Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Anu" in Anubhashya and Vedic Models

Anubhashya is one of the foundational scriptures of the Shuddhadwait school of philosophy and Pushtimarg branch of Hinduism religion. It was written by Vallabhacharya as a commentary on the Brahmsutra which was composed by Badarayan Vyas to summarize the various Upanishads.

What is the meaning of "Anu" in the Anubhashya? There are three different possibilities:
  1. Brahm is omnipresent but is also saakaar and so can be atomic ( अण्वपि ब्रह्म व्यापकं भवति कृष्ण यशोदाक्रोडे स्थितोऽपि सकल जगदाधारो भवति I ). To signify the atomic nature of Brahm, the commentary is called Anu-Bhashya.
  2.  Vallabhacharya used to compose his work in two forms - a sutra (small) form and an expanded form. He might have referred the sutra form commentary on Brahmsutra as Anu and the expanded form as Bhashya. Over time the two forms got merged and was called Anubhashya
  3.  Vallabhacharya had studied under a Madhva guru. Madhvacharya originited the hierarchical summarization analysis (summaries of the whole Brahmsutra, each Adhyay, each section, each Adhikaran and each Sutra). He had called one of the summaries as Anubhashya and since Vallabhacharya had incorporated some of his verses in the commentary, out of respect for Madhvacharya he called his commentary also Anubhashya.
This is explained by Shri Shyam Manohar Goswami in the ongoing discourse on Anubhashya available from He also explains nicely the Adhikaran thought process for Vedic literature composition consisting of five stages - Vishay(subject), Samshay(doubts), Purva Paksha(prior disagreeing views), Uttar Paksha(the views put forward) and Sangati(contextual relevance). The classification system used for subdividing a Vedic work has four classes - Samanvay(co-ordination), Avirodh(non-contradiction), Saadhan(means) and Fal(result) and in Pushtimargiya literature, we find Samanvay=Pramaam(basis) and Avirodh=Pramey(theorem).

On the second day of the discourse, he explains the modeling framework used in the Vedic times which appears to be similar to the modern scientific modeling. Since the Vedic literature is so vast, how can we create Samanvay( or Avirodh) for many different verses. If we can have a model of a specific type of Avirodh, then we can account for similar verses encountered later without having to establish the Avirodh for each different instance of the same model. A model in this sense is a generalized encapsulation of the common properties pertaining to the different instances of a subject matter of interest. In the modern science, we develop different types of models for analysis( and synthesis) of a natural phenomenon. These models can be mathematical, computational, statistical, dynamical, chemical or biological and represent the real phenomenon upto an error threshold. Today we can possibly develop a computational linguistic model of Vedic verses that can perform syntactic, semantic and pragmatic analysis of the verse to decide if it qualifies for an Avirodh established earlier and therefore mimic the Vedic modeling approach, only faster!