Post No. 11,042

Date uploaded in London – –    22 JUNE 2022         

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There are nine commentaries on Mahabhasya of Patanjali which can be arranged chronologically:

1.Bhartrhari’s Diipikaa

2.Kaiyata’s Pradiipa

3.Iisvaraanada’s Brhadvivarana

4.Pravatakopaadhyaaya’s Prakaasa

5.Annambhatta’s Uddyotana

6.Sivaramendra Sarasvati’s Ratnaprakaasa

7.Saastri Naaraayana’s Naaraayaniiya

8.Naagesa’s Uddyota

9.Vaidyanaatha Paayagunda’s Chaayaa


A Vrtti is only a short explanation (of sutras in a book)  or analysis with examples and counter examples. The Bhasya is a full fledged commentary. It may contain elaborate discussions on the meaning of  a Sutra, conflicting views and arguments, excursus and new propositions. From the ancient Maha Bhasya of Patanjli on Panini’s great grammar book Ashtadhyayi,  we come to know what was a lecture or debate of scholars in ancient times.

The massive introduction of debates in the bhasya has led to a denomination sometimes given to Mahabhasya, viz. Cuurni, a word which is analysed as signifying ‘that which smashes the argumentation of scholars’ (cuurnayati khandayati agesa panditaanaam tarkam iti). Thus the main features of the bhasya genre are that it deals with sutras and it displays all applications of intelligence to the concerned subject.

In the great genre of Bhasya, Patanjali’s bhasya on Panini’s sutra is qualified as ‘great’ (Mahaa). This qualification appears in a group of stanzas ascribed to Bhartuhari and inserted at the end of second Kaanda of ‘Vaakpadiiya’ , where the greatness is commented upon by qualifying ‘Maha’bhasya as

“the bottom of which has never been attained because of its profundity, but which looks shallow because  of its serene beauty.

The greatness is also mentioned in Kaiyata’s  Pradipa in association with the metaphor of an ocean Mahabhasya ‘Arnava’.

Isvarananda and Annambhatta comment that the greatness of this bhasya is due to its size and to its meaning (granthorthascha mahatvam)

Saastri naarayana speaks of the profundity of Mahabhasya  ‘Ghaambiiryayogena bhassyasya vyaakyeyatvam’.

For Naagesa the superiority of this bhasya over the other lies in the fact that ‘ even though it makes comments like them, it gives new teachings by formulating desiderta etc.

There is another saying  ‘ this bhasya is great , because it contains reflections on Vartikas’

Source – Commentaries on Mahabhasya.


Tags – Patanjali, Mahabhasya, Commentators

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