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Thursday, 2 July 2015

Mimamsa School of Indian Philosophy

Mimamsa School of Indian Philosophy
Ø  Mimamsa literally means ‘revered thought’ and was originally applied to the interpretation of the Vedic rituals which commanded highest reverence.
Ø  Mimamsa and Vedanta are also called allied systems. Both are based on try to interpret Vedas.
Ø  Earlier portion of Vedas i.e., the Mantra and the Bhrahman portion is called Karmakānda- it deals with the action, rituals and the sacrifices. The later portion of Vedas i.e., Upanishads is called Jñānakānda deals with the knowledge of reality.

Ø  Mimamsa deals with earlier portion of the Vedas and is also called Purva-Mimamsa and also Karma-Mimamsa. (it is also known as Dharma-mimamsa)
Ø  Vedanta deals with later portion of the Vedas and is therefore called Uttar-Mimāmsa and Jñāna-Mimāmsa. (it is also known as Brahma-mimamsa).
Ø  Karma-jñāna-samuchchaya-vaāda: the sutras beginning from Jaimini and ending with the last sutra of Badarayana, form one compact Shastra. It is the combination of action and knowledge. Advocated by pre-Shankarite teachers of Vedanta of whom Mandana Mishra seems to be the last one.
Ø  Kumarila Bhatta is regarded as the link between Purva-mimamsa and Uttar-mimamsa. Ramanuja and Bhaskara believe that the Purva and Uttar-mimamsa together form one science and the study of the former is necessary before undertaking the study of the latter.
Ø  Jaimini is the founder of Uttar-Mimamsa. And Mimamsa-sutra of Jaimini is the earliest work of this system which begins with an enquiry into the nature of the Dharma.
Ø  Shabarasvamin has written his great commentary on Mimamsa-sutra, and his commentary has been explained by Prabhakara and Kumarila Bhatta.
Ø  Prabhakara’s commentary Brhati has been commented upon by Shālikanāth who has also written another treatise called Prakarana-pañchikā.
Ø  Kumarila’s work is divided into three parts:
1.      Shlokavartika: commented upon by Partasarthi Mishra who has also written his Shastrdipika.
2.      Tantravartika
3.      Tupitaka
(Tradition makes Prabhakara a pupil of Kumarila who nicknamed him as ‘Guru’ on account of his great intellectual powers. But some scholars like Dr. Ganganatha Jha believe that Prabhakara school is older and seems to be nearer the spirit of the original Mimamsa.)[1]
Nature of valid knowledge
Ø  Prabhakara; he defines valid knowledge as apprehension (anubhuti). All apprehension is direct and immediate and valid per se. ‘all cognitions as cognitions are valid; their invalidity is due to their disagreement with the real nature of their objects.’
Ø  Kumarila: defines valid knowledge as apprehension of an object which is produced by causes free from defects and which is not contradicted by subsequent knowledge.
Ø  Parthsarthi : defines it as apprehension of an object which has not been already apprehended, which truly represents the object, and which is free from contradiction. A valid cognition must therefore fulfill four conditions:
a.     Karandoshrahita: it must not arise from defective causes.
b.    Baādhakjñānarahita: it must be self-consistent and should not be set aside by subsequent knowledge.
c.      Agrhitagrahi: it must apprehend an object which has not already been apprehended. Novelty is an essential feature of knowledge.
d.    Yathartha: it must truly represent the object.
Ø  The Mimamsaka follows the theory of Svatahparmanyavada- self validity or intrinsic validity of knowledge.
Ø  Prabhakara nad Kumarila both uphold the intrinsic validity of knowledge. Prabhakara says, ‘all cognitions as cognitions are valid; their invalidity is due to their disagreement with the real nature of their objects.’ Kumarila says, ‘the validity of knowledge consists in its apprehending an object; it is set aside by such discripancies as its disagreement with the real nature of the object.’
Ø  Mimasaka advocates the validity of knowledge in two respects; its origin (utpatti), ascertainment (jñapti).
Ø  Prabhakar’s theory of knowledge: triputipratayaksavada. He regards knowledge as self luminious (svaprakasha). It manifests itself and needs nothing for its manifestation. It is not eternal. Every knowledge according to him has triple manifestation− the cognition of the self as the knower (ahamvitti), the cognition of the object as the known (visayavitti), and the self-conscious cognition (svasamvitti).
Ø  Kumarila’s theory of knowledge: jñātavāda. He differs from Prabhakara and does not regard knowledge as self-luminious. Knowledge is not perceptible. It cannot be known directly and immediately. It is essentially an act (kriya) or a process ( vyapara).
