Bhaṭṭoji Dīkṣita's “Small Step” for a Grammarian and “Giant Leap” for Sanskrit Grammar

Journal of Indian Philosophy 36 (5-6):563-574 (2008)
This paper is devoted to theoretical and methodical considerations on our study and understanding of macroscopic transitions in the world of Sanskrit intellectuals from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century (cf. Pollock, Indian Economic and Social History Review 38(1):3–31, 2001). It is argued that compared to his immediate predecessors Bhaṭṭoji Dīkṣita’s contribution to Prakriyā grammars was modest. It was to a large extent on account of changed circumstances—over the centuries mainly a slow but steady decline—in the position of Sanskrit and the general public’s need for a simple definition of authoritatively correct Sanskrit that Bhaṭṭoji’s grammar met with success so quickly, so widely, and so solidly. I once knew a little boy in England who asked his father, “Do fathers always know more than sons?” and the father said “Yes.” The next question was, “Daddy, who invented the steam engine?” and the father said “James Watt.” And then the son came back with “But why didn’t James Watt’s father invent it?” Gregory Bateson (1972, p. 21)
Keywords Pāṇinian grammar  Sanskrit grammarians  History of science  Sociology of science  Pierre Bourdieu
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