beginningless avidyA and transmigration

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 15 17:42:30 CDT 1999

Sankaran Panchapagesan <panchap at ICSL.UCLA.EDU> wrote:

>I have a question on this. According to Mimamsa and Vedanta, Sruti is
>apaurusheya, one of the meanings/implications of which is that it is not
>composed by any person. How is Sruti then "seen" by the Rshis? By mystic
>meditation (yoga?)? Or devotion to the Lord? If that is so, is Sruti or
>the equivalent truths "accessible" to anyone who performs the
>corresponding meditation with the same devotion, like Christians,
>Buddhists, Jains, etc.?

Calling Sruti a pramANa serves an epistemological purpose that makes
vedAnta logically consistent. Ontologically speaking, Sruti is equivalent
to the rest of the universe, i.e. it is also ultimately mithyA. The basic
truth of advaita is ultimately something that is meta-Sruti also.
Historically speaking, there was an early saying "kavayaH na jAyante,"
meaning that kavis (i.e. seers of hymns) are not born any more. How the
Rshis "saw" Sruti perhaps has to remain a mystery with no solution to it.
There is no satisfactory or complete answer that anyone can offer for this.
If we knew how, we would all be Rshis ourselves, and there would be no end
to the proliferation of scripture.

Every religion has its own scripture and its own set of views about
scripture. Basic courtesy demands that each view of scripture must coexist
and no one view can claim a universal truth value with respect to the
scriptures of other religions. However, this late in the history of
humankind, if one does not "close" the canon somewhere, there is the
dangerous possibility that every Tom, Dick and Harry will claim to "see"
scripture, and succeed in misleading people, provided (s)he has the basic
charismatic personality to become a religious leader. Without closing the
canon, the only way to counter such possibilities, I'm afraid, would be
through highly irreligious means. Neither possibility is quite safe for the
mental health of people.


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