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Sabara Bhashya – First Available Commentary On Mimamsa Sutra Of Jaimini

Sabara Bhashya is the first available commentary on Mimamsa Sutra of Jaimini. Sabara (57 BC to 5th century CE) systemized it by arranging all the sutras in twelve chapters, subdivided into adhikaranas and padas.

According to Mimamsa, dharma consists of duties enjoined in Vedas as conducive to one’s welfare. This system itself was developed to remove discrepancies in any contradictory Vedic statements and decide the meaning of Vedas. Purva Mimamsa is the system dealing with the rural part of Vedas, whereas the Uttara Mimamsa is the one which deals with the path of knowledge.

Sabara removed all misconceptions regarding this system and interpreted it on a logical basis. Instead of prescribing the reading of Vedas for their own sake, he declared them to be studied with a purpose. His commentary on Tarkapada is a beautiful example of a scientific exposition that does not accept the concept of Ishwara (Supreme God). Sabara continued with that and further established that God is neither supreme nor has the power to sanction the fruit of an action.

Through his commentary, Sabara countered Buddhist scholars attacking the Vedas as a valid existemology, the sacrificial institution and the concept of atman (soul). Sabara put aside Brahman and made karma the central concept. Hence it came to be recognized as Purva Mimamsa, and Vedanta as Uttara Mimamsa. Even the Brahmavadins regarded him as the authority on worldly matters.

Sabara makes his position clear by using examples from daily life and the popular epics. His style and language have marked characteristics of liquidity and fluency.