Nityānuvāda

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By Swami Harshananda

Nityānuvāda literally means ‘a permanent reiterating statement’.

Anuvāda as per Purvamimānsā System

The Purvamimānsā system of philosophy deals with the various modes of interpreting and understanding the Vedic statements. One of them is Arthavāda. One of the three aspects of arthavāda is anuvāda. When a statement reiterates something which has already been known otherwise it is called ‘anuvāda’.[1][2] For instance, the statement<blockqoute>‘agnir himasya bheṣajam,’ ‘Fire is the antidote for cold’</blockquote>[3] contains a truth already known through direct experience.

Nityānuvāda Definition

A subsidiary aspect of anuvāda is nityānuvāda. When a Vedic text apparently prohibits something which can never happen, it is called ‘nityānuvāda’. For example:
‘The Vedic altar should not be piled on bare earth, nor in the sky, nor in heaven.’

Sometimes transliterated as: Nityanuvada, NityAnuvAda, Nityaanuvaada


In this sentence, the piling of the Vedic altar in the way described is never done. The latter two options can never happen. Hence it is called ‘nityānuvāda’. This word occurs in the Āpastamba Dharmasutras[4] and in the Purvamimānsāsutras of Jaimini.[5][6]


References

  1. Anu means following.
  2. Vāda means stating or statement.
  3. Taittiriya Samhitā 7.4.18.2
  4. Āpastamba Dharmasutras 2.6.14.3
  5. Purvamimānsāsutras 2.4.26
  6. Purvamimānsāsutras 9.4.36
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore