Tr of sarva-tantra-sva-tantra

aklujkar at aklujkar at
Fri Apr 4 21:32:07 UTC 1997

In the highly helpful messages of Jean Fezas <jean.fezas at>, there
is one detail regarding which he shows uncertainty:
>And the vernacular gloss (bhASA-TIkA) of a "non specialized (?)
>independant research scholar", a certain paNDita mAdhavAcArya :
>sarvatantrasvatantra-risarca-skAlar  paNDita mAdhavAcArya-nirmitayA
>puruSArtha-prabhAkhyA-bhASA-TIkayA TIppaNIbhiz ca vibhUSitam <

sarva-tantra-sva-tantra usually has an implication of great mastery over
several branches of learning and/or of originality. It is used to refer to
a scholar or thinker who is not constrained by any one branch of learning
or by all relevant branches of learning taken together -- an author who has
acquired the right to introduce changes in the traditionally handed down
body of knowledge ( a good example would be Vaacaspati-mi;sra I).

According to Indian cultural norms, a scholar should not employ
sarva-tantra-sva-tantra to refer to himself or herself. Others, impressed
by his scholarship and originality, should feel like extending that honour
to him. However, I would not be surprised if some nineteenth and twentieth
century pa.n.ditas glorified themselves with this epithet when they put
down their names as authors or editors. Theirs was a time when job
opportunities for Sanskritists were shrinking (thanks largely to the Thomas
Macawleys of the world) and self-advocacy had, in many cases, become a
matter of personal survival. (This is not to say that there could not have
been pa.n.ditas with strong egos who thought that the world owed them this

More learned variants of sarva-tantra-sva-tantra are
nikhila-tantraaparatantra etc.

The title pa.n.dita-raaja offers a comparable case.

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