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    Prolegomenon to Vallabha's theology of revelation
     
    [ 作者: Jeffrey R. Timm   来自:期刊原文   已阅:3485   时间:2007-1-6   录入:douyuebo
    49tjf49edf:Article:ArticleID


    ·期刊原文
    Prolegomenon to Vallabha's theology of revelation

    By Jeffrey R. Timm
    Philosophy East and West
    volume 38, number 2 (April 1988)
    p 107-126


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    P107

     

            Far  too often, scholars  who  study  Asian  thought
            focus  so exclusively  on one  tradition  or thinker
            that they fall prey  to a kind  of "tunnel  vision."
            The fact  is that  every  moment  in the history  of
            human thought  arises in the context  of claims  and
            counterclaims  about the way it really is.  Luckily,
            in  the  context  of Indian  thought, at  least, the
            textual traditions  often act as a reminder that the
            most  creative  thinking   occurs  in  response   to
            powerful  counterclaims.  One can hardly imagine  an
            Udayana without a Buddhist to attack, or a Candrakiirti
            without a Saa.mkhya. All this is to say that Indian
            thought is intensely dialogical.

              It should come as no surprise, then, that the title
            used  by Vallabha, the fifteenth-century  Krishnaite
            philosophical  theologian, for the first section  of
            his Tattvaarthadiipanibandha means both "the meaning
            of teaching"  and "philosophical  debate." And it is
            even  less surprising  that that  section, which  he
            calls `Saastraartha, shows Vallabha  fully aware  of
            the challenge presented by alternative  views in his
            response   to   schools   like   Advaita   Vedaanta,
            Miimaa.msaa,    Nyaaya,    Vai'se.ska,   Yoga,   and
            Saa.mkhya.    Any   penetrating   consideration   of
            Vallabha-who  in the words of one scholar  "laid the
            philosophical  foundations for a great resurgence of
            Krishna  bhakti"(1) --must  take  into  account  the
            metaphysical   and   epistemological   views   which
            contributed  to his theology.  The views he endorsed
            as well as those that he rejected must be considered
            if  the  underlying  foundation  of his  theological
            program is to be understood.

              One of the views he rejected--a primary object  of
            his opposition throughout the `Saastraartha-was  the
            Vedaantic   school  of  Advaita   originating   with
            Sa^nkara   (eighth-ninth   centuries   A.D.) .   The
            ontological  framework  proposed by this influential
            school of thought  was problematic  for Vallabha  as
            well  as  for  other  Vai.s.nava  theologians   like
            Maadhava  and Raamaanuja.  This was the case because
            its solution  to the problem of relation between the
            phenomenal  world and the realm of ultimate  reality
            damaged the epistemological foundation necessary for
            an affirmation  of transcendental  knowledge  in the
            world,  and  consequently  undermined  the  path  to
            liberation, the raison d' 坱 re of almost all Indian
            speculative thought.

              Vallabha was also dissatisfied with Nyaaya and with
            Miimaa.msaa, but  for  different  reasons.  Nyaaya's
            philosophical  pluralism, ascribing a reality to the
            things  of the world, was not far removed  from  his
            own ontology; it was certainly closer to his view on
            the nature  of the world than the position  affirmed
            by Advaita  Vedaanta.  The  Nyaaya  school, however,
            made forceful  claims  about  the role of perception
            and  rationality   as  independent  means  to  valid
            knowledge, which suggested  their  equality  to, and
            perhaps  even  their  superiority  over,  scriptural
            revelation.  This Vallabha could not accept. Less of
            a problem, in this regard,
            ---------------------
            Jeffrey R.  Timm is Assistant Professor  of Religion
            at Wheaten College, Norton, Massachusetts.
              AUTHOR'S NOTE:I would be remiss if I did not thank
            my mentor and friend, Dr. Bibhuti S. Yadav of Temple
            University, for the countless hours spent discussing
            Vallabha's  unique  contribution  to the history  of
            Indian thought.

                                    P108

            was   the   textual    methodology    proposed    by
            Puurvamiimaa.msaa.  As long as Miimaa.msaa occupied
            itself  with  the  development  of  a  hermeneutical
            theory designed to uncover the meaning of scriptural
            revelation, Vallabha could give his endorsement.  In
            fact, his own hermeneutical  analysis  of 'sruti  is
            directly  dependent  on many  of the  categories  of
            textual analysis developed by Miimaa.msaa.  However,
            along with its epistemology, Miimaa.msaa proposed an
            ontological  scheme  which argued for the eternality
            of both  the Veda and the  world  by rejecting  the
            existence of a divine creator.  The suggestion  that
            there  is a divine  Word in the absence  of a divine
            speaker   of  that   Word  was  anathema   from  the
            perspective of a Vai.s.nava world view.

            An alternate  view of divine  Word (vaac), a concept
            emerging  in  some  of the  earliest  hymns  of  the
            RgVeda, was fundamental  in the  development  of the
            theology of Vallabha. His application of the "divine
            Word"  concept  is  implicitly  dependent  upon  the
            theory  of 'sabdabrahman  developed  by  Bhart.rhari
            (seventh   century   A.D.) ,  associated   with  the
            Grammarian  school.  The  concept  of  spho.tadhvani
            emerging  from Bhart.rhari's  Vaakyapadiiya, and its
            subsequent   effect  on  the  Indian  philosophy  of
            language, resonates throughout Vallabha's theology.
            Closely associated  with the ontological  dimensions
            of  Bhart.rhari's  philosophy  of language  are  the
            practical  implications  the "divine  Word"  concept
            held for religious expression through literature and
            poetry.   A  seminal   thinker   in  this  area   is
            Abhinavagupta  (tenth century A.D.), whose theory of
            aesthetics  laid the groundwork for the elevation of
            poetry   as   the   primary   mode   of   expressing
            religious-devotional   sentiment.   His  theory   of
            aesthetics receives an implicit endorsement  in the
            theology  of Vallabha, as well  as in the subsequent
            literary creativity of the Vallabha tradition.

              No significant development in the history of thought
            occurs in a vacuum. Each of these schools, through
            the  collective  contributions  of their  individual
            thinkers, helped  provide  a  shared  context  which
            emerged   from   the  past   to  demand   Vallabha's
            recognition  and  evaluation.  But the  theology  of
            Vallabha  was  more  than  a simple  response  to an
            inherited context, for it involved a distancing from
            that context with the obligation to provide a better
            answer, a  theology  in  a  new  key.  Although  the
            contours of this theology will be considered, a full
            exposition  lies beyond  the scope  of this article.
            The present  work, then, claims to reveal a context,
            a prolegomenon, if  you  will, to  the  theology  of
            Vallabha.

            I. THE CHALLENGE OF MAADHYAMIKA

            Before turning  to a more detailed  analysis  of the
            schools  already  mentioned,  it  is  necessary   to
            consider, at least  briefly, the standing  challenge
            to all metaphysical  speculation  made  by the  last
            important  movement of Indian Buddhism, Maadhyamika.
            Although Vallabha does not explicitly respond to the
            critique  of  metaphysics  made  by  the  preeminent
            Indian philosopher Naagaarjuna (second century A.D.)
            and his commentator  Candrakiirti  (seventh  century
            A.D.), the

                                    P109

            theology  of  Vallabha  is, at  least  implicitly, a
            response  to  the  Maadhyamika  challenge  that  all
            metaphysical speculation is symptomatic of a kind of
            "disease"  and that no metaphysical  assertion has a
            genuine claim to make about reality.

              The main thrust of the Maadhyamika critique rests
            on the perceived  discontinuity  between the way the
            world   is,  and  what  reason,  while  engaged   in
            metaphysical  speculation, thinks  the world  to be.
            Suspicious  of any claim  made about  the nature  of
            reality, and equally suspicious  of any epistemology
            allowing  such claims, Maadhyamika  charges that the
            philosopher  engaged in metaphysics is living a sick
            form  of  life,  infecting   others   who  take  him
            seriously.  The only cure for this "dis-ease"  is to
            show the utter hollowness of all metaphysical claims
            by  applying   the  logical  tool  of  reductio   ad
            absurdum.

