Note added by R. Corazzon: in the English translation by K. A. Subramania Iyer, The Vakyapadiya of Bhartrhari. Chapter II, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1977, the verses are numbered 476-485, pp. 203-205]

  9. ———. 1982. "Interpreting Vakyapadiya 2.486 Historically (Part 1)." In Dr. K. Kunjunni Raja Felicitation Volume, 581-601. Madras: Adyar Library and Research Centre.

    "The verse I propose to discuss (parvatād āgamaṃ, labdhvā bhāsya-bijānusāribhiḥ/ sa nīto bahu-śakhatvaṃ candrācāryādibjiḥ punah//) [*] is a part of the ten epilogue type· verses found at the end of the Vākya-kānda or second book of Bhartṛhari's Vākyapadīya or Trikāṇḍi.(1)

    l have argued elsewhere (Aklujkar 1978:9-26) that the ten verses were not written by Bhartṛhari but by a student of his. However, this does hot diminish the historical importance of the verses, for they remain almost as ancient as they have been thought to be. Secondly, acceptance of my view on the authorship of the verses is not a presupposition underlying the points I wish to make in this article. As far as I can see, the observations I offer below are logically independent of the problem of authorship." (pp. 581-582)

    In referring to the Vākyapadīya/Trikāṇḍi. verses I have followed the enumeration in Rau 1977.

    (1) Eight of these verses are directly or indirectly relevant to the following discussion. They are given below for easy reference: [the author cite the verses in sanskrit, I give the translation by K. A. Subramania Iyer, The Vakyapadiya of Bhartrhari. Chapter II, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1977, verse 476-483, pp. 203-204 [Rau numeration is given in parenthesis):]

    476. [481] After the Saṅgraha declined when it came into the hands of Grammarians who were fond of abridgements and had acquired only little knowledge.

    [The Saṅgraha is mentioned in the Mahābhāṣya, I. p.6.1.12

    We are told that there the question whether the word is eternal or only an effect is discussed as one of the main topics.

    Commenting on this, Bhartṛhari says in his commentary on the Mahābhāṣya that there were 14 000 topics discussed in the Saṅgraha: Caturdaśa sahasrāṇi vastūni asmin saṃgrahagranthe (M. Bhā. dīpikā, p. 21, 1. 4-5. B. O. R. I. Post Graduate and Research Department Series no. 8.)]

    477. [482] And when the Master Patañjali who knew all the traditions (tīrtha-darśinā) had incorporated into his Mahäbhäṣya all the arguments and principles.

    478. [483] It was found that those who were not sufficiently equipped (akṛtabuddhīnām) could not arrive at proper decisions while studying that work at once bottomless because of its depth and clear because of its lucidity.

    479. [484] When that sacred work which was an epitome of the Saṅgraha was ruined by Baiji, Saubhava and Haryakṣa who merely followed dry reasoning.

    480. [485] The Grammatical Tradition slipped away from the hands of the disciples of Patañjali and in time the mere text of it survived in the South.

    481. [486] Then Ācārya Candra and other followers of the principles of the Bhāṣya obtained the true Tradition from the mountain and elaborated it into many branches.

    482. [487] After mastering those principles and cultivating his own discipline this collection of traditions was composed by our Teacher.

    483. [488] Here only the gist of a few of those traditions is given. In the third Kāṇḍa, there wiil be full discussion.


    Aklujkar, Ashok. 1978. The concluding verses of Bhartṛhari's Vākya-kānda. Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Diamond Jubilee Volume, pp. 9-26.

    Rau, Wilhelm. 1977. (Ed.) Bhartṛhari's Vākyapadīya (mula-karikas). Monograph Series of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, no. 42, 4. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag.

  10. ———. 1982. "Interpreting Vakyapadiya 2.486 Historically (Part 2)." In Indological and Buddhist Studies: Volume in Honour of Professor J. W. de Jong on his Sixtieth Birthday, edited by Hercus, Luise Anna, 1-10. Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies.

    "In the first part of this article, to be published in the Dr K. Kunjunni Raja Felicitation Volume, I have pointed out, among other things, that the explanation of parvatād āgamaṃ, labdhvā bhāsya-bijānusāribhiḥ// sa nīto bahu-śakhatvaṃ candrācāryādibjiḥ punahIi II given in Puṇyarāja's or Helārāja's Tīkā is contextually unjustifiable. In the present part I wish to analyse the Tīkā explanation further to establish its mythic character and to account for its acquisition of that character.(...) (1)" (p. 1)

    (1) An English summary of the Tīkā explanation is given in section 2.5 of the first part of this article. The aspects in which the Tīkā explanation appears hazy and hesitant are clarified in a footnote to that section.

    [From the section 2. 5 of the first part of this article:

    "According to it [the Tīkā], what happened in the history of Pāṇinian grammar was essentially this: Because of the peculiar style of the Mahābhāṣya and because of the insensitive interpretations· advanced by Vaiji and others, the successors of Pataṇjali lost the knowledge of what Pataṇjali actually wished to say and what Pataṇjali accepted as siddhānta. This knowledge was no longer a part of their living tradition of study and was preserved only in manuscripts among the Southerners. Candrācārya and others again gave it currency in a much developed form, once they came in possession of the mūla-bhūta vyākaraṇāgama. In other words, although the Tika seems hesistant and hazy it probably visualizes the relevant happenings as follows: Candrācārya and others got hold of the essential, most fundamental, body of Vayākaraṇa doctrines.

    They studied the intimations in the Mahābhāṣya on the background of these doctrines; they used the principles implicit in Pataṇjali's statements to provide flesh to the skeleton they had received. This activity enabled them to make current once again a multifaceted, robust tradition of Vayākaraṇa views." (pp. 588-569, a note omitted)

  11. ———. 1989. "The Number of Pramāṇas According to Bhartṛhari." Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens no. 33:151-158.

    "In an article entitled "prāmāṇya in the philosophy of the Grammarians", expected to be published in the near future,[*] I have tried to explain the distinctive nature of the view of prāmāṇya or 'validity of the means of cognition' which the Grammarians or Vaiyākaraṇas held.

    I have pointed out in that article that whereas most other traditions of Indian philosophy, knowingly or unknowingly, emphasized the separability of the means of cognition (pratyakṣa 'perception', anumāna 'inference', etc.), the Gram-marian-philosophers like Bhartṛhari ("B" in abbreviation) played down the separability of the means and looked upon them as functioning conjointly(1). In particular, pratyakṣa and anumāna work on the backdrop of āgama, and āgama changes, usually gradually, in the light of the knowledge received through pratyakṣa and anumāna. This is so because the Grammarian's idea of āgama was significantly different, which, in turn, was due mostly to his four-fold or multi-level concept of language and his awareness of the centrality of language in our experience of the world." (pp. 151-162)

    [*] "Prāmāṇya in the philosophy of the grammarians", in Avinandra Kumar et al. (eds.), Studies in Indology. Prof. Rasik Vihari Joshi Felicitation Volume, Delhi: Shree Publishing House 1989, pp. 15-28.

