Maṇimēkhalai in its Historical Setting

Supplement I am obliged to Mr. R. Gopalan, M.A., Sub-Librarian, Connemara Public Library and Mr. S. T. Krishnamacharyar, B.A., B.L., High Court Vakil, for the translation of this Supplement.

(By Prof. H. Jacobi in his article for the Hultzsch Jubilee number of the Zeitschrift für Indologie und Iranistik.)

[xxxi] I had induced Professor Krishnaswami Aiyangar some years ago to undertake the full and correct translation of those portions of the Maṇimēkhalai which dealt with Indian philosophical systems, so that it may serve as a basis to fix the age of that work with greater probability. As I heard nothing further about this project it seemed to me that its execution was postponed to an indefinite future. Thereupon I thought that I ought not to delay the publication of what I had got up about the age of this work from out of the translation by Kanakasabhai. The result is the above contribution to the Jubilee number intended for Hultzsch. ‘Zeitschrift für lndologie und Iranistik.’: Band 5 Hft 3 of the Deutsch Morgalandissche Gesselleschaft (Leipzig).

When my contribution was ready for the press, Professor Krishnaswami Aiyangar wrote to me that he had translated the chapters of the Maṇimēkhalai relating to the philosophy and on April 10, 1926, I received a type-written copy of his translation of the chapters 27 and 29. In the light of these more correct reproduction of the original many of the obscurities of Kanakasabhai’s translation were cleared up, to mention which in detail here would be to digress. Nevertheless I may here set down briefly the most important of the chief points of my [xxxii] earlier deduction – the acquaintance of the author of Maṇimēkhalai with Dignāga’s philosophy.

First of all I can assert with satisfaction that I have correctly interpreted the confusing and distorted passages dealing with perception and the condition for the conclusiveness of an argument, and have referred to the respective theories of Dignāga. The definition of Pratyakṣa reads in the new translation; name (nāma), class (jāti), quality (guṇa), and action (kriyā) are excluded from this, viz. perception, as they are obtainable from inference (Anumāna).

That corresponds as I have indicated above to Dignāga’s doctrine. The passage on the three conditions of conclusive reason reads (in chapter 29) ‘the reason (hētu) is of three kinds:– (1) ‘being attributive of the subject; (2) becoming attributable to a similar subject, and (3) becoming not attributable to the opposite, – Thereupon follows the definition of Sapakṣa and Vipakṣa (similar subject and the opposite).

This passage of the trairūpya of the liṅga forms the basis of Dignāga’s system of logic, whereby the logic of the Nyāya system shows itself far superior and as is well known has acquired considerable influence over the further development of Indian logic. There is thus no doubt that the author of Maṇimēkhalai knew of Dignāga’s doctrine of cognizance and logic. But we can now go an important step further beyond the earlier established facts. For in those portions of the 29th chapter of the Maṇimēkhalai which Kanakasabhai has not translated, the Buddhistic system of logic is expounded, and is quite in strict agreement with the contents of the Nyāyapravēśa as it is known to us through an analysis of the Chinese translation of that work by Sadajiro Sugiura, Hindu Logic as preserved in China, Japan, Philadelphia, 1900,Chapter iv and the [xxxiii] Tibetan translation by Satiśchandra Vidyābhūṣana. History of the Mediæval School of Indian Logic, Calcutta, 1909, pp. 89 ff.

The Sanskrit original has been already under print for some time for the Gaekwad’s Oriental Series, but has not come out till now. As Mironow See Garbe-Festschifte, p. 38 ff shows it is the original of the Tibetan translation which Vidyābhūṣana has analysed. The agreement of the theories of logic in the 29th chapter of the Maṇimēkhalai with that of the Nyāyapravēśa rises to almost complete similarity in the passage on the ‘fallacious pakṣa, hētu, and dṣṭānta. There are found the same nine pakṣābhāsas, fourteen hētvābhāsas and ten dṣṭāntābhāsas in the same arrangement and almost through the same series Thus the 3 and 4 pakṣābhāsas are transposed. in the Maṇimēkhalai as in the Nyāyapravēśa. Even the examples instanced for the purposes of explanation agree in most cases in both. It is thus established without any doubt that the author of the Maṇimēkhalai has made use of the Nyāyapravēśa in a most evident manner.

