Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya (VP) is notorious for the multiplicity of the mutually
exclusive doctrines expounded there, without any final solution. This paper aims to
demonstrate that in the case of every controversial question discussed in VP, the
variety of views on it can be reduced to a basic antinomy which serves as a kind of
proposition for the problem under consideration. These antinomies are sometimes
expressed explicitly but very often they are hidden in the text of VP. The fundamental
dichotomy is the opposition between pluralism and monism, the origin of which in
turn can be traced in the contradiction between the grammatical background and
ontological trends of Bhartṛhari’s philosophy.
The way in which Bhartṛhari integrates these extremities into a total system is
analyzed in this paper on the basis of some passages, dealing with a certain
semantic problem, from the 1st and the 3rd kāṇḍas of VP. Attention is focused on the
concept of activity and its role in Bhartṛhari’s philosophical discourse.