    (1) This is not to say that Indian philosophers of other persuasions are not aware of the mutual dependence or limitations of prāmāṇas. They too would readily concede that an anumāna is not valid if it is vitiated by a perception, that the perception of a rope as a snake should be rejected if one can infer at a later momerit the real nature of the object, and that one cannot assert that fire does not burn simply because a reliable text or person says so. What I have in mind here is not invalidation or delimitation that obtains after the operation of a prāmāṇa. My remark has rather to do with what takes place while a prāmāṇa is in operation: The Grammarian school is unlike the other schools of Indian philosophy in accepting at that point the penetration of (what is considered to be) the domain of one prāmāṇa by (what is considered to be) the domain of another prāmāṇa. While the Buddhist thinkers like Dignāga avoid such overlapping of prāmāṇas by restricting the object of pratyakṣa (to svalakṣaṇa, i.e, by redefining pratyakṣa), the Grammarians accept the overlapping as an unavoidable fact of life and view the operations of (so-called separate) prāmāṇas as basically complex."

  12. ———. 1990. "Introduction and Summary of the First Two Books of the Vākyapadīya." In Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies. Vol. 5: The Philosophy of the Grammarians, edited by Coward, Harold G. and Raja, Kuniunni, 121-153. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    "As with many great figures of classical times in India, a large number of works have been attributed to Bhartṛhari, and once again current scholarship has hardly settled all questions concerning the authenticity of some of these claims. By definition, the Bhartṛhari we are speaking of is the author of the work that is regularly referred to as the Vākyapadīya, a seminal work on Grammar and grammatical philosophy the influence of which, though difficult to calculate precisely, is certainly considerable in subsequent philosophical developments, both within Grammar and outside it. This work has three chapters, and it was more properly termed Trikāṇḍī on that account. Ashok Aklujkar has argued that only the first two chapters constitute the Vākyapadīya.

    It seems likely that Bhartṛhari also composed th e commentary called vṛtti on at least the first two chapters of the Trikāṇḍī. Beside this body of literature—verses and prose commentary—Bhartṛhari apparently also wrote a commentary—or part of one— on Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya.

    Again, the proper title is a matter of discussion: Aklujkar points out that the title Tripādi for it has extensive sanction among early commentators in the grammatical tradition , while the title under which it is frequently known nowadays, Mahābhāṣyadīpikā, has only one manuscript mention in its favor. No doubt the work is referred to regularly as a ṭikā on the Mahābhāṣya. It seems likely that it was a lengthy work, perhaps covering the entire scope of Patañjali’s masterpiece, though only a small portion is now available." (pp. 121-122, a note omitted)

  13. ———. 1990. "Summary of the Third Book of the Vākyapadīya." In Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies. Vol. 5: The Philosophy of the Grammarians, edited by Coward, Harold G. and Raja, Kuniunni, 153-172. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    In collaboratio with Karl. H. Potter.

    "1. On Universal Property (Jātisamuddeśa)

    1-5 (E58; Tl-9). Words abstracted from sentences have been regard ed as falling into two (noun, verb), four (with the addition of prepositions and particles) or five (with the addition of postpositions) categories. In the analysis into word meanings there are said to be two eternal word meanings for all language (or linguistic forms), namely universal and particular. Sometimes the particular as characterized by the universal of its class is intended, and sometunes without such a characterization." (p. 153)

  14. ———. 1991. "Interpreting Vakyapadiya 2.486 Historically (Part 3)." In Paninian Studies: Professor S. D. Joshi Felicitation Volume, edited by Deshpande, Madhav and Bhate, Saroja, 1-48. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

    "Vākyapadīya (VP in abbreviation) 2.486, the first word of which I intend to discuss here, runs thus:

    parvatād āgamaṃ, labdhvā bhāsya-bijānusāribhiḥ/ sa nīto bahu-śakhatvaṃ candrācāryādibjiḥ punah//

    The question of the precise import of this verse has given rise to a substantial body of literature extending over 125 years (Aklujkar 1978:9). As I have already examined this literature directly and indirectly in the publications mentioned above, I shall merely state here that I prefer to translate the verse along the following lines: 'Having acquired the traditional knowledge from parvata, Candrācārya and others, who followed the indications in the Bhāṣia, again made it (i.e., the traditional knowledge) many-branched'. I should also clarify that in my view, as argued in the 1978 article, the verse was probably authored by a student of Bhartṛhari (B in abbreviation) and not by B as has been commonly supposed.

    Although parvata is a common Sanskrit word with 'mountain, mountain range' as its definite meaning and it would not be incompatible in that meaning with the other words of VP 2.486, it has caused much reflection on the part of scholars." (pp. 1-2)

  15. ———. 1993. "An Introduction to the Study of Bhartṛhari." Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques no. 47:7-36.

    Reprinted in Saroja Bhate, Johannes Bronkhorst (eds.), Bhartṛhari, Philosopher and Grammarian, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1994, pp. 7-36.

    "My lecture has been described as introductory and to some extent it will be introductory. However, please note that it will not be introductory in the sense of a presentation proceeding on the assumption that the audience knows nothing or little about Bhartṛhari (hereafter abbreviated to "B") and the works associated with him and hence the principle goal should be to give to the audience some very basic or preliminary information in that regard. Rather, I am principally going to talk about what research has achieved so far, what parameters are emerging, and what we could expect in the future. From the obseivations made along these lines and the information given in the appendix, it should be possible for you to infer, if you do not already know, what basic factual information and surmises made by scholars there are regarding B, his works, and his commentators." (p. 8)

  16. ———. 1993. "Once Again on the Authorship of the Trikāndī-Vṛtti." Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques no. 47:45-57.

    Reprinted in Saroja Bhate, Johannes Bronkhorst (eds.), Bhartṛhari, Philosopher and Grammarian, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1994, pp. 45-58.

    "I keep an open mind on the issue of the authorship of the Vṛtti (hereafter "V" in abbreviation) of the first two kāṇḍas of the Trikāndī (abbreviated to "TK" in the following lines) or Vākyapadīya. My interest is not in arguing for a position by implicitly assuming the adversarial system analogous to that of the British or North American judiciary. That is why when I discussed the problem in 1972 I tried to consider in as much detail as possible all the pieces of evidence that had the potential to disturb the traditional authorship of the V. For example, I collected all cases of double or multiple glossing in the V and attempted to determine if each of them indicated alternative possibilities of meaning entertained by an uncertain commentator or whether the different glosses were in fact intended by the kārikā author - whether what we had in front of us were, in effect, cases of sophisticated śāstra punning. In the end, the time-consuming investigation I invited upon myself revealed that the latter indeed was the case. Wherever we had more than one explanation given for a kārikā expression, the content of each explanation was acceptable to the kārikā author on some level or in some specific context. The alternative explanations could not be thought of as signs of uncertainty of understanding and thus be an evidence of the V author's difference from the kārikā author." (p. 45)

  17. ———. 2000. "The Epistemological Point of View of Bhartṛhari." In Concept of Knowledge: East and West, edited by Shaw, J. L. , 1-19. Calcutta: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.

    §S.1 In the preceding, I have implicitly made a distinction between B [= Bhartṛhari] as a philosopher (in our most prevalent contemporary Western sense of the term) and as a religious thinker. What that distinction suggests is that B, as a philosopher, need not be seen as needing the concept of ṃokṣa or, to use his expression in Vṛtti 1.5, of brahmaṇaḥ prāptiḥ or the other elements of his philosophy to stand.

    Another implication of what I have said so far is that there are levels in B's ontology and they are related to his roles as a thinker. As a Grammarian or Vaiyākaraṇa, he accepts as existing everything that words can denote ( even 'hare's horn' is deemed to exist from the Grammarian's perspective).(24) As a philosopher, he admits only the physical things and the language principle as truly existing. Everything else is seen as inseparable from either the things or the principle (time and space, as capacities of the latter, are inseparable from it; all other entities such as qualities, universals, etc. have no separate existence from substance).

    And as a religious thinker, he entertains the possibility that his philosophical ontic world could be superseded by one in which the language principle alone remains. The assumption then is that a person can reach a certain stage in which his mind ( = buddhi, paśyantī) is divested of diversity and he 'becomes' the language principle.

    §S .2 The distinction between B's roles as a Grammarian thinker and as a non-Grammarian thinker is conveyed by the remarks of his ancient commentators, particularly the remarks of Helā-rāja. The differentiation between a śabda-pramāṇaka ontology and a non-śabda-pramāṇaka (in effect, corresponding to our philosophical) ontology, which Helā-rāja makes, has support in B's remarks. That the non-śabda-pramāṇaka ontology is not explicitly characterized as philosophical or is not further divided into philosophical and religious is due to the absence of distinctive terminology for philosophy and religion in the Indian tradition." (p. 11, three notes omitted)

    (24) Compare Quine's procedure of beginning the investigation of what exists with the position 'everything.'

  18. ———. 2001. "The Word is the World: Nondualism in Indian Philosophy of Language." Philosophy East and West no. 51:452-473.

    "Bhartṛhari the grammarian-philosopher most eligible for attributing the view "the word is the world," lived sometime around A.D. 425-450, if not earlier. In the current state of our resources, he can be viewed as the originator of the view, although it is clear from his major surviving work, the Trikāndī or Vākyapadīya, that the view must have preceded him by quite some time, probably many centuries, in several important details if not in its entirety. The argumentation in support of the view, as distinct from the statement of the view, is at present found for the first time only in Bhartṛhari's incompletely preserved magnum opus, albeit it is not Bhartṛhari's principal intention, except maybe for a part of the first book, to argue systematically in favor of the view. My aim here is to identify myself with Bhartṛhari, unearth the many facets of his argumentation, and give him the best possible hearing that I can." (p. 456)

  19. ———. 2009. "Veda Revelation according to Bhartṛhari." In Bhartṛhari: Language, Thought and Reality, edited by Chaturvedi, Mithilesh, 1-98. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    "In his paper “Veda Revelation according to Bhartṛhari”, Ashok Aklulkar discusses the connotations of words like sākṣākṛta-dharman and pratyakṣadharman used in Bhartṛhari's Vṛtti and earlier by Yāska and Patañjali. He interprets dharma as ‘properties of things’. According to him, Bhartṛhari uses the word veda in more than one sense: Veda in a subtle form as appearing in the vision of seers comes before the sequential language form or the textual corpus that is later divided into four Vedas and different śākhās. Aklujkar equates Veda in pre-revelation stage with para-paśyanti-rūpa or the language principle itself and the first revelaton with paśyanti, i.e., the active or the extrovert stage of it. He also thinks that Bhartṛhari’s account of Veda revelation is not an expression of faith only but also has philosophical content and there is empiricist spirit in the account. He further draws the conclusion that although Bhartṛhari has genuine reverence for the Veda, he opts for theoretical fictions when necessary. Aklujkar has added four appendices, mainly discussing the relevant Vṛtti and Nirukta Passages textually, to his paper." (Editor's Introduction, p. XXVI)

  20. Alackapally, Sebastian. 2002. Being and Meaning: Reality and Language in Bhartrhari and Heidegger. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    Contents: Foreword. General introduction. Philosophical background of Bhartrhari and Heidegger: Bhartrhari: the grammarian philosopher. Heidegger: the philosopher of being and language. 1. Sabdatattva: the ultimate reality; 2. Sabdatattva: the Sphota of language; 3. Heidegger's concept of reality; 4. Language: the saying of being; General conclusion; Being and language in Bhartrhari and Heidegger: a synthesis; Glossary; Appendix; Bibliography. Index.

    "This is a study of the concepts of Being (Reality) and Language (Meaning) as has been envisioned by Bhartrhari, the Indian linguistic Philosopher and Martin Heidegger, a great independent German thinker. For both, the question of Being is essentially interwoven into the experience of the question of language. For them, there is no philosophy of Being without a philosophy of Language. Hence a thinking of Being is simultaneously a thinking of Language; to experience the truth of the one is necessarily to experience the truth of the other.

    In Bhartrhari's vision the language we speak is the medium of the self-expression of the ultimate Reality communicated through all meaning-bearing words. It leads us across the external appearance to the core of reality which is the source and the underlying unity beneath everything. This approach depends for its validity upon the presupposition that the real is a luminous Truth which needs to be discovered by every speaker and in every speech. The real breaks-forth (sphut) through the medium of speech (sabda). This sabda is not merely a means to a truth or reality but it is the Truth and Reality. The awareness of this fact leads one to the realization of the meaningfullnes of Being." (p. 1)

  21. Ananthanarayana, H. S. 1992. "Bhartṛhari on Semantics and Pragmatics." Bulletin of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute no. 51/52:211-219.

    "The present paper makes an attempt to bring to the notice of the students of modern linguistics, as they seem to be unaware of their great heritage, some of the finer points in Bhartṛhari's discussion of semantics which is interpreted syntactically and determined to an extent also pragmatically. We may quote Bhartṛhari himself on this who warns that the Goddess of learning does not smile on those students who would neglect their own ancients (11.485). There is close similarity between Bhartṛhari and modern linguistics in many issues discussed in Vākyapadīya. The paper makes a reference also to these similarities to the extent possible and suggests that a closer study of the Indian tradition is worth its trouble and makes us proud of our heritage. Bhartṛhari starts from the observation that a linguistic unit say, a word, can be considered under two aspects, viz. sound and meaning bearer (1.44). He terms the first as dhvani which the speaker utters and which are the nimitta 'manifestors' of the real word. The second is called sphoṭa which, when manifested by the dhvanis, conveys the meaning. It is the meaning bearing aspect of the word, an indivisible entity which is over and above the sounds. The latter are many in number and are uttered by the speaker in a temporal sequence in order to manifest the sphoṭa. Sphota is eternal while dhvani is transitory. The unit of expression as well as the unit of meaning is, for Bhartṛhari, the sentence since it is only the sentence that is real and meaningful. Individual words for him have no reality and, thus, do not convey meaning. He says 'sounds have no separate existence in words nor do component features within the sounds; nor have the words any separate existence apart from the sentence' (1.73)." (pp. 211-212)

  22. Antil, Ritoo Kartari, and Gautam, Vikas Singh. 2022. "Bhartṛhari’s Linguistic Philosophy: Śabda Brahman and the Question from Ineffability." International Journal of Sanskrit Research no. 8:280-283.

    Abstract: "Bhartṛhari mainly focuses on correct interpretation of Vedic literature through grammar and creates the notion of verbal holism, which describes the ultimate reality as a universal language (śabda) without any components. According to his philosophy, śabda is absolute reality, and the universe expresses itself in the shape of language; that is, objective reality is nothing more than the linguistic explanation of any kind of experience. We can only know something if we are able to cognise it verbally, whether in mind or orally. There is, nevertheless, a sense of ineffability, and there are experiences that do not fit within the realm of linguistic cognition and can only be described in terms of raw sensations. As a result, Bhartṛhari's philosophical argument that absolute reality only exists in a word form, i.e. Śabda Brahman, is called into doubt. The paper briefly discusses the scope of ineffability in verbal holism, as well as some alternative remedies from other philosophical traditions, in order to keep the notion of effability alive in Bhartṛhari's Śabda Brahman theory."

