[Advaita-l] Re: pramANatva of shruti [was

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Thu Nov 23 19:21:08 CST 2006

praNAm.h shrI Amuthan,

> traditionally, advaitins have accepted all smRti-s which do not
> contradict shruti as pramANa.

The question is -- "Why do advaitins (or vEdAntins for that matter) accept
all smR^itis as  pramANa?".

shabda pramANa can be classified as follows:
-- vEdas
-- dharmashAstras
-- itihAsas and purANas

If we put the above question to the pUrva mImAmsakas, they will say:
-- We accept vEdas because they are apaurushEya and hence flawless (and they
will give a proof of it. Let's not get into the validity of the proof and
the element of faith in it for now.)
-- We accept smR^itis (dharmashAstras presumably) because the sentences of
the smR^iti actually come from the vEdas, and hence are apaurushEya. Such
vEdas are now lost to us and are preserved only in the form of smR^iti
(Please see shrI Jayanarayanan's series on the defence of the smR^itis by
kumArila. I am not sure what the opinion of prabhAkara on this issue is.)
-- I am not aware if they have any defence for the other smR^itis like
rAmAyaNa, mahAbhArata etc. which are known to be paurushEya. In other words,
when push comes to shove, they would not mind relegating these smR^itis to
the background. For example, BG 2.42 goes clearly against the pUrva
mImAmsaka, and I am not sure if they would accept the "BG in its entirety"
as a  pramANa.

Now, my question is, how does the vEdAntin answer the above question? He can
use the same mImAmsaka proofs for the vEdas and the dharmashAstras, but what
about the itihAsas and the purANas? (Please note that I am not trying to
contest the pramANatva of these scriptures. I am trying to find out the
philosophical basis for their pramANatva -- whether it is faith/common
acceptance, or if there are any deeper reasons).

That said, I agree with most of what you said below. Though, in the case of
the budhda, I guess the bhAgavata purANa does see him as an incarnation of
shrI mahAviShNu who wanted to delude the asuras. Thus, while he is accepted,
his philosophy is rejected (I should note though that one could interpret
the verses talking about the budhda as not referring to the shAkyamuni.)



so, as far as vedAntin-s are concerned,
> a statement from the smRti-s is sufficient for proving the Ishvaratva
> of shrI rAma or kRShNa.
> you may also take a look at the series shrI Anand Hudli on references
> to shrImad rAmAyaNam in the Rg veda (starting with
> http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/articles/rig_vedic_ramayana/rig_vedic_ramayana-1.htm
> )
> On 11/23/06, Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The question that arises is, how do we know vyAsa was omniscient? For
> > example,
> > as I mentioned earlier, kumArila bhaTTA asks the Buddhists how they knew
> > that the
> > budhda was omniscient. And so also with shaN^kara regarding kapila.
> the omniscience of vyAsa, vAlmIki etc. is known from the smRti-s which
> are accepted as pramANa. (like 'vyAsAya viShNurUpAya
> vyAsarUpAyaviShNave' etc.)
> the bauddha's claim regarding the omniscience of buddha has neither
> shruti nor smRti pramANa. that is sufficient for a vedAntin to reject
> buddha's omniscience.
> sha~Nkara rejects kapila's views since they contradict shruti. this is
> only in keeping with the basic rule that a smRti cannot contradict
> shruti.
> the bottomline in all these cases is the acceptance of both shruti and
> smRti as pramANa by vedAntin-s. whether it is possible to know through
> means other than shAstra pramANa whether A can know the omniscience or
> otherwise of B, i don't know.
> On 11/23/06, Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Or he could modify the mImAmsaka proof to accomodate this case,
> > and I
> > am wondering if this has been done by the tradition.
> i don't know if this has been done. i'll leave it to the experts in
> vedAnta to clarify whether advaitin-s accept the mImAmsaka's argument
> against the possiblity of knowing if someone is omniscient or not. but
> what i know for sure is that such an argument is not necessary to
> prove the Ishvaratva of rAma or kRShNa since ample smRti pramANa-s
> exist for proving that.
> vAsudevaH sarvaM,
> aparyAptAmRtaH.

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