Notes on pedagogy of śāstra(something written by a friend)

To add, as śāstra unfolds, things become quite simple and clear. The only issue is getting the pedagogy of śāstra. For instance, pratyakṣa and anumāna are listed ahead of śabda pramāṇa, and deducing from the visible natural phenomena is the primary learning underlying SAstra, with only subtler phenomena and lessons explicated by śāstra. As mentioned here, nature is the mother, teacher and trustee and what Rshis learn about organizing human societies is entirely from nature. The lessons from clans, prides, coalitions of animal world results in an optimal design of human family at micro level. Just the way legs obey the commands of brain and the way a weak body in turn compels brain into commands that suit the body’s condition, just the way the mano-vāk-kāya “hierarchy” works, the social being’s mano-vāk-kāya is understood. This is rather pratyakṣa than śabda as a pramANa (though we can find upon searching pramāṇa like “vAngme manasi pratishThita” or purusha sUkta could be found). śāstra comes into picture only to make a proper correlation to human society, such as Raja being divine representative who commands and sets the society in the right path – references about prajāpati in atharva are useful, but none better than mahābhārata and manusmṛti. The higher aspects of dharma that are not sāmānya are to be found in śruti, which form the substratum for the manifest layer of dharma (such as moral facts). It helps to recall Viswanatha’s taunt in this context – “you call it sāmānya because these things are commonly known through observation, why do you need to teach them formally and call it a subject”. But the sāmānya is not missed at any stage, it is visible in the implicit expectation of its awareness as a requirement. The head and central being two types of powers that hold the family, and a further distribution of these into the natures of power in society (will, knowledge and action in hierarchy, then into knowledge-power-wealth-action in distribution) is quite visible not just in organization but in śruti itself. The head-center nature of Indra-Agni, which later become visible as Siva-Sakti, as the ruling forces of the world-family are the prototypes for this. Similarly the cyclic day-night, month (aligned with moon), year (aligned with sun), astronomical cycles and human life cycle are pratyaksha pramāṇa for cyclic nature of time. śāstra pramāṇa only gives the conceptualizing of how the alignment of social cycle is to be done with the known cycles. One of the reasons upamāna is extensively visible all through in SAstra and kAvya is that it is not just an alaṃkāra but an integral part of the pedagogic nature of our texts. Second aspect is which śāstra throws light on which aspect of life. While the śruti-smṛti-śiṣṭācāra hierarchy is well known for prāmāṇya, śruti is not a reference for understanding the social aspects that evolve from time to time. śruti is a reference for sanātana or immutable yet non-obvious knowledge of the world from which the ever morphing aspects are to be derived and defined, which are liable to change, in the derivative texts. The layers of smṛti texts, be it MBH or dharma śāstra-s, ensure that they reproduce and record the unchanging principles from śruti, then specify the changing ones (the yuga and deśa-kāla layers) so that for a subsequent version of smṛti that evolves, the seeds of permanent principles are taken and continued. Third aspect is the untold – what a text covers is based on the scope of authority it assumes in the knowledge system. What is not covered, if covered elsewhere, indicates the relative authority and if is not, indicates the nature of untold to be self-explanatory or naturally known or not as a necessary factor. For instance the sampradāya-s that are substantially important in the society and are honored even by kings, find next to zero mention in the smṛti texts as influential or authorized or holding stake in social dynamic or organization notwithstanding their real influence, dharma nirṇaya is made the accountability of king no matter who he consults (and there is a different and a specific subject taught to king who he should consult and who he should not).

PS: It is an axiomatic change and a change in worldview for the west to look at things this way (their organizations are driven by ideals more than by nature of things), but they ARE actively working to plagiarize these concepts at various levels in sciences, and at a slower pace in social sciences. The papers on Artificial Intelligence I linked in a previous post indicate how they are getting natural biological phenomena into AI by consciously learning from nature, trying to make repeatable processes that are only cognitively decipherable.

(This was from a note by @SkandaVeera which I preserved)


Sarasvatī indeed has deserted me(she’s deserted me for some years…what was there for two years before I entered college was merely what was left of my good fortune),and the presiding deity of the mind has not been kind to me at all for quite some time. It’s deeply depressing.

A note on Candragomīn and his tradition

On reading this note by manasataramgini,the following note from Tārānātha came to my mind

Candragomīn had travelled to the South,in the temple of the brāhmaṇa Vararuci,where he came across an image of Vararuci acquiring the śāstra of vyākāraṇa from Śeṣa-nāga. He then thought that a commentary should be brief,profound in significance,with no repititions and complete,which Śeṣa-nāga’s commentary was not. He then composed his Candra-vyākāraṇa ,following Pāṇini’s grammar and remarked ‘This work,though brief,is clear and complete’.(Tārānātha remarks that even this remārk was a harsh criticism of the Nāga).

Some trivial points to note here

  • The identification of Pātāñjali as the incarnation of Śeṣa(implicitly),and his commentary(the fact that it’s referred to as lengthy gives it away)
  • The identification of the Varttikakara Vararuci/Katyayana and his linkage to the tradition of Pātañjali in vyākāraṇa-śāstra.


That debate of Candragomī and the nāstika mahāpaṇḍita Candrakīrti lasted for 7 years,and the debate ended after Candrakīrti discovered Avalokiteśvara teaching Candragomī.

