[Advaita-l] Brahmana scriptures are not svataHparamANa

sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org
Thu Feb 3 11:43:22 CST 2005

Brahmana Scriptures are not svataHpramANa

Respected Jaldhar ji,

>>>>>>>That is not the view of any classical Indian thinker. All the four
sections of the Vedas are revealed (Shruti.) That the later parts refer
to earlier parts only shows that the seeing did not take place with a
flash and a bang but over a period of generations.

Yes, all the four sections of the Vedas are called Shruti, but there is
one very particular term that is called "brahma", and let me tell you that
this term is exclusively used for the mantras of the Samhita, the rest
three sections of the Vedas are called "brahmana", i.e. related to that
brahma. The term brahma for the Samhita Mantra is repeatedly used in the
Panini makes some clear distinctions in grammatical rules for the Mantras
and the brahmanas, which also shows that brahmana is a different set of
scriptures than the Mantras, the true Veda, the brahma, the Shabda Brahma.
Kaatyana is the only scholar who clearly mentions in his Kalpa, that
Mantra and Brahmana are both called Veda. Fine, what is the problem, but
brahmanas are not called mantra and also not brahma. The traditional
scholars still call the mantras of the Brihadaranyaka (shatapatha
brahmana) kandika, and not mantra. One thing more regarding Katyana, his
sutra is on Krishna Yajurveda, which is indeed a mixture of both, the
mantra and the brahmana, so he said that. But this doesn't imply that this
should be the case with all other Shakhas.
But now the question is whether mantra and brahmana both are
svataHpramANa, or whether the brahmana should be considered as
parataHpramANa. I personally think that since most of the brahmanas keep
on quoting mantras from the Samhitas, they should be considered
paratahpramana. What do you think?
One thing more, which clearly indicates that some of the ancient
grammarians didn't accept the Brahmanas as authentic. In Nirukta, a
grammarian Gaargya has been mentions. He is advocating a particular system
of interpreting words, not the Nirukta system, but the system similar to
the one accepted by Panini, a system which has a very clear
prakriti-pratyaya vibhaaga. He clearly rejects the Nirukta system of
interpretation, which is precisely the system followed in the Brahmanas,
in the Aranyakas and in the Upanishads. If for Gargya Brahmana would have
been equally authentic as the Samhita, he wouldn't have said that.
Yaska also rejects a view of an opponent who tries to prove on the bases
of the Brahmanas that the Veda Mantras don't have any meaning, which shows
very clearly that the Brahmanas were not as authentic for Yaska as the
Samhita itself.
If you would read any brahama you would very clearly see that they have a
great regard for the "brahmavaadi", these are not people that speak about
the Supreme, but simply people who are well-versed in the brahma, the
All this makes me a bit confused in accepting that both the Samhita and
the Brahmana are equally svataHpramANa.
I'm very well aware that after the Mimamsakas, both parts of the Veda were
considered equally authentic by all traditional scholars, but I seriously
doubt that this was the case in very ancient times. Let me tell you that
Mimamsakas, like Kumarila, has gone as far as declaring that even the
Kalpa Sutras are a part of the Veda and are equally authentic, please let
me know if you can really agree with that. Can you accept that even the
Kalpas are reveled scriptures, I don't think so. Or, then, one thing we
could say that since all knowledge comes from God and hence is reveled by
Him. Than, we should accept the Koran, the Bible, the Avesta, the Torah
and the Tripitikas and the Vedas are all reveled scriptures and are
equally authentic. I really personally firmly believe this, but I don't if
any orthodox religious person would agree with me.
Then I would say that even the Advaita Theories of Shankara, some of them
not at all clearly mentioned in the Upanishads, are also revelations. I
can accept that and I do accept that, but I don't know if all would do the
same. I hope you understand my point.
Please let me know what you think on these points.
Love and Pranams,
Siddhartha Krishna

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