[Advaita-l] Apoureshyatva - Faith or Logic?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 2 10:53:15 CDT 2012

> I fail to see why the prAmANya of Sruti needs to be further validated by
> appealing to a logical proof that establishes its apaurusheyatva, 
> especially
> given the svataH-prAmANya-vAda
> Humble sAshtAnga praNAms Sri Vidya prabhuji
> Hare krishna
> As I said earlier, I am not familiar with pUrva mimAmsaka's vAda with 
> regard to aparusheyatva of veda-s and how advaitins would differ from 
> their stand. Could you please suggest me a work which exclusively deals 
> with this subject. 

To my knowledge, there is no one book that compares how pUrva mImAMsA
and advaita vedAnta describe apaurusheyatva of the veda. I can suggest two
different books, which will be useful. 
K Satchidananda Murthy's book, Revelation and Reason in Advaita Vedanta is
a remarkable and insightful discussion of how advaita vedAnta views Sruti.
Prof. Muthy does not go much into pUrva mImAMsA details, but you will get
a great description of how the advaita vedAntin views Sruti.
Tara Chatterjee's book, Knowledge and Freedom in Indian Philosophy, has a
detailed description of the pUrva mImAMsaka view and its nuances in the
works of kumAriLa and prabhAkara. There is also an important comparison
with the nyAya take on the prAmANya of the veda in this book.
Read together, the two books provide a very good overview.
> IMHO, those who are questioning the aparusheyatva of veda-s (frankly, I 
> too gradually becoming skeptical in this issue, ofcourse against my will 
> :-)) do not questioning the validity of veda-s. Those who are doubting 
> the apaurushetatva can still treat veda-s as a valid pramANa along with 
> other well known paurusheya smruti and nyAya grantha-s like geeta & 
> sUtra-s. So, the question, whether veda-s are paurusheya or apaurusheya 
> and the answer in either way do not come in the way of validity of veda-s. 

Personal sAdhana does not require a sAdhaka to worry about apaurusheyatva.

It is like this. If one has a guru whom one trusts implicitly and has SraddhA in,
then that is all that is needed for one's sAdhana. It is only if you start talking to
others who don't have the same SraddhA that you will find a need to justify a
guru's words and actions.

Similarly with the veda. One can take it as a pramANa and leave the question
of apaurusheyatva aside. All one needs is a basic understanding that what is
meant is that the veda has come to us from beyond the realm of human or
godly agency.
The fundamental position with respect to the Rshi-s is that although they have
their names associated with specific mantra-s, they did not personally author
those mantra-s. Although yAjnavalkya and janaka, uddAlaka and Svetaketu talk
about brahmavidyA in the upanishad-s, they are not  the authors of this vidyA.
In other words, brahmavidyA is not a figment of the imaginations of people
named in the upanishat texts. 
> And also kindly allow me to ask a fundamental (or stupid) question. Who 
> assigned the status of self-validity (svataH prAmANyaM) to the veda-s !!?? 
> Do veda-s anywhere mention, whatever I say with regard to karma/brahma is 
> final & pramANya for that is in itself and assertions/declaration what you 
> find in me are not subject to any further query/investigation..Or is this 
> svataH prAmANya status has been granted by saMpradAyavida-s who are having 
> an undoubted conviction in the veda's embedded ultimate teachings on 
> ateendriya karma phala-s & bhuma vishaya?? Please clarify prabhuji.

Historically, it is the pUrva mImAMsaka-s who first enunciated a mature svataH
prAmANya vAda. However, they did not assign any special svataH prAmANya to
the veda alone. According to this position, ALL cognition is svataH pramANa -
valid in and of itself. A cognition can however by negated by another, more
powerful cognition (parataH apramANa) and this is where the hierarchy and
separate domains of pramANa-s comes in. This position is in stark contrast to
the naiyyAyika's stance that all cognition is parataH pramANa.
Both naiyyAyika-s and mImAMsaka-s have had undoubted conviction in the veda
and its teachings on atIndriya vishaya-s. Yet they have two diametrically opposed
views on what constitutes prAmANya. So it is not a case of a sampradAyavAdin
vaidika coming up with a concept to hide behind or on which to pin his faith.

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