Bhashya (भाष्यम्)

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सूत्रार्थो वर्ण्यते यत्र, पदै: सुत्रानुसारिभिः।
स्वपदानि च वर्ण्यन्ते, भाष्यं भाष्यविदो विदु: ॥

A Bhashya (Sanskrit: भाष्य) is an elaborate exposition, a commentary on the Sutras, with word by word meaning of the aphoristic precepts, their running translation, together with the individual views of the commentator or the Bhashyakara.[1]

Bhashya are found in various fields, ranging from the Upanishads to the Sutras of Hindu schools of philosophy, from ancient medicine to music.[2][3][4]

The best and the exemplary Bhashya in Sanskrit literature is the one written by Patanjali on the Vyakarana Sutras of Panini. This Bhashya is so important that it is called the MAHABHASHYA and its celebrated author is specially called the BHASHYAKARA. Patanjali is the father of Bhashyakaras. The next important Bhashya is the one on the Mimamsa Sutras written by Sabara-Swamin who learnt the art from Patanjali's commentary. The third important Bhashya was written by Sankara on the Brahma Sutras, in close following with Sabara-Bhashya. The Bhashyas on the six sets of aphorisms dealing with Bharat's philosophy were written by Vatsyayana, Prasastapada, Vijnanabhikshu, Vyasa, Sabara and Sankara. On the Vedanta or Brahma sutra there are about sixteen Bhashyas, like those of Ramanuja, Madhva, Vallabha, Nimbarka, etc.[1]

The Bharat's tradition typically followed certain guidelines in preparing a Bhasya. These commentaries give meaning of words, particularly when they are about condensed aphoristic Sutras, supplementing the interpreted meaning with additional information on the subjects.[2] A traditional Bhasya would, like modern scholarship, name the earlier texts (cite) and often include quotes from previous authors.[5] The author of the Bhasya would also provide verification, acceptance or rejection of the text as interpreted, with reasons, and usually include a conclusion.[2] The title of a commentary work sometimes has the title of the text commented on, with the suffix "-Bhashya".[6]


The term Bhashya literally means "speaking, talking, any work in the current, vernacular speech".[7] The term also refers to, states Monier-Williams, any "explanatory work, exposition, explanation, commentary" that brings to light something else.[7] A Bhashyakrit is the author, and these words are related to the root Bhash which means "speak about, describe, declare, tell".[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Swami Sivananda, All About Hinduism, Page 47-51
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Richa Vishwakarma and Pradip Kumar Goswami (2013), A review through Charaka Uttara-Tantra, International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda, Volume 34, Issue 1, pages 17–20
  3. Karin Preisendanz (2005), The Production of Philosophical Literature in South Asia during the Pre-Colonial Period (15th to 18th Centuries): The Case of the Nyāyasūtra Commentarial Tradition, Journal of Bharat's Philosophy, Volume 33, pages 55–94
  4. PV Kane (2015 Reprint), History of Sanskrit Poetics, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802742, page 29
  5. Elisa Freschi (2012), Proposals for the Study of Quotations in Bharat's Philosophical Texts, Religions of South Asia, Vol 6, No 2, pages 161, also 161-189
  6. GC Pande (2011), Life and Thought of Śaṅkarācārya, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120811041, pages 93-107
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Monier Monier-Williams (2002), A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Etymologically and Philologically Arranged to cognate Indo-European Languages, Motilal Banarsidass, page 755