              With  the well-known technique, developed by
            Naagaarjuna in his  Muulamadhyamikakaarikaa, called
            catu.sko.ti or four-cornered  negation, Maadhyamika
            rejects  the  possibility  of  making  any  sort  of
            meaningful claim involving ontological  predication.
            According   to  the   critique,  every   ontological
            statement rooted in a subject/predicate logic can be
            reduced  to  a  tautology  or  a  selfcontradiction.
            Consider,  asks  Candrakiirti, the  statement,  "the
            human  soul  is eternal."  What  is the relationship
            between  the  subject, " the  human  soul," and  the
            predication,  "is  eternal";   are   the  two  terms
            identical  or different? If they  are  identical, we
            are left with a tautology: the eternal human soul is
            eternal.  If they  are different  and distinct, what
            could  possibly  justify  the claim  that  they  are
            related?(2)

              The Maadhyamika program applies the reduction-to-
            absurdity technique to every sort of metaphysical
            claim in an effort to show the utter emptiness of
            ontological statements. Subject/predicate logic is
            useful for mundane  purposes, but when it is used to
            make  metaphysical  claims  it  becomes  a  kind  of
            deceptive  referring  act: saying "X exists" becomes
            the basis for the belief that X actually exists. The
            commitment  to a world view or theory  about the way
            the  world  is, is embraced  as a shelter  (d.r.sti)
            from the anxiety, psychological insecurity, and fear
            accompanying  the desire  of the ego  to say "I am,"
            and  the  ego's   wish  to  avoid   nonbeing.   Such
            commitment, asserted  in the context of ideological,
            religious,   or   metaphysical   discourse,   is   a
            self-deception  symptomatic  of a sick form of life.
            Properly  applied, catu.sko.ti  is the medicine used
            to treat the "dis-ease."  Once the patient is cured,
            the medicine becomes irrelevant.(3)

              The Maadhyamika school represents the final chapter
            in  the  history  of Indian  Buddhism.  Despite  the
            decline  of  Buddhism's   influence  in  the  Indian
            subcontinent,   Maadhyamika's   challenge   to   the
            enterprise of metaphysics has had an enduring effect
            on the character of Indian philosophy. The Vedaantic
            thought  of both  `Sa^nkara  and  Vallabha, although
            they conflict in their basic claims about the nature
            of reality, can be understood as attempts to justify
            the Hindu vision of ultimate  reality in the face of
            Maadhyamika's challenge. Before considering

                                    P110

            how this challenge  was met from within Vedaanta, it
            is   necessary    to   examine    the    logic    of
            "God-talk"--rejected  by Maadhyamika  as a deceptive
            referring act--from the standpoint of another school
            in Indian thought, Nyaaya.

            II. NYAAYA RATIONAL THEOLOGY

            Nyaaya is one of the six "orthodox"  schools  within
            Hinduism   and  therefore   affirms   the  spiritual
            authority   of   the   Vedic   scriptures.   Closely
            associated    with   the   school   of   Vai'se.sika
            established by Ka.naada, Nyaaya asserts a variety of
            pluralistic realism which, unlike Maadhyamika, takes
            seriously the possibility of knowing something about
            the  metaphysical  nature  of reality.  Through  the
            proper application  of reason within  the categories
            of accepted  pramaa.na, or means to valid knowledge,
            we can acquire  knowledge  about the world and about
            God.  Pramaa.na, according  to the  Nyaayama~njarii,
            written by Jayanta Bha.t.ta (ninth century A.D.), is
            "the collocation of conscious as well as unconscious
            factors   which   result   in  producing   such   an
            apprehension  of knowable  objects that is different
            from illusion and doubt."(4)

              The means to valid knowledge, according to Nyaaya,
            are  fourfold:  perception  (pratyak.sa),  inference
            (anumaana),  comparison  (upamaana),  and  testimony
            ('sabda). Jayanta, following the definition given by
            an earlier  Nyaaya  thinker, Gautama, the author  of
            the Nyaayasuutra, asserts  that perception  is "that
            knowledge  which arises from contact of a sense with
            an  object;  it  is  unnamable, uncontradicted,  and
            determinate."(5)  Unlike  Gautama,  Jayanta  clearly
            distinguishes  between  perception  as  a  means  to
            knowledge and perception as knowledge itself, but in
            either case perception is primarily associated  with
            illuminating   a  really  existing  multiplicity  of
            objects which make up the world.

              The second category of pramaa.na, according to
            Nyaaya, is inference: the means to knowledge of that
            which is beyond direct perception.  Knowledge  of an
            unperceived   object   is   achieved   through   the
            apprehension  of a perceptible  object of knowledge,
            along   with  the  recognition   of  the  invariable
            concomitance  of what is perceived and that which is
            beyond  perception.  The  classic  example  of  this
            pramaa.na    of   inference--reasoning    from   the
            perception  of smoke rising from a distant  mountain
            to    the    conclusion     of    fire     on    the
            mountain--illustrates the five terms involved in the
            Nyaaya syllogism: (1) On that distant mountain  is a
            fire (the hypothesis);  because  (2) smoke is rising
            from  that  distant   mountain   (reason   based  on
            perception);  (3) whatever possesses smoke possesses
            fire,  for   example,  a   fireplace   (an   example
            supporting the invariable concomitance between smoke
            and fire);  (4) smoke  is rising  from that  distant
            mountain such as is invariably  accompanied  by fire
            (the   statement   of   invariable   concomitance) ;
            therefore,(5) on that  distant  mountain  is  a fire
            (the  conclusion).  The five terms  of the syllogism
            function  together  to establish  knowledge  of  the
            unseen  fire  burning  on a distant  mountain.  This
            pramaa.na  of inference  is important  in the Nyaaya
            program to develop a rational  theology  proving the
            existence of God.

              The third means to valid knowledge  accepted by the
            Nyaaya school is called

                                    P111


              upamaana, or comparison.  According to Jayanta, the
            pramaa.na of comparison  consists in associating  an
            object  not known before  with some other well-known
            object through the remembrance  of instruction given
            by  an  authoritative   person   and   through   the
            perception of resemblance between the unknown object
            and  the  known  object.(6) The  steps  involved  in
            reasoning on the basis of comparison are illustrated
            in the following  example  given  by Jayanta  in his
            Nyaayama~njarii.  A person visiting a certain forest
            is told by the game warden  that an animal called  a
            gavaya,  resembling  a  cow, lives  in  the  forest.
            During  his walk  through  the  forest, this  person
            encounters  an animal  resembling  a cow and recalls
            the  description  of the gavaya  given  by the  game
            warden. On the basis of this recollection, knowledge
            that  this  animal  is a gavaya  is established.  In
            response to the objection that comparison  is merely
            a form of inference  and should not be considered  a
            distinct  pramaa.na, Jayanta  argues that comparison
            is  different   from  inference  because  it  always
            involves  the denotative  power of words given by an
            authoritative  person,  whereas  inference  produces
            knowledge in the absence of such words.

              The final category of pramaa.na affirmed by Nyaaya
            is 'sabda, or verbal testimony. It is defined as the
            instruction  of a reliable  person (aapta) who knows
            the  truth   and  who  communicates   it  correctly.
            According  to Jayanta, a reliable  person should not
            have an imperfect knowledge of the subject he wishes
            to impart, but  on the other  hand  he need  not  be
            omniscient.  Thus, the value of testimony as a means
            to valid knowledge  is dependent  on the honesty and
            competence of the speaker.  The validity of the Veda
            is  established   on  this   basis.   God,  who   is
            all-knowing,  is  the   author   of  the  Veda,  and
            consequently  everything  taught  by  this  text  is
            valid.  The Vedic scripture should be accepted as an
            extraordinary  form  of  testimony  because  of  the
            extraordinary  nature of its author.  Nyaaya  argues
            that  this  claim  does  not  involve  a pattern  of
            circular reasoning because the existence of God--the
            author of the Veda--is not established  on the basis
            of  scriptural  claims, instead, it  is  established
            through   the   application   of   rationality   and
            inference.

              The systematic use of inference to prove the existence
            of God, as both  the  creator  of the world  and the
            author  of the  Veda, is the modus  operandi  in the
            Nyaayakusumaa~njali, written  by  Udayana  (eleventh
            century  A.D.) .  Udayana,  a  staunch  opponent  of
            Buddhism in general, and Maadhyamika  in particular,
            (7) turns  his  attention  to the  development  of a
            rational theology in the Nyaayakusumaa~njali. In the
            fifth  section  of this work, Udayana  presents  two
            parallel  series of proofs: one set for proving  the
            existence   of  God,  the  second  for  proving  the
            authorship  of the Veda.  In the first proof for the
            existence  of God, Udayana  (like  Aquinas, who  was
            composing the Quinque Viae at about the same time in
            Europe) argues for the existence of God on the basis
            of efficient causation.  The world is an effect and,
            like any other effect, points to a variety of causes
            which must include an efficient  cause possessing  a
            nature capable of producing such an effect.  Udayana
            writes:

                                    P112

            Earth, et  cetera, have  a  maker  as  their  cause;
            because  they  have  the nature  of an effect.(8)
            In  this  abbreviated   version   of  the  five-part
            syllogism, Udayana is attempting  to establish, on a
            rational  basis, the existence  of a creator  who is
            capable  of  creating  something  as great  as  this
            world.  Clearly rejecting the Maadhyamika claim that
            the  use  of  reason   in  metaphysical   issues  is
            symptomatic  of "disease," Udayana  claims  to prove
            the existence of God.

              Although Vedaanta would agree with Nyaaya's claim
            that God exists, it would reject  the notion  that a
            proof  could be established  solely  on the basis of
            human  rationality.  There is a fundamental  problem
            with Nyaaya's emphasis on inference  as the basis of
            theological  understanding.  According  to Vedaanta,
            'sruti,  or  revealed  scripture--that  category  of
            testimony  in Nyaaya  which has God as its authority
            (aapta)--is  the incomparable, preeminent  authority
            in all transcendental  matters.  Both `Sa^nkara  and
            Vallabha emphasize  the preeminence  of 'sruti;  but
            despite their mutual disagreement with Nyaaya, these
            two  exponents  of Vedaanta  do not  understand  the
            nature of scripture in exactly the same way.

            ⒒. THE RESPONSE OF ADVAITA VEDAANTA

            Each school within Vedaanta stresses  the importance
            of revealed  scripture.  The contents  of scriptural
            revelation have been analyzed and interpreted by the
            various  Vedaantic  schools of thought  as a primary
            source  of  transcendental   knowledge   capable  of
            leading the authentic  seeker to liberation.  One of
            the  most   influential   forms   of  Vedaanta,  and
            certainly  the best known in the West, is the school
            of  Advaita  Vedaanta  established  by `Sa^nkara.  In
            order  to make  sense  of its epistemology  and its
            understanding  of  Vedic  scripture, we  must  first
            consider  the  ontology  it  proposes.  The  salient
            points of this ontology are revealed  by considering
            Advaita  Vedaanta's   solution   to  the  fundamental
            metaphysical problem of "relationship."

              What is the nature of the relationship  between
            ultimate  reality, called Brahman in the Upani.sadic
            texts,  and   the  phenomenal   world   of  ordinary
            experience? How  can  an abiding  ultimate  reality,
            which  is  characterized   as  "Being,  "  have  any
            connection   with  a  world--marked   by  decay  and
            impermanence-characterized as a process of becoming?
            One form of the Advaita solution  to this problem is
            presented  in a theory of causality  called vivarta.
            According  to  this  view, the  problem  of relating
            nirgu.na   Brahman  with  the  world  of  change  is
            resolved  by understanding  Brahman  as the cause of
            the world, which does not itself undergo any change.
            The world is an effect that preexists  in the cause,
            but it does  not share  the  reality  of its  cause;
            therefore,  the   phenomenal   world   is   a   mere
            "appearance" devoid of any ontological purchase.  By
            denying ontological  significance  to the phenomenal
            world, the  problem  of  relationship  is  resolved,
            because  from the standpoint  of reality there is no
            world. The only reality, in the final analysis, is a
            qualityless  Brahman, and  only  through  liberation
            does  the  immediate   and  direct  realization   of
            Brahman's nonduality arise.

                                    P113


              The ontology presented by Advaita Vedaanta leads to
            conclusions    not   unlike    the   epistemological
            skepticism   developed   in  Maadhyamika   Buddhism.
            Brahman,  according  to  the  Advaita  view,  is  so
            absolute  that statements  made about it, insofar as
            such statements  are made from within the phenomenal
            order of becoming, can do no more than weakly  point
            to ultimate  reality.  Nothing  "really real" can be
            said about Brahman because "to say something" occurs
            in and through the phenonmenal world.

              This position leads to some interesting problems
            when the notion of divine revelation  is considered.
            Although things in the world may have a practical or
            provisional  reality--Advaita  Vedaanata  calls this
            level vyavahaarika--nothing  in the phenomenal realm
            is really real;  that is to say, nothing  shares the
            ontological status accorded to Brahman.  What, then,
            is the nature  of divine  revelation, either  in the
            form of a text  like  the Veda, or in the form  of a
            divine incarnation? A popular example in the Advaita
            tradition describes God's special revelations, which
            arise  in the  phenomenal  world, as the  roar  of a
            dream  lion  which  awakens   the  slumbering   man.
            Revelations  have provisional value because they can
            awaken  one to the truly existent, ultimate  reality
            of  Brahman.   But  because  such  revelations   are
            manifested within the phenomenal realm, because they
            fall within  the category  of vyavahaarika, they can
            never share the ontological status of Brahman.

              Other  thinkers  in  the  wider  tradition   of
            Vedaanta  found  the  position  of Advaita  Vedaanta
            completely  unsatisfactory.  The problem  with  this
            view of revelation is expressed in a Dvaita Vedaanta
            critique   of  Advaita   Vedaanta   found   in   the
            Nyaayaratnaavali, written  by Vaadiraaja  (sixteenth
            century A.D.).

            One  who  is  afflicted   with  a  mania   producing
            [conviction    in]   an   inextinguishable    "Great
            Illusion," who moreover declares, while posturing as
            one  grounded  on the  Scriptures, a [belief  in the
            world's]  depravity  based on the depraved condition
            of  the  all-assisting  Scriptures,  kills  his  own
            mother! I believe that he gets amusement by bringing
            harm to everyone.(9)

            Vaadiraaja  is claiming  that  Advaita  Vedaanta  is
            involved in a fundamental  self-contradiction.  Like
            all schools  of Vedaanta, Advaita  claims  to ground
            its  position  on 'sabda-pramaa.na  in the  form  of
            'sruti.  But  at the  same  time  it denigrates  the
            status of 'sruti by relegating scriptural revelation
            to the status  of vyavahaarika, a mere  "appearance"
            within  the  phenomenal  realm.  This, according  to
            Vaadiraaja, is like  the  man  who, owing  his  very
            existence to his mother, kills her.

              Vallabha agrees. He raises a similar objection in
            the `Saastraartha, accusing  Advaita  Vedaanta  of a
            self-contradiction  related to its refusal to accept
            the unsublatable  reality of the divine incarnation,
            K.r.s.na.

            According  to the  view  of Maayaavaada  and  so on,
            `Sriik.r.s.na, et cetera, is  not  considered  to be
            Brahman due to [K.r.s.na's]  existence in the world.
            But they  say His [Brahman's]  essential  nature  is
            being-bliss-consciousness. Therefore, on


                                    P114

            account  of absence of proof in their own view, they
            proclaim this state of affairs by following the path
            of devotion.  This should be understood. They accept
            truth established  by a logic  opposed  to their own
            position.(10)

            Vallabha  is pointing out that to make a claim about
            Brahman  is to speak in the world  and to speak from
            the authority  of scripture  revealed  in the world.
            Since the proponents  of Advaita Vedaanta accord the
            world  only a provisional  reality, they claim  that
            K.r.s.na   cannot   be,  in  the   final   analysis,
            identified  with highest Brahman.  But, because they
            assert that Brahman is nirgu.na, without  qualities,
            the only self-consistent  stance  for them would  be
            silence.    Yet   they   claim   that   Brahman   is
            being-consciousness-bliss, "a truth established by
            a logic contrary to their own position.''  A genuine
            and  full  affirmation  of  God's  revelation,  both
            scriptural   and  incarnational,  is  a  fundamental
            concern  for Vallabha.  And it is this concern which
            lies behind his program  to "purify"  the nondualism
            of Advaita Vedaanta.

