[Advaita-l] Veda as source of dharma

subhanu saxena subhanu at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 10 12:31:56 CDT 2011

Sharma Wrote:


appears that Veda was not always considered to be the only and primary

of dharma.




I would
like to bring to the list members attention an important section of Suresvara’s
vartikas in BUBV 4.4. 1149-1154 where he gives primacy to Sruti over Smriti and



na cha
vaidekamūlatva-virahātsyāt pramāṇatā ।

āchārasya smriter vāpi bauddhādyācharavat dhruvam ॥ [BUBV.4.4.1149] 


An  authoritative
means of knowledge is not possible in the absence of a vedic basis, even if it
be the conduct of the learned, or sanctioned by Smriti-indeed like the conduct
of a Buddhist


dharmasya vedamūlatvād avedasya na dharmatā ।

ityevam nyāyavad vākyam āhur veda-pramāṇakāḥ ॥ [BUBV 4.4.1150]


Dharma has its root in veda, whatever is not vedic does
not have the character of dharma. So say those that hold veda as authority, in
the form of a rule.


vedashāstrānapekṣatvam smritishāstrasya chenmatam ।

nir-granthi-shāstra-tulyatvam smrtīnām vaḥ prasajyate ॥ [BUBV 4.4.1151]


If smriti’s are held to  not depend on the Vedas, then they will be
similar with the scriptures of the Jainas (nirgranthas)


nāpi smriti-vyapekṣāsti shruteḥ svātantriya-kāraṇāt ।

smrityarthasyānuvādo’yam pāratantriye’sati shruteḥ ॥ [BUBV 4.4.1152]

In addition, sruti does not depend on Smriti, as it is
independent. Therefore, when there is not such dependence of the Sruti, this
should be taken as a matter repeated from a smriti


svatantriyer mitho’pekṣā nāpi syāt paratantrayoḥ।

pāratantriyānna chāpekṣā svatantrasya svataḥ kvachit ॥[BUBV 4.4.1153]


Again, independent works have no mutual dependence, and also
mutual dependence is not observed on two works dependent on some other work. An
independent work can never have dependence on anything dependent. 


Bit of a mouthful the verse above. Simply put an
independent work can never be dependent on a work that itself is dependent on
another work


smrityartham na  srutistasmād anuvakīha kutrachit ।

smritistvanuvadatyeva srutyartham paratantrataḥ ॥ [BUBV 4.4.1154]


Sruti nowhere states any matter that is already stated in
smriti. It is smriti that restates that which is in sruti, hence its dependence
on sruti


Hopefully the above clarifies the position of Shankara’s
tradition on this point. Now whilst Apastamba and Gautama and other writers of
dharma shastra lived much earlier than Suresvara and may been seen has having
primacy, Suresvara and Shankara themselves belong to an ancient unbroken line
of tradition that must have early on reflected on and put into perspective
sruti smriti and conduct.








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