Re: [INDOLOGY] khyā/khyāti

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at
Tue Dec 20 11:41:00 UTC 2016

Dear friends,

The verb khyā and the noun khyāti that is derived from it seem primarily, in early usage,
to refer to that which is announced, made known, famed. But at some point philosophical
usage takes this over in the sense of that which is known, and above all that which is only known apparently,
referring to surface knowledge or mere appearance as it were. During the late
first millennium, this becomes a basis for the classification of philosophical systems according
to their theories of khyāti (khyātivāda), i.e. their differing treatments of apparent reality,
a scheme that I know to be current in both Vedānta
and Jaina sources. Though one can easily see how
the various concepts involved here are closely associated, so that the shift of meaning is plausible,
it is not clear to me when this may have occurred, or in which body of literature.

Is anyone aware of any work that explores the semantic history of khyā or khyāti, with attention to
changes of meaning and usage in differing contexts?

thanks in advance for your responses,

Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études,
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago

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