              The positions of both Sa.nkara and Vallabha are
            described as advaita, or nondual.  We have seen that
            for `Sa.nkara  the problem  of relationship  between
            nirgu.na   Brahman  and  the  phenomenal   world  is
            resolved   by  denying   the   world's   ontological
            significance.  Reality is one, without a second, and
            consequently   the  world-because   it  opposes  the
            unchanging   Brahman   through   its  character   of
            continual   becoming-is    described   as   a   mere
            appearance, not "really real," a state of affairs to
            be transcended.  Curiously this attempt to reconcile
            the  appearance  of the world  with  the  claim  for
            Brahman's  nonduality  lands Advaita  Vedaanta  back
            into  a  kind  of  dualism.  For  those  trapped  in
            ignorance, the world "exists"; it has an existential
            reality, albeit  provisional, and over  against  the
            dualistic experience  of the world is the promise of
            the  nondual  "experience"  of Brahman, the goal  of
            spiritual striving.

              In the  `Saastraartha, Vallabha  points  out  that
            this kind of thinking  establishes  a soteriological
            non sequitur.  By tacitly  affirming  a cosmological
            dualism-the  gulf between  the phenomenal  realm, in
            which  ordinary  human  beings  are trapped, and the
            ultimate   reality   of  Brahman--Advaita   Vedaanta
            undermines the very possibility  of liberation.  For
            what could act as a bridge between these two realms?
            Nothing  in the world, no scripture, no incarnation,
            no revelation, shares the ontological  status of the
            "really real";  consequently, how could any of these
            things   carry  one  beyond  the  phenomenal?  Thus,
            following  the  logic  of  the  Advaita  view, human
            beings are hopelessly  trapped in the endless rounds
            of sa.msaara.

              Vallabha's solution to this problem is implied when
            he calls  his position  `Suddhaadvaita  Brahmavaada,
            the  theory  of  pure, nondualistic  Brahman.  He is
            asserting  a  nondualist  form  of  Vedaanta  which,
            unlike  `Sa^nkara's, does  not lead to the troubling
            conclusions of cosmological dualism.  According this
            view, the world  is real  and  identical  with  God,
            having  God as both  its efficient  and its material
            cause.

              The idea that God is the material cause, as well
            as the efficient cause of the

                                    P115

            universe,  is  established   on  the  basis  of  key
            scriptural  statements  cited  in the `Saastraartha,
            but God's material causality is supported  by reason
            as  well.  "Despite  [it  being  His  creation], the
            universe  is the form  of God.  Otherwise  existence
            would  arise  from  nonexistence."(11)  Through  the
            power  of  maayaa, which  is  inherent  in  God, the
            universe arises. Vallabha distinguishes his position
            from Advaita Vedaanta  by characterizing  maayaa not
            as some indescribable  force separable from ultimate
            reality, but instead as one of the principal powers
            of   God   following    the    statement    of   the
            Bhaagavatapuraa.na.(12)  Also  counted  among  God's
            powers  is avidyaa, the principle  of ignorance.  On
            the  basis  of  the  difference  between  these  two
            powers, Vallabha develops  a fundamental  concept of
            his  theology:  the  distinction  between  the  real
            universe  (prapa~nca)  and  the  unreal  process  of
            sa.msaara-that  endless round of rebirth and redeath
            experienced   by  the  souls  who  are  deluded   by
            ignorance.

            Both knowledge and ignorance are powers of God which
            are created  only through  maayaa.  They affect  the
            soul  alone, not any other;  so also  suffering  and
            powerlessness.(13)

            Here  Vallabha  indicates  an ontological  priority;
            knowledge and ignorance are dependent on maayaa. The
            world  is a real  creation  of God  and  shares  the
            reality  of its creator, but sa.msaara-characterized
            by  suffering  and  powerlessness--is   not  a  real
            creation;  it results  from "the ego's assertion  of
            itself  (abhimati) ...   which  takes  the  form  of
            "I-ness"    and    "my-ness."(14)   As    soon    as
            individualized consciousness, in the form of a soul,
            ceases regarding itself as distinct from the rest of
            creation, the process of sa.msaara  is extinguished.
            The world, however, because  it is a real  creation,
            does not at that  moment  cease  to exist."(15)

              This distinction  between the real universe and the
            illusion of sa.msaara is supported by describing the
            universe  as  God's  ontological   revealment.   God
            reveals Himself--becoming  all that is--through  the
            process  of  selective  revealment  and  concealment
            (aavirbhaava-tirobhaava) of infinite attributes.

            After delighting in Himself He becomes as if hidden.
            This  is  accomplished  by means  of maayaa.  He  is
            veiled by this existence  [which is His creation]...
            and  it is said  that  the appearance  of limitation
            everywhere is by His wish.(16)

            By concealing  the full  expression  of His nature
            through  His  power  of maayaa, the multiplicity  of
            forms in creation is revealed. Phenomenal revealment
            is dependent upon ontological  concealment.  Despite
            the  reality  of  the  universe  and  its  essential
            identity   with  God,  Vallabha   rejects  a  simple
            pantheistic identity.

              At the same time that God enters into the process
            of becoming--through  concealing the fullness of His
            essential   nature  and  revealing  Himself  as  the
            creation-He remains unaffected by the process.

            Brahman   indeed  has  endless   forms  and,  though
            possessing parts, is undivided.(17)

            Between  members  of the  same  class  (sajaatiiya),
            between   classes   (vijaatiiya) ,  and   internally
            (savagata), [God] is devoid  of these three types of
            dualism.(18)


                                      P116

            God  becomes   the  created  universe   through  the
            pluralism    or   diversity   of   forms   and   the
            relationships   between  those  forms,  and  yet  He
            remains transcendent, beyond the three categories of
            relationships.  The simultaneity  of God's immanence
            and transcendence  is explained  not by denying  the
            reality of the universe, but by recognizing each and
            every  individual  form  as  an incarnation  through
            which  God  reveals  a  limited  dimension   of  His
            reality, while concealing His essential and enduring
            fullness.  All  things  are  identical  and  present
            everywhere  because  everything  is  God.   However,
            because  God places  a limitation  on the attributes
            that are manifest in a given form, that form--viewed
            as distinct  from all other  forms--reveals  only an
            infinitesimal portion of God's unending fullness.

              Why does God create in this way? After quoting the
            B.rhadaaraa.nyaka, "He wished  for  another  and  He
            became   such,   "(19)   Vallabha   comments    that
            "ontological  revealment in the form of the universe
            is only for the sake of delight  which is impossible
            without diversity."(20) By creating the universe out
            of sheer  delight, God differentiates  Himself  from
            Himself, becoming  "self-forgetful"  for the sake of
            manifesting  diversity.  At the same time (from  the
            perspective  of ordinary human understanding), God's
            glory, revealed  through  His capacity  for unending
            creativity, acts as a lure drawing the created forms
            back  to  God.  The  universe,  then,  embodies  the
            unfolding of God's cosmic autobiography.

              According  to  Vallabha, this  autobiographical
            creativity is linguistically structured. Quoting the
            Bhaagavatapuraa.na (10.85.4), he writes:

            Wherever, by whom, from  whom, of  whom, to whom, as
            whatever, whenever--all  this  is  God  directly  as
            matter, person, and Lord.(21)

            Everything  in  creation  is  God, and  God  is  the
            ultimate   denotative   locus   of  all  words,  the
            foundation    for   all   relationships    expressed
            grammatically  through  the  seven  Sanskirt  cases.
            After  "speaking"  the creation  into existence, God
            speaks again, out of compassion, providing the means
            for  liberation.  To appreciate  fully  the  central
            place  of "word"  in  Vallabha's  theology, we  must
            briefly consider the philosophy  of language  in two
            important  schools of thought: Puurvamiimaa.msa  and
            the Grammarian school.

            IV. MIIMAA.MSA PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE

            Closely associated with Vedaanta philosophies is the
            school called Miimaa.msaa.  The relationship between
            Vedaanta  and Miimaa.msaa  is indicated  by the fact
            that Vedaanta  is also called "Uttara"  Miimaa.msaa,
            designating  its scriptural focus as the "Uttara" or
            "later"   sections   of  the  Veda,  which  are  the
            Upani.sads.    Mimaa.msaa    proper,   or   "Puurva"
            Miimaa.msaa,  as   it   is   called,  stresses   the
            importance  of the Braahma.na  sections of the Vedic
            text, subordinating  both the earlier Mantra and the
            later Upani.sad  to the inquiry into the rituals  of
            sacrifice.  According to the Miimaa.msaa school, the
            proper interpretation of the Veda is by

                                      P117

            no means a simple matter;  consequently  Miimaa.msaa
            has developed  a theory  of intepretation-principles
            of Vedic hermeneutics--which  has subsequently  been
            employed   by  thinkers   outside   the  Miimaa.msaa
            tradition including Vallabha.

