[Advaita-l] Veda as source of dharma.

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 11 13:52:55 CDT 2011

> > Well, this puts the charge of mutually contradictory injunctions to this
> > infallible
> > source of dharma i.e., veda. No reply why this infallible and apaurusheya
> > veda
> > shoud give mutually contradictory injunctions.

Not really, because the application could be quite different and the context
of application needs to be understood properly, either from the veda itself
or from the dharma-jna, i.e. the AcAra of the SishTa.
To take a legal example - a murderer is tried in a court of law and is handed
the death penalty. The crime of killing another human being is punished by
death. But the executioner, employed by the state to implement this verdict,
cannot be considered to be guilty of the crime of killing another human being
and likewise punished with another death sentence. The law, if it accepts
capital punishment, HAS to have mutually contradictory views about the act
of killing a human being and the applications of the death sentence. Otherwise,
there will be an infinite regress of murderers and executioners. Without this
internal contradiction in the letter of the law and its application, the law itself
will have to stand accused of converting an executioner into a murderer. The
organs of the state, from the ordinary policeman to the most learned judge,
absolutely NEED the vikalpa to decide when to consider the killing of a human
being a crime and when to consider it not a crime. 
> >
> > Besides Gautama mentioned immediately before this sutra two pramanas,
> > Veda and sistachara. From context it is reasonable to assume that he is
> > talking
> > about a conflict between them.
> >

No, the sUtra says tulya-bala-virodhe, which refers to a virodha between two
sources of the same strength, not of two different kinds of sources altogether.
The veda as a source of learning about dharma and the dharma-jna as a 
source of learning about dharma have never been accepted by anyone as
being of equal strength.

It is possible, however, that two different dharma-jna-s have different views
or behaviors that pertains to a question of dharma, and each for very valid
reasons. What the sUtrakAra does is again a practical way out of a potential
dilemma, by introducing the element of vikalpa or choice, thereby putting some
onus on the student of dharma too. The expectation has always been that the
dharma-jna is not going to do anything that would directly conflict with veda.
The reason why one needs both the dharma-jna and the veda to really know
dharma is simple. Let us take the simplest and most universal rule given to
human beings - speak truth, do not lie. In actual practice, this simple rule is
very complex.

The veda says, "satyaM vada". But does this mean that every human being
should constantly speak out about whatever he or she  perceives as being
satya? No. One needs to learn how to discern what is truth and what merely
appears to be true. One should also know when to speak and when to shutup, or
else, the world would be a cacophony of each person's satya. So, one also
needs the smRti statement, na brUyAt satyam apriyam. But this does not mean
that an unpleasant truth should always be suppressed either. Therefore, one
needs to study the conduct of the superior person, to learn the how, why and
when of choosing between speaking and silence. 
As for the views of sureSvarAcArya and the comment that his background as
a disciple of kumArila would have predisposed him to a strict mImAMsA 
one has only to read the naishkarmyasiddhi (much more manageable than the
voluminous vArttika on the bRhadAraNyakopanishad bhAshya) to see how far
from the actual situation this is.  		 	   		  

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