ADVAITA-L Digest - 15 Jun 1999 to 16 Jun 1999 (#1999-54)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 16 18:14:50 CDT 1999

Gerald Penn <gpenn at SFS.NPHIL.UNI-TUEBINGEN.DE> wrote:

>The distinction is quite relevant here, because it could be (and, I

You are right. I should have said well-founded.

>has been) argued that no system of knowledge can purport to be well-founded
>that claims that the entire universe is mithya.  If one accepts that
>then apaurusheya serves no purpose at all.  Ideas, anyone?

The Dvaitins have already argued this. But it depends on what exactly one
means by apaurusheyatva. If one holds that brahman is the source of all
there is, then brahman also becomes the source of scripture. However,
scripture also serves as a pramANa to tell us about brahman. See Sankara's
bhAshya on the sUtra SAstrayonitvAt. The really strong view of
apaurusheyatva was held by the pUrva mImAMsakas, but advaita vedAnta holds a
much modified view. Sruti is indeed apaurusheya and is accepted as reliable.
However, the pAramArthika viewpoint transcends even scripture. And the
advaitin would argue that this is stated in the scripture itself, when it
talks of parA and aparA vidyA.

>> if one does not "close" the canon somewhere,
>I suppose at this point I should be feeling guilty for not following the
>recent postings to this list from the Shankara Gitabhashya, but I was under
>the impression that one of the central tenets of Chapter 2 of the Gita is
>to delineate qualified teachings and their qualified teachers.  At the same
>time, it doesn't read, at least to me, as necessarily closing the "canon,"

My argument essentially is that one cannot and need not impose the Indian
thinking about apaurusheyatva on the scriptures of religions like
Christianity and Islam. Or for that matter on the texts of the Buddhists and
Jains. There is a wide range of thinking about scripture in the world, and
quite a lot of it involves circular reasoning, which the notion of
apaurusheyatva avoids. But we are still at a loss to answer a question about
how the mecahnisms by which the Rshis "saw" the Veda. The simpler way out is
to simply accept the age-old tradition of scripture, thereby closing it


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