Bhartrihari and the Buddhists: An Essay in the Development of Fifth and Sixth Century Indian Thought

Radhika Herzberger
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INDIAN HISTORY - Great Religions of the World - Buddhism - Part 1

Ancient philosophies from non-Western traditions, such as Chinese or Indian philosophy, often have strong ethical or religious concerns that continue to be major parts of the traditions today. The term ancient philosophy encompasses a variety of thoughts that emerged from the early stages of various intellectual traditions. However, not all ideas are considered philosophies since philosophy includes, as its primary component, a rational self-refection and conceptualization of thought.

Major philosophies include: ancient Greek and Roman philosophy in the West, which date approximately from the sixth century B. Each philosophy has some distinct characteristics which reflect intellectual climates, problematics, issues, and approaches; despite these differences, however, these philosophies have some factors in common. First, ancient philosophy tends to have a comprehensive perspective which includes a wide range of components, including myth , religious beliefs, ethics , literature, cosmology, and theories of nature.

The synthetic characteristic of ancient philosophy is different from modern and contemporary philosophies in that modern and contemporary philosophies tend to focus on specific, often narrower, areas and their approaches are accompanied with clearer methodological awareness. Because of its synthetic character, thought processes found in ancient philosophy also differs from those of modern philosophy.

For example, the Pre-Socratics in ancient Greek philosophy presented their metaphysical arguments in poetic verse and their arguments are inflected with religious-ethical themes such as divine justice and salvation of the soul. In ancient Chinese philosophy, metaphysics is also fused with natural philosophy, ethics, and is often extended to political philosophy. Because of their comprehensiveness, the interpretation of ancient philosophy requires an understanding of an entire framework of thought.

Second, ancient philosophy is often deeply rooted in religious traditions. Modern and contemporary philosophy tend to develop philosophy as an autonomous discipline independent of religious traditions.

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This tendency is most evident in the development of modern and contemporary Western philosophy, which is the main stream of contemporary philosophy. For example, Indian philosophy is deeply rooted in Upanishad, Vedas, Hinduism, and others. Even Plato 's philosophy is built within the framework that presupposes such beliefs as immortality of the soul , redemption, and divine justice. Ancient philosophy in the West refers to philosophies that date from approximately the sixth century B.

With a glorious life of over 3, years, Sanskrit continues to be a living language even today, bobbing up during Hindu ceremonies when mantras ritual verses are chanted. Poets such as Ghalib, lived and worked during the British era, when a literary revolution occurred in all the Indian languages as a result of contact with Western thought, when the printing press was introduced by Christian missionaries , and when the influence of Western educational institutions was strong.

During the midth century in the great ports of Mumbai, Calcutta, and Chennai, a prose literary tradition arose—encompassing the novel, short story, essay, and literary drama this last incorporating both classical Sanskrit and Western models —that gradually engulfed the customary Indian verse genres. During the last years many writers have contributed to the development of modern Indian literature, writing in any of the 18 major languages as well as in English.

Bengali has led the way and today has one of the most extensive literatures of any Indian language.

Significance of Indian philosophies in the history of philosophy

One of its greatest representatives is Sir Rabindranath Tagore, the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for literature Much of his prose and verse is available in his own English translations. Work by two other great 20th-century Indian leaders and writers is also widely known: the verse of the Islamic leader and philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal, originally written in Urdu and Persian; and the autobiography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, My Experiments with Truth, originally written in Gujarati between and , is now considered a classic.

Several other writers are relatively well known to the West. Narayan, writer of novels and tales of village life in southern India. Among the younger authors writing of modern India with nostalgia for the past is Anita Desai—as in Clear Light of Day Ved Mehta, although long resident in the U.

Further Reading

Vijayan; Salman Rushdie; K. Sreenivasa Iyengar, C. Narasimhaiah; M. The Bhakti Tradition The full flowering of the Radha-Krishna cult, under the Hindu mystics Chaitanya in Bengal and Vallabhacharya at Mathura, involved bhakti a personal devotion to a god. Traditional Material In the 16th century, Jagannath Das wrote an Oriya version of the Bhagavata and Tuncattu Eruttacchan, the so-called father of Malayalam literature, wrote recensions of traditional literature.

