[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Apr 19 22:01:54 CDT 2006

On Fri, 7 Apr 2006, Ram Garib wrote:

> We read in our scriptures an ancient struggle between
> the followers of trayi-vidya on one side with
> vasishtha and vishwamitra leading it; and on the other
> side, proponents of atharvana as veda under the
> leadership of bhrigu and angiras. Even Gita also talks
> of three vedas.

It speaks of the triple Vedas.  I always understood this to mean that it 
contains three types of mantra, Rk (poetry,) Yajus (prose,) and Saman 
(song) As the atharvaveda also consists of rks it would not have to be 
listed seperately.

> Can anyone thow light on this? Why atharva was not
> considered as veda? Is there any historical account
> when it started being considered as veda? And what
> finally led to its acceptance as veda? Did it have any
> effect on the doctrine of apaurusheyatva?

All Astika sources to my knowledge consider the Atharveda to be shruti and 
the Vedas to be 4.  The idea of struggle is speculation on the part of 
historians only.  If such a struggle did occur, it must have occurred a 
very long time ago indeed.  Consider the important role of Maharshi 
Dadhichi the Atharvana in helping the Ashvins acquire the Madhuvidya or 
that Bhrgu is the son of Varuna.

My theory is this.  Having seen the mantras, the Rshis began to ponder 
their meaning and significance. Over the generations, these views began to 
crystalize into various schools of interpretation.  We know from e.g. 
Nirukta some of these schools.  But one mode of interpretation, that of 
the Yajnikas or Mimamsakas gained ascendancy--so much so that the very 
shape and organization of the Vedas as we have them is based on Mimamsaka 
notions.  The "atharvaNangirasau" represent another school, one which 
looked upon mantras as a means of "magic."  Because they were based on the 
same revelation, they could not be excluded from the Vedic canon but their 
position is a bit of an anomaly from the viewpoint of the dominant 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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