This programme consists of four courses: Features of Vedic Poetry, The Syntax of Vedic Prose, Sanskrit Grammar: Readings from the Mahābhāṣya, Sanskrit Poetics: Excerpts from the 2nd chapter (Doṣaprakaraṇa) of Mahimabhaṭṭa's Vyaktiviveka.
- Slot 1: Features of Vedic Poetry (9.30 - 11.00)
- Slot 2: The Syntax of Vedic Prose (11.30 - 13.00)
- Slot 3: Sanskrit Grammar: Readings from the Mahābhāṣya (14.00 - 15.30)
- Slot 4: Sanskrit Poetics: Excerpts from the 2nd chapter (Doṣaprakaraṇa) of Mahimabhaṭṭa's Vyaktiviveka (16.00 - 17.30)
Werner Knobl (Kyoto)
The Ṛgveda, which in 10 Song-Cycles contains more than 1000 hymns of over 10000 stanzas, was compiled some time before 1000 B.C. It is the oldest and richest poetical text-corpus of this size in any Indo-European language.
In our Vedic Poetry course, we will read — “as slowly as possible”; non multa, sed multum — a few particularly interesting and thought-provoking hymns of the Ṛgveda. To be sure, the interpretation of this highly complicated text depends on a thorough knowledge of Vedic grammar and syntax, on an intimate acquaintance with prosodic patterns both regular (e.g., verses of eight, eleven, or twelve syllables to the line) and exceptional (e.g., catalectic or hypermetrical verses). Also, the linguistic background of Vedic (i.e., Indo-Iranian and Indo-European) must be taken into account, and therefore comparative evidence will play an important role in our classes.
In addition to all this, the creative side of language will be highlighted, with greater emphasis than is usual in a course of this character. Examples of rather tricky poetic and rhetorical techniques, ranging from anacoluthon to zeugma (but also other, less well-known literary devices, such as “word haplology”, portmanteau formation, or “mid-word caesura”), will be discussed. All these tricks and artifices — which were employed by the word-artist, and can be enjoyed by us, in a quite natural way, even without any knowledge of the traditional terminology — testify to the often eccentric inventiveness of the Vedic poet, and, at the same time, may make him attractive to us.
A fairly good knowledge of Sanskrit Grammar and Literature is required in order to follow the classes with profit. Some familiarity with the Vedic language, not necessarily of the Ṛgveda, would certainly increase the students' understanding of the selected texts, and enhance the sensual as well as intellectual enjoyment of a particularly enjoyable kind of poetry.
Literature to read in advance
Participants who wish to prepare for this course may consult two easily accessible works by Arthur A. Macdonell: A Vedic Grammar for Students (Oxford, 1916; repr. Delhi, 1987, etc.) and A Vedic Reader for Students (Oxford, 1917; repr. Delhi, 1981, etc.). Those who have questions concerning the course may write to me at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Werner Knobl (Kyoto)
The texts we are going to read in this course cover half a millennium of Vedic Prose. They will be chosen from Saṃhitās (Paippalāda-, Maitrāyaṇī-, Kaṭha-, Taittirīya-S.), Brāhmaṇas, Āraṇyakas, and Upaniṣads not only for their narrative or discursive interest, but also, and more especially, as examples of Vedic Syntax. Rules concerning word order in verbal and nominal sentences; the suppletive relation between certain defective verbs in the total verbal paradigm; the specific function of tenses and moods in various literary genres and periods of time; particularities of direct speech; the position of particles, pronouns, and vocatives; the ordinary ranking among these; the importance of sentence particles (hí, vái, etc.) in opposition to word particles (iva, evá, etc.); the distinctive deictic character of demonstrative pronouns; the unique multi-functionality of etád; the difference between adjectival and substantival use of the a-pronoun; and many other syntactical topics.
Participants are expected to have a good knowledge of Classical and, preferably, Vedic Sanskrit. I am confident, however, that even those who have studied Sanskrit for only two or three years may profit from this course; because my explanations will be very detailed (and, if necessary, repetitive). Students should feel free to contact me any time before the beginning of the course, and to make suggestions as to which text or topic they would like me to treat with preference. Here is my private e-mail address: email@example.com.
Literature to read in advance
In preparation for this course, those who are familiar with German may want to have a look at Berthold Delbrück's Altindische Syntax (Halle an der Saale, 1888; repr. Darmstadt, 1968 and 1976) or at J. S. Speyer's Vedische und Sanskrit-Syntax (Strassburg, 1896; repr. Graz, 1974). Those who are not conversant with German could consult Chapter VII “Outlines of Syntax” in A. A. Macdonell's Vedic Grammar for Students (Oxford, 1916 etc.), pp. 283—368, instead.