  23. Bandyopadhyay, Nandsita. 1988. Being, Meaning, and Proposition: A Comparative Study of Bhartṛhari, Russell, Frege, and Strawson. Calcutta: Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar.

  24. Behera, Pitambar. 2015. "The Sphoṭa Theory in the Indic Philosophy: The Ancient vs the Modern." In Proceedings of Twenty Second International Congress on Vedanta, 223-235. New Delhi: D. K. Print World Publications.

    Abstract: "Since the advent of the period of the great grammarians, Patañjali and Pāṇini, in the Indic philosophy, the concept of meaning has been a primordial concern. Different schools of philosophers have attempted to address the said conceptual issue in various ways in consonance with the philosophy of language ranging from the ancient to the modern. Almost all the schools of philosophy (the Vedic, Vedāntic, Buddhist and Jaina) have participated in the deliberation on the origin of meaning in semantics, which encapsulated the larger chunk of the Indian philosophy on language. The mystic and whimsical doctrine of the articulation of sounds (sphoṭa) and the meanings that they respectively convey has been revisited and demystified with a special reference to Bhart¦hari’s exponential theory of sphoṭa."

  25. Bhate, Saroja. 1993. "Bhartṛhari on Language and Reality." Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques no. 47:67-73.

    Reprinted in Saroja Bhate, Johannes Bronkhorst (eds.), Bhartṛhari, Philosopher and Grammarian, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1994, pp. 67-73.

    "The present paper is an attempt to sum up Bhartrhari's views on the relation of language with reality. It is, in fact, a further extention of the problem posed by Dr. J. Kelley in his paper, namely, whether the Vâkyapadïya (VP) can be looked upon as an argument about the limitations of a formal system of analysis to describe linguistic phenomena.(1) I would like to go a step further and pose the problem whether the VP represents an argument about the limitations of language to describe reality.

    Bhartṛhari accepts perception, inference and word as valid means of knowledge. However, he acknowledges highest authority to word. He declares in the Brahmakända that there is no knowledge which does not assume the form of a word(2). All knowledge must culminate in verbal knowledge. No object which is not expressed in words exists. Language is the only window to the world. Our knowledge of reality is shaped by the language we use. Thus Bhartṛhari has initially accepted an intimate relationship of language with reality.

    However, Bhartṛhari shows the superficial character of this intimacy by pointing out how language falls short of reality. At several places in the VP he describes language not only as an inadequate tool to represent reality but also as a wrong means, which, in fact, never takes us to reality.

    It is very intriguing that the VP begins with a declaration that there is no world beyond language, whereas it ends up with a note of disharmony between the two and declares that reality transcends language. What follows is a résumé of the views presented in the VP about the nature of language in relation to reality." (p. 67)

    (1) John D. Kelly's paper entitled 'Meaning and the limits of analysis: Bhartṛhari and the Buddhists, and post-structuralism' elsewhere in this volume [pp. 171-194].

    (2) VP. 1.123:

    na so 'sti pratyayo loke yah sabdänugamäd rie /

    anuviddham iva jnânam sarvam iabdena bhäsate //

  26. Bhate, Saroja, and Bronkhorst, Johannes, eds. 1994. Bhartṛharii, Philosopher and Grammarian: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Bhartr̥hari (University of Poona, January 6-8, 1992). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    Table of Contents: Acknowledgements 5; Ashok Aklujkar: An introduction to the study of Bhartṛhari 7; Akihiko Akamatsu: Pratibha and the meaning of the sentence in Bhartṛhari's Vākyapadīya 37; Ashok Aklujkar: Once again on the autorship of the Trikāndī-Vrtti 45; PT. V.B. Bhagavat: śrīmad-Bhartharih Nāgeśaś ca 59; Saroja Bathe: Bhartṛhari on language and reality 61; Johannes Bronkhorst: Studies on Bhartṛhari, 5 Bhartṛhari and Vaisesika 15; Madha V.M. Despande: The changing notion of śista from Patañjali to Bhartṛhari 95; Brendan S. Gillon: Bhartṛhari's solution to the problem of asamartha compounds 111; Masaaki Hattori: Kamalaśīla's interpretation of some verses in the Vakyakanda of Bhartṛhari's Vākyapadīya 135; Yoshichika Honda: Bhartṛhari's definition of kriyā 141; Jan Houben:: Who are Bhartrhari's padadarśins? On the development of Bhartṛhari's philosophy of language 155; John D. Kelly: Meaning and the limits of analysis: Bhartṛhari and the Buddhists, and post-structuralism 171; Chr. Lindtner: Linking up Bhartṛhari and the Bauddhas 195; G.B. Palsule: Points of agreement and difference between the Vākyapadīya and the Mahābhāṣya-Dīpīka m the matter of sphoṭa 215; Anna Radicchi: Vivakṣā in the Vākyapadīya 221; Yvves Ramseier: Bibliography on Bhartṛhari 235; Index of references 262.

  27. Bhattacharya, Bishnupada. 1985. Bhartṛhari's Vākyapadīya and Linguistic Monism. Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.

    The Vakyapadiya, the magnum opus of the great Bhartṛhari, is not only the most authoritative text on the analytic aspect of Sanskrit language as such, but also one of the most important philosophical works dealing with some of the basic problems of linguistic philosophy, which has also engaged the attention of some of the most eminent linguistic philosophers of our age. The question of the relation of language with the external reality on the one hand and with the internal thought-process on the other is one of the fundamental problems of philosophy. We are aware that there have been various trends of metaphysical quest in India from the very earliest times, and they can be usually classed under two broad heads viz. dualism-pluralism and monism. The Sāmkhya-Yoga, Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, and Purva-Mīmāṃsā systems are examples of dualistic/pluralistic metaphysics, while the Vedanta of the school of Śaṅkara is the most outstanding example of monism. But besides Śaṅkara’s advaita, which is usually known as brahmādvaita there have been several other attempts at explaining the phenomenal universe of diversity from one absolute principle without any second. Several variants of monism, however, can be traced in the ancient philosophical literature of India, of which śabdādvaita-vādā, vijñānādvaita-vāda, and sattādvaita-vāda have been noticed in authoritative texts, besides the well-known brahmādvaita-vāda or ātmādvaita-vāda as taught in the Upaniṣads according to the interpretation of the school with which Śaṅkara is affiliated. Bhartṛhari is the propounder of the theory of śabdādvaita or Linguistic Monism, which is a novel doctrine altogether, though the origin of the doctrine is traceable in the Vedic Saṃhitās. Thus Bhartrhari is a great exponent of Monism, though of a different sort, beside Śaṅkara." (pp. 1-2)

  28. Bhattacharyya, Gaurinath. 1937. "A Study in the Dialectics of Sphoṭa." Journal of the Department of Letters. University of Calcutta no. 29:1-121.

