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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

And other relevant matters in great detail


There

are three main principles of interpreting the Vedic sentences. (1) When some sentences are such that connectively they yield a meaning but not individually, then they should be

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taken together connectively as a whole. (2) If the separate sentences can however yield meanings separately by themselves they should not be connected together. (3) In the case of certain sentences which are incomplete suitable words from the context of immediately preceding sentences are to be supplied.

The vidhis properly interpreted are the main source of dharma. The mantras which are generally hymns in praise of some deities or powers are to be taken as being for the specification of the deity to whom the libation is to be offered. It should be remembered that as dharma can only be acquired by following the injunctions of the Vedas they should all be interpreted as giving us injunctions. Anything therefore found in the Vedas which cannot be connected with the injunctive orders as forming part of them is to be regarded as untrustworthy or at best inexpressive. Thus it is that those sentences in the Vedas which describe existing things merely or praise some deed of injunction (called the _arthavadas_) should be interpreted as forming part of a vidhi-vakya (injunction) or be rejected altogether. Even those expressions which give reasons for the performance of certain actions are to be treated as

mere arthavadas and interpreted as praising injunctions. For Vedas have value only as mandates by the performance of which dharma may be acquired.

When a sacrifice is performed according to the injunctions of the Vedas, a capacity which did not exist before and whose existence is proved by the authority of the scriptures is generated either in the action or in the agent. This capacity or positive force called _apurva_ produces in time the beneficent results of the sacrifice (e.g. leads the performer to Heaven). This apurva is like a potency or faculty in the agent which abides in him until the desired results follow [Footnote ref 1].

It is needless to dilate upon these, for the voluminous works of S'abara and Kumarila make an elaborate research into the nature of sacrifices, rituals, and other relevant matters in great detail, which anyhow can have but little interest for a student of philosophy.

___________________________________________________________________

[Footnote 1: See Dr Ga@nganatha Jha's _Prabhakaramima@msa_ and Madhava's _Nyayamalavistara_.]

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CHAPTER X

THE S'A@NKARA SCHOOL OF VEDANTA

Comprehension of the philosophical Issues more essential than the Dialectic of controversy.

_Prama@na_ in Sanskrit signifies the means and the movement by which knowledge is acquired, _pramata_ means the subject or the knower who cognizes, _prama_ the result of prama@na--right


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