[Advaita-l] Apoureshyatva - Faith or Logic?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 2 15:05:46 CDT 2012

> In the Chandogya Upanishad and some other places we encounter an
> 'asadvAda' which Shankara identifies as that of 'Bauddha'. Some years
> ago I asked a knowledgeable person: If this is the Buddhist school,
> do we conclude that the Bauddhas existed even before the Veda? But we
> all understand that Gautama Buddha is a historical figure.' The reply
> I got was - Even though Gautama Buddha is a historical entity, the
> 'vAda' attributed to him or propounded by him has existed for ever.
> That is the reason we find it being taken up as a pUrvapakSha even in
> the Veda. It is only possible that Gautama Buddha articulated it at
> that point in history.'

And a very similar reasoning can be advanced by a vedAntin in response
to evolutionary biology. Even if particular instances of human beings may
have evolved, on this earth, in a particular time period, the jAti of human
being has always existed and the archetype of the veda has also existed
for ever. Talking about waiting for a Rshi to appear in an evolutionary time
scale implies nothing whatsoever about the nature of that portion of the
veda that was revealed through that particular Rshi. At least that is the
sense in which I wrote a couple of weeks ago.
Of course, all this also presumes the existence of time. Evolutionary theory
has nothing to say about the nature of time itself. For that a scientist has
to turn to cosmology, as Sri Anand Hudli aptly pointed out in another post
today, and the vedAntic approach (and the scientific approach too) to that
problem is independent of the presence or otherwise of the species that 
is today called Homo sapiens.

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