kaarikaa, aagama

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Mon May 6 14:48:22 UTC 1996

	While I have heard some of Aklujkar's ideas and have now read 
brief allusions to them in his message, it would be inappropriate for me 
to respond to his criticisms of my views until I see them in print.  I 
will of course respond to them in appropriate ways, once they appear in 
print in their finalized form.
	In any case, I found the following remarks most interesting: 

> While I cannot point to a Brahmanical thinker who explicitly says that
> Buddhist or Jaina aagamas are acceptable as authorities to him, I can point
> to Brahmanical thinkers who came close to crossing the Brahmanical and
> Buddhist divide and indicated that they were doing so.

	I would like to draw attention to my discussion of relatively 
late Buddhist Sanskrit texts like Lalitavistara which shows that the 
Buddhist tradition by this time shows an increasing absorption of both 
the Brahmans as a social category and its prestige, as well as the Vedic 
traditions of the Brahmans.  In fact the text says that the Buddhist gods 
taught the Mantravedashaastra to the Brahmans.  I related this rising 
star of the Brahmans within the Buddhist tradition to the fact that 
almost all the Mahayana teachers were born Brahmans converted to 
Buddhism, apparently without shedding all the Brahmanical baggage.  For 
details, see my Sanskrit and Prakrit, Sociolinguistic Issues, Motilal 
Banarsidass, 1993, pp. 7-8.  There are indeed signs of fluidity to be 
found all over the place.
	Currently, I am working on a text called VedavicaaraH by Dvivedi 
DraviDa Shyaamashaastri composed around 1890s.  Among other things, the 
text refers to practices of Brahmans which are contrary to what is 
prescribed in the orthodox tradition (asaampradaayika).  The author says 
that acts like pulling out one's hair and worshipping the Caityas are 
prescribed in the Shaastras of the Naastikas, and yet many Aastika 
Brahmans perform these Naastika acts.  While the author clearly views 
this as despicable, there is a clear admission of behavioral fluidity.
	Another interesting discussion occurs in the Mahaabhaazya
(Kielhorn edn, vol. I, p. 3).  An objector says that if any cited verses
are authoritative, then even a verse such as the following would be
authoritative: "If a whole row of wine-pots with the color of Udumbara,
when consumed, does not take one to heaven, how could it take one to
heaven consumed during a sacrifice?"  Patanjali responds by saying that
this verse was sung by its honorable author under delusion (pramattagiita
eza tatrabhavataH).  However, what comes from this honorable author when
he is not deluded would be authoritative (yas tv apramattagiitas tat
pramaaNam).  After classifying some sayings of an honorable person as
deluded, and therefore, unacceptable, Patanjali still leaves room to
accept other sayings of the same person, if they do not exhibit delusion. 
Of course, the most important point here is that the evaluative framework
of Patanjali, or what he would consider delusion or lack of delusion, is
indeed Brahmanical.  While evaluating the question of borrowing Buddhist
ideas by authors like BhartRhari or GauDapaada, one needs to first
investigate the criterion of acceptability of views for an author like
BhartRhari or GauDapaada.  If certain ideas from non-Brahmanical
traditions were perceived as being not contradictory to the Vedic
tradition (vedashaastra- avirodhii tarkaH), their acceptance would not
necessarily signal a move across the Brahmanical and Buddhist divide in
the author's own perception, though it may seem like a move to an outside
observer.  Also consult the revealing discussion by Shankara in his
Bhaazya on Brahmasuutra 2.1.1, where he explicitly argues in favor of
accepting only those portions of the SmRtis of Kapila etc. which do not
contradict the Vedas:  smRtivipratipattau satyaam na
shrutivyapaashrayaNaad anyan nirNayakaaraNam asti ...  shruty-anusaara-
ananusaara-vizaya-vivecanena ca san-maarge prajnaa samgrahaNiiyaa.

	Madhav Deshpande

On Fri, 3 May 1996 aklujkar at unixg.ubc.ca wrote:

