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

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Sun Oct 16 23:29:00 CDT 2011


This discussion on "validity of the veda" is going all over the place. In
today's context, some of these questions are not particularly unusual, but
they cannot be addressed without referring to a philosophy of knowledge
(epistemology) in a fundamental sense.

Any knowledge can occur only when there is prior acceptance of a means of
knowledge (pramANa). A pramANa itself cannot be "established" as such, it
can only be accepted or rejected, either explicitly or implicitly. This is
true for any pramANa including pratyakSha, which is generally taken
for-granted. This is why it was said earlier that one does not "establish"
the validity of the veda (i.e. the pramANa status of the veda) anymore than
one "establishes" that the eyes see or the ears hear. That the eyes see
cannot be established using the ears - likewise, one pramANa cannot be
established using another. pramANa-s have intrinsic validity, indeed the
very term "pramANa" connotes a valid means of knowledge.

Now, the veda is a pramANa for two sets of topics:

1) dharma, including karma, karmaphala, etc
2) mokSha through the mahAvAkya

The latter is unique to advaita-vedAnta and is a peculiar pramANa that is
unlike any other, for what it does is to negate the entire
pramAtR-prameya-pramANa vyahavAra, therefore dismissing itself and all other
pramANa-s as well. It is, therefore, characterized as antya pramANa.

It so happens that acceptance of pramANa-s is naisargika for human beings
(and in fact, for all sentient beings). Knowledge occurs when the Atman, as
pramAtA, accepts pramANa-s and employs them.

Needless to say, this acceptance of pramAtR-prameya-pramANa vyahavAra is an
outcome of avidyA and leads to duHkha, for the very same vyavahAra involves
an objectification of oneself (as in "I am the body", etc). Therefore,
mokSha involves a dismissal of ALL pramANa-s.



On 16 October 2011 16:20, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>wrote:
 << "I exist" is a logical axiom because it is universally true. It is self
- evident and not contradicted by pratyaksha or anumana. What do yout think?


My response:

The above is a horrible way of expression. "I am" is prior to any pramANa-s
being employed in the first place. That "I am" is a prerequisite for the
very notion of pramANa-s. pramANa-s can be dismissed, either temporarily (as
in individual cases of parataH aprAmANyam, for example) or wholesale (as in
the case of the mukta in advaita-vedAnta). But the self cannot be dismissed
at all because the very attempt to dismiss presumes it.

Regarding the idea of objects being information, I will address it in my
response to Sri Raghav on the causation theories discussion (in a separate

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