My research project focuses on the study of the Sādhanasamuddeśa, the seventh chapter in the third book of the Vākyapadīya (henceforth, VP) of Bhartṛhari (ca. 5th c. C.E.), one of the most important work in the history of the Sanskrit grammatical tradition and philosophy of language, together with its only existing commentary, the Prakīrṇaprakāśa (henceforth, PrPr) of Helārāja (ca. 10th c. C.E).
The Sādhanasamuddeśa deals with the notion of sādhana, "factor of action". By this term, Bhartṛhari designates a fundamental semantic category, namely the capacity to act that is attributed to things according to the speaker's mental representations. This is regarded as a relational property, a potentiality that, though innate in things, is manifested only in relation to actions and is reflected in the syntactical relationships between nouns and verbs.
I am at present working on an annotated translation of the Sādhanasamuddeśa, paying particulat attention to the intra-textual references and parallels, for the notion of sādhana can only be fully assessed in the context of the theory of the utterance (vākya) as the primary unit of language, upheld by Bhartṛhari. Moreover, the ideas presented in the SāS are read within the history of the tradition of Pāṇinian grammar, investigating Bhartṛhari's attitude towards his predecessors, his sense of belonging to a tradition as well as his self-awareness of being an innovator, but also evaluating his influence on the later grammarians. Finally, the views expressed in the SāS are also to be understood within the broader context of Indian philosophy. Since Bhartṛhari belongs to a period when the traditional brahmanic schools were still in their formative phase, any reference to other schools found in his work represent a precious testimony of their early development, which needs to be compared with the known sources. I also examine the manner in which Helārāja interprets them a few centuries later, in the light of the views that had been developed in the meantime.