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PurvaMimansa (PM)Sage Jaimini
Introduction: PMPurv= antecedent , Mimansa= InvestigationPurvMimansa = Investigation of antecedent (Veda)Goal: Nature of Dharma or Ethics (Vedic).
Purva mimansa
Key Proponents
Mimansa Epistemology
Source of Knowledge: PramanPrataksya (Perception)Anuman (Inference) and Sabda (testimony) by JaiminiUpmana (Comparison)  and Arthapatti (implication) by PrabhakaraAnupalabdhi (non-apprehension) by KumarilaAitihya (rumor) and recollection (smrti) are excluded as valid sources of knowledge
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 MimamsaIt 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
The method of negation or abhava“Both what is seen and what is not seen must be taken together.”  - JaiminiIf 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.
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.
Vedic TestimonyVedic 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.
Verbal cognitionVerbal 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. .
Division of VedaBroad divisionMantras and  Brahmanas (specifics). The contents of the Veda are also classified into injunctions (vidhi), hymns (mantras), names (namadheya), prohibitions (nisedha), and explanatory passages (arthavada
Mimansa Metaphysics
AtmanThe 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
Atman and consciousnessThe 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
Plurality of soulThe Mimamsakas adopt the theory of the plurality of selves to account for the variety of experiencesPresence 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 soulsThe differences of dharma (right action) and adharma (wrong action), which are qualities of souls, require the existence of different souls
Plurality of soulWhat appears as the "I" is the self, free from all objective elementsThe 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
Plurality of soulThere 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.
The Nature of RealityThe 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: substance (dravya), quality (guna), action (karma), generality (samanya), inherence (paratantrata), force (sakti), similarity (sadrsya), and number (samkhya).
Dharma or EthicsDharma 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.
Authenticity of VedasThe 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.
LiberationTo gain salvation, the observing of nitya karmas (regular or daily duties) like sandhya, etc., and naimittika  karmas (duties on a special occasion) are recommendedThese 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.
ApurvaActs 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.
MoksaLiberation 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.
MokshaMere 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. 
GodThe PurvaMimamsa 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
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 PurvaMimamsa 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.
Purva mimansa

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Purva mimansa

  • 2. Introduction: PMPurv= antecedent , Mimansa= InvestigationPurvMimansa = Investigation of antecedent (Veda)Goal: Nature of Dharma or Ethics (Vedic).
  • 6. Source of Knowledge: PramanPrataksya (Perception)Anuman (Inference) and Sabda (testimony) by JaiminiUpmana (Comparison) and Arthapatti (implication) by PrabhakaraAnupalabdhi (non-apprehension) by KumarilaAitihya (rumor) and recollection (smrti) are excluded as valid sources of knowledge
  • 7. 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 MimamsaIt 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
  • 8. The method of negation or abhava“Both what is seen and what is not seen must be taken together.” - JaiminiIf 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.
  • 9. 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.
  • 10. Vedic TestimonyVedic 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.
  • 11. Verbal cognitionVerbal 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. .
  • 12. Division of VedaBroad divisionMantras and Brahmanas (specifics). The contents of the Veda are also classified into injunctions (vidhi), hymns (mantras), names (namadheya), prohibitions (nisedha), and explanatory passages (arthavada
  • 14. AtmanThe 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
  • 15. Atman and consciousnessThe 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
  • 16. Plurality of soulThe Mimamsakas adopt the theory of the plurality of selves to account for the variety of experiencesPresence 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 soulsThe differences of dharma (right action) and adharma (wrong action), which are qualities of souls, require the existence of different souls
  • 17. Plurality of soulWhat appears as the "I" is the self, free from all objective elementsThe 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
  • 18. Plurality of soulThere 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.
  • 19. The Nature of RealityThe 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: substance (dravya), quality (guna), action (karma), generality (samanya), inherence (paratantrata), force (sakti), similarity (sadrsya), and number (samkhya).
  • 20. Dharma or EthicsDharma 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.
  • 21. Authenticity of VedasThe 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.
  • 22. LiberationTo gain salvation, the observing of nitya karmas (regular or daily duties) like sandhya, etc., and naimittika karmas (duties on a special occasion) are recommendedThese 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.