              As long as the Miimaa.msaa  program remains  on the
            level  of epistemology, focusing  on the development
            and   application   of  the   principles   of  Vedic
            interpretation, no conflict  arises between Vallabha
            and Miimaa.msaa.  However, Miimaa.msaa thinkers like
            `Sabara  (fourth-fifth  century  A.D.),  Prabhaakara
            (seventh-eighth   century   A.D.) ,  and   Kumaarila
            (seventh  century), made certain ontological  claims
            which Vallabha was compelled to reject.  The problem
            with Miimaa.msaa from the perspective of Vedaanta is
            highlighted by considering  the Miimaa.msaa  concept
            of language.

              The dual form of the Miimaa.msaa concept of language
            is evident  in the distinction  between  two  terms,
            'sabda  and pada.  Unfortunately  both terms  can be
            translated   as  "word, "  obscuring  a  fundamental
            distinction.  The term 'sabda is more comprehensive,
            for  it may  be used  to mean  not  only  "word"  in
            general, but also "Word" as divine revelation  or as
            testimony  from  any authoritative  source.  We have
            already discussed this connotation  of 'sabda in the
            examination of the Nyaaya pramaa.na theory. Pada, on
            the other hand, has a much more restricted  meaning;
            it  focuses  on  "word"  as  a constituent  part  of
            language.

              These two terms, 'sabda and pada, are at the heart
            of  two  related  views  of  language  developed  by
            Miimaa.mmsaa: 'sabdanityatva  and  padanityatva.(22)
            From   the   perspective    of   the   first   view,
            'sabdanityanva,     language      is      understood
            metaphysically  as  the  fundamental  and  necessary
            requirement  for human existence.  To be human is to
            have  language   because   language   provides   the
            categories  of meaning which ultimately  pattern all
            human knowledge.  It is not man who is the author of
            language, but  it is instead  language  itself  that
            speaks  to man, manifesting  a context  in which man
            responds. The second view of language, padanityatva,
            presents  language in its more pragmatic  character;
            word and its meaning  are viewed  as the fundamental
            constituents   of  language,  which   is   in   turn
            considered  as  a medium  of expression.  From  this
            perspective, words and sentences  are understood  as
            external  forms  capable  of revealing  their  inner
            meaning only if the proper hermeneutical  principles
            are applied.

              Responding to the demands of the padanityatva theory
            of  language,  Miimaa.msaa  developed  a  theory  of
            textual  interpretation  which provided  a means for
            understanding  the truth enshrined  in the words  of
            the   Vedic   scripture.   The  principles   of  the
            Miimaa.msaa hermeneutical  program were accepted and
            utilized  by  the  schools  of  Vedaanta,  including
            Vallabha. However, in developing the implications of
            the 'sabdanityatva  theory  of language, Miimaa.msaa
            makes claims about the nature of the Vedic scripture
            incompatible   with  the  Vai.s.nava   theology   of
            Vallabha.

              The validity of the Veda can be established beyond
            any doubt, according  to Miimaa.msaa, only  if it is
            agreed that the Veda has existed eternally  and that
            it is


                                    P118

            authorless. Kumaarila, for example, is not satisfied
            with the Nyaaya  understanding  of 'sabda-pramaa.na,
            which  bases the validity  of scripture  on the idea
            that the aapta, the authoritative  person  making  a
            truth   claim,  is  none  other  than  God,  who  is
            omniscient  and trustworthy.  The problem, according
            to Miimaa.msaa, is this: how can someone  who is not
            omniscient recognize that quality in another?

            One  who  accepts  [validity]  in the  realm  of the
            ritual that has to be performed ('sraddheya-) on the
            basis  of  statements   [of  those  persons   whose]
            credibility in matters connected with the objects of
            the  senses  has  been  experienced,  will  have  to
            establish  [the aapta's] credibility  and competence
            by means of something else.  Were praamaa.nyam to be
            intrinsic, then  what  is the purpose  of making  it
            depend on the senses, etc.(23)

            Since the quality of omniscience  is not perceptible
            by those  who  are  themselves  not  omniscient, the
            Nyaaya  pramaa.na  of 'sabda, or  verbal  testimony,
            breaks down when it is applied to the Veda where the
            aapta is supposed  to be God.  Kumaarila, therefore,
            denies the possibility of a creator of the world and
            argues  in favor  of  the  beginninglessness  of the
            Vedic tradition. This is necessary in a theory which
            asserts   the  "givenness"   of  language   and  the
            self-validity  of the special use of language in the
            Vedic scriptures.(24)

              Vallabha would agree with Miimaa.msaa's negative
            valuation  of the Nyaaya  attempt  to establish  the
            validity  of  the  scripture  on  the  basis  of  an
            extrascriptural  appeal  to logic. Miimaa.msaa  goes
            too far, however, when it rejects  the existence  of
            God.  Life depends upon language, but the "giveness"
            of language is not divorced  from the "giveness"  of
            the God who speaks. This commitment to the existence
            of  God  moves  Vallabha   away  from  Miimaa.msaa's
            'sabdanityatva, and, even though it is not explicity
            mentioned   by  him,  towards  the  metaphysics   of
            language  proposed by Bhart.rhari  (seventh  century
            A.D.) and the aesthetics  of language  developed  by
            Abhinavagupta (tenth century A.D.).

            V. BHART.RHARI'S CONCEPT OF WORD

            In  the  opening  verse  of  his  Vaakyapadiiya,(25)
            Bhart.rhari  states that Brahman is the eternal  and
            undifferentiated  reality  of  Word  ('sabdatattva),
            beyond  birth  and  death,  from  which  arises  all
            differentiation  in the form of subject  and object.
            This     idea     of    'sabdabrahman-Brahman     as
            Word--developed  by the Grammarian  school  reflects
            the concept  of vaac, the potency of the divine Word
            through which the absolute  enters into a process of
            becoming. Vaac is a concept expressed in some of the
            earliest    Vedic   metaphysical    speculation.(26)

                 Although  'sabdabrahman, or  vaac, is  one  and
            indivisible, it functions  as the world's  efficient
            and material  cause.  The idea that the effect (that
            is, the  world  of constant  becoming) is  an actual
            transformation of the cause (that is, 'sabdahbrahman
            or  vaac)  appears   in  the   opening   verses   of
            Bhart.rhari's Vaakyapadiiya. Some scholars, however,
            have argued that the theory  of causality  presented
            in the Grammarian  school  is the  vivarta  view  of
            Advaita Vedaanta. If this is correct,


                                    P119

            then the case for a connection  between the theology
            of Vallabha  and  the Grammarian  school  is greatly
            weakened.

              Pradipakumar Mazumdar,in his book Philosophy of
            Language: An Indian Approach, asserts that Bhart.rhari
            affirms the view of Advaita Vedaanta: the phenomenal
            world   is   anirvacaniiya,  incapable   of  logical
            determination of definition."(27)

            This principle of indeterminability (anirvacaniiyatva)
            has been ontologically hypostatized into the concept
            of Avidyaa or Nescience....  The phenomenal world is
            thus an illusory superimposition on the `Sabdabrahman
            through the operation of Avidyaa, the final principle
            of indeterminability.(28)

            The  metaphysics  of  Bhart.rhari's   philosophy  of
            language   is  without   doubt   nondualistic.   But
            Bhart.rhari's   nondualism  does  not  automatically
            support Mazumdar's conclusions. Mazumdar claims that
            the concept  of causality  in the Grammarian  school
            follows the vivarta theory, but the question is open
            to debate.

              Two central ideas in the beginning of the Vaakya-
            padiiya,  pointed   out  by  Subramania   Iyer, (29)
            indicate a difference from the vivarta view.  First,
            as we have already mentioned,

            "ultimate   reality,  Brahman,  which   is   without
            beginning  or  end, is of the  nature  of  the  word
            ('sabdatattva) and from  it are manifested  all  the
            objects and the whole Cosmos."(30)

            Second,

            "This  ultimate  Reality  is  One, but  it manifests
            itself as many because  of its many powers.  It does
            so, however, without losing its One-ness.  It is not
            different  from  its  powers  but  it appears  to be
            different."(31)

            The   Vaakyapadiiya,  independent   of   the   later
            v.r.t.ti, appears  to suggest  that  the  phenomenal
            world is not illusory;  rather the illusion rests in
            the perception of distinction between the phenomenal
            world and ultimate reality.