    "We do not know when and by whom the doctrine of sphoṭa was first promulgated. There is no reference to it in the sūtras of Pāṇini nor in the vārtikas of Kātyāyana, But in the Pān. Su. VI. 1. 123, there is the name of a grammarian named Sphoṭāyana. The name may suggest that the grammarian was an exponent of the doctrine of sphoṭa. It is, however, Patañjali who for the first time appears to make a reference to sphoṭa in his epoch-making work on Sanskrit grammar, the Vyākarana-mahābhāṣya. Therein he acknowledges in clear terms the distinction between two kinds of word (śabda)-permanent (nītya) and created (kārya); and it is "vith reference to the former that he uses such epithets as "abiding" (dhruva), "unchangeable" (kūṭasta), etc., epithets that are ascribed to Brahman with which Sphoṭa bas been identified. But Patañjali has not only hinted at sphoṭa by noticing the distinction referred to above; he has also actuaJly used the term in his work and has given us a definition of the same. Thus Patañjali observes a distinction between sphoṭa and sound by holding that the latter is only a quality of the former and serves to manifest it. And he defines sphoṭa as what is perceived by the auditory organs, apprehended by the intellect, manifested by the auditory organs, apprehended by the intellect, manifested by sound and pertaining to ether.

    It is Bhartṛhari, the celebrated author of the Vākyapadīya, who, to our knowledlge, is the first grammarian to have presented to us a systematic treatment of the conception of sphoṭa. Bhartṛhari has looked at sphoṭa from two standpoints - metaphysical and empirical. From the metaphysical standpoint, Bhartṛhari conceives Sphoṭa as identical with the Brahman of the Vedāintists, the material cause of the phenomenal world. From the empirical point of view, sphota is an indivisible sentence which is expressive of sense.

    His attitude towards word, syllable and letter is that they are no better then mere artifices resorted to for the purpose of helping the subject to grasp the indivisble character of sphoṭa." (pp. 1-2)

  29. Bhattacharyya, Sibajiban, ed. 2002. Word and Sentence: Two Perspectives. Bhartṛhari and Wittgenstein. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi.

    Contents: Preface 5; K.G. Shah: Word and sentence: Two prespeclives: Bhartṛhari and Wittgenstein 9; ndra Nath Choudhuri: Welcome Speech 18; Vidya Niwas Misra: Key-note Address 21; Hiranmoy Banerjee: Understanding Bhartṛhari A Modem Perspective 27; S. 8hattacharyya: Word and Sentence: Wittgenstein, Bhartṛhari and Jagadiśa 34; Arindam Chakravarty: The 'glory' and impenetrability of the Peacock-egg: Eternalism versus Conventionalism about the Word-Meaning Relationship 45; D.P. Chattopadhyaya: Wittgenstein on Language: Some Remarks 55; Probal Dasgupta: The Sentence as Freedom 63; V.N. Jha: Word and Meaning: Identical? 67; Ashok R. Kelkar: What has Bhartṛhari got to say on Language? 78; Lachman M. Khunchandani: Speech as an Ongoing Activity Comparing Bhartṛhari and Wit!genstein 104; P.K. .Mukhopadhyay: Allemalive Conceptions of Sentence and Conflicting Perspectives of Language 123; R.C. Pradhan: Meaning Holism in Wittgenstein and Bhartṛhari: A Study in Two Semantic Perspectives 134; M. Sreemannarayana Murti: Sphoṭa Theory Vis-a-Vis Picture Theory 162-185.

  30. Bronkhorst, Johannes. 1989. "Studies on Bhartṛhari, 2: Bhartṛhari and Mīmāṃsā." Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik no. 15:101-117.

    [Studies 1 and 4 are in French].

    Reprinted in R. C. Dwivedi (ed.), Studies in Mīmāṃsā. Dr. Mandan Mishra Felicitation Volume, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1994, pp. 371–388.

    "Both Bhartṛhari and Śabara pay a good deal of attention to the subject of ūha 'modification, adjustment'. Bhartrhari discusses it in the first Āhnika of his ·commentary on the Mahābhāṣya (AL 5.18-8.17, Sw 6.17-9.27, Ms 2b9-3c1, while parts of Adhyāya 9 of Sahara's Bhāṣya deal with it. Two cases in particular are treated by both the authors and allow of a detailed comparison." (p. 101)


    "The conclusion must be that Bhartṛhari's description of uha, or rather of the absence of, in aditiḥ pāśān pramoktu does not represent the position of any group of Mimāṃsakas, but rather the po.sition of the Maitrāyaṇīya branch of the Yajurveda. The Mimāṃsakas on the other hand, or at any rate Śabara , did not confine their attention to one Vedic school." (p. 104)


    "The above observations, if correct, allow us to draw the following conclusions.

    Bhartṛhari was acquainted with Mimāṃsa, but did not use it where we would expect him to use it. In the context of ritual details he rather draws upon another tradition, most probably on the traditional manuals current in his Vedic school, that of the Maitrāyaṇīyas. And where he makes references to Mimāṃsa, it is never to Śabara's Bhāṣya, but rather to a Mimāṃsa work in verse, or containing verse, which has not survived, but may have been Bhavadāsa' s Vṝi. He may have known the Pūrva Mimāṃsa Sūtra, or a part of it, but this is not certain." (p. 114)

  31. ———. 1991. "Studies on Bhartṛhari, 3: Bhartṛhari on Sphoṭa and Universals." Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques no. 45:5-18.

    "Both Brough and Herzberger worked from 'below' 'upward' in their attempt to understand Bhartṛhari's thought. Brough never reaches the metaphysical 'superstructure', whose existence he none-the-less does not deny. For Herzberger the 'superstructure' is the 'top' of a construction built by her 'from below'. For Bhartṛhari, however, we can be sure that the metaphysical superstructure did not come at the end, but rather at the beginning. It comes at the beginning literally, for the first stanzas of the Vākyapadīya speak of Brahman.

    But it must have come at the beginning in another sense as well: Bhartṛhari wrote his work starting from a vision, in which the metaphysical aspects of his thought were already clearly represented. This at any rate seems an extremely reasonable assumption to make." (p. 12)


    "The picture which thus evolves of universals is hardly that of an abstract entity different from the things in which it manifests itself, like the universals of the Vaiśeṣika philosophy. In an important way Bhartṛhari's universal rather is the thing. It is not correct to think that there is a pot, and the universal potness which is different from it. Quite on the contrary, the pot in as far as it really exists is the universal; its not really existing shadow in the phenomenal world is the individual. It is therefore not possible to say that pot and potness are different, even though the former has a spatial and a temporal dimension, which the latter has not. Universals, seen in this way, can most easily be compared with Plato's ideas: they are real and unchanging, while the things that figure in our experience are their unreal reflections.

    Returning now to Bhartṛhari's sphoṭa, if the real pot is the universal, the same must be true of words: the real word, i.e. the sphoṭa, is a universal." (p. 14)


    John Brough, "Theories of general linguistics in the Sanskrit grammarians", Transactions of the Philological Society, 1951, pp. 27-46. Reprinted in A Reader on the Sanskrit Grammarians, edited by J.F. Staal, MIT Press, Cambridge - Massachusetts and London - England, 1972, pp. 4()2-414.

    Radhika Herzberger, Bhartṛhari and the Buddhists, An Essay in the Development of Fifth and Sixth Century Indian Thought, Dordrecht /Boston/ Lancaster / Tokyo: D. Reidel. 1986. (Studies of Classical India. 8.)

  32. ———. 1993. "Studies on Bhartṛhari, 5: Bhartṛhari and Vaiśeṣika." Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques no. 47:75-94.

    Reprinted in Saroja Bhate, Johannes Bronkhorst (eds), Bhartṛhari, Philosopher and Grammarian: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Bhartṛhari (University of Poona, January 6–8, 1992), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1994, pp. 75–94.