  • 23. ApurvaActs 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.
  • 24. MoksaLiberation 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.
  • 25. MokshaMere 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. 
  • 26. GodThe PurvaMimamsa 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
  • 27. 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 PurvaMimamsa 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.

Editor's Notes

  1. http://www.mimamsa.org/articles/index.htmlIntroduction The philosophy of two Mimamsas (Purva and Uttara) is an attempt to show that the revelations of sruti (Vedas) are in harmony with the conclusions of philosophy. The PurvaMimamsa being earlier of the two (in the logical sense at least) is ritualistic thematically, whereas the UttaraMimamsa or Vedanta represents knowledge of the truth of things. In Vedanta the emphasis is on the Lord, and not on the Lordship. PurvaMimamsa is generally called the Mimamsa (meaning inquiry or interpretation), and in interpreting the Vedic text discusses the doctrine of the eternity of sound identified with Brahman. The entire Veda, excluding the Upanisads, is said to deal with dharma or acts of duty, of which the chief are sacrifices. Thus PurvaMimamsa is inquiry into or interpretation of the first or the Mantra portion of the Veda, and the UttaraMimamsa is the inquiry into the later or the Upanisad portion. Note that the performance of sacred rites -- with which PurvaMimamsa deals -- is normally considered the prelude to the pursuit of wisdom leading to Moksa. The origin of Mimamsa can be traced to the Veda to denote discussion and doubt regarding the rules of ritual and doctrine. The due performance of the sacrifices used to depend on the correct interpretation of the Vedic texts. In general, Vedic text and oral tradition continued for long to be the two authorities on the performance of religious duty. During the post-Buddhist era, Jaimini attempted the work of systematizing the rules of Mimamsa, which had evolved since the earliest times of Vedic civilization, and establishing their validity in his work. The avowed aim of the PurvaMimamsa is to examine the nature of dharma. Its interest is more practical than speculative, and therefore the philosophical speculations found in it are subordinate to the ritualistic purpose. It affirms the reality of the soul and regards it as a permanent being possessing a body, to whom the results of acts accrue. The Veda enjoins the acts of duty, specifying at the same time the beneficial results which follow from their performance. The authority for the character of these acts as dharma and for their capacity to produce beneficial results is the eternal Veda, which needs no other basis to rest on. The Mimamsa welcomes all philosophical views so long they do not injure its central theme, viz. the transcendent importance of dharma interpreted in the ritualistic sense and dedicated to monotheistic (albeit polymorphic) God. Thus the scriptures governing the Hindu life need basically to be interpreted in accordance with the Mimamsa rules.The most important work in the PurvaMimamsa is the Mimamsa Sutra attributed to Jaimini (fourth century B.C.). It presupposes a long history of Vedic interpretation, since it sums up the general rules (nyayas) which were in use in the earliest times. It describes the different sacrifices and their purposes, theory of apurva as well as some philosophical propositions. In the first of its twelve chapters, Jaimini discusses the sources of knowledge and the validity of the Vedas. In addition to Jaimini, the acclaimed contributions to the PurvaMimamsa include ancient works by Kumarila, Prabhakara and Sabara et al.
  2. "pUrva" means "antecedent", and "mImAmsA" means examination. So "pUrvamImAmsA" means "Examination of the antecedent (portions of the Veda)".The Veda consists of four parts: saMhita, brAhmaNa, AraNyaka, upanishhad. PM studies the first three parts which are commonly known as "karma kANDa". The last part, the upanishhad, is known as "GYAnakANDa", and is studied as "uttaramImAmsA" or VedAnta.Questions such as: 'Is there a right or wrong way to act?', 'What are the means of knowing right action from wrong action?', 'What is good and evil?', etc. are studied by a branch of philosophy called 'Ethics'. PM can be best construed of as "Vedic Ethics". Thus PM is essentially an enquiry into the nature of dharma (Duty/Morality/Virtue), and answers ethical and moral questions from the Vedic viewpoint .The chief pUrvapaksha (objection) to ShankaranVedAnta is PM. It is reasonable that without understanding the pUrvapaksha, it would be impossible to properly understand the siddhAnta (conclusion). Non-sannyAsins are not really qualified to study VedAnta, and can (and ought to) only study PM, which is considered a stepping stone to studying VedAnta. The goal of the Vedas is Self-realization. This can be achieved only by a study of VedAnta, which demands pre-requisites of the student, which are: viveka  (discrimination - between the permanent and transient), vairAgya (dispassion - to objects that are transient), shhaT-sampat (six virtues, which are - shama (calmness), dama (Self-restraint), uparati (Self-withdrawal), titikshA (forbearance), shraddhA (Conviction - in the way), samAdhAna (self-settledness)), and mumukshutva (Yearning for Liberation). If one does not possess the pre-requisites, then one is ineligible to study VedAnta (such study will not lead to Self-realization), and ought to practise dharma in order to develop the aforesaid qualities. The practise of dharma is aided by a thorough study of dharma, which forms the subject matter of PM.
