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Slokavarttika – Treatise On Mimamsa By Kumarila Bhatta

Slokavarttika is a treatise on Mimamsa by Kumarila Bhatta. As the words shloka (Sanskrit verse), and varttika (an explanatory gloss) suggest, it is a metrical and glossarial exposition. It is the first of three parts of a commentary on the well known Sabara Bhasya, which in turn is the only extant commentary on the 2,700 sutras (aphorisms) of Jaimini (200 BCE) on Mimamsa system of Hindu philosophy.

Bhashya of Sabara (57 BCE) consists of 12 chapters and Slokavarttika is an exposition on the first pada (quarter) of the first chapter of Bhashya. While the following three quarters of the chapter and the next three chapters of Bhashya are dealt with in another composition known as Tantravarttika, the last of the three compositions known as Tuptika contains brief notes on the remaining chapters.

Sloka Vartika is as much a critical commentary on the Tarkapada portion of Sabara Bhasya as it is an independent work on the Mimamsa system itself. Its content is purely philosophical in nature as it deals mainly with problems relating to epistemology though ontological discussions are also undertaken. It advocates svatapramanya (self-validity) of knowledge and holds that apramanya (invalidity) is caused by extraneous factors which are detected later. Its importance stands out in the history of Hindu philosophy as it represents one of the earlier attempts at refuting the subjective idealism of Buddhism and attempting to replace it by realism. It has been the basis of Advaita epistemology. As opposed to the Buddhist view that there was only two means of knowledge, viz., pratyaksha (perception) and anumana (inference), Kumarila Bhatta has established that sources of all human knowledge fall under sabda (knowledge texts), upamana (comparison), arthapatti (presumption) and anupalabdhi (non-apprehension) in addition to the above mentioned perception and inference. Tatparya Deepika by Umvega, Kasika by Sucharitmishra and Nyayaratnakara of Parthasarathi Mishra are some of the well known commentaries on this text.