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

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 11 13:26:15 CDT 2011

Namaste SrI Sudhakar Kabra ji
Emails are prone to miscommunication - I am sorry and so let me clarify the
example I gave - which was clearly taken to be the opposite of what I meant.
I rewrite the anecdote : As an aside......I am reminded of one interesting
anecdote related by a respected acArya. In one "inter-faith" meeting,
someone ( a NASTIKA)  argued with him that "idol-worship" such as
ganesha-pujA is wrong and anyway, the worshippers
themselves immerse the idol after the worship. So he (the NASTIKA) says -
what is wrong if someone like the non-vaidikas like the Ghoris and
Ghaznavi-s do away with the the idols and temples and spare us the trouble
of immersion. This acarya
argued (rightly) to the contrary and *opposed the idea of the nAstika*.
Surely there is a big diference between the two cases. -       Similarly
there is a big difference between the scientific denial of an intelligent
cause (brahman's causality) on the one hand and vedanta's ultimate
sublation/denial of Brahman's causality on the other hand. The first denial
should be first refuted and only then the second makes sense.

Also, we have to note that there is no need to distinguish between
shruti-sammata sAnkhya (of the gItA) and vedanta. The former is part and
parcel of vedanta teaching method. The sAnkhya you are talking about, which
needs correction/modification is the yoga-sUtra based sAnkhya or the still
older nirIShvara-sAnkhya. In an older post SrI Jaldhar Vyas has pointed out
the differences and the need to clarify what sAnkhya is being meant. That is
why I repeatedly used the word shruti-sammata sAnkhya to differentiate it
from the other sAnkhya. The former is the corrected version of the latter
and it is redundant to say that the latter, i.e., shruti-sammata sAnkhya
needs further correction. It is the concepts and postulates of
shruti-sammata sAnkhya (such as prANa, manas, samaShTi buddhi etc) which
need defence since they are being negated by the aggressive over-reach of
modern science. For example, modern science will say that all phenomena like
digestion, circulation, evacuation etc can be explained and accounted using
only gross matter (molecular processes) without any medieval additional
postulate of prANa and that such postulation of prANa amounts to
kalpanA-gauravaM. (violation of the law of parsimony by unncessarily
bringing in some arbitrary entity.) There are certain ways to show that
science is wrong in this and that shruti-sammata sAnkhya is not wrong and an
Astika will certainly say as much.

Another thing is that - to say "I am the pure witness-consciousness; I am
not the body, mind, intellect etc." is unexceptionable and can be arrived at
by anvaya-vyatireka even without much help from shruti ; but that is only
half the story. The other half of the Vedantic story needs
shruti-sammata-sAnkhya concepts which are falling foul of aggressive modern
science, to do what we are all calling tat-pada-vicAra to arrive at the
penultimate vRtti namely that sarvam-khalvidam-brahma (all this (jagat etc)
is brahman). To arrive at this, we have to employ pravilApanaM and
appreciate the amazing truth the entire jagat is not different from Ishvara,
the intelligent-material cause of jagat. Now, against this last statement,
many questions and pUrva-pakSha-s can be raised by science, Buddhism etc
which need to be answered. That is where the "overlap" and conflict between
science and the vedantic teaching methodology happens.
The bottomline is that Vedanta is not teaching that brahmAtman is just the
subject; and leaves the field open to Science to say whatever it likes about
the objective world. Rather, Vedanta is saying that brahmAtman is the
adhiShThAna, the "substratum" for both subject and object. In showing
brahmAtman is the substratum for the objective world as well, we have to
necessarily bring in shruti-sammata sAnkhya concepts of empirically real
subtler material realities like prANa, manas etc and so we face a barrage of
questions from science, which can all be answered by Vedanta, to be sure -
but that takes significant effort.


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