[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Tue Apr 25 04:10:55 CDT 2006

Shree Krishnanji, Jaldharji,
        Thanks a lot for your comments on the question of Apaurusheyatva. I
have some questions for both of you below.

I found this old article from Vidyasankar Sundaresanji very helpful:

Here's another link which explains Apaurusheyatva from a Dvaita perspective:
To summarize this article, it emphasizes the fact that Vedas have always
been considered authorless by tradition, unlike the Smrutis which are held
to be authored by humans even though the authors themselves are unknown.

Some questions:
-- Is the story of Yajnavalkya and the Tittiri birds considered "authentic"?
Could you tell me the
source of this story? I am assuming this story is authentic, for now.
-- Krishnanji said "So the Vedas are not evolving or a working documenst."
We see from the above
story that Vyasa had already organized the Vedas, and taught it to his
disciples. Vaisampayana thus learnt the Yajus from Vyasa. And the revelation
of the Sukla Yajur Veda to Yajnavalkya happens later. This shows us that
Vedas were "extensible" in some way, i.e., Yajnavalkya's verses were
accepted as Veda after the classification has already been done, isn't it?
Hence, my question, if a realized person, say Ramana Maharshi, were to come
up with more verses, why would they not be treated as Veda? The argument
would probably be Ramana Maharshi could have been biased. But assuming
Ramana Maharshi got some verses under inspiration, those verses stand on par
with Yajnavalkya's verses, right?
-- Krishnanji said "As was the system at that time he (Yagnavalkya) taught
the knowledge he "saw" or "realized" to his disciples until, at a later time
(that of Veda Vyasa) it was put into writing."
>From the above story, it seems like Yajnavalkya comes later to Vyasa.
-- Jaldharji said "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."
There's a problem here.
The status of Einstein's theory is -- it has not been proven wrong. In the
future, if a more
comprehensive theory were to come up, people would not mind relegating the
theory to a secondary status (like Newton's theory). In other words, it
probably is not part of the fabric of the universe. Thus, does it not become
imperative for the Vedantic schools to assert that the Vedas do not have any
human source whatsoever (inspired or otherwise)?
-- Jaldharji said "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.)." I totally agree with you on this.
-- I have a related question: Sankaracharya is supposed to have argued with
the Buddhists, and "defeated" them. He could obviously not have used the
Vedas as pramana in his arguments. And so also did Gaudapada counter the
Madhyamika assumptions without relying too much on the Vedas (Mandukya
Karika). So, does the Advaita school really depend on the Apaurusheyatva of
the Vedas to assert its doctrines?
-- On the whole, the statement "Vedas are a part of the fabric of the
universe" seems more like an
assumption. Instead of a convoluted "Veda is Apaurusheya, and HENCE
flawless", I guess we could take a more straight-forward "Veda is Pramana.
Hence flawless. Period. You either accept it or not." Please feel free to
give your comments.



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