  3. Mimamsa believes that all words and meanings exist eternally (see Platonism), and the human mind only perceives them temporarily. Thus theRishis or seers saw (not with the physical, but the metaphysical eye) the eternal words and meanings of theVedas that constitute dharma and gave them to mankind as a revelation. The Mimamsa school helddharma to be equivalent to following the commandments of the Vedas and related scriptures such as theSmritis, which involved the performance of Vedic rituals. Seen in this light, Mimamsa is essentially Vedic Ethics, and places great weight on the performance of Karma or action as enjoined by the Vedas. This school's most valuable contribution to Hinduism was its formulation of well-accepted rules of Vedic interpretation.The beliefs of the Mimamsa school include rejection of a creator God as well as scriptures on dharma outside of the Vedic tradition, and acceptance of the existence of svarga or heaven awaiting the person who has acted righteously in his or her life.Mimamsa does not pay as much attention to Moksha or salvation as does Vedanta (also known as UttaraMimamsa - investigation into the Uttara or "later" portions of the Vedas). At a later stage, however, the Mimamsa school changed its views in this regard and began to teach the doctrines of God and Moksha(liberation). While Mimamsa does not receive much scholarly attention these days, its influence can be felt in the life of the practising Hindu. All Hindu ritual, ceremony and religious law is influenced by it.The system is a pluralistic realist. It endorses the reality of the world as well as that of the individual souls. The soul is accepted as an eternal and infinite substance. Consciousness is an accidental attribute of the soul. The soul is distinct from the body, the senses and the mind. Though Kumarila Bhatta and Prabhakara differ on issues like the self, the soul and it attribute. The earlier mimamsakas do not give much importance to the deities. Hence they do not endorse God as the creator of the universe. But later mimamsakas show a bent towards theism.This system has a profound faith in the Vedas.  The system supports the law of karma. It believes in the Unseen Power or ‘apurva’. Apart from accepting the heaven and the hell, the system supports  the theory of liberation.
  4. The primary text of PM is Jaimini's "pUrvamImAmsAsUtra" (JPMS). Along with BAdarAyaNa's "Brahma sUtra", the two books constitute the first exegeses of the Vedas - of the karma kANDa and GYAnakANDa portions respectively. Jaimini and BAdarAyaNa were undoubtedly contemporaries, as revealed by the fact that JPMS 1.1.5 refers to BAdarAyaNa while Brahma sUtra 1.3.31 refers to Jaimini. Tradition believes that Jaimini was a disciple of BAdarAyaNa. The authoritative commentary on JPMS is by ShabarasvAmin, on which two sub-commentaries exist by PrabhAkara and KumArilaBhaTTa. The most important and key proponent of PM is traditionally considered to be KumArilaBhaTTa, whose vArttika consists of three parts:(1) shlokavArttika (1.1 of Jaimini), which gives the fundamentals of dharma - what it is and how it can be known, what the differences are between PM and the other schools, various PM theories on Self, world, etc. I will be using this extensively.(2) tantravArttika (1.2 - 3.8 of Jaimini) deals heavily with arguments against the Buddhists in defense of the Vedas, questioning modes of conduct such as wine-drinking, when and where to perform a Vedic rite, etc. I will only make peripheral use of this text.(3) tuptikA (remaining chapters 4-12 of Jaimini), which is "very advanced" vaidika dharma, such as the relationship between mantra-deity-yaGYa,  how a particular Vedic rite (such as the ashvamedhayaGYa) should be performed, etc. I will not be using this text at all.I will be totally relying on the following translations on the subject, all by the famous and distinguished scholar Sir GanganathJha: (A) "The Purvamimamsa sutras of Jaimini": chapters I-III Translated with an original commentary by GanganathJha. Allahabad, Panini Office, 1916. (New York, AMS Press, 1974). ISBN: 0404578101. (B) "Slokavartika" (of KumarilaBhatta) / translated from the original Sanskrit, with extracts from the commentaries "Kasika" of SucaritaMisra and "Nyayaratnakara" of ParthaSarthiMisra (by) GangaNathJha. Delhi, India : Sri Satguru Publications : distributed by Indian Books Centre, 1983. ISBN: 8170300150. (C) "Tantravarttika" : a commentary on Sabara'sBhasya on the Purvamimamsa sutras of Jaimini / translated into English by GanganathaJha. Reprint ed. Delhi, Pilgrims Book Pvt. Ltd. 1998. ISBN: 8176240265. The above books shall henceforth be referred to as Book A, Book B, and Book C respectively. 