Ø  Perception and inference:
·         Jaimini admits three pramanas−perception, inference and testimony. Prabhakara adds two more−comparison and implication. Kumarila further adds non-apprehension.
·         Both Prabhakara and Kumarila recognize two kinds of knowledge−immediate and mediate.
·         Perception is regarded as immediate knowledge by both and both admit two stages in perception−indeterminate and determinate.
·         Prabhakara defines perception as direct apprehension (saksat-pratitih-pratyaksam).
·         Kumarila defines it as direct knowledge produced by the proper contact of the sense-organs with the presented objects, which is free from defects.
·         Mimamsa account of inference is similar to that of Nyaya with few variations; Mimamsaka recognizes only three syllogism, either the first three or the last three, thus bringing Indian syllogism in conformity with the Aristotelian one.
Ø  Comparison: Knowledge of relation between a word and the object denoted by that word is derived by verbal authority. E.g., by the words of the person who tells that a wild cow is similar to a cow) and not by comparison. Comparison according to Mimamsa, apprehends the similarity of the remembered cow to the perceived wild cow.
Ø  Verbal Testimony: has got the greatest importance in Mimamsa. Testimony is Verbal authority. It is the knowledge of the meanings of words. (for detailed notes on verbal testimony see the previous post which was exclusively on sabda-epistemology of Mimamsa
Ø  Implication: Prabhakara and Kumarila admits arthapatti as an independent means of valid knowledge. It is the assumption of an unperceived fact in order to reconcile two apparently inconsistent perceived facts.
Ø  Negation: Kumarila admits non-apprehension (anuplabdhi) as the sixth independent pramana. Prabhakara rejects it.
Ø  Prabhakara’s theory of Error: Akhyati. Error is only partial truth. It is imperfect knowledge. All knowledge, as knowledge, as knowledge, is quite valid, though all knowledge is not necessarily perfect. Imperfect knowledge is commonly called ‘error’. ‘Error according to Prabhakara is one of omission only not of commission.’ It is only non-apprehension and not mis-apprehension. Hence this view is called akhyati or non-apprehension. It is also called vivekakhyati or bhedagraha or asamsargagraha.
Ø  Kumarila’s theory of error: Vipartkhyati. Error is due to a wrong synthesis of the presented and the represented objects. The represented object is confused with the presented one. This view is called misapprehension.
Ø  Mimamsa is pluralistic realistic. It believes in the reality of external world and of the individual souls.
Ø  Prabhakara admits seven categories−substance (dravya), quality (guna), action (karma), generality (samanya), inherence (paratantrata), force (Shakti) and similarity (sadrshya).
Out of these the first five our similar to the categories of the Vaishesika, though inherence here is called parantantrata instead of samavaya; and the last two, Shakti and sadrshya, are added; the Vaisesika category of particularity is equated with the quality of distinctness (prthaktva) and the category of negation is rejected.
Kumarila recognizes four categories: substance, quality, action, and generality, and the fifth category of negation which is of four kinds−prior, posterior, mutual and absolute. He rejects particularity and inherence.
Ø  Prabhakara and Kumarila both admit the plurality of the individual souls and regard the self as an eternal (nitya), omnipresent (sarvagata), ubiquitous (vibhu), infinite (vyapaka) substance (drvaya) which is the substratum (ashraya) of consciousness and which is a real knower (jnata), enjoyer (bhokta) and agent (karta).
Ø  Kumarila advocates the theory of cognizedness of object (jnatatavada). He believes that self-consciousness is a later and higher state of consciousness.
Ø  Dharma is the subject of enquiry in Mimamsa. Jaimini defines dharma as a command or injunction which impels men to action. It is the supreme duty, the ‘ought’, the ‘categorical imperative’. Dharma is revealed by Veda which deals with true spirituality.

[1] Chandradhar Sharma, A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, 2009, p. 213.


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  2. Is it necessary to show points and hyphen mark on Sanskrit terms in Indian Philosophy like Karmakānda , Jñānakānda etc ? What is the effect if one forget to show it or doesn't show it ? Please suggest !

  3. mam please continue to post articles on philosophy ... some of ur articles r helpful for my preparation for mains

  4. Its really good for net exam plz upload another concept temporary indiali philosophy