Aim of the lectures -- Early Brahmanical literature -- Panini's grammar -- A passage from the Chandogya Upanisad -- The structures of languages -- The Buddhist contribution -- Vaisesika and language -- Verbal knowledge -- The contradictions of Nagarjuna -- The reactions of other thinkers -- Sarvastivada Samkhya -- The Agamasastra of Gaudapada -- Sankara -- Kashmiri Saivism -- Jainism -- Early Vaisesika -- Critiques of the existence of a thing before its arising -- Nyaya -- Mimamsa -- The Abhidharmakosa (...) bhasya of Vasubandhu -- The Abhidharmasamuccaya of Asanga and its bhasya -- Bhartrhari -- The problem of negation -- Dignaga and verbal knowledge -- The Bodhisattvabhumi -- Prajnakaragupta -- Indian thinkers and the correspondence principle -- Appendix. The Mahaprajnaparamitasastra and the Samkhya tanmatras. (shrink)
Bhartṛhari 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. Bhartṛhari and his thought are situated in their intellectual 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 try to gain respectability for his own Vedic tradition. (shrink)
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.
This paper argues that the grammarians Bhaṭṭoji Dīkṣita and Kauṇḍa Bhaṭṭa did innovate in the realm of grammatical philosophy, without however admitting or perhaps even knowing it. Their most important innovation is the reinterpretation of the sphoṭa. For reasons linked to new developments in sentence interpretation (śābdabodha), in their hands the sphoṭa became a semantic rather that an ontological entity.
There are good reasons to think that Brahmanism initially belonged to a geographically limited area, with its heartland in the middle and western parts of the Gangetic plain. It was in this region that Brahmanism was at that time the culture of a largely hereditary class of priests, the brahmins, who derived their livelihood and special position in society from their close association with the local rulers. This situation changed. The most plausible hypothesis as to the reasons of this change (...) sees a link with the political unification of northern India, begun by the Nandas and continued by the Mauryas. Both the Nandas and the Mauryas had their home base in the region called Magadha and had no particular interest in brahmins and their sacrificial tradition. As a result Brahmanism as an institution was under threat; it either had to face disappearance, or reinvent itself. It did the latter. Brahmanism underwent a transformation that enabled it to survive and ultimately flourish in changed circumstances. This paper will argue that the Mahābhārata can be looked upon as an element in this Brahminical project. Far from being a mere collection of stories and general good advice, it was an instrument in the hands of a group of people who were determined to change the world in ways that suited them, and who to a considerable extent succeeded in doing so during the centuries that lay ahead. (shrink)
Some ten years ago an interesting discussion took place in the pages of this journal. It began with an article by Arindam Chakrabarti (2000) whose title betrays its intention: "Against Immaculate Perception: Seven Reasons for Eliminating Nirvikalpaka Perception from Nyāya." There followed a response by Stephen H. Phillips (2001), "There's Nothing Wrong with Raw Perception: A Response to Chakrabarti's Attack on Nyāya's Nirvikalpaka Pratyakṣa," which in turn was commented upon in Chakrabarti's "Reply to Stephen Phillips" (2001).This discussion, as is clear (...) from the titles, concerns the need and even possibility of nirvikalpaka perception. What Chakrabarti tries to do is "to show why we can easily do without .. (shrink)