              Gaurinath Sastri argues that this is the position
            of Bhart.rhari. In his book, A Study in the Dialectics
            of  Spho.ta,  Sastri   distinguishes   the  concept
            of causality at work in Bhart.rhari's Vaakyapadiiya
            from the vivarta view.

            ...the  Absolute  in the system of Bhart.rhari  is a
            dynamic principle.  It produces the universe  out of
            itself.  It  appears  to  be the  material  and  the
            efficient cause of all that exists. Although `Sankara
            would call the Absolute  the material  and efficient
            cause  in  one, the  concept  of  causality  is  not
            applicable  to  it  in  absolute  reality.   If  the
            metaphysical position of `Sankara was to be expressed
            in  exact  terminology, Brahman  would  be  said  to
            appear  as the  cause  and not  to be the  cause  in
            absolute  reality of the world.  The position of the
            grammarians  follows, of course, from the conception
            of the Absolute as endowed with the multiple  powers
            which are as real as the Absolute.(32)

            In a footnote to this passage, Sastri expresses  the
            idea that nothing in the

                                    P120

            Vaakyapadiiya  suggests  that Bhart.rhari  views the
            powers of Brahman  as unreal;  hence, "the objective
            world that owes its origin to [these powers]  cannot
            be unreal.  It is only the difference  among objects
            which  is  a  figment   of  imagination, "(33)  This
            fundamental  insight  into  the  nature  of ultimate
            reality  is  shared  by  Vallabha.   Unlike  Advaita
            Vedaanta, which views the world as a mere appearance
            of   Brahman,   Bhart.rhari   (at   least   in   the
            Vaakyapadiiya) suggests that reality--which includes
            the  created   order--is   both  ontologically   and
            cosmologically nondual.

              Like Puurvamiimaa.msaa, the Grammarian school
            suggests a "two-level" theory of language.  However,
            unlike  Miimaa.msaa, this view  of language  did not
            lead to the atheistic rejection of a divine creator.
            For   Bhart.rhari    the   divine   Word   principle
            ('sabdabrahman)  is  the  cause  of  the  phenomenal
            order.  The relationship between the creator and the
            created  is expressed  in one of the most  important
            contributions  to the Indian philosophy of language,
            the concept  of spho.ta.  This  pivotal  concept  is
            stated in the Vaakyapadiiya, I.44:

            In the words which are expressive the learned discern
            two aspects: the one [the spho.ta]  is the cause  of
            the real word [while] the other [dhvani]  is used to
            convey the meaning.(34)

            Simply  stated, the concept  of spho.ta  presents  a
            distinction between the eternal word ('sabdatattva),
            which  transcends  all division  and change, and the
            pluralism  of sounds  and  letters  used  to  convey
            meaning. In an ordinary process of communication the
            spho.ta   of  the  speaker   is  "clothed"   in  the
            particular  sounds or letters (dhvani) perceived  by
            the hearer.  Successful  communication  occurs when,
            through  the dhvani  of the speaker, the  changeless
            spho.ta, already existing  in the mind of the hearer
            as a potentiality, becomes manifest.

              Despite the apparent dualism between spho.ta and
            dhavni, these two are, in the final  analysis, nondual.
            Harold Coward, in his book Sphota Theory of Language,
            puts the matter this way:

            The logic of Bhart.rhari's philosophy of language is
            that the whole  is prior to the parts.  This results
            in an ascending hierarchy of speech levels. The word
            is subsumed  by the  sentence, the  sentence  by the
            paragraph, the paragraph by the chapter, the chapter
            by book, and so on, until  all speech  is identified
            with Brahman."(35)

            The recognition  of spho.ta's nonduality is obscured
            by  the  fact  that  it  is  always  experienced  in
            association  with  the  dhvani.  Due  to  the  one's
            inability  to see through the pluralism of dhvani to
            the  underlying  unity  of  spho.ta, human  language
            becomes understood  as a collection  of discrete and
            mutually  contradictory  words designating  discrete
            and  mutually  contradictory  forms  in  the  world.
            Hence, the underlying  unity  of reality, and of the
            divine Word which is reality, remains hidden.

              Bhart.rhari's  philosophy of language cannot be
            understood  apart  from  its metaphysical  moorings.
            Unlike much of the linguistic analysis current among


                                    P121

            contemporary Western philosophers, much of the study
            of language  in the  Hindu  context  is pursued  for
            extralinguistic  reasons.  T.R.V.  Murti, makes this
            point  when  he  says, "through  philosophy,  Speech
            becomes conscious of itself.  It awakens to its role
            as the creator and matrix of Word and Meaning  which
            encompass  the entire universe  of things."(36) This
            sentiment is at the center of the grammarian concern
            with language, a concern shared by Vallabha.

              In an accolade to K.r.s.na, Vallabha says, "You are
            the Lord of the Word (vaagii'sa)"(37) and goes on to
            explain that by an ontological "speech-act" the Lord
            of the Word enters into the process of becoming;  in
            this process God is revealed  as matter, person, and
            Lord.  Thus, Vallabha  explains that God "is present
            within all effects  which correspond  to the meaning
            of a Word,"(38) and is the ultimate denotative locus
            of  each  and  every  word,  sentence,  theory,  and
            metaphysical speculation.(39) Herein lies Vallabha's
            radical  reversal   of  Maadhyamika's   programmatic
            excision  of all metaphysical  discourse.  Replacing
            Maadyamika's  "coming  to rest of the world of named
            things"  (prapa~ncopa'sama) with a joyous embrace of
            the world  of named  things  (prapa~nca), Vallabha's
            theology  stands as an invitation  to share in God's
            delight, where  word, object, and  the  relationship
            between them participate in the ontological  reality
            of a God who speaks.

              Given Vallabha's perspective on langauge, it should
            not be surprising that he placed great importance on
            the   use  of  words   in  the   creative   process;
            philosophy, mythology, revelation,  poetry--all  are
            authentic  means  for revealing  the true nature  of
            God.  In this  regard, Vallabha's  theology  appears
            shaped, at least  implicitly, by  one  of  the  most
            influential   thinkers   in  the  arena   of  Indian
            aesthetics, Abhinavagupta.

            VI. ABHINAVAGUPTA'S PHILOSOPHY OF AESTHETICS

            Abhinavagupta, associated with the school of Kashmir
            `Saivism, wrote on both aesthetics  and metaphysics;
            his greatest  contribution  to the Indian history of
            ideas is the connection  he forged between these two
            areas  of philosophy.  According  to J.L.Masson  and
            M.V.Patwardhan, "Abhinava  is  able  to  restore  to
            poets   an  important   place  in  the  intellectual
            hierarchy by showing their underlying  philosophical
            seriousness."(40) By adapting  the view  of language
            presented  in  Bhart.rhari's  spho.ta  theory,  (41)
            Abhinavagupta  described  the inner dynamics at work
            in the creation and appreciation of poetry and art.

              Unlike the relatively exclusive, rarified activity
            of metaphysical  thinking, the  wide  appeal  of the
            literary arts makes them particularly well suited to
            evoke   a  transcendental   experience   of  special
            spiritual value. The process has been described like
            this:

            ...watching  a  play  or  reading  a  poem  for  the
            sensitive  reader  entails  a loss  of the sense  of
            present  time and space.  All worldly considerations
            for the time being cease.... We are not directly and
            personally  involved, so the usual medley of desires
            and   anxieties   dissolve.   Our   hearts   respond
            sympathetically

                                    P122

            but  not selfishly.  Finally  the  response  becomes
            total,  all-engrossing, and  we  identify  with  the
            situation depicted.  The ego is transcended, and for
            the duration of the aesthetic experience, the normal
            waking "I" is suspended.(42)

            A full description  and analysis of Abhinava's views
            on poetics and aesthetic  experience  is, of course,
            beyond  the scope of this paper.  Suffice  it to say
            that central to aesthetic experience is the category
            of "rasa," the manifestation of a particular emotion
            in the  mind  of the  audience.  Like  spho.ta, rasa
            denotes  not only the experience  in the mind of the
            audience, but also  the creative  experience  of the
            poet, and finally  the essence  of all  the  factors
            that  make the literary  work what  it is.(43) There
            are many different  kinds  of rasa corresponding  to
            the  spectrum  of human  emotions, but according  to
            Masson/Patwardhan, the pluralism  of rasa is unified
            in the preeminent 'saantarasa, a profound experience
            of tranquility  and bliss.  Like the spho.ta  theory
            for Bhart.rhari, 'saantarasa  provides Abhinava with
            the   metaphysical    ground   for   all   aesthetic
            experience, and ultimately  points to the underlying
            unity  between  the aesthetic  (rasaasvaada) and the
            religious (brahmaasvaada).

