A New Review of the ‘Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir’ by S. Bhuvaneshwari

Published in The Adyar Library Bulletin 2014-15.

About the Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir

Pandit Dinanath Yaksh (1921–2004), a humble Kashmirian scholar par excellence, rightly deserves to be honoured for his painstaking efforts to preserve and propagate the Sanskrit tradition of Kashmir in general, and the Kashmirian Grammatical tradition in particular. A brief life-sketch of this great scholar, by the editor Mrinal Kaul, should serve as an eye-opener to the condition and struggles of intellectuals in modern India and the additional responsibility of carrying the work, being a Kashmiri Pandit. This book, thoughtfully prepared by the editors, illuminates the glorious past of Kashmir and its intellectual contribution to Sanskrit studies, specifically in the field of Grammar and Linguistics. The book consists of twenty-one essays arranged alphabetically following the last name of the authors. Here, the contents are analysed in a thematic flow of topics, broadly classified as Vedic, Historical, Grammatical in relation to Linguistics, Philosophy and Poetics.

Paippalada recension of the Atharvaveda is known to be prevalent in Kashmir that constitutes several hapax legomenon and five such words are analysed by Hukam Chand Patyal in his essay titled “Some Peculiar Vocables in the Paippalada Samhita”. Rigveda has also received the attention of Kashmirian scholars and the commentarial contribution of Uvatacharya on Rigveda Pratishakhyais highlighted by Nirmala Kulkarni, which includes a revisit into the controversial historical account of Uvata.

In three independent as well as inter-connected essays, Ashok Aklujkar tries to establish Kashmir as the homeland of Patanjali in the background of the importance assigned to the study of the Mahabhashya by the royalties and the epithets associated with Patanjali, who came to be worshipped as Naga/Ananta. The Rajatarangini statements on the revival of the Mahabhashya study in three widely separated times are reinterpreted along with the Vakyapadiya II.486 by Johannes Bronkhorst in his essay titled “A Note on Kashmir and Orthodox Paninian Grammar”. In his second essay, the author gives an insight into the free thinking of Udbhata, drawing from his interpretation of rules of Ashtadhyayi and the Lokayatasutra.

About nine essays directly deal with grammatical nuances and technicalities as found in the writings of Kashmiri thinkers. George Cardona tries to show the presence of theoretical precedents to one of the earliest grammatical elementary text namely, Katantra attributed to Sarvavarman. P. Visalakshy in her paper gives a comprehensive note on the authorship and structure of Kashika with a detailed account of its influence of Candragomin’s grammatical thought. Malhar Kulkarni’s new research findings of the manuscripts of the Kashikavritti in Shrada script adds to the rich repository of grammatical literature.

The paper by M.G. Dhadphale deals with nama, akhyata, upasarga and nipata — the four basic grammatical categories that are fully treated by Kshirasvamin and also points out to the errors in his Kshiratarangini. Supporting Jayanta Bhatta’s interpretation of Panini’s aphorism namely, sadhakatamam karanam, V.N. Jha tries to gain a dual purpose of not abandoning logic and rationally explaining the said aphorism. In the explanation of iko gunavriddhi, Kaiyata cites an example referring to Panini’s sutra VI.3.108, which is misunderstood by Nagesha Bhatta as referring to Panini’s sutra VI.4.146. S.D. Joshi in his essay elucidates the position of Kaiyata and shows the unnecessary attack undertaken by Nagesha in this case.

Vincenzo Vergiani in his paper explores the procedure of language that organises the cognitive data oscillating between distinction and unification by studying the padavadhika and vakyavadhikamethods in Prakirnaprakasha of Helaraja. The essay by Oliver Hahn proposes to identify a Samanvaya grammatical tradition and hopes for a reconstruction of Kudaka’s text from the available fragments. The co-authors Estella Del Bon and Vincenzo Vergiani deal with the ninteenth-century Kashmiri Grammarian Ishvara Kaula’s Kashmirashabdamrita, a grammar of Kashmiri language in Sanskrit. This paper focusses on the treatment of the present tense in Kashmirashabdamrita.

Utpaladeva’s concealed favouritism to Bhartrihari’s Philosophy of language is succinctly brought out by Raffaele Torella in his paper titled “From an Adversary to the Main Ally: The Place of Bhartrihari in the Kashmirian Shaiva Advaita”. David Peter Lawrence draws some parallels between the Shaiva semantic concepts of action and contemporary Western theories and compares some aspects of philosophical kriyakaraka theory with grammar of motives as propounded by Kenneth Burke. Bettina Baumer highlights the relation between grammar and metaphysics based on Abhinavagupta’s Vivarana to ParatrishikaTantra and presents grammatical argument to establish the universality of Trika in which the absolute pure consciousness is said to be the One principle behind the three persons (I, You, It/He/She) and their relationships.

The essay by C. Rajendran analyses the fluctuating status of grammar in the hands of Poeticians, categorized as Pre-dhvani (Bhamaha, Vamana), Post-dhvani (Anandavardhana, Abhinavagupta) and Anti-dhvani (Mahima Bhatta). M.M. Agrawal highlights the grammatico-rhetorical question of abhidha and lakshana of Mukula Bhatta and the severe criticism that he faced in the hands of Mammata.

The book adds value by providing a list of available manuscripts related to linguistic tradition of Kashmir. Though the book may appear incomplete in terms of not venturing into the mine of information lying in the Aesthetic works of Abhinavagupta on the linguistic and grammatical traditions, it is expected to engage one’s intellectual quest in the field of grammar, linguistics, poetics and history as well. Some areas of research by Professor David Peter Lawrence listed in the introduction hopes to give a sense of direction for future research.
Advertisements


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s