>         I began the following message on 26 April as a response to J.
> Silk's question and wrote about three paragraphs. But I  can complete the
> response only now. You see,the end of April is the deadline for filing
> income tax returns in Canada, and, as a Sanskitist, I have so many sources
> of income that I get exhuasted  just keeping track of  my team of
> accountants.
>         The delay has bestowed on me the advantage that I can take into
> account even the more recent postings by S. Vidyasankar, S. Lindquist, D.
> Lusthaus and B. Kellner. 
>         Silk asks an important question:
> >Do you mean to suggest that aagama appears, for eaxmple, in a Sa.mkhya
> text, it might refer to Buddhist Aagamas?  Is there any evidence for this? 
> It seems to me l highly unlikely, if for no other reason than that for
> non-Buddhists Buddhist texts should *not* be any type of aagama.  Is it not
> correct that generally (and perhaps there are exceptions) for Vedic /
> Brahmanical / Hindu writers, Buddhist texts -- rejecting as they do the
> authority of the Veda -- cannot themselves be any sort of authority?<
>         Silk's second question  is implicit in Vidyasankar's following
> lines:
> >...  on "Agama-SAstra" - I interpreted Prof. Aklujkar's comments in 
> a general sense. Thus, the "canonical" set of works of the Brahminical 
> tradition would collectively be called Agama, of which the GK intends to
> give the purport. Of course, the Brahmin schools would have excluded any
> Buddhist texts from this canon. As far as the Buddhist traditions are 
> concerned, by the time of the GK, the various sUtras and/or the Pali
> works had already attained the status of "canon", and could be labelled 
> Agama with some justification. The Brahmins's canon is "Agama" for the 
> Brahmin, and the Buddhist's canon is "Agama" for the Buddhist. I didnt
> think a cross-application of the two was intended in Prof. Aklujkar's
> remarks.<
>         The short answer to Silk's question is that "there are exceptions."
>         To expand: 
>          1. The word aagama in itself has a range of meanings as I have
> incidentally and briefly pointed out in an article in Indo-Iranian Journal
> 13.3 (1971):169-70. A study of the context is necessary in most cases to
> determine the meaning likely to have been intended by an author. 
>         2. A puurva-pak.sin (in an uttara-pak.sin's statement of his views
> as is invariably the situation in Skt texts)  referring to his
> authoritative sources as aagma and an uttara-pak.sin doing the same with
> respect to his authoritative sources are not at issue here. This is what we
> would expect them to do as Vidyasankar's remarks suggest.  All we have to
> do is to remember that even these uses would not be immune to the
> consideration pointed out in (1). 
>         3. The real issue then is: Did we have thinkers in India whose
> notion of what constituted an aagama for them was composite or could
> conceivably be composite? Were there philosophers, in particular, who
> crossed or came close to crossing the Brahmanical and Buddhist divide of
> authoritative sources? The remarks by Silk and Vidyasankar assume that
> there were no such thinkers. The prevailing assumption in Indology is the
> same. What I have been pointing out during the last six years or so in my
> lectures and paper presentations is that this assumption is not justified.
> Things are not as rigid and unqualified as they have been taken to be.
> While I cannot point to a Brahmanical thinker who explicitly says that
> Buddhist or Jaina aagamas are acceptable as authorities to him, I can point
> to Brahmanical thinkers who came close to crossing the Brahmanical and
> Buddhist divide and indicated that they were doing so. 
>         (A justified reconstruction of India's past, it seems to me, is one
> in which a spectrum of thinkers with differing degrees of inclusivism and
> exclusivism is admitted. The present paradigm or model does not do justice
> either to the totality of historical evidence that is available nor to the
> nature of (what we would call) religious life as it was lived in India.
> However, to argue this point, I would need several dozen pages, which this
> forum cannot, rightly, make available. Hence I will draw attention only to
> some of my writings in which I have already begun to offer the necessary
> evidence, albeit in the context of some other larger issues: In  press:
> "The Early History of Sanskrit as Supreme Language" which is to appear in
> the Proceedings of the Status and Ideology of Sanskrit volume being edited
> by Dr. Jan E.M. Houben. Shortly to be sent for publication (I hope):  "The
> semantic history of 'Vedaanta' and the paradigm for the study of Indian
> philosophy.   and *Sociolinguistic History of Ancient and Early Medieval
> India: Need for a Paradigm Change,* which is a monograph-length critique
> primarily of the views of my learned friend Professor Madhav M. Deshpande.)
>         For example, there were Brahmanical authors who thought of Buddhist
> aagama(s) as ultimately having their origin in the Vedas, especially in the
> artha-vaadas of the Vedas. See Aklujkar 1991 = "Bhart.r-hari s concept of
> the Veda." In Panels of the VIIth World Sanskrit   Conference. Vol. IV-V.
> Ed. Bronkhorst, Johannes. Pp. 1-18. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Pp. :1-2 and the
> notes going with them are especially relevant.  
>         From the preceding it does not follow that the aagamas of the
> Buddhists (and the Jainas) carried the same authority for Brahmanical
> authors as the 'regular' Vedic aagamas or even that the non-Vedic aagamas
> had to have authority. One could still introduce a slip between the cup of
> authority and the lip of the heretic. All one had to do was to say that
> while the source was impeccable the reception or the recepient of the
> source was not impeccable.  Some thinkers, like Kumaarila, were highly