              This view, however, has been forcefully  challanged
            in an article  by Edwin  Gerow  and Ashok  Aklujkar.
            According  to their  critique  far from providing  a
            coherent   philosophy   of   aesthetic   experience,
            'saantarasa  remains  a  sort  of  embarrassment  to
            Abhinava's poetics.

            Since  the  state  of 'saanti, as the  goal  of  the
            viraagin, involves  the  renunciation  of  emotional
            attachment, the  'saanta  rasa...  would  in  effect
            become  the emotional  awareness  of the absence  of
            emotion!  The  'saanta  rasa  poses  the  threat  of
            confusing   the  "real"   world   of  philosophical,
            spiritual  experience  with  the "transient"  one of
            art.(44)

            The   wedge   driven   between    rasaasvaada    and
            brahmaasvaada  is  powered  by  the  idea  that  the
            multiplicity  and  transience  characterizing   rasa
            ("reflecting  the inherently  complex  character  of
            man's  emotional  life")(45) are simply  incongruous
            with   the  "oneness"   and  permanence   of  "real"
            spiritual  experience.  Any attempt to reduce one to
            the other does damage  and disservice  to both.  Far
            from making  it preeminent, or giving  it status  as
            the   metaphysical   ground,  Abhinava   strove   to
            neutralize  'saantarasa, isolating  it  in a special
            category kept distinct from the other rasa.  In this
            way  it could  not  desiccate  the  complexities  of
            emotional coloration required by artistic expression
            and aesthetic experience.

              To its credit the Gerow/Aklujar critique stands as
            an  important  corrective  to the  Masson/Patwardhan
            elevation  of  'saantarasa.  However, in  the  final
            analysis, this critique is seriously compromised  by
            its  uncritical   reliance   upon  Advaita  Vedaanta
            categories in developing the problem of relationship
            between rasaasvaada  and brahmaasvaada.  Contrary to
            the basic assumption behind their critique, Abhinava
            did  not  directly  adopt  the  ontology  of Advaita
            Vedaanta.   Even  though  the  nondualist  label  is
            appropriate for Abhinava's Kashmir `Saiva


                                    P123


            context,  his  advaita  differs  significantly  from
            `Sa^nkara's.(46) For  Abhinava, as for  Vallabha, the
            ontological gulf between a "really real" Brahman and
            an illusory  world is specious.  Gerald Larson makes
            the aesthetic implications of this ontological shift
            clear when he says:

            For Abhinavagupta  what appears  to be important  is
            the fullness  or one might even say the "concretion"
            of  the  ultimate   or  absolute,  which  sublimates
            subjectivity  and  objectivity...  and  is  actively
            present  throughout  the  manifested  world  on  all
            levels.  Such  an ultimate  or absolute  can only be
            suggested  or evoked, and hence  it was probably  no
            accident that Abhinavagupta was preoccupied with the
            dimension  of the vikalpa-realm  which comes closest
            to evoking or manifesting  the ultimate--namely, the
            aesthetic or suggestive  use of language as found in
            poetry and drama.(47)

            Abhinava   was   not   operating   from   within   a
            metaphysical  framework which isolates the religious
            from   the  aesthetic,  nor  was  he  suggesting   a
            reductionism    which   effaces    the   constituent
            multiplicity   and   complexity   of  the  aesthetic
            experience  in some silent Other.  Compare this with
            Vallabha's  theology  of  revelation: the  world  as
            God's process of creative  self-revealment  could be
            said to be homologized  in the aesthetic experience.
            Like the aesthetic, an enlightened experience of the
            world  (prapa~nca) voids  the categories  "I," "me,"
            and "mine," while delighting  in the diversity which
            arises for the sake of delight.

              For Abhinava, and I believe for Vallabha  as well,
            poetry   and  literature   through   the  medium  of
            dhvani--the  words  and  sounds  that  make  up  the
            work--provide a context for a revelatory experience.
            Just as in the moment of realization  (saayujya) the
            process of Becoming  becomes transparent  to itself,
            allowing its inherent unity to shine forth, so, too,
            at the highest  level  of aesthetic  experience, the
            fundamental  unity within diversity  is revealed  to
            the connoisseur of rasa. At that moment he is lifted
            out  of the  ordinary  mode  of consciousness  which
            perceives  the  world  in  terms  of  "I," "me," and
            "mine,  "  and  yet  he  remains  conscious  of  the
            diversity  through which the poet speaks;  from this
            perspective  and rigid distinction between aesthetic
            experience    and   religious    experience    seems
            superfluous.  No  wonder  that  the  experiencer  of
            'saantarasa  has been  compared  with  the religious
            contemplative(48)      as      well      as      the
            grammarian-philosopher.(49)

              The  practical  advantage   of  employing   poetic
            expression as a medium for religious revelation lies
            in  its  ready   accessibility   and  wide   appeal.
            Abhinava's  theory  of  aesthetics   recognizes  the
            potential in every human being for genuine religious
            experience  even  in  the  absence  of  the  radical
            withdrawal  from the world  required  by the life of
            contemplation  or the rigorous intellectual training
            demanded  by the vocation of metaphysical  thinking.
            One  evidence  that  this  democratizing   force  is
            supported  by the theology of Vallabha is the strong
            literary-poetic  movement  emerging  early on within
            the  Vallabhite   tradition.   In  addition  to  the
            a.s.tachaap, the eight  poetic  giants  of the early
            sampraadaya, the tradition  counts  among  its ranks
            the poet and philosopher Jagannaatha Pa.n.di-

                                    P124

            taraaja   (seventeenth   century   A.D.) ,  who  was
            responsible  for making explicit the central role of
            aesthetics  in the theology of Vallabha  through the
            systematic adaptation of Abhinava's thought into the
            Vallabhite context.

            VII. CONCLUDING REMARKS

            Much  has  been  left   unsaid   in  this  condensed
            presentation  of some major trends in the history of
            Indian thought.  My effort in this article  has been
            to provide a context for understanding not only what
            Vallabha  has  said, but also  why  he said  it.  In
            developing  his theology  Vallabha  was aware of the
            currents  in Indian thought  of his time, as well as
            the historical  and textual origins of that thought.
            Although   Buddhism   was  no  longer  an  important
            religious force in medieval India at the time of his
            writing, the legacy of the Maadhyamika challenge to
            any program  of metaphysical  speculation  remained.
            Vallabha's   response  to  that  challenge  was  the
            unabashed  affirmation  of a God who first speaks to
            create  a world and then, speaking  again, draws his
            devotees beyond the limits of human discourse. Being
            honest  to  the  Word  of God, he rejected  Nyaaya's
            rational  theology, which amounted  to nothing  less
            than  a divination  of human  logic, the  Maadyamika
            critique notwithstanding.

              Advaita Vedaanta can also be viewed as a Vedaantic
            response  to the  Buddhist  critique  of "God-talk."
            Reacting  to  the  Maadhyamika   reduction   of  all
            subject/  predicate  logic  to  absurdity, `Sa^nkara
            proposed a Brahman who was beyond predication, and a
            world  which  was, in  the  final  analysis, a  mere
            appearance.  This  pushes  God not only  beyond  the
            domain   of  human   logic,  but  also  beyond   the
            possibility  of  human  contact.  It  results  in  a
            cosmological  dualism--an unbridgeable  gulf between
            man and God--precluding the possibility that God may
            speak  and  that  man may hear.  For  Vallabha  this
            position  was  unacceptable, for  it denigrated  the
            reality  of a God who  speaks  by reducing  Him to a
            silent "Other."
              Seeking to establish his  theology  of  a speaking
            God--a  God  who  is  simultaneously   immanent  and
            transcendent-Vallabha    adopts,    modifies,    and
            integrates  ideas  from various  branches  of Indian
            thought: from Miimaa.msaa he borrows a hermeneutical
            methodology  in an attempt  to reveal  the  absolute
            integrity   of  scriptural   revelation;   from  the
            Grammarians  he adopts a philosophy  of language  to
            show  how  God speaks  and the implications  of that
            speaking;   and   from   the  tradition   of  Indian
            aesthetics he develops the implications for language
            used  as a medium  for  the expression  of religious
            sentiment.

