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Purva mimansa

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Page 1: Purva mimansa


Page 2: Purva mimansa


Purv= antecedent , Mimansa = Investigation Purv Mimansa = Investigation of

antecedent (Veda) Goal: Nature of Dharma or Ethics


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Key ConceptsApaurusheyatva ("unauthored-ness") of the Vedas , and revelation by Rishis  the meaning of VedasDharma is following Sruti and Smritis, primarily Vedic ritualsRejects a creator God as well as scriptures on dharma outside of the Vedic traditionA pluralistic realist: accept world and individual soul, Law of Karma and Unsean power (Apurva)

Liberation, heaven and hell

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KEY PROPONENTSJaimini (founder)

ShabarasvaminKumarila Bhatt

Sucharita Mishra Parthasarathi Mishra

Someshvara Bhatta


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SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE: PRAMAN1. Prataksya (Perception)2. Anuman (Inference) and 3. Sabda (testimony) by Jaimini4. Upmana (Comparison) and 5. Arthapatti (implication) by Prabhakara6. Anupalabdhi (non-apprehension) by


Aitihya (rumor) and recollection (smrti) are excluded as valid sources of knowledge

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PERCEPTION (PRATYAKSA) Direct apprehension and it proceeds directly

from sense-contact. Perception relates to object that exist, i.e. are perceptible by the senses.

Mental perception, by which there is the cognition of pleasure, pain, and the like, is admitted by the Mimamsa

It cannot apprehend supersensuous objects .Thus all those objects in which there is no sensory-contact (e.g. belonging in the past, future or distant) cannot produce cognition of them

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THE METHOD OF NEGATION OR ABHAVA “Both what is seen and what is not seen

must be taken together.” - Jaimini If something is not seen, that too

indicates knowledge. “The non-operation of the five means of

cognition is … what brings about the cognition that “it does not exist” … the means by which this notion is brought about is called abhava.

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ANUMAN (INFERENCE) Inference depends on the knowledge of a certain fixed

relation to subsist between two things. Thus if one of these things is perceived, by inference

the idea about the other thing is cognized. Types:

Pratyaksa-to-drsta, where the invariable relation holds between two objects which are perceptible, as smoke and fire; and

Samanya-to-drsta, where the relation is not apprehended by the senses, but known only in the abstract, as in the case of the sun's motion and its changing position in the sky.

Note that the relation must be unfailing, true and permanent, such as that which subsists between the cause and its effect, whole and part, substance and quality, class and individuals.

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VEDIC TESTIMONY Vedic Testimony is greatly emphasized according to the

Mimamsa, the aim of which is to ascertain the nature of dharma.

Dharma is not a physical existent, and so it cannot be apprehended through the senses.

The other pramanas are of no use, since they all presuppose the work of perception.

Perception, inference and such other sources of knowledge have nothing to say on the point that the performer of the Agnistoma sacrifice (or specific modes of action) will draw certain benefits.

This knowledge is derived only from the Vedas. Though the pramana of the Veda is the only source of our knowledge of dharma, the others are considered, since it is necessary to show that they cannot give rise to a knowledge of dharma.

They are also found useful in repudiating wrong views.

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VERBAL COGNITION Verbal cognition is defined as the cognition of

something not present to the senses, produced by the knowledge of words.

These words may be uttered by men or may belong to the Vedas.

The formers are valid if there is certainty that their authors are not untrustworthy; and the latter are valid in themselves.

The Mimamsakas protest against the view, which regards the Vedas as the work of God.

They believe instead that the Vedic hymns deal with the eternal phenomena of nature, and attempt to prove that every part of the sacred text refers to acts of duty. .

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DIVISION OF VEDA Broad division

Mantras and Brahmanas (specifics).

The contents of the Veda are also classified into 1. injunctions (vidhi), 2. hymns (mantras), 3. names (namadheya), 4. prohibitions (nisedha), and 5. explanatory passages (arthavada

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ATMAN The Mimamsakas think that the atman is one

with consciousness. Therefore the self is regarded as distinct from

the body, the senses and the understanding (buddhi).

The self is present even when buddhi (intellect) is absent (non-functional), as in sleep.

The self is also not the senses, since it persists even when the sense-organs are destroyed

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ATMAN AND CONSCIOUSNESS The body is material, and in all cognitions we are

aware of the cognizer as distinct from the body. The elements of the body are not intelligent, and

a combination of them cannot give rise to consciousness.

The body is a means to an end beyond itself, and so is said to serve the soul which directs it.

Cognition, which is an activity (Kriya), belongs to the substance called the soul.

.It is regarded as vibhu or all-pervading, and as able to connect itself with one body after another.

The soul directs the body, with which it is connected, until release

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PLURALITY OF SOUL The Mimamsakas adopt the theory of the

plurality of selves to account for the variety of experiences

Presence of the soul is inferred from the activity of the bodies, which are inexplicable without such a hypothesis.

As one's actions are due to his soul, other activities are traced to other souls

The differences of dharma (right action) and adharma (wrong action), which are qualities of souls, require the existence of different souls

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PLURALITY OF SOUL What appears as the "I" is the self, free from all objective

elements The self is distinct from the body. The self is not perceptible

in itself, but is always known as the agent (karta) of the cognition and not the object (karma).

The self cannot be the subject as well as object of consciousness.

It is the agent, the enjoyer, and is omnipresent, though non-conscious.