    "There are reasons to think that Bhartṛhari's writings may shed light on the early history of Vaiśeṣika. One of these is that he obviously knew the Vaiśeṣika system. Almost all of its categories play a role in his work.

    Separate sections (samuddeśa) of the Vākyapadīya are dedicated to the categories jāti, dravya, guṇa and kriyā. The relationship called samavāya - a special feature of Vaiśeṣika - is mentioned and used repeatedly.

    Vaiśeṣika substances appear as 'powers' (śakti), most notably kāla (time) and diś (space).

    A second reason is Bhartṛhari's chonological position. I have argued in another publication that Prasaśtapāda's Padārthadharmaṁsagraha; as well as Dignāga's Pramāṇasamuccayavṛtti before it, were heavily indebted to the Kaṭandī, a work written not long before Dignāga. This Kaṭandī, further argued, exerted a dominating influence on all Vaiśeṣika literature that came after it, including perhaps the versions of the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra

    itself, not to speak of the surviving commentaries on this Sūtra work.(2)

    Bhartṛhari, on the other hand, lived long enough before Dignāga that someone different from Bhartṛhari could write a commentary on the first two kāṇḍas of his Viikyapadiya still before Dignaga. Bhartṛhari, therefore, lived and worked most probably before the Kaṭāndi! If his work provides information on Vaiśeṣika, it would then be one of the very few sources of information dating form the pre-Kaṭāndi period of this system.

    In what follows we shall consider some possible links between Bhartṛhari's Vākyapadīya and the Vaiśeṣika of his days." (p. 75)

    (2) See Bronkhorst, forthcoming."The Vaiśeṣika vākya and bhāṣya." Annals of the Bhandatkar Oriental Research Institute.

  33. ———. 1994. "Studies on Bhartṛhari, 6: The Author of the Three Centuries." In Vācaspatyam. Pt. Vamanshastri Bhagwat Felicitation Volume, edited by Bhate, Saroja and Deshpande, Madhav, 32-41. Pune: Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala.

    "There seems to be a tendency among recent scholars to consider as possible, or even probable, the identity of Bhartṛhari, supposedly the author of the Three Centuries (śatakatraya, subhāṣitatriśat), with the grammarian-philosopher of the same name.

    This article is meant to draw attention to the fact that the arguments adduced to support this position are far weaker than is generally realized." (p. 32)

  34. ———. 1995. "Studies on Bhartṛhari, 7: Grammar as the Door to Liberation." Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute no. 76:97-106.

    "In the beginning of his Vākyapadīya, Bhartṛhari describes grammar as dvāram apavargasya ‘the door to liberation’. This remark has drawn the attention of several scholars, none of whom have been able to explain how the study of grammar could possibly lead to the highest aim of Indian religions, liberation from this world. Some complain about the lack of information about this in the Vākyapadīya. (p. 97)


    "There are many aspects of Bhartṛhari's thought where the influence of Buddhism is clearly noticeable. His conception of the highest reality is an example, as I have tried to show elsewhere.(21) His view as to to what extent the world of our daily experience is determined by language, is another example(.22) The present paper has tried to show that even his ideas about the ultimate religious aim, and how to reach it, may have been borrowed from the Buddhists. To all this we must however add that Bhartṛhari never borrows ideas without thoroughly adjusting them to their new surroundings. Many of his ideas may be Buddhist in origin, together they constitute Bhartṛhari's philosophy which, as such, is not Buddhist at all. His is the philosophy of a traditional Brahmin, who manages to adjust the Buddhist and other ideas in such a way, that they come to contribute to a Veda-centered view of the world." (pp. 104-105)

    (21) Bronkhorst, 1992.

    (22) Bronkhorst, 1996.


    Bronkhorst, Johannes (1992): "Études sur Bhartṛhari, 4: L'absolu dans le Vākyapadīya et son lien avec le Madhyamaka." Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques 46.1 (Études bouddhiques offertes à Jacques May), 6-80.

    Bronkhorst, Johannes (1996): "Sanskrit and reality: the Buddhist contribution." Ideology and Status of Sanskrit: Contributions to the history of the Sanskrit language. Ed. Jan E. M. Houben. Leiden etc.: E.J. Brill. Pp. 09-135.

  35. ———. 1996. "Sanskrit and Reality: the Buddhist Contribution." In Ideology and Status of Sanskrit: Contributions to the History of the Sanskrit Language, edited by Houben, Jan E. M., 109-135. Leiden: Brill.

    "With this in mind we turn to another Brahmanical thinker who, as it seems to me, has been profoundly influenced by Buddhist ideas.(53) This is Bhartṛhari, the linguistic thinker par excellence of classical India.

    Bhartṛhari stood, in fact, under the influence of both Vaiśeṣika and Buddhism, not to speak of several other currents of thought. The extent to which he is indebted to Vaiśeṣika is evident on almost every page of his Vâkyapadïya. The Buddhist influence is less immediately obvious, but not any the less important, as it appears to me. I have drawn attention to Bhartṛhari's indebtedness to Buddhist thought in an earlier publication.(54)

    In the present lecture I will try to show how Bhartrhari, at least where ideas concerning the relationship between language and phenomenal reality are concerned, remains closer to the Buddhists than to the Vaiśeṣikas. I will also point out how he adapts these essentially Buddhist ideas to his own vision of the world. We will see that Bhartrhari accepts the close correspondence between language and phenomenal reality, that, like the Buddhists, he looks upon phenomenal reality as ultimately unreal, and that, like Nägärjuna, he includes sentences in the parts of language that correspond to the phenomenal world." (p. 125)

    (53) For the argument here presented it is not important to know whether Bhartṛhari was directly acquainted with Nägärjuna's works. Nägärjuna's style of reasoning left a profound impression on Buddhist thought after him, so that Bhartrhari may have undergone his influence indirectly. Some features of Bhartrhari's thought suggest that he may have been acquainted with one or more Yogäcära thinkers; see note 81 below.

    (54) Bronkhorst 1992a. [1992a "Études sur Bhartrhari, 4: L'absolu dans le Vâkyapadïya et son lien avec le Madhyamaka." Asian Studies/Études Asiatiques 46.1 (Études bouddhiques offertes à Jacques May): 56-80.

    (81) One is of course reminded of the abhilapaväsana of the Yogäcäras, which is responsible for a number of percepts (vijnapti) besides the one of linguistic usage (vyavahäravijnapti). Cf. Lamotte [La Somme du Grand Véhicule d'Asanga (Mahäyänasamgraha). Tome II:traduction et commentaire. Publications de l'Institut Orientaliste de Louvain, 8 Louvain-la-Neuve: Institut Orientaliste] 1973: 88-89, 108 (= Mahäyänasamgraha II, 2; II, 16).

  36. ———. 1999. "Studies on Bhartṛhari, 8: prākṛta dhvani and the Sāṃkhya tanmātras." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 27:23-33.

    "Bhartṛhari distinguishes between the word itself (sometimes called sphoṭa) and the sounds that manifest it. These sounds themselves are subdivided in one passage of the Vākyapadīya into prākṛta dhvani and vaikṛta dhvani. These two expressions have puzzled modern scholarship." (p. 23)


    "To conclude. For a correct understanding of Bhartṛhari's prākṛta and vaikṛta dhvani, his intellectual context must first be taken into consideration. Comparison with theories of modern linguistics is delicate, and should not be made until Bhartṛhari's own intellectual background has been properly explored.

