It is the first ever study of the fifth-century scholar, Bhartriharis Vakyapadiya in an altogether modern, the post-Fregean, perspective on the Philosophy of Language. A uniquely original thinker in Indias splendid grammarians tradition, Bhartrihari overreached the limits of language analysis set by his predecessors like Panini and Patanjali constructing, as he did, a brilliant Philosophy of Language that sought to spell out, among other aspects, the subtle distinctions between the knowable and the sayable, between what is said and what is meant, between the semantics of everyday speech and literary discourse. Sadly, Bhartrihari has, through the centuries, suffered neglect, largely because the Grammarian School never figured in the six major systems of traditional Indian philosophy.
For the first time, this monograph tries to reinterpret Bhartriharis position as a philosopher, emphasizing the high relevance of his Vakyapadiya to modern Western thought. A reputed scholar of grammar, philosophy and Sanskrit studies, the author presents Bhartriharis analyses of language methodically, unbiased. And, significantly, in contemporary philosophical idiom with contextual focus on the views of modern Western philosophers: Frege, Wittgenstein, Grice, Austin, Davidson, Searle, Strawson and the like. Also offered here is a lucid exposition of the Sphota Theory.
Growing from Dr Patnaiks a decade-long research on Bhartriharis philosophy, the volume highlights not only ancient Indian contribution to the study of language, but the interconnectedness among its indigenous approaches to linguistics, philosophy, logic and aesthetics as well.