  5. Sources of Knowledge 
  6. Jaimini accepts the three pramanas (proofs) of perception, inference and sabda (testimony). Some later authors, e.g. Prabhakara admitting upmana (comparison) and arthapatti (implication), and Kumarila adding anupalabdhi (non-apprehension), extend these original three categories. Aitihya (rumor) and recollection (smrti) are excluded however as valid sources of knowledge, since the former cannot ensure certainty about the validity of the resulting cognition in the absence of definite information about the source of rumor (whether trustworthy or not), and the latter can tell only about the things previously perceived.
  7. Perception (pratyaksa) is direct apprehension and it proceeds directly from sense-contact. Perception relates to object that exist, i.e. are perceptible by the senses. It cannot apprehend supersensuous objects. The Mimamsakas do not support the theory of Yogic intuition, by which the Yogis are said to apprehend objects which are in past and future, or imperceptible and distant. 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. Mental perception, by which there is the cognition of pleasure, pain, and the like, is admitted by the Mimamsa.
  8. “Both what is seen and what is not seen must be taken together.” - JaiminiIf 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” … that is, in case where sense perception and other means of cognition are not found to be operative towards bringing about the notion of the existence of a certain thing, we have the notion of the non-existence of that thing; and the means by which this notion is brought about is called abhava.
  9. 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. Such a knowledge (cognition) is inferential. Inference is of two kinds: 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.  
  10. 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.
  11. 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. The broad division of the Veda is into the Mantras and the 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).
  12. The SelfThe Vedic injunctions hold out promises of rewards to be enjoyed in another world. They would be pointless if some real self did not survive the destruction of the body. The performer of a sacrifice thus may reap the benefits from his effort in non-corporeal atman and not the body, flesh and blood. 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.
  13. 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. The facts of memory prove the reality of self. It is admitted that the soul suffers change, but through the changes the soul endures. Cognition, which is an activity (Kriya), belongs to the substance called the soul. It is no argument against the eternal character of the soul that it undergoes modifications. Nor is it a serious objection that, when we reap the results, we forget the actions which bring them about. Note that the soul cannot be atomic, since it apprehends changes in different parts of the body. 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. 
  14. 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. The analogy that as the one sun, reflected in different substances, becomes endowed with distinct properties, the one soul reflected in different bodies becomes endowed with different qualities, does not hold, since the qualities that appear different belong to the reflecting medium and not the sun. If the analogy were true, the diverse qualities appearing in connection with the souls would belong to the bodies and not the soul. But pleasure, pain, etc., are qualities of the soul and not of the body. 
  15. 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 act of cognition does not produce its result (sva-phala) in the self, so that the self is never an object of perception, external or internal. There is no such thing as self-consciousness apart from object-consciousness. 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.  
  16. 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.
  17. 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. Note, 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).