It is thus entirely distinct from the body, senses and understanding, is manifested in all cognitions, and is eternal.

Though it is omnipresent, it cannot experience what is going on another body, since it can experience only that which goes on in the bodily organism brought about by the past karma of the soul

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PLURALITY OF SOUL There are many souls, one in each body. In its liberated state the soul continues to exist as a mere esse

(sat), serving as the substratum of the collective cognition of all things taken together, but not feeling, since the properties of pleasure and pain cannot manifest themselves except in a body.

It is imperishable, since it is not brought into existence by any cause.

Note that the atman is consciousness itself, though the souls are many.

Since all souls are of the nature of consciousness, the Upanisads speak of them as one. The atman is consciousness as well as the substrate of cognition, which is a product of the atman.

The existence of the self is inferred through the notion of "I". The self is manifested by itself, though imperceptible to others.

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THE NATURE OF REALITY The Mimamsaka theory of perception assumes the reality

of objects, for perception arises only when there is contact with real objects.

The universe is real and is independent of the mind, which perceives it.

Thus the theory of the phenomenality of the world is not accepted.

The real can be described in terms of eight categories: 1. substance (dravya), 2. quality (guna), 3. action (karma), 4. generality (samanya), 5. inherence (paratantrata), 6. force (sakti), 7. similarity (sadrsya), and 8. number (samkhya).

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DHARMA OR ETHICS Dharma is the scheme of right living. Jaimini defines dharma as an ordinance or

command. Dharma is what is enjoined, and it leads to happiness.

Activities which result in loss or pain (anartha) are not dharma.

Thus the lack of observing the commands leads not only to missing the happiness but becoming subject to suffering also.

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AUTHENTICITY OF VEDAS The smrti texts (documents on traditions or

customs) are supposed to have corresponding sruti texts (Vedas).

If certain smrti is known to have no matching sruti, it indicates that either the corresponding sruti was lost over time or the particular smrti is not authentic.

Moreover, if the smrtis are in conflict with the sruti, the formers are to be disregarded.

When it is found out that the smrtis are laid down with a selfish interest, they must be thrown out.

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LIBERATION To gain salvation,

the observing of nitya karmas (regular or daily duties) like sandhya, etc., and

naimittika karmas (duties on a special occasion) are recommended

These are unconditional obligations, not fulfilling of which incurs sin (pratyavaya).

To gain special ends, kamya (optional) karmas are performed.

Thus by keeping clear of kamya karmas, one frees himself from selfish ends, and if he keeps up the unconditional (nitya and naimittika) duties he attains salvation.

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APURVA Acts are enjoined with a view to their fruits. There is a necessary connection between the act and its result. An act performed today cannot effect a result at some future

date unless it gives rise before passing away to some unseen result.

Jaimini assumes the existence of such an unseen force, which he calls apurva, which may be regarded either as the imperceptible antecedent of the fruit, or as the after-state of the act.

Since sacrifices and the like are laid down for the purpose of definite results to follow after a long time, the deferred fruition of the action is not possible unless it is through the medium of apurva.

Apurva is the metaphysical link between work and its result. The Mimamsakas are unwilling to trace the results of actions to

God's will, since a uniform cause cannot account for a variety of effects.

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MOKSA Liberation is defined as "the absolute cessation of the

body (or cycle of birth), caused by the disappearance of all dharma and adharma."

Liberation thus consists in the total disappearance of dharma and adharma, whose operation is the cause of rebirth.

The individual, finding that in samsara (world) pleasures are mixed up with pain, turns his attention to liberation. He tries to avoid the forbidden acts as well as the prescribed ones which lead to some sort of happiness here or hereafter.

He undergoes the necessary expiations for exhausting the previously accumulated karma, and gradually, by a true knowledge of the soul aided by contentment and self-control, gets rid of his bodily existence.

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MOKSHA Mere knowledge cannot give freedom from bondage, which

can be attained only by the exhaustion of action. Knowledge prevents further accumulation of merit and

demerit. Note that karma, in expectation of reward, leads to further birth.

A person's likes and dislikes determine his future existence. He must break through the circle if he wants to attain

release. Liberation is the cessation of pleasure as well as of pain. It is not a state of bliss, since the attributeless soul cannot

have even bliss. Moksa is simply the natural form of the soul and represents

the state of atman in itself, free from all pain. Some however regard moksa as experience of the bliss of atman. 

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GOD The Purva Mimamsa posits a number of (Vedic) deities,

representing Brahman, in order that prescribed offerings may be made to them according to different needs and sacrificers (devotees).

Though these deities are seen as possessing some sort of reality, the sacrificer is urged also to pay attention to the mantras and look beyond the person of the deity.

Thus it is insisted that making offerings to the deities, while also concentrating on the accompanying mantras (addressed to them) -- which may elaborate the ultimate truth -- is rewarding. 

Note also that the glorification (adulation, worship) of any person (human) in the presence of the deity is not recommended

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God or Brahman is basically the creator as well as the apportioner of the fruits.

Thus apurva in this regard simply appears to be the principle of karma which is taken into account by God in the creation of the world.

In the Purva Mimamsa the emphasis is on the ethical side.

The ultimate reality of the world is looked upon as the constant principle of karma.

God is righteousness or dharma. The contents of dharma are embodied in the Vedas,

and the Vedas reveal the mind of God. While the sacrificial works may be considered as the

special causes of bliss, God is the general cause.

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