[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Apr 18 15:44:17 CDT 2006

On Fri, 7 Apr 2006, Siddhartha Annapureddy wrote:

> Namaste all,
>      I have a few questions on Apaurusheyatva. Could some of you clarify
> these issues? Thanks.
> -- What does it mean to say Apaurusheyatva (lack of an author)? Consider
> this story about how Yajnavalkya "rebelled" against Vaisampayana, and
> acquired the Sukla Yajur Veda from Surya Deva.
> -- All we know is that Yajnavalkya turns up one day, and claims to have
> discovered more of the Vedas. How do people judge it to be really Veda?

For one thing, most of the contents of the Shuklayajurveda are the same as
the Krshnayajurveda, just arranged differently.

> Is
> it by the merit of the shlokas that they were given the status of Shruti? If
> a realized person today were to come up with some more such shlokas, would
> they be considered Veda? Is there some internal reference in the Vedas
> themselves that there shall be no more Veda?
> -- Also, with regard to the discovery of the Veda itself, here are a few
> possibilities. Firstly, there
> might indeed be a Surya Deva who taught Yajnavalkya. Personally, I do not
> believe in such kind of
> extra-terrestrial entities (at any rate, not of the kind where people could
> have conversed with them
> thousands of years ago). Is that what people mostly believe, just curious?

Personally I do. It didn't necessarily have to be a "conversation" though.

> Another possibility which
> appeals to me is that Yajnavalkya might have obtained these verses under
> inspiration. In which case, people knew Yajnavalkya was the author of the
> Sukla Yajur Veda. How then is it Apaurusheyatva? For example, you could say
> Einstein obtained relativity under inspiration.

Sure.  In fact that's a good analogy because the mantras are seen as being
part of the fabric of the universe itself just like scientific laws.

> We recognize him to be the
> author, and credit him as such (though probably, the theory of relativity is
> always all around us waiting to be discovered by everyone).

Exactly.  We call it Einsteins theory, purely be convention.  Now imagine
someone said "Einstein was a Jew so as Hindus we don't have to believe in
relativity."  That would be absurd right?  This is the whole point of the
doctrine of apaurusheyatva; that we should look at the meaning of the
words of the Rshis instead of trying to second guess them based on their
personalities (or gender etc.)

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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