    It seems likely that the notions of prākṛta and vaikṛta forms of sound come from Sāṃkhya, where these notions appear to have been current until the revision of that philosophy during which the qualities as final evolutes were replaced by the five elements.

    This hypothesis explains both Bhartṛharis terminology and the ideas it covers: both Sāṃkhya and Bhartṛhari distinguish between two perceptible forms of sound, the one "pure", the other one "impure". Questions remain as to their temporal relationship: does the vaikṛta dhvani, come into being after the prākṛta dhvani? Neither Bhartṛhari's text nor our limited knowledge about the Sāṃkhya known to him allow us to reach a clear and certain answer to this question.

    The revision of Sāṃkhya referred to above did away with both prākṛta and vaikṛta dhvani. Not surprisingly, the commentator Vṛṣabhadeva no longer understood Bhartṛhari's short and enigmatic passage, and gave it a different interpretation." (pp. 32-33)

  37. ———. 2001. "The Peacock's Egg: Bhartrhari on Language and Reality." Philosophy East and West no. 51:474-491.

    "Bhartrhari was not only a clever and well-informed philosopher but also a conservative Brahmin who maintained his own tradition's superiority against the philosophies developed in his time. He exploited a problem that occupied all his philosophical contemporaries to promote his own ideas, in which the Veda played a central role. Bhartrhari and his thought are situated in their philosophical context. As it turns out, he dealt with issues that others had dealt with before him in India and suggested solutions to existing problems. Indeed it becomes clear that he was both a philosopher who dealt with current problems and challenges and a traditionalist who used the philosophical debate of his time to gain respectability for his own Vedic tradition."

  38. ———. 2009. "Bhartṛhari and His Vedic Tradition." In Bhartṛhari: Language, Thought and Reality, edited by Chaturvedi, Mithilesh, 99-118. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    "In this paper I wish to concentrate on one thinker and explore to what extent his thought may have been influenced, or even determined, by the Vedic school to which he belonged. This thinker is Bhartṛhari — a Brahmanical philosopher belonging to the fifth century of the common era, author of the Vākyapadīya and of a commentary, Tikā, on the Mahābhāṣya, nowadays often referred to as Mahābhāṣya-dīpikā. The Vedic school to which he belonged is that of the Mānava-Maitrāyaṇīyas. Is it possible that this famous thinker may have borrowed, or rather inherited, some of his key ideas from this, his own, Vedic tradition? (p. 102)


    "What can we conclude from the preceding? Not very much, ! fear. It seems possible, even likely, that Bhartṛhari looked upon his Vedic school, that of the Mānava-Maitrāyaṇīyas, as one of his sources of inspiration which he refers to as authoritative tradition, āgama. The specific texts belonging to that tradition which he used probably include the Maitrāyaṇīya Upaniṣad.

    He also used other treatises of the Mānava school, among them probably a Mānava Dharmaśāstra. Whether he derived philosophical ideas from these treatises is not clear. The Manusmṝti — assuming that it is based on the Mānava Dharmaśāstra known to Bhartṛhari — does not provide much information that might support this." (p. 112)

  39. ———. 2011. Language and Reality: On an Episode in Indian Tought. Leiden: Brill.

    Revised and updated English edition of: Langage et réalité : sur un épisode de la pensée indienne, Turnhout: Brepols 1999.

    Chapter Two, § 15: Bhartṛhari, pp. 108-117.

    "Bhartṛhari, according to a few verses added at the end of the second book of his principal work, the Vākyapadīya (“Treatise on Sentences and Words”), played an important role in the resurgence of the Mahābhāṣya in the fifth century of the common era. The Vākyapadīya was aware of the problems relating to the correspondence principle, particularly the problem of the impossibility of the arising of things.

    Bhartṛhari proposes several solutions. We should not be surprised to find him making greater use, in comparison with other thinkers we have discussed, of the ideas found in the Mahābhāṣya.

    A verse from the third book of the Vākyapadīya articulates the central problem as follows: “What we call origination is the fact of attaining one’s own nature, and only something existent attains what is to be attained. If [this thing] exists [already], why does it arise? But if it does not exist, how does it arise?”(271) The problem is easily recognizable: for something to arise, it has to exist; but if it already exists, why would it arise? To quote once again the words of Nāgārjuna: “If there existed anywhere something unarisen, it could arise. Since no such thing exists, what is it that arises?”(272)" (P. 108, Sanskrit omitted)

    (271) [Bhartṛhari, Vākyapadīya, ed. W. Rau, Wiesbaden 1977] 3.3.4.

    (272) [Nāgārjuna, Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, ed. J. W. de Jong, The Adyar Library and Research Centre, Madras 1977 7.17:

  40. ———. 2012. "Studies on Bhartṛhari, 9: Vākyapadīya 2.119 and the Early History of Mīmāṃsā." Journal of Indian Philosophy no. 40:411-425.

    Abstract: "This article argues that in early Mīmāṃsā the view was current that there are objects in the world corresponding to all words of the Sanskrit language. Evidence to that effect is primarily found in passages from Bhartṛhari’s works, and in some classical Nyāya texts. Interestingly, Śabara’s classical work on Mīmāṃsā has abandoned this position, apparently for an entirely non-philosophical reason: the distaste felt for the newly arising group of Brahmanical temple-priests."

  41. Cardona, George. 1976. Pāṇini: A Survey of Research. The Hague: Mouton.

    VI.2. Bhartṛhari 295; VI.2.1, The Vākya-padīya: editions and translations. 295; VI.2.2. The authorship of the Vṛtti 297; VI.2,3, The dates of Bhartṛhari and his

    commentators 298; VI.2 4 Studies on the doctrines set forth in the Vākya-padīya 299; VI.2.5. Evaluations of Bhartṛhari and his commentators 304-305.

    "The major text on semantics and philosophy of grammar in the Paninian school is Bhartṛhari's Vākya-padīya. This, together with the Mahā-bhāsya, is the basic work for later treatments of topics in the treatises of Kauṇḍabhaṭṭa and Nāgeśa. Not only this, the Vākya-padīya is also referred to extensively in later treatises of many schools.

    The text is composed in verses (kärika) and divided into three parts (kānda)'. the Āgama-samuccya ('compendium of traditional teaching') also called the Brahma-kaṇḍa, the Väkya-kaṇḍa, and the Pada-kaṇḍa or Prakirnakaṇḍa ('miscellaneous part'). The third part is further subdivided into fourteen sections called samudeśa in which are treated; generic properties (jāti), substance (dravya), relation (sambandha) between items and their meanings, substance again (bhūyo-dravya-samuddeśa), properties (guṇa), spatial concepts (dik), kārakas (sādhana), action (kriyā), time (kāla), the concept of person (puruṣa), number (saṃkhyā), the semantics associated with active and middle endings (upagraha), gender (liñga), derivatives such as compounds (vṛtti, see note 263). The last kāṇḍa is considered by both commentators and most modern scholars to be lacking sections originally included therein. Ther term vākya-padīya was used to refer to the first two kaṇḍas and the term trikāṇḍi to refer to the whole work.

