[Advaita-l] Apoureshyatva - Faith or Logic?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 2 15:46:35 CDT 2012

> > RV: There are people who repose faith in charlatans considering them to be
> gurus. There is no shortage of babas and anandas. This phenomenon is

Bhaskar's question had to do with sAdhana at a personal level and my answer
addressed just that portion of it.
I fail to see how the logical establishment of veda apaurusheyatva will benefit
the average man in the street who gets taken in by charlatans masquerading 
as guru-s. Not only is the phenomenon global, it has always been there through
all time, and in all religions. To begin with, if someone reposes SraddhA in a
fake guru, then that is their call. The subtleties of logic will be anyway lost on
such minds and they are not going to give up fake guru-s through an argument
that tells them why the veda is apaurusheya. In the contemporary world, they
will probably place greater faith in paurusheya words and texts. 
On the other hand, I see that even pundits who can make fine arguments about
apaurusheyatva and other subtle issues are often in the company of some of the
babas and anandas that you mention. So, I fail to see how logically proving veda
apaurusheyatva will protect even such pundits from fake gurus, let alone the
mango-man (aam aadmi).
> Jaimini says that dharma must be of the nature of an instruction (sabda)
> because only an instruction can tell us what we should and should not do
> (including exceptions). As it is an instruction, it has to come from
> others. Otherwise, it will not be an instruction but a product of our
> pratyaksha and anumana. Others also cannot also invent it because it will
> then be a product of their pratyaksha and anumana. But we have already seen
> that dharma must be of the nature of an instruction. So, whoever instructs
> us has to hear it from someone else and so on. Thus an instruction has to
> be without an origin. If in the present or the future we act contrary to
> such an originless instruction, as per our own or someone else's anumana,
> we can not claim to act as per this originless instruction (apaureshya veda
> sabda).

The above is a crucial point of difference between mImAMsA and vedAnta.
For jaiminI, the veda is all about injunctions to do, how to do and what not
to do. On the other hand, knowing brahman is a question of being, not of
doing. Unlike dharma, moksha is not a result of action, so vedAnta has a
different take on the veda as compared to pUrva mImAMsA. Yes, because
of the density of our avidyA, we do need instruction from another person
(AcAryavAn purusho veda), but ultimately, brahman is one's own AtmA and
one has to realize this and BE this oneself. 
Seen in this light, the usage of the words pratyaksha and anumAna in the
brahmasUtra-s [and their interpretation by Sankara bhagavatpAda as
Sruti and smRti] develops a special significance for how the veda, its
prAmANya and its apaurusheyatva are understood in vedAnta.

For more detail, please read the book by Prof. Satchidananda Murthy that
I mentioned in an earlier post today.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list