The author of the Nyāyapravēśa is, according to the Chinese tradition which Sugiura follows, Śaṁkarasvāmin, a pupil of Dignāga, but according to the Tibetan tradition, which does not know Śaṁkarasvāmin at all, it is Dignāga, hence Vidyābhūṣana also names him as the author. But that is an error as M. Tubianski Bulletin de l’ Academie de l’ U.R.S.S., 1926, p. 975 ff. has shown.

Dignāga is the author of the Nyāyadvāra (preserved in the Chinese translation), a small and very terse work. Śaṁkarasvāmin has stated in an extremely clear way the system of logic contained therein, in the Nyāyapravēśa, probably with some embellishments. Sugiura 1 c.p. 61 says that Dignāga treats only of five pakṣābhāsas; to these Śankara added the 4 latter. Owing [xxxiv] to the excellence of its exposition the Nyāyapravēśa has become manifestly the most popular compendium of Buddhistic logic. Cf. Sugiura 1. c.p. 36 ff.

The Jain Haribhadra also has written a commentary thereto and the author of the Maṇimēkhalai has made it the basis of his exposition of Buddhist logic. The latter fact is, under the present circumstances, of importance in reference to chronology, as thereby the upper limit of the composition of the Maṇimēkhalai is shifted at least one generation lower down and certainly well in the sixth century after Christ.

But it is another question whether the age of Śangam literature is thereby fixed. For as Krishnaswami Ayyangar declares, though indeed the author of the Maṇimēkhalai belongs to the Śangam Academy his poem is not of the works recognized by them. The decision of the savants of Tamil literature is incumbent on what can be gathered from these traditions.


Since the book had been almost completely printed, I had the benefit of reading through Professor Tucci’s article ‘Is Nyāyapravēśa by Dignāga’ in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for January 1928. In this article the Professor takes up the question as in the article of Tubianski, and gives it as his opinion decisively that the work Nyāyapravēśa is the work of Śaṁkarasvāmin, and that the work of Dignāga nearest akin to it is a work called Nyāyamukha, as several of the quotations criticized by Kumārila and Pārthasarathi Miśra as from Dignāga are found in the work Nyāyamukha. What is more, the professor points out that the work of Dignāga actually contains only five Pakṣa-ābhasas quoted in this order:–

(1) Suvacana Viruddham.
(2) Āgama Viruddham.
(3) Lōka Viruddham.
(4) Pratyakṣa Viruddham.
(5) Anumāna Viruddham. [xxxv]

In the Nyāyapravēśa, on the contrary, four more are added namely:–

(6) Aprasiddha Viśēṣaṇam.
(7) Aprasiddha Viśēṣyam.
(8) Aprasiddha Ubhayam.
(9) Prasiddha Sambandham.

These four are criticized by Chinese commentators like
Shen-t’ai, as being superfluous additions. In regard to the last of these there is also found an error that the ābhāsa actually referred to must be Aprasiddha-Sambandham and not Prasiddha-Sambandham as it is given. It is very interesting to note here that the Maṇimēkhalai gives these Pakṣa-ābhasas as Aprasiddha-Sambandham in the correct form. The Maṇimēkhalai gives all, the nine Pakṣa-ābhasas in this order:–

(1) Pratyakṣa Viruddham.
(2) Anumāna Viruddham.
(3) Suvacana Viruddham.
(4) Lōka Viruddham.
(5) Āgama Viruddham.
(6) Aprasiddha Visēṣaṇam.
(7) Aprasiddha Viśēṣyam.
(8) Aprasiddha Ubhayam.
(9) Aprasiddha Sambandham.

The other commentator Kwei-chi similarly comments:– ‘Dignāga established only these five ābhāsas, and Śaṁkarasvāmin added the other four,’ meaning the first five and the next four respectively.

In regard to the argument of Viduśēkhara Baṭṭācārya that Śaṁkarasvāmin’s name is not mentioned by Hiuen T’sang [Xuan Zang], Professor Tucci does not regard the objection decisive on the following grounds:–

(1) That Hiuen T’sang [Xuan Zang] translated the work under the name of Śaṁkarasvāmin.
(2) That both the commentators Kwei-chi and Shen-t’ai received all their information about this work on logic from the great Chinese traveller and nobody else, so that the information that they give is to be regarded as that for which the authority of the great traveller could be taken for granted.