              Vallabha was more than a synthetic thinker. Responding
            to  the  inherited  context,  he  developed   a  new
            theology  rooted in scriptural  realism: to take God
            seriously  means to take the words of God seriously.
            Any claim  to know something  about  God must remain
            honest  to the words spoken  by God, even when these
            words   appear   self-contradictory.   Through   his
            theology of Word, Vallabha  affirmed the fundamental
            paradox  of God's  creativity.  The fact that Being,
            nondual  and  absolute, chooses  to become  many  is
            beyond the ken of

                                    P125


            logic.  Vallabha was a philosophical  theologian who
            recognized, and masterfully  engaged, both the power
            and the limits of human reason.  In this, I believe,
            he has something to teach us today.

                                     NOTES

            1. Diana L.  Eck, Banaras: City of Light (New York:
               Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), p. 223.

            2. For a detailed account of the Maadhyamika view on
               this issue, see chapter  fourteen, "Self and the
               Way Things Really Are," in Mervyn Sprung's Lucid
               Exposition of the Middle Way (Boulder, Colorado:
               Prajna Press, 1979), pp.165-186.

            3. Ibid., p. 151.

            4. C.  D.  Bijalwan, Indian Theory of Knowledge (New
               Delhi: Heritage Publishers, 1977),p. 49.

            5. Ibid., p. 68.

            6. Janaki Vallabha Bhattacharyya, ed., Nyaaya-Ma~njarii:
               The Compendium of lndian Speculative Logic (Delhi:
               Motilal Banarsidass, 1978), pp.295-297.

            7. Karl Potter cites Udayana's AAtmatattvaviveka in
               this   regard,  in  Presuppositions   of  India's
               Philosophies  (Westport,  Connecticut:  Greenwood
               Press, 1972), p. 240.

            8. George Chemparathy, An Indian Rational  Theology:
               Introduction   to  Udayana's  Nyaayakusumaa~njali
               (Vienna: The De Nobili  Research  Library, 1972),
               p.86.

            9. L.Stafford Betty, Vadiraja's Refutation of `Sa^nkara's
               Non-Dualism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1978), p.17.

            10.na hi maayaavaadaadimate 'sriik.r.s.naadirvyava-
               haaryatvaad brahma bhavitum arhati te tu sadaan-
               andacitsvaruupam ity aahu.h ata.h svamate yathaa
               tathaa padaarthasiddhyab haavaac ced bhaktimaa-
               rgaanusaare.naiva vadantiiti j~naatavya.m tadaa
               te.saa.m pratitantranyaayaabhyupagamasiddhaanto
               bhavati (commentry to verse 100). Note: The
               `Saastraartha is quoted here from K.N.Mishra,ed.,
               Tattvaarthadiipanibandha.h (Varanasi: Anand
               Prakashan Sansthan, 1971). All translation from
               Sanskrit is mine, unless otherwise noted.

            11.taad.r'so'pi  bhagavadruupa.h  anyathaa asata.h
               sattaa syaat (commentary to verse 23).

            12.Bhaagavatapuraa.na, 10.39.55.

            13.vidyaavidye hare.h 'saktii maayayaiva vinirmite
               te jiivasyaiva naanyasya du.hkhitva~n caapy
               anii'sataa (verse 31).

            14.abhimatyaatmakatvaat  asattvenaasya  ga.nanaat
               aj~naana.m bhrama.h asad ityaadi'sabdaa aha.m
               mametiruupe sa.msaara eva pravartante na tu
               prapa~nce (commentary to verse 23).

            15.sa.msaarasya layo muktau na prapa~ncasya
               karhicit (verse 24a).

            16.aatmarama.naanantara.m tirohitam iva bhavati iti
               maayayaa taad.r'sabhaava.h tena ve.s.tita.m bhavati...
               sarvatra svecchayaa paricchedaavabhaana.m  coktam
               (commentary to verse 25).

            17.anantamuurti tadbrahma hy avibhakta.m vibhaktimat
               (verse 26b).

            18.sajaatiiya vijaatiiya svagatadvaitarvajitam
               (verse 66a).

            19.B.rhadaara.nyaka Upani.sad, 1.4.3.

            20.rama.naartham eva prapa~ncaruupe.naavirbhaavokte.h
               vaicitrya.m vinaa tadasambhavo yata.h (commentary
               to verse 23).

            21.yatra yena yato yasya yasmai yadyadyathaa yadaa
               syaad ida.m bhagavaan saak.saat pradhaana-
               puru.se'svara.h (verse 69).

            22.Francis X. D'sa, `Sabdapraamaanyam in `Sabara and
               Kumaarila (Vienna: The De Nobili Research Library,
               1980), pp. 29-30.

            23.Ibid., p. 194.

            24.Ibid., p. 200.

            25.Satyakam Varma, Vaakyapadiiyam (Brahmakaanda) of
               Shri Bhart.rhari (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal,
               1970), p.1.

            26.V.S.Agrawala, The Thousand-syllabled Speech
               (Varanasi: N.p., 1963).

            27.Pradipkumar Mazumdar, Philosophy of Language: An
               Indian Approach (Calcutta: Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar,
               1977),p.3.

            28. Ibid.,p.3.

                                    P126


            29.Iyer believes that Bhart.rhari's view of causality
               is in agreement with the vivarta theory: he bases
               his view on the supposition that the v.rtti, or
               commentary, written on the Vaakyapadiiya was the
               work of Bhart.rhari. See K. A. Subramania Iyer,
               Bhart.rhari (Poona: Deccan College, 1969),p. 130.
            30.Iyer, Bhart.rhari, pp. 98-99.

            31.Ibid., p. 99.

            32.Gaurinath Sastri, A Study in the Dialectics  of
               Spho.ta (Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, 1980), p.xii.

            33.Ibid., p. 89, n. 14.

            34.K. A. Subramania Iyer, trans., Vaakyapadiiyam of
               Bhart.rhari  (Poona: Deccan College, 1966), cited
               in Harold G.  Coward, Spho.ta  Theory of Language
               (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1980), p. 73.

            35.Coward, Sphota Theory, p. 15.

            36.T. R. V. Murti, "Some Comments on the Philosophy
               of Language  in the Indian  Context," Journal  of
               Indian Philosophy 2(1974): 325.

            37.vaagii'sa ki.m te vacaniiyam asti (commentary to
               verse 1).

            38.sarve.sv ever padaarthe.su kaarye.su svaya.m
               ti.s.t.ha.ms taany antarayati (commentary to
               verse 70).

            39.ekaiko vaado brahma.na ekaikadharmapratipaadakai-
               kaikavaakya'se.sa iti bhagavaa.ms taan sarvaanevaa-
               nusarati (commenary to verse 70).

            40.J. L.Masson and M.V. Patwardhan, Saantarasa and
               Abhinavagupta's  Philosophy of Aesthetics (Poona:
               Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1969), p.
               ix.

            41.Coward,Sphota Theory, p.75.

            42.Masson and Patwardhan, `Saantarasa, p. vii.
            43.G.B.Mohan Thampi, "Rasa as Aesthetic Experience,"
               Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (Fall 1965):
               75-79.

            44.Edwin Gerow and Ashok Aklujar, "On `Saanta  Rasa
               in  Sanskrit  Poetics," Journal  of the  American
               Oriental Society 92, no. 1 (1972): 82.

            45.Ibid.

            46.This  is one of three  basis  theses  of Gerald
               Larson's  "The  Aesthetic  (rasaasvaada) and  the
               Religious   (brahmaasvaada)  in   Abhinavagupta's
               Kashmir  `Saivism," Philosophy  East and West  26,
               no. 4 (October 1976): 371-387.

            47.Ibid., p. 383.

            48.Masson and Patwardhan, Saantarasa, p.viii. Coward,
               Sphota Theory, p.76.

     


     

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