The Vidhiviveka by Maṇḍana Miśra (about 660-720) is one of the most influential treatises of Vedic Exegesis (Mīmāṃsā) after Kumārila. In forty-two stanzas with an extensive auto-commentary, Maṇḍana examines all theories of verbal exhortation or “injunction” (vidhi) current in his time, before defending his own view that verbal exhortation conveys to an agent the means to achieve what that agent desires (iṣṭasādhana). The present volume offers the first critical edition of Maṇḍana’s text and its only known Sanskrit commentary, the Nyāyakaṇikā, by the famous 10th-century polymath Vācaspati Miśra. Finally, two hitherto unpublished commentaries on Vācaspati’s work, the Svaditaṅkaraṇī and Juṣadhvaṅkaraṇī by Parameśvara I, a 14th-century author from Kerala, are edited here for the first time. The volume is organised in two parts, following the organisation of Maṇḍana’s text: a first, aporetic part where various conceptions of injunction are reviewed and refuted, and a second, constructive part, where the authors develop their own views on this topic. The texts themselves are preceded by a detailed introduction on the authors, their work and the manuscripts that have been used, and followed by six appendices discussing particular readings and quotations. Together, these texts constitute the most exhaustive overview to date of Brahmanical theory of action and commandment and of its foundations in psychology, metaphysics and religious philosophy.
About the Author: Elliot M. Stern received a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. He has worked, mostly as an independent scholar, on this and other Indological projects for more than forty years.