[Advaita-l] Scholarly Article on Why Vedas are Valid

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Mon Oct 10 15:35:34 CDT 2011

On Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 8:20 PM, Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> > From: Kalyan K <kalyankc.81 at gmail.com>
> > Can some experienced member(s) please answer the interesting questions
> > raised by Sri Rajaram below?
> Dear Sri Kalyan
> I will attempt answers based on what I remember of what I heard.
> >   1. The origin of the Universe as we know through scientific
> investigation
> >   is significantly different from the the different descriptions in the
> >   puranas.
> >   2. The origin and evolution of life forms on earth are different from
> the
> >   creationist view
> >   3. The structure of the solar system and the cosmos are different from
> >   modern astronomy
> - Vedas do not propose to teach science. From the vedanta point of view,
> the main aim of Vedas is to teach about Brahman. (From the purva mimasaka
> point of view, the main purport is 'to sacrifice', putting it
> simplistically). Now, scientific matter is dealt with only to the extent
> that is required to teach about Brahman. So when Veda says that from Brahman
> came aakaaSa, thence vaayuh, thence agnih, thence waters, thence prithivee,
> thence plants, thence food; the idea is to teach that the source is Brahman
> and not to teach how the various things in the world that we see came about.
> Why do the Vedas not talk about it? Because it is not their subject matter.

*The argument is that Vedic view is primitive on objects that the senses can
perceive. Vedas are not blamed for silence on a subject such as computer
science. They are accused of being wrong on a subject such as astronomy. *
*If the theory of evolution is true, then there is no room for saying that
Brahma created manasa putras such as Narada, Sanat Kumara and Sapta Rishis.
This means that we cannot claim to belong to the gotra of a particular
rishi. *

> >    4. Historical and linguistic analysis show that Vedic literatures were
> >    created at different points in time and grew through accretion
> - These analysis happened with a framework that said Christianity was the
> true religion and that creation happened some 4,000 years ago; that said
> that since 'we rule and the Vedas are the religion of those being ruled by
> us", they must be at best childish expressions of joy of the primitive man
> worshipping nature and such. The so-called 'linguistic analysis' does not
> stand up to standards of proof demanded by the same set in other matters,
> such as Question 5 below. Pl see
> http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part5/chap8.htm and
> http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part5/chap9.htm for a traditional
> discussion of this analysis.
> - "Fine", a modern-day Kautsa might say, "the method might be weak, the
> results might be incorrect; the date of Rig Veda might be 15,000 BC - if
> that gives you any great satisfaction - and not 1,500 BC; but the method
> does show that there are layers." To which, a modern-day Yaska might reply:
> "Such impression arises because only a small sample of Vedas are available
> with us. ananta vai Vedaah."
> - Then, somebody else might say "All these are attempts to derail any
> meaningful discussion, you do not want a scientific investigation; through
> out history the priestly class used the technique of obfuscation, fie on
> you, * % & % ^ # @ $ ...". The traditional might say "Why can't you accept
> that we do not know for sure at this point of time and leave it at that?
> What is the compulsion to put a date?"
> *It is not only the Christian missionary scholars who said this but nitya
agnihotirs such as PV Kane and Ganapati Sastry.  *
>    5. The existence of practical results of Vedic yajnas have not been and
>    are not considered to be subject to verification

- Certain results like 'rain' are subject to verification; others like
> 'attainment of svarga' are not. In sacrifices that are supposed to produce
> rain or sons, the dispute tends to be like this: Half the results are
> dismissed by rationalists on the basis of probability; the other half is
> dismissed by traditionalists as arising due to error in performing the
> sacrifice. Let us say, as before, it has not been proved beyond reasonable
> doubt - as is the fatherhood of most men with children. These are matters of
> faith.

*If someone pays for IVC treatment, they will expect certainity in getting
the child. If someone spends on creating artificial rain using modern
techniques, they will expect certainity. The question of the sceptics is why
cannot Vedic Yajnas be subjected to the same level of scrutiny. I am
discussion with an expert on astrology on predicting share prices. He says
he is able to achieve 70% accuracy. I want to get it to the level of 100%
accuracy. *
>    6. There are different interpretations and points of view within
the Vedic lore

- So?
> Scepticism about Vedas is quite old. If you want to get the traditional
> view on this, the book on Hindu Dharma by Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra
> Saraswathi Maha Swamiji is a very good starting point; then, there is the
> discussion of Kautsa in the first chapter, fifteenth section of Nirukta; the
> entire first adhyaya of Purva Mimamsa sutras of Jaimini addresses the same
> question; as does Sayana in his Bhumika to the commentary on the Rigveda.
> Of course, that has not stopped sceptics from teaching their views and
> flourishing. The last major successful sceptic was Guru Nanak who said:
> "santa ki mahimaa Veda na jaaNe; chaaron Veda kahaani" (The greatness of a
> Saint is not known to Veda; all the four of them are merely (books of)
> stories).
> So, we add two more sticks in the fire that has been raging for at least
> 2,500 years. So be it.

> Regards
> N. Siva Senani
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