[Advaita-l] pUrva mImAmsa

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 15 10:14:43 CST 2006

--- Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy at gmail.com> wrote:

> praNAm.h shrI Jayanarayanan,
>        I have a question on the pUrva mImAmsa series you have
> written a
> while ago:
> I just wanted to make sure my understanding is correct on the
> authoredness
> of a text. Essentially, when we say, author A composed work W, do
> we mean
> that A collected some of the eternal sentences S1, S2,..., Sn and
> put them
> together in a particular order to get the work W.

Yes. According to mImAmsA, ALL words and sentences are eternal. Of
course, "words" are not merely black ink on white paper. It is the
human mind that sees black ink on white paper and "understands" or
"(re)cognizes" them as words.

> And since this
> putting
> together was done by a human, he could have made mistakes, for
> example by
> choosing false sentences etc.


> Another question -- extending the same PM logic which deduced that
> sentences
> are eternal given that words are eternal, we could say that
> passages
> comprising sentences are eternal. And hence works comprising
> passages are
> eternal, for example, W of A is eternal. So, what does it even mean
> to say
> "authored by a human"? Or if the above logic is incorrect, please
> do point
> out where the argument breaks down. Thanks so much.

Good question! I asked the same to a mImAmsA Pandit and he said that
it would take many days to answer that question. The expression he
used was, "It's a college degree in itself". So I don't (yet) know
the exact answer to that question.

But here's what I do know for sure -- all of us, when we use words in
a sentence, are "perceiving" the words, not creating them. The words
that already exist are revealed to us when we "see black ink on white
paper" or "hear phonetic sounds". If words were revealed by
pratyaksha, then a highly intelligent man who can understand only
Japanese should be able to cognize this sentence in English when he
sees the black pixels on white background (which is revealed by
pratyaksha) - but he cannot cognize the words. Hence words are a
revelation in themselves independent of pratyaksha and anumAna -
"shabda pramANa" or "Verbal cognition".

I'll find out more later on this topic on apaurushheyatva and get
back to you.


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