Truth was passionately pursued in Ancient India. The great seers of the past performed austere penance for realising truth. As the result of that, they had actually visualized the Veda, the Divine Revelation. It is an eternal light and illumines the paths of action and know ledge. The systems of Indian Philosophy which deal with the paths are two:- one upholding the teaching contained in the former portions of the Veda, particularly the Brahman as : and the other, that contained in the latter portions of it, viz., the Upanishads , These two are, for this reason, respectively called Purva-Mimamsa and Uttara-Mimamsa. The Purva-Mimamsa is usually called briefly, Mimamsa and Uttara-Mimamsa is known as Vedanta.
The term 'Mimamsa' is derived from the root 'Man, to know' with the desiderative suffix, 'San'; and it means the desire for knowledge. The terms 'Mimamsante', 'Mimamsa'l etc.occur in the Veda and refer to the discussions of meaning of Vedic passages dealing with the performance of sacrifices. In due course, such discussions developed into a systematic Sastra and owing obviously to the conspicuous development of other systems of philosophy, the Mimamsa also came to be a full- fledged philosophic system with its own epistemology and ontology inaddition to being a systematization of ritual through a proper interpretation of the Vedic texts.
Jaimini [300 BC] wrote the Mimamsa sutras, He refers in his sutras to many Mimamsa Acaryas- Atreya, Karsanjani, Badari, Badarayana, Asmarathya, Aitisayana, Ksmukayana, Labukayana and Alekhana. The surmise of the modern scholars is that these are likely to have written similar works which are lost to us. Jaimini's work contains 16 chapters. Chapters 1 to 12 are called Mimamsa Kanda and 13 to 16 are called Sankarsa Kanda. The latter Kanda is also called Devata Kanda in view of the discussions regarding deities conducted here in many of its Adhikaranas.
Mimamsa-sutra as are two thousand 'and seven hundred, arranged in twelve chapters. The subjects of the twelve chapters are: 1. Sources of Dharma [Pramana], 2. Distinction [Bheda] of rites, 3 Ancillary [Sesa], 4 Obligatory [Prayukti].5 Order of sequence [Karma], 6 The qualification of a sacrificer, etc. [Adhikara]. 7 Extension of items in the model yaga to its modifications (Samanyato' tidesa), 8 Extension of items to individual rites [Visesato tidista], 9 Adaptation of formulas, etc. (uha), 10 Exclusion (Badha), 11 Centralisation (Tantra) and 12 Extended Application (Prasanga).
The chapters are normally divided into four Padas (padas means a quarter) but chapters third, sixth and tenth are having Sarabha Padas i.e., eight padas. There are about a thousand topics of discussions (Adhikaranas). Each topic is treated in six parts: 1) the subject to be explained (visaya): 2) doubt [visaya]; 3) objection [Parvapaksa]: 4) reply [Siddhanta]: 5) Purpose [Prayojana] and 6) Consistency or relevance of topic [Sangati]. Each topic sets forth a rule of interpretation [Nyaya] e.g. in Dharma jijasadhikarana, the rule of interpretation or Nyaya of improper it of imagining an unseen fruit when there is a seen fruit is enunciated. There are many such rules of interpretations. Infect, these principles of interpretations are followed to give a verdict or draw a conclusion in legal works and Dharma 8istra treatises. Even the Vedanta, the final doctrine is established on the basis of these rules of interpretations.
The purpose served by Mimamsa is threefold- 1) Evolving the rules of interpretations [Nyayas] for the interpretation of Vedic passages. Therefore, this svstem is called Vakyasastra. 2) Giving authoritative rulings on sacrificial matters and fixing the correct procedure & the nature of sacrifices. For this reason, it is called Karma Mimamsa. 3) It is also a system of Indian philosophy and hence discusses about epistemology and ontology. In this connection the contribution made by Mimamsa for the discussion of non-humane origin of the Vedas and self validity of knowledge are invaluable. Its concepts, of soul, liberation, each disolution (Pralava) preceding the other; importance of law; secondary position of the deities; ascertainment of meanings of words comprising the Vedas and Sastras following the establishment meanings and words of common usage, etc., are peculiar.
Jaimini must have flourished before Panjini, the author of Astradhyayi, because he has not followed Paninis rules. e.g. Dyavos tadheti cet and gavsm ayanasya should be used instead of Dyavoh and gavyasya respectively.
Three Vrttis or short commentaries by Bodhayana, Upavarsa and Bhavadsa seem to have been written on J. S. These are not available now. Some extracts of Upavarsas Vrtti are, however, incorporated in Sabara's Bhasya.
The earliest commentary, which is available to us, on the J S is the Sabara-Bhasya by Sabarasva min. In it there are references to previous Mimamsakas who were perhaps authors of the commentaries which have not come down to us- Sabara-swamin must have flourished before Patanjali, the author of Mahabhasva on Panini sutras, because he has not followed Patanjali's rules. In this context, Sri S. Subramanya Sastry makes these remarks1- In dissolving t h e compound Dharma- jijansa sabra adopted the caturthi vibhakri. Dharmya jigyasa following Katyayana and not Patanjali who has condemned the sasthi Samasa in the caturthi vibhakti. Kurmarila, however, following Patanjali has recommended the sixth case in dissolving the compound and interpreted the Bhasya text, 'Dharmaya jijnasa' as giving the conclusive meaning. And Sabara's non-mention of Patanjali in this context markedly shows that he was prior to Patanjali since if he had seen Patanjali is Bhasya, he would have at least made a mention of that view." Hence we may approximately fix the date of Sab ar a at about 100 B. C. Sabarasvam in is also designated as Aditvadeva, who changed to Sa bar a when he disguised himself as a forester for fear of Jaina prersecution a, Nothing is known about the place where the Bhssyakar a was born but, Dr. Jha on the basis of certain passages from the Bhasya, suggests his being Northerner.
Bhartmitra (400 A. D.) wrote a commentary i.e. Tatva- suddhi on the Bhasya, but it is not extant now. His views are referred to and refuted by Kumarila. According to Partha- sarathi, Bhartmitra introduced many wrong theories into the system and thus made it an atheist system 3.
The period of seventh century was the golden age in the history of Indian philosophy. The great Sankara, Kurmarila, Prahskara and others were born during this century. They dedicated their lives to re-establish Vedic culture which was eclipsed by Buddhism. As we know the Buddhists had severally attacked the performances of Vedic rites and rituals and there was every danger of losing the influence of Vedic culture for ever. It was, therefore, necessary that a revival should have taken place and the importance of the Vedic rituals and rites vindicated against Buddhism. This was perhaps the reason why Mimamsa was once so widely read and several scholars wrote on it in their own individual way.
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