SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Pillai, Krishna Raghavan (1951) Studies in the "Vakyapadiya". PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (117MB) | Preview


Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya is a major work in Sanskrit Linguistics and its study is a long-felt need. In the thesis, some of the leading doctrines discussed in Cantos I and II of the work are discussed, and an attempt made to correlate them to some Modern doctrines. The four chapters of the Thesis are arranged such as to give a picture of the system of the philosophy of the Sanskrit grammarians. Chapter I discusses the doctrine of S'abda Brahman, the Supreme Word-principle from which the Universe of things and names is evolved. The Vedas, the Brahmanas and the Upanisads contain references to Vak as a creative principle functioning in association with Prajapati. The doctrine of S'abda Brahman developed in later times by grammarians like Shartrhari can be traced back to these texts. In Chapter II Bhartrhari conception of Speech as a human activity is discussed. Every speech-unit, such as the sentence, the word or the letter has two elements (1) the phonetic pattern (dhvani) and (2) the permanent speech-principle (sphota) which conveys the meaning of the unit. It is a primary Speech-sound (prakrtadhvani) which reveals the sphota and the utterance itself shows the speaker's personal variations of sounds (vaikrtadhvani). In Chapter III the sentence is discussed as an integral unit on the speech-level and as divisible on the level of interpretation. The controversies on the topic of the integral nature of the sentence on the Speech-level and the relation between the sentence and the word are discussed. Chapter IV discusses the word and the problems about it, such as the nature of word-meaning, the change in meaning, classification of meaning as primary, secondary and incidental and proper names. A translation of Cantos I and II of the Vakyapadiya is also included in the Thesis.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item