In this post, I will look at two instances in The Jasmine Vine of Reasoning (Yuktimallikā) where Vādirājatīrtha, a prominent 16th Cent. CE scholar of Dvaita Vedānta, uses principles from Mīmāṃsā to bolster his arguments. Mīmāṃsā, one of the six traditional darśanas in Indian philosophy, is based on using a set of principles/maxims to determine the meaning of prescriptive statements in the Vedas. Since the Vedas are regarded as authorless in this system, Mīmāṃsā thinkers came up with interpretive rules or principles (nyāyas) to be followed by readers in order to understand the meaning of Vedic prescriptions without depending on authorial intention. These principles of Mīmāṃsā are used across a broad range of Sanskrit intellectual disciplines including Vedānta.
When Vādirājatīrtha invokes rules from Mīmāṃsā, he sometimes uses these rules in a casual way, framing arguments that are unlikely to be directed towards convincing interlocutors of his stance on the issue (more on that below). In these instances, Vādirājatīrtha’s approach in the debate appears to be wholly polemical, since he does not engage with the prima facie view (pūrvapakṣa) in a dialogue based on mutually accepted premises regarding Mīmāṃsā. Instead, he implies that he disagrees with some of the fundamental premises of Mīmāṃsā, but nevertheless uses these principles to argue for the superiority of Dvaita Vedānta. Vādirājatīrtha accepts these rules only hypothetically, just to show that the interlocutor who followed them would have to fall in line with the Dvaita view. It is obvious that the interlocutor that Vādirājatīrtha critiques in these passages is an adherent of Advaita Vedānta, as we will go on to see. Vādirājatīrtha’s criticisms assume that the interlocutor accepts Mīmāṃsā principles. This assumption is in accordance with the notion that Advaita scholars accept Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsā where it concerns matters relating to empirical/pragmatic reality (vyāvahārika).
In The Jasmine Vine, Vādirājatīrtha gives the reader an autobiographical note on why he came to accept Dvaita doctrines (which he refers to as Tattvavāda) by listing his primary objections to Advaita (which he refers to as Māyāvāda). These terms have dual connotations— Māyāvāda refers to the Advaita doctrine that the world is illusory (māyā), but also implies that Advaita is itself an illusory doctrine. Similarly, Tattvavāda refers to the Dvaita doctrine that the world is real, but also implies that Dvaita is the doctrine that upholds reality. Vādirājatīrtha presents his reasoning for why Dvaita is superior to other systems of thought in the following way.
parasmāt pūrva-daurbalye niṣedhād vidhibādhane /
yato mahāgrahas teṣāṃ sarveṣāṃ viduṣām api //
tatpūrva-sarva-rāddhānta-siddhārthānāṃ niṣeddhari /
pare ca tattvavāde ‘smin garīyasi bharo mama // (YM 1.21-22)
Since all these scholars [of Māyāvāda] are insistent that (a) the earlier [injunction] is weaker than the later one, and (b) that the prohibition [negative injunction] blocks the prescription [positive injunction], my praise goes to Tattvavāda which is greater [than all of them], [because] (a) it is later than the established conclusions of all the previous doctrines and (b) it negates them.
Here, Vādirājatīrtha is clearly, though not explicitly, invoking the principle of apaccheda in Mīmāṃsā (Jaimini VI.5.49-50), according to which, when there is a conflict between two independent prescriptions, the later one blocks the earlier one. The determination of which prescriptions are earlier and later is not based on chronological sequence, but on a variety of factors. Here Vādirājatīrtha refers to Dvaita as the subsequent prescription on account of it being the culmination of all doctrines and being unrefuted by later doctrines.
