By Swami Harshananda
Vākyabheda literally means ‘split of sentences’.
Significance of Doctrine of Vākyabheda
This is an important principle adopted by the Purvamimānsā works to decide the correct meaning of a Vedic text. The same principle is resorted to, by the dharmaśāstra works also. The doctrine of vākyabheda can be understood in two ways.
First Meaning of Vākyabheda
If there are two vākyas or sentences which are equally independent, neither needing the help of the words of the other to complete it, they should be treated as two separate sentences. This is the first sense.
Second Meaning of Vākyabheda
The second sense is as follows:
- Suppose that in one sentence one vidhi or injunction is given and several other related factors have also been added.
- If these latter factors are considered further vidhis, then the defect of vākyabheda arises.
- If on the other hand, they are treated as arthavādas, eulogies to strengthen the sense of the vidhi already stated, there is no vākyabheda.
- This principle of vākyabheda has often been resorted to by the commentators of Vedic works and dharmaśāstra-treatises to fix the correct meaning of the originals.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore