As I discuss in this question, by far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy is the Vedanta school, which bases its tenets on the doctrines laid out in the Brahma Sutras, a work by the sage Vyasa which summarizes and systematizes the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads. (You can read the Brahma Sutras here.) But the Vedanta school didn't always have the dominant position in Hindu philosophy; before the time of Adi Shankaracharya the dominant school of Hindu philosophy was the Purva Mimamsa school, which I discuss here. In contrast to the Vedanta school which is devoted to analyzing the Jnana Kanda of the Vedas, i.e. the Upanishads, Purva Mimamsa focuses on analyzing the Karma Kanda of the Vedas, i.e. the Samhitas and Brahmanas.

Now as I discuss here, the Purva Mimamsa school believed that the Vedas consist primarily of two kinds of statements, Vidhi or injunctions concerning Dharma, and Arthavada or statements that intended to glorify the actions prescribed in the Vidhis. Arthavada in turn is divided into three types: Anuvada or statements which can be proven true by non-scriptural means (like fire burns things), Gunavada or statements which can be proven false by non-scriptural means (like fire is cold), and Bhutarthavada or statements where non-scriptural means cannot tell us whether it's true or false (like Indra killed Vritrasura). Now in this section of his Brahma Sutra Bhashya, Adi Shankaracharya says that Bhutarthavadas should be treated as Anuvadas, i.e. they should be assumed as true:

If the matter conveyed by the subordinate (arthavâda) passage can be known by some other means of knowledge, the arthavâda acts as a mere anuvâda, i.e. a statement referring to something (already known). When its contents are contradicted by other means of knowledge it acts as a so-called gunavâda, i.e. a statement of a quality. Where, again, neither of the two mentioned conditions is found, a doubt may arise whether the arthavâda is to be taken as a gunavâda on account of the absence of other means of knowledge, or as an arthavâda referring to something known (i.e. an anuvâda) on account of the absence of contradiction by other means of proof. The latter alternative is, however, to be embraced by reflecting people.

Ramanujacharya says much the same thing in this section of his Sri Bhashya.

Nor can it be said that those mantras and arthavâdas are really meant to express something else (than those details mentioned above), in so far, namely, as they aim at proclaiming or glorifying the action with which they are connected; for those very details subserve the purpose of glorification, and so on, and without them glorification is not possible. For we praise or glorify a thing by declaring its qualities; if such qualities do not exist all glorification lapses. It cannot by any means be maintained that anything may be glorified by the proclamation of its qualities, even if such qualities do not really exist. Hence the arthavâdas which glorify a certain action, just thereby intimate the real existence of the qualities and details of the action.

Now both Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya belonged to the Vedanta school, not the Purva Mimamsa school. So my question is, are there any Purva Mimamsa school philosophers who agree with the Vedanta school's view that if an Arthavada can neither be proven nor disproven by other means of knowledge, then it should be assumed to be true?

I think Shabara Swami would disagree with this, since as I discuss in this question he rejects Vedic statements that someone held Indra's hands. And I'm quite sure that Kumarila Bhatta would disagree as well, since as described in this excerpt from his Tantra Vartika he rejects the Mahabharata's description of the Kurukshetra war, and he even rejects something as benign as the Mahabharata's description of what the Gandhamadana mountain looks like. But I think Narayana Bhattar may have agreed with it, because as I discuss here he argues that scriptural descriptions of Rama and Krishna's life are true. Here's what he says in this excerpt from his Manameyodaya:

What is called Tradition is said to be a statement depending on common talk; for example "Vaishravana [Kubera] sits on every banyan tree". This is recognized to be not a means of valid knowledge, since, as a general rule, it has no foundation. Now if it be so, then, indeed, how do you take the story of Krishna, Rama etc.? Not so, because like the Codes, they can have a foundation, being well-known to be the words of reliable persons; and because there is no opposition to other valid means of knowledge, such things are certainly Authority. Further, the authenticity of the story of Krishna etc. has been firmly established by the author of the Nyayanirnaya in establishing the superiority of the Purusha.

Am I right in thinking that Narayana Bhattar is making a statement about Bhutarthavada, and if so are there any other Purva Mimamsa philosophers who agreed with him?



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