Vādirājatīrtha also invokes the rule that the negative injunction blocks the positive injunction to argue that Dvaita is superior to all other philosophical systems because it negates or blocks previous systems of philosophy. This is very interesting, because the rule that a negative injunction blocks a prescription does not appear to be accepted by Mīmāṃsa thinkers and is presented as a prima facie view that is refuted in the Śābarabhāṣya (X.8.5). The commentaries on The Jasmine Vine justify this by interpreting prohibition (niṣedha) to mean the negative statement that Brahman has no attributes (nirguṇatva) and the prescription (vidhi) to mean the statement that Brahman has attributes (saguṇatva). Vādirājatīrtha’s statement would then mean: “Because these scholars (of Advaita) are insistent that a) the subsequent prescription blocks the earlier one, and b) that the negative statement about Brahman’s lack of attributes blocks the positive statement about Brahman possessing attributes…” This way, the commentators attempt to resolve the problem of accepting a prima facie view as Mīmāṃsā doctrine. To me, this instance shows that Vādirājatīrtha is using these arguments casually in a polemical way and does not intend the Mīmāṃsā principles he is using to be extended to a rigorous philosophical dialogue on the soundness of Advaita doctrines.
Moreover, the rules about the injunctions only apply in the case of two statements from the śrutis, where both are regarded as authoritative, rather than statements from two different systems that present different worldviews. Additionally, Vādirājatīrtha states that it is his opponents who insist on these rules regarding injunctions, implying that he does not regard these rules as indispensable or perhaps even important. He simply accepts the Mīmāṃsā rule hypothetically to argue that it would still support the Dvaita position.
Later in the text, Vādirājatīrtha explains how statements from śrutis that apparently speak of Brahman as having no attributes can be interpreted by narrowing their scope down (saṅkoca). He offers one specific possibility that I would like to highlight here:
ananta-suguṇa-cchedāt triguṇa-cchedanaṃ varam // YM 1.794
Even by following the principle of the kapiñjalādhikaraṇa, it is better to do away with three guṇas rather than to do away with infinite guṇas [good attributes].
The principle of the kapiñjalādhikaraṇa (Jaimini XI.1.38-46) explains that when the exact quantity of an object is not specified in Vedic injunctions, the plural number in the verb must be assumed to indicate three objects. Since words can be conjugated in the dual in Sanskrit, three is the minimum number that can be conjugated in the plural. Therefore, assuming that the plural refers to three objects when no specific number is provided allows for parsimony in the extrapolation that is inevitable. Here, Vādirājatīrtha argues that statements that negate the existence of attributes in Brahman without specifying the number of attributes negated, may be interpreted in accordance with this maxim to negate three guṇas—referring, of course, to the three guṇas of sattva, rajas, and tamas that are products of prakṛti.
Here too, it is easy to see the multiple objections an interlocutor could make about the application of this maxim in this specific case. BNK Sharma, who is generally sympathetic to the Dvaita argument, terms this suggestion “cute”, implying thereby that it is not to be considered seriously. I am intrigued by Vādirājatīrtha’s use of the word ‘even’ (api) in the verse, which seems to advance this as an alternate interpretation that may or may not be meant seriously. Like the previous argument, this too seems to accept Mīmāṃsā rules hypothetically just to indicate that they would ultimately support the Dvaita position.
These uses of principles from Mīmāṃsā pose the question of who Vādirājatīrtha’s intended audience was—Was he writing primarily for disciples and other scholars internal to the tradition, who already accepted his premises? Additionally, what was the attitude of post-Vyāsatīrtha scholars of Dvaita Vedānta towards Mīmāṃsā? Did they apply it merely as a useful argumentative tool, or did they think it possible to reconcile portions of Mīmāṃsā with Dvaita doctrines?
 Freschi, Elisa, Agata Ciabattoni, Francesco A. Genco, and Björn Lellmann. “Understanding prescriptive texts: rules and logic as elaborated by the Mīmāṃsā school.” Journal of World Philosophies 2, no. 1 (2017)., 48.
 My thanks to Elisa Freschi for pointing this out.
 B N Krishnamurti Sharma, History of the Dvaita School of Vedanta and Its Literature, Vol. 1 (Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1960)., 423.