    The following commentaries on the Vākya-padīya are extant: the Vṛtti on the first and second parts, the latter fragmentary; the Ṭīkā on the second part, usually attributed to Punyaräja. Heläräja's Prakäśa on the third kāṇḍa. In addition, the Vṛtti on the first section itself has a commentary, the Paddhati of Vṝṣabhadeva." (pp. 295-296, notes omitted)

    "It is generally agreed that Bhartṛhari deserves his reputation for his insights into language. There has, nevertheless, been some disagreement on how one should evaluate him. In particular, should one approach him as a linguist or as a philosopher, through his commentaries in addition to the Vākya-padīya and the Tripädi or through these alone?" (p. 304)

  42. ———. 1999. "Approaching the Vākyapadīya." The Journal of the American Oriental Society no. 119:88-125.

    This is a review-article of: The Sambandha-Samuddesa (Chapter on Relation) and Bhartrhari's Philosophy of Language: A Study of Bhartrhari's Sambandha-samuddesa in the Context of the Vakyapadiya with a Translation of Heldrdja's Commentary, Prakirna-prakasa. B y Jan E. M. Houbeng. Gonda Indological Studies, vol. II. Groningen: Egbert Forsten, ,995. Pp. 460 + xv.

    Abstract: "In connection with a recent work on the Sambandhasamuddeśa of the Vākyapadīya, I consider some major issues concerning Bhartṛhari, the tradition he represents, and how a modern scholar might approach the Vākyapadīya. I discuss theoretical principles which have been set forth as a basis for dealing with Bhartṛhari and evidence from the Vākyapadīya in connection with these principles, chiefly what is referred to as Bhartṛhari's perspectivism. I take up in some detail one large issue: the status of the received high language, associated with a group of model speakers called sista, who use speech forms characterized as "correct" (sādhu) linguistic units (śabda) opposed to incorrect linguistic units (asadhusabda, apaśabda), that are viewed as corruptions (apabhramsa) with respect to how meanings are understood by users. The principal issue here is: do apaśabdas directly signify meanings for sistas when they communicate with someone using a vernacular, or do these speakers resort to a translation technique such that the apaśabda used calls to mind a sadhusabda, which then directly signifies a meaning? This topic also involves another important question: how one should consider the Vrtti and other commentaries in relation to what is said in the kārikā text."

  43. ———. 2000. "Addendum to JAOS 119.1: Approaching the Vākyapadīya." The Journal of the American Oriental Society no. 120:234.

    "Interpretation and paraphrase of Vākyapadīya 2.7-8 clarified."

  44. ———. 2009. "Bhartṛhari and Patanjali: Traditions Preserved." In Bhartṛhari: Language, Thought and Reality, edited by Chaturvedi, Mithilesh, 119-162. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    "While remaining faithful to the tradition of his predecessors in grammar, Bhartṛhari ranges widely in his treatment of pertinent topics, to the extent that he has been characterized as embracing an attitude of accomodation towards the views of others and of being not only encyclopedic but also perspectivistic.

    Scholars who have, with some justification, emphasized this aspect of Bhartṛhari’s approach, though they acknowledge Bhartṛhari’s close affiliation with the Mahābhāṣya, to the point where in many places—especially in the third kaṇḍa—the Vākyapadīya takes on aspects of a learned commentary on this work, have not, in my opinion, sufficiently emphasized the degree to which Patanjali anticipates Bhartṛhari in devoting attention to various points of view. In addition, insufficient attention has been paid to the manner in which both authors can make known their sharp disagreements with views they find unacceptable. In the present contribution, | consider examples from the Mahābhāṣya and the Vākyapadīya to illustrate the similarity in approach, then discuss some general issues concerning Bhartṛhari’s attitude." (pp. 120-121, note omitted)

  45. ———. 2012. "A Note on Vākyapadīya 1.45/46: ātmabhedas tayoḥ kecid ..." In Saṃskṛta-Sādhutā. Goodness of Sanskrit: Studies in Honour of Professor Ashok Aklujkar, edited by Watanabe, Chikafuma, Desmarais, Michele M. and Honda, Yoshichika, 100-109. New Delhi: D. K. Printworld.

  46. Chattopadhyay, Madhumita. 2010. "Nature of Cognition in the Philosophy of Bhartrhari: A Short Note." International Journal on Humanistic Ideology no. 1:181-191.

    Abstract: "In the history of Indian philosophy Bhartṛhari occupies a very distinguished position for relating grammar to philosophy and elaborating the language-philosophical ideas which were hinted at in the grammatical traditions of Pāṇini, Kātyāyana and Patañjali"

  47. Chaturvedi, Mithilesh, ed. 2009. Bhartṛhari: Language, Thought and Reality. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

    Proceedings of the International Seminar Delhi, December 12-14, 2003.

    Contents: Publisher's Note IX; G. C. Pande: Foreword XI; V. N. Jha: Keynote Address XV; Editor's Introduction XXV-XXXII; Ashok Aklujkar: Veda Revelation according to Bhartṛhari 1; Johannes Bronkhorst: Bhartrhari and His Vedic Tradition 99; George Cardona: Bhartṛhari and Patanjali: Traditions Preserved 19; Madhav M. Deshpande: Revisiting the Notion of Sista in Bhartrhari 163; K. D. Tripathi: Thought, Language and Consciousness: Bhartrhari’s View of Language 177; Tandra Patnaik: Thought and Language: The Bhartrharian Perspective 185; Mithilesh Chaturvedi: Does Language Map the Reality: Bhartrhari View 205; Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat: Time as Power of Word according to Bhartrhari 215; Hideyo Ogawa: On Bhartrhari’s Notion of ‘Power’( sakti) 225; Vladimir P. Ivanov: Vidyā and Avidyā in Bhartrhari's Vākyapadīya 253; P. K. Mukhopadhyay: Did Bhartrhari Give Us a Philosophy of Language 259; R. C. Pradahan: Bhartrhari as a Philosopher of Language 281; Karunasindhu Das: Changing Approaches to Language in Indian Schools of Thought vis-a-vis Bhartrhari ’s Vākyapadīya 291; Navjivan Rastogi: Vak as Pratyavamarśa: Bhartrhari from Abhinavan Perspective 301; Raffaele Torella: From an Adversary to the Main Ally: The Place of Bhartrhari in the Kashmirian Śaiva Advaita 343; Anna Radiccchi: Dhvani in Bhartrhari and Abhinavagupta’s Philosophical Works 355; Jan E. M. Housen: Bhartrhari and the Jainas 383; Toshiya Unebe: Mimāmsā and Buddhist Criticism on Bhartrhari’s Vākyapadīya 2.119 and His Counterarguments 415; Brendan S. Gillon: Bhartrhari and the Syntax of Sanskrit Gerunds 433; Arindam Chakrabarti: The Case of the Accusative: Contemporary Relevance of Bhartrhari on the Kārakas 447; Vincenzo Vergiani; Bhartrhari on Śesa relationships 459; Yoshie Kobayashi: All Words Denote the Universal (jāti): Bhartrhari's Approach 483; Fernando Tola and Carmen Dragonetti: The Conception of Lińga in Vākyapadīya III.13 499; Noriyuli Kudo: Some Remarks on the Term ‘vākyabheda’ in Bhartrhariās Mahabhāsya-dīpikā 507; Jan E. M. Housen: Bhartrhari as a ‘Cognitive Linguist’ 523; Ana Agud: Comparing Humboldt and Bhartrhari 545; Yves Ramseier: A Bibliography on Bhartrhari 557; Contributors 613-615.

External links

Theodorou, Stephanie "Bhartrihari (c. 450—510 C.E.)", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Yves Ramseier "A Bibliography on Bhartṛhari (updated 17.3.2004)"