[INDOLOGY] Aikabhavika-nyaya

Uskokov, Aleksandar aleksandar.uskokov at yale.edu
Mon Jun 10 12:17:28 UTC 2019

Dear Shankar,

Look at Venkatramiah’s introduction to his translation of Parthasarati Mishra’s Sastra-dipika, pp. xxiv-xxv. The doctrine seems explicitly Mimamsa (or perhaps an imagined fix of one of their accounts of liberation), the claim being that samcita-karma in total is responsible for embodiment and can be eradicated in total (perhaps a reply to Sankara’s claim that samcita being accumulated without beginning, it could never be exhausted by living through it).


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From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Shankar Nair via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Sent: Sunday, June 9, 2019 10:56:32 PM
To: indology
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Aikabhavika-nyaya

Dear all,

I hope the early summer is treating you well. I write seeking help with a reference in Madhusūdana Sarasvatī's Vedāntakalpalatikā. In a doxographical portion of the text, the author describes one group as follows:

Apare tu aikabhavikanyāyena ātmajñānamantareṇāpi niṣiddhakāmyayor ananuṣṭhānāt nityanaimittikānuṣṭhānāt ca na āgāmikarmotpādaḥ.
Vidyamānasya copabhogena kṣayāt sakalakarmocchedalakṣaṇam apavargam āhuḥ.

(But others [say], via aikabhavika-nyāya, as a result of the performance of the compulsory and occasional [karmas] and the non-performance of the prohibited and voluntary [karmas], even without knowledge of ātman, there is no production of future karma. They speak of “release” (apavarga) as characterized by the extirpation of karma entirely, due to the exhausting of present [karmas] by means of their enjoyment [in this current birth?].)

I am trying to identify the group Madhusūdana has in mind as well as the principle/rule of "aikabhavika" that he references. The language used in the passage brings the Mīmāṃsakas quickly to mind; however, the organization of the treatise would strongly suggest that some Naiyāyika and/or Vaiśeṣika group is at play. I seem to hazily recall that Praśastapāda in his Bhāṣya, perhaps, records a view along these lines? Yet I would be surprised to see a [Nyāya-]Vaiśeṣika articulation of mokṣa that gives so small a role to knowledge (cf. "ātmajñānamantareṇāpi").

To further complicate the identification, I wonder if aikabhavika might in some way be connected with the well-known discussions of ekabhavika rooted in Yoga-Bhāṣya 2.13? I am inclined to read ekabhavika in that context as referring to a type of karma that bears fruit in a single subsequent lifetime, whereas I read Madhusūdana's aikabhavika here to refer to karma that bears fruit and becomes exhausted within the very same lifetime, i.e., prior to death. I could certainly be mistaken, however, as I have seen "aikbhavika" in the Brahma-Sūtra commentarial literature (3,1.2.8) -- by Madhusūdana's fellow Advaitins -- in the former sense of karma that bears fruit in the immediately subsequent birth.

I am open to all of your learned suggestions! If it helps at all, Madhusūdana later casts this viewpoint aside with disdain, calling it so unfounded that to bother to refute it would only bring shame upon the refuter.

With many thanks for your insights,

Shankar Nair

Assistant Professor
Department of Religious Studies and
Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures
University of Virginia

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