In the previous posting, the basic postulate of pUrva mImAmsA (PM) was said to be the eternality of all words and meanings, as well as the relationship between the two. But is the postulate true, and if so, how can we ascertain it? The postulate is not subject to scientific enquiry, for it cannot be scientifically determined whether or not words/meanings exist independent of the mind, for the simple reason that words/meanings are not entities that can be physically experimented upon. Like most branches of philosophy, the theory can only be subject to critical and logical examination to see how well it stands up against objections, and also if there are strong counter-objections to the opposing theory. This will be done in the remaining sutras of Jaimini's pUrva mImAmsA sUtras (JPMS) in the first pAda of the first adhyAya. As an aside: for the sake of comparison of the philosophy of PM (which holds the eternal nature of words) with other schools of thought :- In contemporary Western philosophy, the reality of mathematical objects such as numbers (1,2,3...) or geometrical shapes (circles, lines, points, ...) are of serious concern, as it is no easy task to establish these as real and eternal entities. In fact, theories such as formalism (mathematical objects are just symbols) and platonism (mathematical objects are eternal and exist in an unchanging non-physical realm) both have certain good points and suffer weaknesses, and hence have their own contenders and defenders. In spite of much thought that has gone into this branch of philosophy, there is presently no consensus as to a universally acceptable theory of mathematical reality. Mathematicians themselves are divided on this issue, with famous mathematicians believing in either Platonism (Roger Penrose) or formalism (David Hilbert). There was recently an article condensing and criticizing ALL the various theories -- "Philosophy of Mathematics: Why Nothing Works", by Hilary Putnam in "Words and Life" (1994), pp. 499-512  In JPMS 1.1, verses 6-11 will consider the various objections as to why words are transient entities, which will then be refuted in verses 12-17. Verses 18-23 will finally present arguments for the eternality of words. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- JPMS 1.1.6: karmaike tatra darshanAt.h . "Some hold that the word is caused [giving reasons such as], [First Objection]: 'We find it perceptible only after an effort.'" Commentary: First pUrvapaksha: We find that all words are brought into existence only after an effort of speech by the person who uses the word. What is brought into existence has to be caused and non-eternal. 1.1.7: asthAnAt.h . "[Second Objection]: 'Because it does not persist.'" Commentary: Second pUrvapaksha: We find that words do not exist when they are not uttered. Therefore they are non-eternal. 1.1.8: karotishabdAt.h . "[Third Objection]: Because of the use of the word produces (utters) [with reference to words.]" Commentary: Third pUrvapaksha: People generally say "shabda karoti" which means "he makes or produces the word." If the word is produced, it must be non-eternal. 1.1.9 sattvAntare yaugapadyAt.h . "[Fourth Objection]: 'Because the word is found (to be pronounced by [many persons] and in (many places) simultaneously." Commentary: Fourth pUrvapaksha: As a matter of fact, we find that one and the same word is perceived by more than one person, and also in more than one place, at one and the same time. This is possible only in the case of a substance that is omnipresent, all-pervading, or that which is limited in its extent, but capable of being brought into existence at more than one place at the same time. Since we know that the word is not an all-pervading substance, it must follow that when perceived by different persons at different places, it must be produced in so many places. It must be admitted that any single word is not one, but many, all produced in different places. 1.1.10 prakR^iti vikR^ityoH cha . "[Fifth Objection]: Also because of their having original and modified forms." Commentary: Words such as "dadhi atra" become modified into "dadhyatra". Since no modification can occur in an eternal entity, words must be non-eternal. 1.1.11 vR^iddhiH cha kartR^i bhUmnA asya . "[Sixth Objection]: Also because a multiplicity of persons uttering the word bring about an increased magnitude (in the word-sound)." Commentary: When many persons pronounce the same word, there is always an increase in the magnitude of the word-sound. This proves that the word is modifiable, and hence non-eternal. 1.1.12 samantu tatra darshanam.h . "[In both cases] the [momentary] perception (of word-sounds) is equal." Commentary: With this aphorism begins the refutation of the arguments set forth in sUtras 6-11. Regarding sUtra 6, when a person makes an effort to utter the word, he makes manifest the sound of the word, but does not cause the word to come into existence. The word that is already in existence is now perceived by means of its utterance. Therefore, this can well be explained by the theory of *momentary perception* of the word, as well as the theory of *momentary existence* of the word. 1.1.13 sataH paramadarshanam.h vishhayAnAgamaat.h . "It is of that (word) which already exists that there is non-perception at other points of time (before and after the utterance), and this is due to the fact that [at such other points of time] there is no operation (of the manifestive agency) with regard to the object (word-sound)." Commentary: The previous sUtra pointed out that the theory of momentary perception as well as momentary existence of the word can both be used to explain the objection of sUtra 6. The present sUtra refutes the objection given in sUtra 7, and also shows that only the theory of momentary perception of the word holds true (and the theory of momentary existence of the word is false), as this theory can alone satisfactorily explain the perception of the word for the duration of the utterance of the word. The reason is: If the word were brought into existence when the word was (first) uttered, the word should be continued to be perceived for all the time AFTER the (first) utterance. For example, we perceive a jar for all time between its creation and destruction. If the word had been brought into existence only after its (first) utterance, why is not the word perceived for all the time after that utterance (i.e. till its destruction - if one can imagine words to be destroyed at all)? Whereas the theory of momentary perception of the word explains sUtra 7 very well, for the word always exists, but is perceived only for the duration of the time that the word is uttered. Human utterance of the word is, therefore, the "manifestive agency" of the word. 1.1.14 prayogasya param.h . "[As for the use of the word 'produces'] that refers to the utterance [of the word]." Commentary: Regarding sUtra 8, we reply saying that it refers to the utterance of the word that is already existing. For instance, when one says, "make some hay", we mean that hay is to collected, not produced. 1.1.15 Adityavad.h yaugapadyam.h . "The simultaneity [of perception by many persons] as in the case of the sun." Commentary: In reply to sUtra 9, we say that the sun can be seen at the same time by many persons at different places, yet it is one only. In the same manner, it is quite natural that the word should be one and eternal, and yet perceived by different people at different places at the same time. 1.1.16 varNAntaram.h avikaaraH . "It (the change produced by the conjunction of letters) is a different letter; it is not a modification (of the original word)." Commentary: Replying to sUtra 10, the word "dadhyatra" is an entirely different word, since the letter "dhya" is a different letter from either "dhi" or "a". 1.1.17 naada vR^iddhi paraa . "The great increase [of magnitude] belongs to the tone (and not the word itself)." Commentary: Regarding sUtra 11, only the tone of the word is increased in magnitude, not the word itself. 1.1.18 nityastu syAt.h darshanasya paraarthatvaat.h . "On the other hand, [the word] must be regarded as eternal, specially because the utterance is for an altogether different purpose." Commentary: Having completely refuted the opposing theory of the momentary existence of words, the author (Jaimini) proceeds to put forth forward reasonings in support of the eternality of words. The whole idea of the transient nature of words is based upon the notion that utterance brings the word into existence. It is here declared that it is not so; we utter the word not for the purpose of creating the word, but for expressing what the word denotes. In fact, if the word were produced and transient, it would be destroyed when the utterance of it ceased, and so not being in existence at the time the hearer could comprehend the meaning. The very fact of there being comprehension of the word shows that the word is not evanescent, but lasting. 1.1.19 sarvatra yaugapadyaat.h . "Because in the case of all [words], there is simultaneity or unanimity [of recognition]." Commentary: We recognize a word, say "cow", that we have heard on previous occasions. This would not have been possible had the word been destroyed when the utterance ceased. 1.1.20 sangkhyaa abhaavaat.h . "Also on account of the absence of number." Commentary: In ordinary parlance, when a certain word is uttered more than once, we say that it has been used more than once, not that it has been created so many times. If the word were created and destroyed each time, we should have spoken of so many words, and not of the same word as uttered so many times. Therefore, words are eternal. 1.1.21 anapekshatvAt.h . "Because of the absence of cause." Commentary: In the case of objects that are destroyed, we can identify something as a cause of destruction, but in the case of words, we can find no such cause. Therefore words are indestructible. 1.1.22 prakhyaabhaavaat.h cha yogyasya . "Also because what is percepbitle [by the ear] is not what is spoke of (in the Vedic declaration 'the air becomes the word')." Commentary: Opponents of word-eternity bring forth the Vedic text 'the air becomes the word', in support of the contention that the word is produced. A combination of air particles cannot be called the word, therefore, the text does not refer to what we know as the word. 1.1.23 linga darshanaat.h cha . "Also because we meet with [texts] indicative [of eternity of words]." Commentary: Texts such as "vAcha viruupinityayaa" speak of the word as eternal. Hence words are eternal. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes: We have now established the theory that ALL WORDS ARE ETERNAL, which means that the words of the Vedas as well as the words in other texts such as the Buddhist scriptures or even Kalidasa's poems are all equally eternal. In the next posting, we will see how to extend this theory so that it makes the Vedas alone free of error regarding objects that are beyond sense-experience, but not so other texts!