[INDOLOGY] J?ti as Caste in Ny?ya?

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Thu Jun 16 15:53:35 UTC 2016

​Dear Don,

This interests me a lot, and I'd be grateful to read what you might write
about it in future.  It's on my back-burner, but I've long wondered whether
Sanskritic narratives about jati and varna can be thought about in ways
similar to eighteenth and nineteenth century European narratives about
races and species.  Were people of different varnas formally considered to
be of different "species?"   It's a bit shocking to think in these terms,
but I've been wondering about it.  If you ever put flesh on these bones,
one way or another, or can point me to existing discussions on this, I'd be
really interested.


Professor Dominik Wujastyk* <http://ualberta.Academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>
Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity
Department of History and Classics <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
University of Alberta, Canada

On 16 June 2016 at 08:53, Donald R Davis <drdj at austin.utexas.edu> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> I would be grateful for additional references to an argument mentioned in
> Jayanta Bhatta’s *Āgamaḍambara* 4.143-4 (in Dezso’s edition in the Clay
> series).  The question is whether the *jāti* of Brahmins, etc. is like
> the *jāti* of cow-ness, etc. in being empirically observable or directly
> perceivable.  Jayanta refers to those who say that verbal/textual testimony
> alone (*śabdamātreṇa*) establishes the four-*varṇa* system.  This
> prefigures an argument made in Vijñāneśvara’s *Mitākṣarā* (on Yaj 1.90)
> where the same distinction is drawn to refute an objection.
> I assumed Jayanta would have made a similar argument in his *Nyāyamañjarī*,
> but I have not been able to locate it (probably because I barely know the
> Nyāya literature).  If anyone could point me toward other instances of this
> issue, whether in original sources or contemporary research, I’d appreciate
> it.
> Best,
> Don Davis
> Dept of Asian Studies
> University of Texas at Austin
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