I think that we all have had experiences where we pick up an old text for the umpteenth time, and looking over an old passage, see something new or interesting within it. Recently, I noticed something interesting while reading though Vātsyāyana’s Bhāṣya, in the section where he defends the Veda as a special case of authoritative testimony (Nbh 2.1.57-68). There’s a lot here of interest, including an expansion of his account of what makes a speaker authoritative (āpta), and the development of a strategy that articulates the status of non-ordinary modes of knowing as special cases of our familiar, time-tested pramāṇas. Common phrases in the section include variants of yathā loke. . . (“just as it is in this world”).
What just caught my eye is his response to the objection that anuvāda passages of the Veda are defective owing to the fault of repetition (NBh 2.1.66-7). I leave it to Andrew Ollett and Elisa to provide more context for the literary fault of repetition (if they so choose!). Suffice to say, it is minimally taken to be bad form to repeat something already said. From the perspective of pramāṇa-śāstra, we know that on one fairly common—if problematic—construal, genuine knowledge sources must give us something “new”. Whatever his motivations, Vātsyāyana’s interlocutor tells us that the fault with repetitive passages in the Veda is that they repeat words whose objects are “already known”, and are thus as useless (anarthaka) as ordinary repetition.
In his response, Vātsyāyana distinguishes between useless repetition and purposive repetition. Simply repeating something is [sometimes] useless, but there are clearly cases when repetition has meaning (arthavat).
“Hurry! Hurry!”, conveys the notion that one must increase one’s effort and pick up the pace.
“He’s cooking, he’s cooking”, conveys the fact that the activity of cooking continues uninterrupted.
“The god’s rain avoids Trigarta, it avoids Trigarta” conveys complete lack of rain on the region.
While this is not developed into an account of implicature (or, for that matter, speech acts), it is a pleasant, early recognition of the wider ranging power of language to produce contentful awareness beyond mere denotation.