/ Philosophy

Of elephants, rooms, and clouded visions

In parishuddhi Venkatanatha says, to quote, "vivakShA sthale yathaucityaM prayoga upapatteH". To explain just a bit on that, modes of explaining a word are chosen depending on the context of usage.

There is a certain reason why this has surfaced now (among other similar). Glanced through some old exchanges in the context of a certain set of people trying to explain away Venkatanatha's words. Particular is their roping in of those who they otherwise disagree with, or outright reject.

Given honesty to cause is stronger than honesty to facts in both camps, not surprising. But, what it opens up is an interesting modus operandi.

Years back, while discussing commentaries on shrI yAmuna's works, a certain entity gave an 'interesting' rebuttal to those discussing. Was an incredible one to an outside observer to say the least.

Moot - Venkatanatha borrowed from abhayapradarAja on the exposition for j~nAnavairAgya rAshaye et al.

The problem here is straightforward; failure at the hands of strenuous logic.

For starters, as a lay person's explanation, let us use this. This, btw was one I suggested given the intellect (or the lack thereof in the audience). My neighbour, who went to a market, saw a wonderfully decked elephant in all her glory. He comes home, talks to his friend in their lawn, explains how lovely she was. Unfortunate enough, or otherwise, I happen to hear that, as I water my plants, nearby. An hour later, I'm at the same market, now visually treated to the grandiose of the lovely elephant.

As I begin to tell my brother over phone, my neighbour's friend comes by, with a statement, "Hey! my friend taught you that's an elephant, did he not?"

And that's how ludicrous one has to be, to say Venkatanatha borrowed, learned, or was inspired for such a case.

If you're someone who likes TL;DRs everywhere, stating common facts, axioms, et al do not necessarily mean inheritance from another entity that states the same.

Getting to more serious rebuttals on such brazen bozo behaviour, one needs to take a look at, among others, Venkatanatha's treatment of hatvArthakAmAnstu.

arthakAma is a compound word which can be broken in a number of ways, to derive meaning. General thumb rule is to use a dvandva, followed by tatpuruSha, and finally if no recourse, a bahuvrIhi.

(More context would break the brevity (?) and the setting so that's reserved for now)

Let us take a look at the word under consideration. Is a dvandva possible? Not at all. Gurus here cannot be arthas and kAmas which pushes us unfortunately to the next choice - tatpuruSha.

An accusative case or dvitIya tatpuruSha indicating a connection between the first word and the second, works well. Those gurus who have a kAma on artha is a valid usage from both context and grammar. So, we stop here right? That's where we go wrong as the master blaster goes ahead and chooses a bahuvrIhi in place.

Does this not break rules you ask and you are just right in asking so. But, just as you ask, the man himself goes the extra mile to explain.

Why is a bahuvrIhi the last choice anyway? Why a dvandva the first? Grammar aside, dvandva means one considers both words in this case at equal value while interpreting someone's statement. bahuvrIhi, places the importance, or imports on a third word outside the two.

I hear you say that's fair, because one needs to get all words in place on same footing to get to an end. So, why the does Venkatanatha doggedly stick to the last choice, as if we're a Hobson's?

I did digress a bit just as I stated, didn't I. Let me get back. While interpreting it as a bahuvrIhi, Venkatanatha says, "Yes, a tatpuruSha would have been apt, no doubt, but bahuvrIhi has an interesting assertion".

Now things are going down an interesting road aren't they? In the bahuvrIhi, the focus is still on a third word, but in the bahuvrIhi, the two words provide a combined conviction about the third word - gurus

The word kAma Venkatanatha says, also means manas/thought and he is quite right. So, why this translation then when another equally good fits a better samAsa rule as well? Venkatanatha doesn't shy away and places the meat of it, right there.

As much as kAma as desire and the tatpuruSha are valid, they lack the decisive nature here. In the third choice, artha as anything one wishes for and kAma as mind that's always on the former, makes for a stronger case. Now, how far is this valid beyond random extrapolation would be understood if one goes through the bhArata corpus and how otherwise dhArmika gurus stuck to suyodhana's camp, barring exceptions. That impressive strength in positing their position is lacking in the two.

Getting back to Venkatanatha's statement quoted earlier, it is not mere a list of axioms or rules but context and depth of what is conveyed that make for a good choice.

What is rather appalling is how lackadaisical we are in our word choices, or bothering ourselves about vyutpattis. More so when one looks at such treatments. And that, as a matter of fact, would also explain why we have an almost Cambrian explosion in the number of half-baked nuts masquerading as authoritative.