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Once more, ajyate.

In de La Vallee Poussin's edition of the Mulamadhyamakakarikas (MMK) of Nagarjuna together with Candrakirti's Prasannapada (Bibliotheca Buddhica IV, 1903-13) the text of karika II.11 is as follows:

gamane dve prasajyete ganta yady uta gacchati ganteti cocyate yena ganta san yac ca gacchati

In his translation of the Tibetan version (Die Mittlere Lehre des Nagarjuna, nach der tibetischen Version ubertragen [Heidelberg, 1911]) Max Walleser remarked that one must read ajyate for ucyate. He translated accordingly: "Wenn der Geher gert, so trifft zweifaches Gehen zu: Das, durch welches er als Geher oftenbar wird (ajyate), und das, welches er, als Geher, geht." His excellent conjecture is fully confirmed by the reading of manuscript R (cf. Indo-Iranian Journal 20 [1978]: 37, sub 99.6). In karikas 22 and 23 the same manuscript reads yayajyate for yayocyate. This reading has been generally accepted and is also found in Chr. Lindtner's edition of MMK (Nagarjunas filosofiske vaerker [Kobenhavn, 1982]). However, Alex Wayman rejected this reading because "the verb aj- means 'to drive, propel'" (JAOS 105 [1985]: 586, n. 35). In a brief note I pointed out that ajyate is the third person singular passive of the root anj- (JAOS 106 [1986]: 803).

In a recently published collection of his essays (Untying the knots in Buddhism [Delhi, 1997], 304-5) Alex Wayman declares himself not convinced and writes:

Neither J. May nor any other competent translator could have rendered that verse using the anj- ("to anoint"); J. May, in fact, accepted the reading ucyate. It was in William Dwight Whitney, The Roots . . . of the Sanskrit Language (reprint, New Haven, 1945) that I noticed the form ajyate as the passive for both aj- and anj-; but in my published essay I mentioned aj- which was the only possibility for de Jong's readings to be correct. I rejected his suggested solution because the Tibetan translation mngon apparently disagrees with him.

I do not understand at all how aj- 'to drive' was the only possibility "for de Jong's readings to be correct." It is true that Jacques May translated ucyate, but in a note he remarked that Walleser read ajyate for ucyate and that in the karikas 11, 22, 23 and their commentaries "les racines VAC- et ANJ- interferent" (Candrakirti Prasannapada Madhyamakavrtti [Paris, 1959], 62, n. 46 - n.b. not n. 45). Without doubt Jacques May would have preferred the reading ajyate if he had known that it is found in manuscript R.

In my note I did not explain the meaning of anj- because I never expected that anybody would rely on Whitney's compendium for the meanings of this root without consulting a dictionary. Anyone consulting, for instance, Monier-Williams' dictionary would have found as one of the meanings "to cause to appear, make clear." In his article on "The Three Sanskrit Roots ANC-/ANJ-" (Vak 2 [Poona] [1952]: 36-99) E B. J. Kuiper pointed out that anj- "to show, to reveal, manifest" is generally confounded with the root anj- "to anoint" (cf. p. 76). Even though it was published in Poona, Kuiper's article seems to have been overlooked by the compilers of the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Sanskrit on Historical Principles: cf. vol. 2, p. 838 where we find the meaning "to make manifest, to reveal, to show" under anj C i.

If Wayman had consulted chapter IX of the MMK, he would have seen that anj- occurs there in verses 5 and 6. May did not translate it by "to anoint" but by "se manifester." In both cases Candrakirti glosses ajyate by abhivyajyate. Finally ajyate is also found in chapter XXV, verse 16, where Candrakirti explains: ajyate grhyate prakasyate va. This is the only reference to ajyate in Susumu Yamaguchi's Index to the Prasannapada Madhyamaka-vrtti (Kyoto, 1974, p. 4), which excludes terms appearing in the karikas. After correcting ucyate to ajyate in chapter II, one sees that Nagarjuna has used ajyate no less than six times. In his article Kuiper noted that "the use of anj- in the classical language seems to have been restricted to this compound" (i.e., compounds with vi-) (p. 77). For the use of ajyate in classical Sanskrit the Encyclopaedic Dictionary quotes, apart from MMK 9.5, only two examples in later texts (Bhattikavya and Dvyasrayakavya). It is therefore interesting to see that Nagarjuna made a rather frequent use of ajyate.

Wayman, in the future, should consult not only Whitney's Roots (which dates from 1885 and ought to be published in revised form), but also Sanskrit dictionaries and the publications of other scholars. Both Walleser in 1911 and May in 1959 correctly translated ajyate. Finally, I have to point out that Wayman, in referring to my translation of "six" chapters of the Prasannapada (Paris, 1949), seems to have misunderstood the French title: Cinq chapitres de la Prasannapada - cinq meaning "five" and not "six."
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Title Annotation:Nagarjuna's 'Mulamadhyamakakarikas'
Author:De Jong, J.W.
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Date:Jan 1, 1998
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