By Swami Harshananda
Parisaṅkhyāvidhi literally means ‘exclusive injunction’.
Kinds of Vidhi
The Purvamīmāmsā system describes three kinds of vidhis or Vedic injunctions. They are:
'Pari’ means varjana or excluding. ‘Saṅkhyā’ means knowledge. Hence the parisaṅkhyāvidhi gives us the knowledge of what is to be avoided in a particular situation. These vidhis or injunctions are helpful in ascertaining the correct meaning of the Vedic sentences, especially with regard to the performance of sacrifices. When a general rule seems to apply equally to two alternatives and only one has to be allowed precluding the other, the vidhi or injunction that prescribes it is called ‘parisaṅkhyāvidhi’.
Example of Parisaṅkhyāvidhi
A cart to which a horse and a mule are yoked is taken out to bring the clay necessary for preparing bricks for the altar of a sacrifice. At a certain stage of the journey, the person driving the cart has to ‘recite a Vedic mantra holding the rein.’ Since both the animals have reins, the doubt arises as to which one should be held.
The Vedic mantra clearly states that the rein of the horse is to be held. Hence, the rein of the mule is to be excluded. Therefore this injunction becomes a ‘parisaṅkhyāvidhi’. Writers on the Mīmānsā point out three defects in this vidhi, but they are not of much importance.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore