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.
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Book Review: Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir: Essays in Memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksh

Book Review: Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir: Essays in Memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksh

Name of Book : Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir: Essays in Memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksh
Edited by : Mrinal Kaul and Ashok Aklujkar, New Delhi & Jammu
Published by : DK Print world and The Harabhatta Shastri Indological Research Institute.
Price : Rs. 1250; US$ 62.50.Pages : xxxiii + 609.
Review by : Raj Nath Bhat, Professor, Department of Linguistics, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

Sanskrit scholarship suffered a sudden break and a loss of momentum when Persian came to occupy her place as the language of administration and royalty in the sub-continent. The tradition of a continuous flow of commentaries and treatises on earlier knowledge texts either slowed down or stopped. Even the preservation of knowledge texts became an uphill task. The destruction of libraries added a new dimension to the colossal loss of the knowledge and tradition of a civilization. A revival of Sanskrit learning made a second beginning during the British rule and a huge corpus of manuscripts have been procured and preserved.

For over two millennia, ‘Sanskrit-Kashmir’ has been a major centre of learning and scholarship in almost all branches of knowledge. During the last century or more Kashmir Shaivism and aesthetics has engaged scholars’ attention in a noticeable way, but very little has been done to explore the linguistic traditions of the region. The present Volume brought out in memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksh – one of the doyens of Sanskrit scholarship of the twentieth century – is a noble, rich, refreshing and scholarly tribute to the great Pundit. The Volume comprises twenty-one essays authored by nineteen eminent scholars including such stalwarts as George Cardona, Johannes Bronkhorst, VN Jha, Raffaele Torella, C. Rajendran, P. Visalakshy, Bettina Baumer, HC Patyal among others. Mrinal Kaul, one of the editors – has given a thoughtful introduction to the linguistic traditions of Kashmir, besides providing, in the appendices, a very rich list of Sanskrit manuscripts from Kashmir that are available across the country and abroad.

The world of scholarship has maintained for quite some time now that Patanjali, the author of Mahabhashya, was a native of Gonda- east-central India, but Ashok Aklujkar in the present Volume argues that Patanjali was a native of the region between Madra and Punjab i.e. Kashmir. Despite being a grammatical text, Mahabhashya for several centuries occupied a pride of place with the kings as well as scholars in Kashmir. The rulers ensured continuation of its study which was linked to the welfare of the region and royalty. The Mahabhashya provides ample geographical details that can relate it to Kashmir. Aklujkar’s meticulously worked out essays cover nearly two hundred pages of the Volume.

Of the eight grammatical schools of ancient India, namely Indra, Kashakrtsna, Apishali, Shaktayana, Panini, Amara and Chandra, the Paninian grammatical thought has pervaded the linguistic scholarship in Kashmir and there have been scholars who went on to modify, reinterpret, even differ from the dominant Paninian tradition on several occasions. Rajatarangini testifies to the fact that “Kashmir has played a key role in the preservation of the commentarial tradition associated with the Mahabhashya” ( p.278). Two kinds of Paninian grammarians co-existed in Kashmir- the orthodox who followed Patanjali and Bhartrihari rigorously, and free thinkers who proposed altogether different interpretations of Astadhyaya where this seemed useful. Udbhata (8th cent.CE) belonged to the latter class. Sadly, the free thinkers could not last longer and their texts were subsequently lost. Katantra, a pedagogical grammar of Sanskrit, introduced by Sharvavarman shows a very strong dependence on Panini and Katyayana despite differing from Astadhyaya in its treatment of some phonological rules and derivational processes. Uvata, a predecessor of Mahidhara, for the first time makes a distinction between Shiksha texts and Pratishakhyas- the former is a text of phonetics and the latter that of phonology. Chandra vyakarana does not discuss Vedic Sanskrit, hence the Vedic portion of Panini is absent in it. Chandra vyakarana and Katantra have impacted Kashika in a significant way. Kashika is believed to be a joint work of the king Jayaditya and his minister Vamana and it is an “excellent aid for understanding the pithy sutras of Panini” ( p.560). The grammatical thought pervades monistic Shaivism in a very subtle way. In Trika singular, dual and plural numbers are analogous to Shiva, Shakti, and nara respectively (p.215). Shaivas do not believe in any unrelated components of a sentence. For the mall syntax is related through the agent (p. 468). Utpaladeva, a disciple of Somananda, in his masterpiece Ishwara pratyabhijnakarika overwhelmingly appropriates Bhartrhari’s epistemology to oppose the Buddhist notion of depersonalized universe made up of discrete and discontinuous realities, and to establish the Shaiva doctrine of absolutely unitary universe. The strong influence of Paninian thought can be gauged from the fact that in the last quarter of the nineteenth century Pandit Ishwara Kaula authored the first ever grammar of Kashmiri in Sanskrit which was published by the Asiatic Society under the guidance of Sir GA Grierson.

In her Foreword to the Volume, Kapila Vatsyayan rightly observes that the vigorous intellectual tradition of Kashmir in varied fields exhibits an interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary epistemological base. She believes that the Volume shall persuade scholars in future to undertake elaborate analyses of texts and commentaries from Kashmir preserved in different parts of India and abroad. The Volume indeed provides ample material for researchers to be motivated and persuaded to undertake research on a massive scale on the philosophical and linguistic heritage of the subcontinent- Buddhist, Vaishnava, Jain, Shaiva etc. I wish the editors bring out a series of Volumes in the years to come where all schools of thought get plenty of space and exposure. The editors deserve all admiration and praise for conceiving and subsequently working out a Volume of such superb merit and scholarship.

The publishers deserve a word of admiration too for the care and attention with which they have brought it out. I could find just one singular error in the whole text on p. 30, para 1, line four classifie as in place of classifies.

SOURCE:   http://ikashmir.net/rnbhat/12.html


A Fresh Review of the “Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir” (2011).

By Professor Saroja Bhate (Former Professor of Sanskrit, University of Pune; Former Secretary, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune) email: <saroja@bhates.net>

Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir : Essays in Memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksha, Mrinal Kaul & Ashok Aklujkar (eds.), DK Printworld (P) Ltd., F-52, Bali Nagar, New Delhi 110015. Web-site: dkprintworld.com. First edition year : 2008. xxxiii + 609 pp. Bibliographic Details : Appendicies ; Indices. 

“Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir” edited by Mrinal Kaul and Ashok Aklujkar is a very appropriate tribute to the memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksha, “the towering figure of traditional learning in Kashmir”, whose main field of study was linguistics. It is a testimony in letters to the multifaceted Kashmiri scholarship, to its profound depth as well as to its ingenuity. As Kapila Vatsyayan pointed out in her forward, Kashmir’s contribution to the study of language was not paid due attention and the present volume has fulfilled the desideratum.

The Volume contains 21 papers by renowned scholars on different aspects of language studied and discussed by Kashmiri Pandits through the ages. Even a cursory glance at the table of contents reveals the vast range of approaches with which the phenomenon of language was examined in Kashmir. Here we get a glimpse into the world of diversified insights into the world of words. The Volume opens with a life-sketch of Pandit Dinanath Yaksa and introduction by Mrinal Kaul, one of the editors. The introduction itself is a well-studied document on the history of the development of grammatical tradition in Kashmir. The introduction ends with valuable directions and suggestions for future research which provide useful guidelines for prospective researchers. Three profound essays by Ashok Aklujkar are focused on the issue of Kashmir as the provenance of Patañjali, the greatest among the three sages of Pāṇinian tradition, though each one of them elaborates a single, related point. Aklujkar has, following the style of a traditional Sanskrit Pandit, presented first a mighty pūrvapakṣa and then a mightier uttarapakṣa. His view of Kashmir as the domicile of Patañjali is based on the following arguments: 1. There are references in Sanskrit texts which show that Kashmir tradition of learning attached great importance to the study of Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya not only as an object of academic achievement but also for good governance. 2. Gonardīya, one of the epithets of Patañjali is a corrupt form of a Gonandīya derived from Gonanda which is the name of a founding figure in the area of governance for the Kashmirians. 3. Nàgas were venerated in Kashmir and Patañjali was worshipped as the incarnation of the divine serpent, śeṣa. 4. The existing manuscripts of the Mahābhāṣya probably go back to a manuscript written in Kashmir. Aklujkar has spared no pains in proving his point with his logical acumen accompanied by a rich score of citations establishing a special connection between Kashmir and Patañjali. Notwithstanding his application of perfect research methodology and higher textual criticism we have to wait until a conclusive evidence presents itself to put a stamp on his thesis. However, all the three essays by Aklujkar certainly convey the hidden message “that in the highly troubled state of contemporary Kashmir we should, regardless of how unrealistic it may seem at present, aim at creating a situation in which MB (Mahābhāṣya) expertise again begins to flourish” (p. 87).

Estella Del Bon and Vincenzo Vergiani have, in their essay on the treatment of present tense in the Kāśmīraśabdāmṛtam, a grammar of Kashmiri in Pāṇinian style, have tried to show, on the basis of their study, though confined to a limited section of the grammar, how the grammar of Kashmiri represents `an impressive intellectual breakthrough’ (p.224) by achieving `the unprecedented grammar of a “vernacular” language’ (p. 224). Use of the Pāṇinian model in writing grammars of regional languages is not uncommon in the history of Indian grammatical literature. However, here we have, for the first time, a complete grammar of a vernacular composed by using Pāṇinian terminology and technique to some extent. This study opens, in fact, a new chapter in the study of Pāṇini as a model. It further underscores the invincible character of the Pāṇinian model of grammar.