Anjaneya Sarma (Pondicherry)
In this course we will read excerpts from Patañjali's Mahābhāṣya (ca. 1 ct. AD), the fundamental commentary on the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pānini (ca. 5th ct. BC) and Kātyayana's Vārttika-s (ca. 3 ct. BC). By taking an example of a single sūtra-, the course participants will be introduced to and familiarised with the stylistic features as well as the hermeneutic strategies characteristic of the Mahābhāṣya, a text whose influence on both the grammatical tradition as well as the śāstric commentarial tradition in Sanskrit cannot be overestimated. On account of its extensive influence, even participants not directly engaged in the study of traditional Indian grammar will benefit from partaking in this course. In order to gain a thorough understanding of the topic at hand, we will examine several relevant sūtra-s and vārttika-s, as well as a number of later commentaries on the same theme. This encompassing approach will allow the participants to enter other parts of the debate. This method closely follows traditional Sanskrit pedagogy so that students of Sanskrit will have the opportunity, unique in Europe, to engage with a Sanskrit pandit and his traditional style of instruction.
In particular, we will concentrate on Aṣṭādhyāyī 1,3.67, which prescribes the use of the middle voice (ātmanepada-) after particular causative verbal forms. On account of the most famous example of such a usage "ārohayate hastī svayam eva" and "ārohayate hastī hastipakān" as well as the bulk of the commentarial literature devoted to explaining this particular rule, this sūtra- became famous under the name of "gajasūtra" (elephant-like-aphorism).
The participants will be introduced to the basic concepts and then gradually guided from a general towards a more subtle understanding of the text. This approach will allow participants with varying background knowledge to actively participate in the course. There will be no need for the students to prepare a translation of the text in advance, a thorough review of the studied material on a daily basis is, however, absolutely essential for a fruitful participation.
We are convinced that students and scholars at different stages of their academic careers would benefit from participation in the course (a minimum of 2 years of Sanskrit experience, however, is required in order to follow the instructions).
Scharfe, Hartmut. 1977. Grammatical Literature. Ed. Jan Gonda. A History of Indian Literature V, Fasc. 2. Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz.
Sharma, Rama Nath. 2002. The Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini. 1st of 6 vols. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers.
Sarma, S.L.P. Anjaneya and Francois Grimal. 2013. Bhaṭṭoji Dikṣita on the Gajasūtra. Vyākhyānamālā. Pondicherry: Institut Français de Pondichéry.
Slot 4: Sanskrit Poetics: Excerpts from the 2nd chapter (Doṣaprakaraṇa) of Mahimabhaṭṭa's Vyaktiviveka (16.00 - 17.30)
Anjaneya Sarma (Pondicherry)
In this course we will read an important and in many ways exceptional treatment by the 10th century Kashmirian scholar of the alaṃkāraśāstra (poetics), Mahimabhaṭṭa, whose Vyaktiviveka came to be the most influential among the attacks on the canonical Dhvanyāloka by Ānandavardhana. Among several topics dealt with by Mahimabhaṭṭa in his book, the entire second chapter (sometimes referred to as Doṣaprakaraṇa) is dedicated to the discussion of the poetic faults. It is the analysis and understanding of this chapter that will constitute the main topic of our course.
At the beginning of the course, the participants will be introduced to the general context of the Vyaktiviveka as well as to the basic concepts of the alaṃkāraśāstra as exposed by the authors prior to Mahimabhaṭṭa. In this way the participants will learn about the intellectual environment of the studied work and become acquainted with the technical language employed in the works on Sanskrit poetics in general. The participants will be then gradually guided towards a more subtle understanding of the text and the discussed problems. Apart from the actual text of Vyaktiviveka we may at times refer to other related works in order better to understand the discussed concepts.
By participating at this course the students of Sanskrit will additionally have the opportunity, unique in Europe, to engage with a Sanskrit pandit and his traditional style of instruction.
We are convinced that students and scholars at different stages of their academic careers would benefit from participation in the course (a minimum of 2 years of Sanskrit experience is, however, required in order to follow the instructions). There will be no need for the students to prepare a translation of the text in advance, a thorough review of the studied material on a daily basis is, however, absolutely essential for a fruitful participation.
The Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana with the Locana of Abhinvagupta. 1990. Ed. Daniel H. H. Ingalls. Trans. Daniel H. H. Ingalls, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, and M. V. Patwardhan. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press.
McCrea, Lawrence. 2004. Mahimabhaṭṭa's analysis of poetic flaws. Journal of the American Oriental Society 124 : 1 (Jan. - Mar. 2004): 77 - 94. Available at jstor.
Research Articles by Prof. Chettiarthodi Rajendran on different aspects of Mahimabhaṭṭa's oeuvre available from his page on the academia.edu.