Vācaspati Miśra

Vācaspati Miśra
Born unknown, 9th/10th century CE[1]
Died unknown, 9th/10th century CE[1]
Philosophy Advaita Vedanta, Hinduism

Vācaspati Miśra was a 9th- or 10th-century CE Indian philosopher of Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism.[1][2] His ideas are sometimes called the Bhāmatī sub-school of Advaita, a name based on the title of his commentary on Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya of Adi Shankara. Vachaspati Miśra was a prolific scholar and his writings are extensive, including bhasya (commentaries) on key texts of almost every 9th-century school of Hindu philosophy with notes on heterodox traditions such as Buddhism and Charvaka.[3][4] He also wrote one non-commentary, Tattvabindu. Some of his works are lost to history or yet to be found.[4]

Little is known about Vacaspati Mishra's life, and the earliest text that has been dated with certainty is from 840 CE, and he was at least one generation younger than Adi Shankara.[5] However, an alternate date for the same text may be 976 CE, according to some scholars, a confusion that is based on whether Hindu Saka or Vikrama era calendar is used for the dating purposes.[4] His scholarship is revered in the Hindu tradition, which believes that he was a Maithila Brahmin from Bihar.[4]

Primary works

Tattvabindu is his original work, wherein he develops principles of hermeneutics, and discusses the "Theory of Meaning" for the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy.[4] This is an influential work, and attempted to resolve some of the interpretation disputes on classical Sanskrit texts.[4]

Vācaspati examines four competing theories of linguistic meaning:

After examining each of these theories, Vācaspati presents his own theory, abhihitānvayavāda, according to which understanding of the meaning of a whole sentence is reached by inferring it, in a separate act of lakṣanā or implication, from the individual meanings of the constituent words.

Secondary works: Bhasya

Vacaspati Misra is credited with influential commentaries such as Tattvakaumundi on Samkhyakarika,[6] Nyayasucinibandha on Nyaya Sutras,[1] various important texts of Advaita Vedanta,[7] Nyayakanika (an Advaita work on science of reason), Tattvasamiksa (lost work), Nyaya-varttika-tatparyatika (a tertiary work on the science of logic and reasoning), Tattvavaisaradi on Yogasutra, and others.[4]

While some known works of Vacaspati Misra are now lost, others exist in numerous numbers. Over ninety medieval era manuscripts, for example, in different parts of India have been found of his Tattvakaumundi, which literally means "Moonlight on the Truth".[4] This suggests that his work was sought and influential. A critical edition of Tattvakaumundi was published by Srinivasan in 1967.[4]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Jeaneane Fowler (2002), Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism, Sussex Academic Press, ISBN 978-1898723943, page 129
  2. Isaeva, Natalia (1993). Shankara and Indian Philosophy. USA: State University of New York Press. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0-7914-1281-7.
  3. Jagadisha Chandra Chatterji (1912). Hindu Realism. pp. vi.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Gerald James Larson and Ram Shankar Bhattacharya (1987), The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 4, Princeton University Press, pages 301-312
  5. Isaeva, Natalia (1993). Shankara and Indian Philosophy. USA: State University of New York Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-0-7914-1281-7.
  6. Isaeva, Natalia (1993). Shankara and Indian Philosophy. USA: State University of New York Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-7914-1281-7.
  7. Isaeva, Natalia (1993). Shankara and Indian Philosophy. USA: State University of New York Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-7914-1281-7.

Primary texts

Secondary texts

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/12/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.