The Tamil Tradition The only Indian writings that incontestably predate the influence of classical Sanskrit are those in the Tamil language.

The Word and the World: India's Contribution to the Study of Language

Linguistic and Cultural Influences Much traditional Indian literature is derived in theme and form not only from Sanskrit literature but from the Buddhist and Jain texts written in the Pali language and the other Prakrits medieval dialects of Sanskrit. His rules have a reputation for perfection [17] — that is, they are claimed to describe Sanskrit morphology fully, without any redundancy.


Tagare translator , hardcover June Bhagavata purana , ed. Kumarasambhava deals with the union of Shiva and Parvati and birth of their son Kartikeya. Indian authors never tire of telling the story of this hero again and again, and although it is possible to criticize many points in Rama's character, it certainly holds forth a high ideal of life and virtue. An analogy might be sought in the development of the English drama, the direct course of which was radically altered and improved by the introduction of classical models with the Revival of Learning. One more, the Brahman, tells the lore of being, and one lays down the rules of sacrificing.

A consequence of his grammar's focus on brevity is its highly unintuitive structure, reminiscent of modern notations such as the " Backus—Naur Form ". His sophisticated logical rules and technique have been widely influential in ancient and modern linguistics. The Ashtadhyayi was not the first description of Sanskrit grammar, but it surpassed its predecessor on such a monumental scale that all earlier works are now lost except for the extent to which they are mentioned by Panini. In the Ashtadhyayi, language is observed in a manner that has no parallel among Greek or Latin grammarians.

This metalanguage is organised according to a series of meta-rules, some of which are explicitly stated while others can be deduced. The two fundamental principles on which the metalanguage is based are non-redundancy, or the principle of economy, and the necessity of all the rules in the Ashtadhyayi. As these anubandha s are metalinguistic markers and not pronounced in the final derived form, pada word , they are elided by P.

Bhartrihari (grammairien ; ??)

The Shiva Sutras describe a phonemic notational system in the fourteen initial lines preceding the Ashtadhyayi. The notational system introduces different clusters of phonemes that serve special roles in the morphology of Sanskrit, and are referred to throughout the text. Within the main text, these clusters, referred through the anubandhas, are related to various grammatical functions.

The Dhatupatha is a lexicon of Sanskrit verbal roots subservient to the Ashtadhyayi. It is organized by the ten present classes of Sanskrit, i.

About Sanskrit

Most of these classes are directly inherited from Proto-Indo-European. The roots specifically listed as belonging to class 10 are those for which any other form has fallen out of use causative deponents , so to speak.


Bhartṛhari and the Buddhists. An Essay in the Development of Fifth and Sixth Century Indian Thought. Authors: Herzberger, Radhika. Free Preview. The studies have also a download bhartrihari and the buddhists an essay in the development of fifth and sixth century indian of international army and nice.

The system thus established is extremely detailed as to shiksha phonology , including accent and vyakarana morphology. Syntax is scarcely touched, but nirukta etymology is discussed, and these etymologies naturally lead to semantic explanations. He also attacks Katyayana rather severely. The learning of Indian curriculum in late classical times had at its heart a system of grammatical study and linguistic analysis.

The intention of the author was to teach this advanced science through a relatively easy and pleasant medium. In his own words:. This composition is like a lamp to those who perceive the meaning of words and like a hand mirror for a blind man to those without grammar. This poem, which is to be understood by means of a commentary, is a joy to those sufficiently learned: through my fondness for the scholar I have here slighted the dullard. Subsequently, a wider body of work influenced Sanskrit scholars such as Ferdinand de Saussure , Leonard Bloomfield , and Roman Jakobson.

Frits Staal discussed the impact of Indian ideas on language in Europe. More importantly, the very idea that formal rules can be applied to areas outside of logic or mathematics may itself have been catalyzed by Europe's contact with the work of Sanskrit grammarians. Saussure himself cited Indian grammar as an influence on some of his ideas.