[Advaita-l] Scholarly Article on Why Vedas are Valid
raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 13:34:21 CDT 2011
SrI Sudhakar Kabra ji
please see Jaldhar Vyasji's post below regarding the co-option of
vedantized sAnkhya concepts (as Jaldhar ji put it and I used the word
shruti-sammata sAnkhya to refer to the same thing), in to the teaching
tradition of Advaita Vedanta. My concern was that these concepts of
prANa etc are dealing with existent realities and are quite
indispensable in Vedanta teaching to convey advaita jnAnam and they
are being contradicted and negated by the over-reach of Science etc.
So there is a need to defend them by showing the fallaciousness of
scientific objections against the existence of these Vedantized
I am assuming you followed the explanations of svataH-prAmANyam of any
of the 6 pramANa-s as given by various posts in the thread on
apaurusheyatvam of the vedas, particularly of lalitAlAlitaH ji and
Vidyasankarji. My request to you is to please re-read them if
possible. They show how the Veda prAmaNyam is on as sound a ground as
pratyaxa or anumAna.
You asked "how do you logically establish that the Vedas are a pramANa ?"
You may also like to look at the question - "how do you logically
establish that the eyes see?" and also the question "how do you
logically establish that "logic is a valid way of arriving at
knowledge of the world"?
The same answer will work for all the 3 questions.
The idea of svataH-prAmANya-vAda is sufficient to show that the "vedas
are a pramANa in the realm beyond the senses" just like the eyes are a
pramANa for the realm of the senses.
The slightly trickier question is "why should we privilge the Veda as
a pramANa over other competing pramANa-s like the Bible, Quran etc
when it comes to truths of the super-sensory realm?" And that is where
Sri lalitAlAlitaH ji quite remarkably pointed out that - (phrased in
my words) - we do not have any a priori bias towards the Vedas to
start with. By bringing in certain truth-testing criteria like the
idea of apauruSheyatvam etc., we give some reasons to show that the
core Vedic tradition is first of all free from any obvious defects and
then show that there are no internal contradictions within the Vedas.
The Vedas are thus viewed not merely as a cultural document; they
represent an entire hermeneutic (interpretative/analytic) tradition of
objectively examining the claim of any statement made by any man at
any time about the alaukika realm (the super-sensory realm).Then the
claims of any new or old non-vaidika statement about the super-sensory
realm be it from smritis or from even a non-Indian tradition , is then
compared (with an open mind) with the pre-existing corpus of
super-sensory truths (the core Veda). Then this new statement is
either accepted by the Vedic scholars as compatible with the Vedas or
it is shown to be fallacious and not in consonance with existing
super-sensory knowledge (Vedas). This is quite similar to how a new
scientific theory is put to the anvil against the existing corpus of
scientific knowledge and then if it is in non-conflict with existing
data and is also useful, it is acceptable. It becomes a smriti, so to
speak. In that sense a Vaidika views the Vedic tradition
(vedas+smritis etc) as a universal calculus of all possible valid
alaukika statements made until today. This Vedic calculus has at its
core the most ancient Veda mantra-s themselves which through the ideas
3. internal consistency and reliabllity
is thus said to be on as strong a footing as pratyaxa or anumAna in
the Veda's own domain of super-sensory truths.
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