> sectarian who accused the Buddhists of forgetting their origin. Some, like
> Jayanta, were willing to accept the Buddhist teachings (and hence the
> Buddhist aagamas) at least in those areas in which the conduct prescribed
> was ethically better than the conduct recommended by the ;Saaktas etc.
> Some, like Bhart.r-hari and (very probably) Gau.da-paada, transcended the
> aagma distinction by taking a 'tair aya.m na virudhyate' position -- by
> achieving a philosophical ascent (although Bhart.r-hari's manner of
> achieving this ascent was not the same as Gau.da-paada's). 
>         (The preceding observation clearly has relevance for such
> discussions as the ones prompted by questions like 'Was Bhart.r-hari a
> Buddhist?  and 'Did Gau.da-paada borrow his philosophy from the Buddhists?'
> In my writings under preparation, I am attempting to answer these
> questions. Suffice it to observe here that the discussions of these issues
> which are so far available in print are either informed (or misguided) by
> the same paradigm as the one I am challenging  or they are methodologically
> rather naive.)
> D. Lusthaus and B. Kellner have made a valuable contribution by drawing
> attention to texts which contain "-kaarikaa" in their titles. It is evident
> that a kaarikaa text need not always be a commentary (in the bhaa.sya,
> tiikaa etc. format) on some root text. However, this negative or
> absence-based observation does not imply that the term "kaarikaa" must have
> some special meaning beyond 'mnemonic/summary verses.' The evidence for
> such a special meaning, if any, must still be gathered by studying the
> early contexts in which the term occurs. 
> It seems unlikely to me that, in the early  period, the term "-kaarikaa"
> could have, as suggested by Vidyasankar, the sense 'one which brings about
> / fashions (the systematic development of a school).' The later usage does
> not show any vestiges of such a connotation. Secondly, the perspective
> ('systematic : unsystematic,' 'beginning : development') which is implicit
> in Vidyasankar's suggestion does not seem to be present in early Indian
> thinking, especially in the thinking revealed in nomenclature. 
> Lindquist adds thus to his earlier postings: "... there seems to me
> something more at work in terming a text a kArikA, rather than just the
> fact that it just consists of kArikAs ...  it
> DOES appear to make a difference of whether it is plural or singular (not
> grammatically, of course, but as a more 'technically used' term).  I do not
> know about the Sam.khya kArikA, but the Gaud.padIya kArikA is not referred
> to as a text in the plural-perhaps the singular is used to denote genre
> (with the understanding that it means verses in the plural) whereas the
> plural (and dual, obviously) are to refer to groups of passages, but not
> the text as a whole.  All plural references I find with the Gaud.padIya
> kArikA as 'kArikA's are referring to limited groups of verses and not the
> text as a whole. < 
> What I have observed two paragraphs ago indicates why one must not insist
> that the term "kaarikaa" has a special meaning along a 'text : text-unit'
> trajectory and why the observation made by Professor Cardona probably
> constitutes an adequate answer. Furthemore, unless it is established that
> those who referred to the Gau.dapaadiiya kaarika(s) in the plural were
> making a distinction between a group of verses and the whole text *even
> when they did not give us the beginning and the end of a verse group,* we
> cannot be certain that they did not have the text as a whole in mind.
> It is possible that Lindquist's difficulty in accepting absence of the
> specified distinction arises because he is unconsciously under the
> influence of titles such as bhaa.sya, .tiika, v.rtti, pa;ncikaa, vyaakhyaa,
> viv.rti/vivara.na etc. and titles such as diipikaa, candrikaa, kaumudii,
> sudhaakara etc. Assuming I am justified in this guess, I would like to
> point out that while the former group of title words did convey genre
> distinctions (especially in the early period, although we cannot be
> entirely clear about what those distinctions were), the second group of
> 'poetic' titles belongs to a later period of Indian literature. The earlier
> titles are prosaic and functional. Suutra, kaarikaa, bhaa.sya, v.rtti,
> vivara.na etc. refer only to formal features.  While referring to a genre,
> they do not seem to refer to distinctions such as 'part : whole,'
> 'influential : non-influential,' or 'major :  nonmajor.' 
> If I still have your attention, I would like to make one more point: It is
> important to remember in the present context that a usage like
> Gau.da-paada-kaarikaa is a short form for Gau.da-paada-k.rta-kaarikaa,
> Gau.da-paada-pra.niita-kaarikaa etc. It is unlikely to occur in good
> Sanskrit unless a distinction from some other kaarikaa text is intended.
> For example, one does not say Kaali-daasa-raama-kathaayaam in good Skt
> unless one has at the back of one's mind an awareness of the Raama story as
> narrated by someone else like Vaalmiiki or Bhava-bhuuti and unless one's
> intention is to refer specifically to  Kaali-daasa's Raama story. While the
> first members of tat-puru.sa compounds routinely qualify/delimit the
> meaning of the following members, there is a difference in the connotation
> (naturalness and frequency) of expressions like
> Gau.da-paada-k.rta-kaarikaa, on the one hand, and expressions like
> Gau.da-paada-kaarikaa, on the other.  This consideration would suggest that
> the Gau.da-paada's kaarikaas are unlikely to receive the designation
> Gau.da-paada-kaarikaa unless the kaarikaa texts of others were already
> generally known. A similar consideration would apply to the title
> Saa.mkhya-kaarikaa.  
> ashok aklujkar
> Professor, Dept. of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia,
> Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z2

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list