[Advaita-l] The Wisdom in the Rig-veda can only be compared to thousands Suns

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Feb 13 15:03:30 CST 2005

On Wed, 9 Feb 2005 sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org wrote:

> Let me also tell you that Kumarila Bhatta clearly mentions that "Mantra,
> Brahmana and Kalpa is Veda", and therefore, most of the quotation that
> have been discussed in the Mimamsa Shastras are mostly from the Kalpa
> Sutras,

This assertion surprised me so I did some research.  The
kalpasutradhikarana of the P.M. sutras (1.3.11-14) deals with this subject
and unless I am misunderstanding something I think you have the
purvapaksha and siddhanta backwards.

I don't have a copy of Kumarilas works but for this and the other posts I
will be making on the subject of Purvamimamsa I consulted a copy of the
plain sutras, and the following books which I believe accurately describe
Bhatta mata:

Madhavas' Jaiminiyanyayamala with his own commentary vistara.  This is a
verse rendition of the the adhikaranas of the P.M. sutras and the
commentary explains the purvapaksha and siddhanta of each.  Madhava lived
in the 14th century and was the minister to the founders of the
Vijayanagara empire.  He later took sannyasa under the name Vidyaranya
became jagadguru of Shringeri and is celebrated as the author of
Panchadashi, Jivanmuktiviveka and other Vedantic works.

Mahamahopadhya Chinnaswami Shastris' Mimamsanayaviveka.  This is a prose
synopsis of the adhikaranas of the Mimamsa shastra.  He lived in Kashi
in the 20th century.

prayogashAstramiti chet || 11 ||
"If so then the practical shastras [are also apauruSheya]"

Previously the apauruSheyatva  of Shruti has been established.  Now the
objector says what about the "prayogashAstras"?  First of all, what is a
prayogashAstra?  Madhava glosses the beginning of the objection like this:

baudhayanApastambAshvalAyanakAtyAyanAdinAmA~NkitA.h kalpasUtrAdigranthA
nigamaniruktaShaDa~Ngagrantha manvAdismrtayaschApauruSheya |

"The kalpa sutra books known by names such as Baudhayana, Apastamba,
Ashvalayana, and Katyayana, the books belonging to the six [ved]angas,
handed down _such_as_Nirukta_, the Smrtis like Manu etc. are also

Note Nirukta is in the same boat as the kalpasutras.  So either both or
equally valid authorities or both are equally invalid.

The reasons the objector gives are:

1.  We learn Dharma from them just like the Vedas.

kalpasutras contain instructions for performing yajnas etc.  In fact they
are more practical because they deal with the practice alone without
muddying things up with other topics.  (This is why they are referred to
as "practical" or prayoga shastras.  The books we have today called
prayogas take it even further and just give a step by step "recipe" for
performing rituals.)

2.  They are the product of revered Rshis just like the Vedas

They are associated with the names of august persons like Apastamba,
Yaska, Manu etc.

3.  They are passed down from guru to shishya just like the Vedas

Apastamba and Baudhayana kalpa sutras belong to Krshnayajurveda.
Ashvalayana sutra belongs to Rgveda, and Katyayana sutra belongs to
Shuklayajurveda.  Other smrtis and vedangas do not have such a clear
relation to a particular shakha but most do.

Maharshi Jaimini responds to these objections in the next three sutras:

na'sanniyamAt || 12 ||

No due to the lack of accents.

The language of the Vedic texts has tonal accents (udAtta anudAtta) etc.
Sanskrit does not.  The kalpasutras etc. are in Sanskrit and do not have
the accents so they must have a different provenence.  (As an aside, this
is an interesting argument given our discussion of the Vajrasuchika isn't

avAkyasheShAchcha || 13 ||

And not being supplemental to the text.

This continues the rejoinder and inter alia counters another idea
Siddharthakrishnaji put forth.  He said:

"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

The Mimamsaka view is that yes the brahmana "comments" as it were upon the
mantra but the mantra is also not understandable or useful without the
context provided by the brahmana.  Together they make up one conceptual
unit.  Mantra and brahmana complement and supplement each other.  To say
one is less pramana than the other is like saying nothing I write on
advaita-l represents my views, because writing comes secondarily from my
hand whereas the thought originated in my brain.

Now back to our sutra.  The kalpasutras are not vAkyasheSha.  In theory
you can learn everything you need to do to perform a particular action
directly from the Shruti.  The kalpasutras sole reason for being is that
they gather up all the details in a convenient, easy to use form.  Other
Vedangas do the same.

sarvatra cha prayogAtsannidhAnashAstrAchcha || 14 ||

And everywhere in the prayogas [only one topic is discussed] and they are

The single-mindedness of the prayogashastras are held against them.  They
only deal with one selected topic (rituals, etymology etc.) whereas the
Vedas deal with everything.  Obviously each prayogashastra is only
examining one slice of total Vedic thought so they are subsidiary and not
equal to Shruti itself.

Furthermore these prayogashastras are not the views of just the one Rshi
given as the author but compendia of the thoughts of different thinkers.
While some of those thinkers views are held to be siddhanta, othe views
are rejected and only mentioned essentially as footnotes.  In other words
the Vedangas digest and systemize knowledge found in the Vedas.  They do
not add anything new.  Thus they are subsidiary and not equal to Shruti

Siddharthakrishnaji has invoked the names of Yaska and Patanjali against
the Mimamsakas.  But as much as we may regard those sages for their other
contributions, their views on the nature and purpose of the Vedas has
fallen by the wayside and the Mimamsakas have resoundingly won.  If you
break the law and the police arrest you, you cannot defend yourself by
saying "I remember when this law was passed 10 years ago, several
opposition MPs were against it.  So I have decided it doesn't apply to
me."  In a democracy the legislature may consist of communists and
capitalists, anarchists and monarchists and every shade of belief in
between.  They may argue fiercely over some piece of legislation but at
the end of the day when the vote is taken and the law is passed, all have
to abide by it.  If we are going to treat Yaska and Patanjali as
authorities, then what is to stop someone from doing the same for Kautsa
or some other footnote?

Anyway for all these reasons, the siddhanta is that the kalpasutras etc.
are not apaurusheya like the Shruti.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a boy! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/nilagriva/

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