Also,the tradition of the Bauddhas recognizes a vyākāraṇa of Candrakīrti’s in the same(Bauddha) tradition that was superior to Candragomī’s,named the Samantabhadra. It was  bhaṭṭārikā āryā Tārā who said that this vyākāraṇa of Candragomī’s would survive,while the one of Candrakīrti’s would be lost because of his pride in his scholarship. And Tārānātha notes that the well in which Candragomī threw his book in(and later pulled it out of)-those who drank water from that well were immediately filled with great wisdom.

प्रभो शम्भो! prabho shambho!


Today,on seeing that liṅgam at that old temple in the lane behind the office of the postmaster general(been there since the very late 1800s?)It’s a tiny navaratna temple,painted red,that shloka of Amṛtavāgbhavācāryā, blessed by Svacchanda-Bhairava himself came to my mind


प्रभो शम्भो दीनं विहितशरणं त्वच्चरणयोः
समुद्धृत्य श्रद्धाविधुरमपि बद्धादरकरं
दयादृष्ट्या पश्यन्निजतनयमात्मीकुरु शिव॥

In SLP1 romanization(explained in the links for vowels and consonants)

prabho “sambho diina.m vihita” tvaccara.nayo.h
samuddh.rtya “sraddhaavidhuramapi baddhaadarakara.m
dayaad.r.s.tyaa pa”syannijatanayamaatmiikuru “siva||

It’s translation(taken from the Kamakotimandali website because I’m lazy)

‘O Lord Shiva, this forest named samsāra is filled with venomous serpents that are the sensory objects. To escape from them, I take refuge most humbly in your lotus feet.

O all powerful Shambhu, please take me out of this forest even if I lack faith and devotion, for I am after all your son and I have sought refuge in you with folded hands.’

He gives the scene of composing this verse thus

मन्निमिर्तः प्रभोशम्भोश्लोको यत्सदयेच्छया।
इष्टसिद्ध्यर्थ प्राप सिद्धमहामन्त्रस्वरुपताम्॥

हितायाऽऽस्तिकलोकानां वर्णयामि सभासतः।
नत्वा तत्पादयुगलं तद्वृत्तं विस्मयावहम्॥

सायत्ननं नित्युकृतयं समाप्य समवस्थिते।
स्वासने मरुयन्धकारावृते पूजागृहेऽमले॥

श्रीशिवप्रार्थनापद्ये प्रातरेव स्वनिर्मिते।
अपशब्दं चिन्तयति सहसा दिव्यदेहवान्॥

जीर्णशुकं जानुदघं वसानो लम्बमेकतः।
रोमगुच्छाचितबिलमहाश्रोत्रः शशिप्रभः॥


महात्मा प्रकटीभूय कोऽपि मत्सम्मुखं तदा।
उच्चालयन् तर्जनीं स्वां मामुवाच सगर्जनम्॥

पद्यमेतन्नास्यशुद्धं न कार्यं परिवर्तनम्।
एवं समासे सुमते! कामशुद्धिं विशङ्कसे॥

इत्युक्त्वा यो दयार्त्रेण चक्षुशा वीक्ष्य मां पुनः।
शम्पेव क्वाप्यगात् सद्य आश्रित्याऽलक्षितां गतिम्॥

अजानन्नपि तस्याऽहं नामधामादिकं मुहुः।
प्रणमामि सदा भक्त्या रुपं वाक्यं च संस्मरन्॥

नालगढे धर्मसभाभवने मासि माधवे।
वृत्तं वृत्तं वैक्रमेऽभे ऋद्धिधैर्यमिते गते॥


Transliterated in the Velthuis scheme

mannimirta.h prabho”sambho”sloko yatsadayecchayaa|
i.s.tasiddhyartha praapa siddhamahaamantrasvarupataam||

hitaayaa”stikalokaanaa.m var.nayaami sabhaasata.h|
natvaa tatpaadayugala.m tadv.rtta.m vismayaavaham||

saayatnana.m nityuk.rtaya.m samaapya samavasthite|
svaasane maruyandhakaaraav.rte puujaag.rhe’male||

“srii”sivapraarthanaapadye praatareva svanirmite|
apa”sabda.m cintayati sahasaa divyadehavaan||”suka.m jaanudagha.m vasaano lambamekata.h|
romagucchaacitabilamahaa”srotra.h “sa”siprabha.h||


mahaatmaa praka.tiibhuuya ko’pi matsammukha.m tadaa|
uccaalayan tarjanii.m svaa.m maamuvaaca sagarjanam||

padyametannaasya”suddha.m na kaarya.m parivartanam|
eva.m samaase sumate! kaama”suddhi.m vi”sa”nkase||

ityuktvaa yo”saa viik.sya maa.m puna.h|
“sampeva kvaapyagaat sadya aa”srityaa’lak.sitaa.m gatim||

ajaanannapi tasyaa’ha.m naamadhaamaadika.m muhu.h|
pra.namaami sadaa bhaktyaa rupa.m vaakya.m ca sa.msmaran||

naalaga.dhe dharmasabhaabhavane maasi maadhave|
v.rtta.m v.rtta.m vaikrame’bhe .rddhidhairyamite gate||