Hindu cphilosophers have elevated their greatest grammarian Paanini to the level of a of a darśanakāra and his system of thought to that of a philosophy - pāṇinī darśana. It must however be remembered that a darśana means more than speculation as it is commonly understood – it means speculation in its etymological sense of SEEING as in the word speculum. Philosophy is a science of thought and deals with the objects of thought of which thought was , in reality the dress - a pre-existent concept becoming a precept (a presentation). Thoughts gets expressed in words as padārthās ; literally objects of words – not objects of thoughts as some Greek philosophers assumed, calling them GNOMINA – which they later, under the influence of Hindu thought travelling to Alexandria, changed to NOMINA ,meaning names mere integuments of thought. Max Mueller says, "they (the hindu philosophers, observed very well that the study of language was an integral part of philosophy" and that "we humans have no other means of perceiving the thoughts of others , nay even our own thoughts, except in the form of words" Thus we see that words are the only phenomenal forms of thought and hence the connection between words and their objects are conventional, in the sentence that we transcend them in our understanding and enjoy their kernel discarding their shells.
In Vedanta, however, not only the relation between the words and their objects is conventional but also the relation between forms and their ultimate meaning , namely GOD, is also conventional . As it has been truly stated, all words have their faces turned towards GOD. The ancient Hindu philosophers were deeply religious too. There was no divorce between religion and philosophy and religion to them was nothing if not profound spiritual experience That is why the great samkara declares “--- na srutyaadaya eva, anubhavādayaśca yathāsambhavam iha ( brahmajiġṇyāsāyām ) pramāṇam, anubhavāvasānatvāt, bhūtavastuviṣayatvāt ca brahmajñānasya. A verse from the śveatāśvatara upaniṣad pronouceds “ naiva strī na pumāneṣa na caivāyam napumsakaḥ yat yat śarīram adatte tena tena sa yujyate” The words of the verse may conjure up visions of a man, awoman, and a transgender respectively but to the sage all forms are subsumed in God Thus, the great mādhavācārya, in his sarvadarśanasamgraha places pāṇini darśana between jaimini darśanā and sāmkhya darśana , approximating it but not quite aligning it to Sankara's Advaita. Sage Patanjali in his Great Commentary , the mahaabhaaShya has compared " shabda " the great God and quoted the follpowiig śruti texzt
carvāri śṛṅgā trayo asya pādā dve ṣīrṣe saptahastāso asya tridhā baddho vṛṣabho roravīti maho devo martyām āviveśa i
The various word forms of grammar are the different bodily parts of the 'Great (Divine and mythical) Bull' such as His four hor ns, the two heads seven limbs etc That Immortal Divinity has entered the mortal man and manifested as speech The idea is that words are but the phenomenal shapes which the Noumenal shabda brahman has manifested Himself A similar idea is echoed by Hari in his vAkyapadIya when he invebns an interesting story to illustrate the point. A stranger searching for the hoiuse of a certain Devadatta in a colony of identical houses is guided thus; Lo the house on which the crow is perdhing is Devadatta's house Having identified the house the stranger heads towards it but in the meantime the crow flies away Yet the house is accessed, crow or no crow; the bird was a mere sign, but the Devadatta's house in this case is the 'signified'. Such, Hari says, is the adventitious relation of language to the shabdabrahman
It can thus be seen that as in the other schools like saa~Mkhya and in vedanta there is an ascending scale from grosser to subtler entities namely from language to thoughts , from thoughts to mind and intellect- sll of them mateerial leading ultimatlely to the Spirit. named differently by different schools. Maadhava achaarya was right in assigning Panini a place between Jaimini on one side and Kapila and Sankara on the other. It is another matter that Sankara had doctrinal difference with the 'Sphota' concept of the grammarians regarding it as superfluous