In Kashmir the influence of Pāṇini transcended linguistic area and exerted itself on the philosophical deliberations. Application of some of the Pāṇinian grammatical categories in the argument on certain philosophical issues by Kashmiri Pandits of the past has been a topic of the essays by Bettine Bäumer, David Peter Lawrence and Raffaele Torella. These essays represent well studied documents illustrating how Pāṇinian grammatical concepts are pressed into service by the philosophers of Kashmir. Kashmir emerges from the two essays by Johannes Bronkhorst as a thriving centre in the past, of both, orthodox as well as non-orthodox schools of interpretation of Pāṇini. His observation, namely, that “Kashmir may have saved the now orthodox tradition of Pāṇinian interpretation” is based, mainly, on the interpretation of the well-known set of verses at the end of the second kāṇḍa of Vākyapadīya of Bhartṛhari which describes the history of the downfall and revival of the tradition of the Mahābhāṣya studied. According to him the new interpretation of the words parvata and dākṣiṇātya in the verses offered by him leads to the conclusion that “the Mahābhāṣya had survived only in the form of the book south of Kashmir, whereas the oral tradition was still alive in Kashmir” (p. 277). Puṇyarāja, the traditional commentator explains, however, parvatāt as referring to a part of a mountain range in Shreelanka and refers to a grammar composed by Rāvaṇa, a mythical personality, which was handed over to Candra and Vasurata by a spirit. Apparently, this mythical interpretation hardly makes any sense. It cannot be, however, dispensed with.

In his second essay Bronkhorst presents Udbhaṭa as a non-orthodox grammarian interpreting Pāṇini independent of Mahābhāṣya. His observation, namely, that Udbhaṭa represented the group of “Pāṇinian freethinkers” (p. 298) is interesting. It is, however, hard to state with conviction about a tradition (if at all) which is lost. Geroge Cardona has elaborately dealt with the issue of omission of certain sections of grammar in the Kātantravyākaraṇa and argued that this omission is due not to the need for brevity alone, but it can be traced back to the theoretical discussions that took place among the grammarians of different schools including the Pāṇinian school. Oliver Hann’s essay on the three Kashmirian texts on Sanskrit syntax has illuminated a so far unknown corner of the tradition of linguistics in Kashmir, namely, the Samanvaya texts. Hann has, in fact, carried further the task, already commenced by Slaje, by giving a detailed account of the three Samanvaya texts with reference to the nature and contents of the manuscripts as well as their interdependence. The essay points out that the authors of these texts dealt with the whole range of possible syntactic relations within a sentence as well as between sentences. Hann has also recorded the terminological deviations from Pāṇinian tradition found in these texts, which show some influence of the Kātantra tradition.

Essays by V. N. Jha, S. D. Joshi, Nirmala Kulkarni, H. C. Patyal, Vincenzo Vergiani and P. Visalakshy deal with specific issues in the works of the linguistics of the past such as Jayantabhaṭṭa, Kaiyaṭa, Uvaṭa and Helarāja who are believed to have belonged to Kashmir. All these scholars have brought to light certain new aspects of the works of these authors. In his essay Malhar Kulkarni has presented a close scrutiny of a part of the Śāradā manuscripts of the Kāśikāvṛtti and has concluded that the Kashmir tradition of Kāśikā manuscripts represents a shorter version and that further study of the Kāśikā manuscripts might lead one to claim that Kashmir preserved the ur-text of Kāśikā. The essay is based on a careful study of the Śāradā manuscripts and has thrown a challenge before the students of Pāṇinian tradition, particularly of Kāśikā. The three appendices giving details about the select manuscripts lists followed by authors-and-works lists constitute very important data in the form of a corpus of texts from Kashmir dealing with linguistics. They have enhanced the value of the volume as a research aid. They are, in fact, an invitation to prospective students and scholars to revive the tradition of linguistic studies in Kashmir.

The volume is thus rich with scholarly discussions pertaining to various aspects including historical, textual, inter-textual, exegetical and also pertaining to manuscriptology. Mrinal Kaul, the budding and promising scholar deserves great compliments not only for stringing together valuable research contributions from specialists but also for giving a detailed outline for further research. Further generations of research scholars will, I am sure, remain grateful to the editors for providing guidelines for further research in linguistics. Lastly, the volume has succeeded in bringing Kashmir on the Indological map and in drawing attention to the fact that it still remains a fertile soil for studies in linguistics.