muktika upanishhad (was Re: Brahmana)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sun Feb 16 23:59:09 CST 1997

On Fri, 14 Feb 1997, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:

> No it need not. The padma purANa contradicts shruti by saying shiva should not
> be worshiped. So do many other purANa-s.

Now this is a bizarre turn of events, you're making ISKCON arguments? :-)
No authentic Purana says such a thing.

> The final authority in all such cases
> is shruti and not handwaving, back pedaling arguments that the authors of some
> smR^iti texts must have followed shruti and hence this upanishhad is a fake
> and so on.

Right but the bone of contention in this case is what constitutes Shruti.
There are some texts in the Vedas which are sufficiently unclear that
people can disagree on their meaning yet mainstream enough to be accepted
by everyone.  Then there are some statements which are so off the wall it
becomes more reasonable to reject them outright than to stretch and warp
ones theories to accomodate them.

> Read pUrva mimA.nsA arguments on how a text is established as shruti.

"apaurusheyam vakyam vedah." as MM Laugakshi Bhaskara says.  These vakyas
were heard by the Rshis, passed down through their disciples who taught
their disciples to the present day.  So one of way of ascertaining the
validity of a text is to see if it has attracted the notice of the
parampara. If it hasn't, well that doesn't neccessarily mean we can reject
it straight away but we should at least be suspicious.

> You have this cute habit of switching back and forth between "critical
> scholarship" and vedanta whatever pleases you. In your previous mail you
> claimed
> that pUrva mimA.nsA scholars do not accept this upanishhad.

Not quite, I said they did not notice it and quote from it.  I can think
of two reasons for this.  One, the vajrasuchi Upanishad simply didn't
exist at that time or two, they knew of it and didn't regard it as
genuine.  There could be other reasons but my point is this document is
not part of the mainstream tradition.

 > When you were asked
> by Giri who they were, and when I pointed out two stalwarts in the advaita
> tradition who accept the muktika, you back pedal furiously and claim to be a
> critical scholar.

Uh no. I actually accepted your proof.  _And_ I accept the arguments of
critical scholars.  What I don't do is give equal weight to both.  In fact
it is impossible to give one set formula for this.  Each issue has to be
looked at on a case by case basis.  It is intellectually dishonest to
split your brain into "eastern" and "western" sections particularly
because Sanskrit authors sometimes use critical methods and some Western
academics make use of the shastraic tradition.  Overall my allegiance is
to the Vedic tradition so I prefer the conclusions that support that
tradition but I cannot willfully remain blind to opposing or merely
differing views.

>Well, I have no use for views of critical scholars. Let us
> stick to advaita and bonafide teachers in this sampradAya.

Again my allegiance is to the entire Vedic tradition.  As it happens I
think Advaita Vedanta is the best expression of that tradition--that's why
I read this list.  But it should be strongly emphasized that belief in
Advaita depends on belief in tradition, not the other way round.

So let's stick to the whole tradition not just single persons or texts
even if they are extremely worthy of respect (which I do not doubt.)

> > anthing about the views of the other.  From the critical point of view,
> > there is ample evidence to suggest it like most of the minor upanishads is
> > far later than the big 10.  Differences in language, terminology, metre
> > and adherence to a specific Vedic Shakha are all non-hand-waving factors
> > in coming to this conclusion.
> No. Can you point out to a single pUrva mIma.nsA text which claims adherence
> to a certain metre is necessary?

"From the critical point of view" it doesn't matter what the Purva Mimamsa
texts say does it?  Once again the question boils down to what weight
we're willing to assign various pieces of evidence.  I.e do we find the
critical conjecture persuasive or even just worthy of notice?  That Vedic
language is different to Sanskrit is not a modern notion.  Panini knew it
and that's why he has seperate sutras for the Vedic speech.  That the
anushtubh chhanda of the Vedas is slightly different from the common
shloka is also not a new idea.  Pingala knew it and the Chhanda sutras are
a Vedanga.  What if anything are we going to do with this information?

> That way the shvetAshvatara and the
> mANDUkya
> would have be discarded on the basis of not belonging to a specific shaka.

Shvetashvatara is a shaka of the Krishnayajurveda.  In the case of the
Mandukya we have independant testimony from several different comentators
that it belongs to the Atharvaveda.

> they don't have svara-s either. However the gaNapati upanishhad satisfies both
> criteria. So would you discard the other two and put the gaNapati U in the 10
> principal upanishhad-s?

The lack of svaras is problematic but more than offset by other evidence
for the antiquity of those works.  Remember we look at all the evidence
not isolated bits.

> > > Whether shrI sha.nkara quoted a upanishhad or not cannot be the means for
> > > judging it's validity.
> >
> > Not the only means but certainly a means.
> Certainly not, since he has never claimed to have quoted all
>upanishhad-s extant
> during his time.

Being quoted by Shankaracharya is strong evidence for it being genuine.
Not being quoted by him says nothing.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
"Witty quote" - Dead Guy   /\/\/\ _ _ ___ _  _ Amboy       v      McQ!

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list