  18. EthicsDharma 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. 
  19. The ethics of the PurvaMimamasa is founded on revelation. The Vedic injunctions lay down the details of dharma. Good action, according to the Mimamsaka, is what is prescribed by the Veda (including the Upanisads). 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. Next to the smrtis is the practice of good men or customs. The duties which have no scriptural sanction are explained on principles of utility. If any act is performed in response to one's response to natural instincts, there is no virtue in it. These and other rules (aspects) of Mimamsa are used for the interpretation of the Hindu law, which is based on the rules of the Vedas or sruti (open equally to all, irrespective of the varna, caste or vocation). Note the sruti generally refers to the Vedas (Rig, Yajur and Sam) and the Upanisads (including the BhagavadGita). Moreover, the Atharva Veda, the itihaasa (Puranas and epics) and the smrti (including the Manu-smrti or Manu-smriti etc.) are considered as the ancillary literature and therefore should not be confused with the sruti which has a precedence over all the rest.  
  20. 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.
  21. 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. 
  22. 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. 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. 
  23. God The PurvaMimamsa 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. ----------  
  24. 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 PurvaMimamsa 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.
  25. APPENDIX Mimamsa theism It is clear from the Vedic evidence, included in the following, that the PurvaMimamsa is theistic. Note that the Mimamsa is related to the inquiry and interpretation of the Veda from the very beginning of the Vedic civilization. This type of interpretation is clear from even the Vedic hymns themselves (some of the Vedic quotes from the Rig Veda listed below). Veda (and its interpretation, or the Mimamsa, therefore) talks of one ultimate God (RV-10-121-3), inquires into and interprets various sacrifices (rites, worships as in RV-10-37-4 & RV-10-87-2), and expels the atheists (godless) from yajna or sacrifice (RV-9-13-9, RV-9-29-5, RV-9-61-25, RV-9-63-5).This direct association of the Mimamsa (Purva-Mimamsa) -- interpretation and inquiry into the Vedic rite (which discards the godless and atheists) -- with the Veda (which has close ties to God and therefore theism) clearly shows that the Mimamsa is theistic due to its very nature or relation with the Veda. To say otherwise therefore is to deny the direct and original evidence from the Veda itself, and it amounts to stating that the Veda (Rig Veda for example) is atheistic. Whatever the nature of the Veda and the Vedic rites (in relation to theism for example), the rules (as in the Mimamsa) used for their interpretation and inquiry should have the same character. Note that you cannot send a blind man to perform the vision test (not effectively at least).Moreover, the Mimamsa (according to its very purpose and original intent) has to be able to interpret the Veda authentically, thus requiring Mimamsa (and its rules) to be standardized and calibrated in the sense of the Veda. And the sense of the Veda incidentally is theistic (as explained in the above). Thus the Mimamsa (PurvaMimamsa) cannot be anything but theistic.Vedic quotes:"O Pavamana, driving off the godless, looking on the light, Sit in the place of sacrifice." (RV-9-13-9)"Preserve us from the godless, from ill-omened voice of one and all, That so we may be freed from blame." (RV-9-29-5)"Chasing our foemen, driving off the godless, Soma floweth on, Going to Indra's special place."(RV-9-61-25)"Performing every noble work, active, augmenting Indra's strength, Driving away the godless ones." (RV-9-63-5)"Who by his grandeur hath become Sole Ruler of all the moving world that breathes and slumbers; He who is Lord of men and Lord of cattle. What God shall we adore with our oblation?" (RV-10-121-3)"O Surya, with the light whereby thou scatterest gloom, and with thy ray impellest every moving thing, Keep far from us all feeble, worthless sacrifice, and drive away disease and every evil dream." (RV-10-37-4)"O Jatavedas with the teeth of iron, enkindled with thy flame attack the demons. Seize with thy tongue the foolish gods' adorers: rend, put within thy mouth the raw-flesh caters." (RV-10-87-2) -------------------------------------Compiled from: The Rig Veda; and Indian Philosophy, Vol. 2, by S. Radhakrishnan, ISBN 019563821-4, pp. 374-429.by: Dr. Subhash C. Sharma Email: lamberdar@yahoo.comDate: May 25, 2004link to: Related topics by the author