[Advaita-l] Apoureshyatva - Faith or Logic?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 25 13:11:34 CDT 2012

Sri lalitAlAlitaH wrote: 

> > The real problem, therefore, lies not in directly pitting traditional
> > thinking
> > vs. modern scientific and humanistic theories, but in the details of what
> > is
> > really meant by eternal existence of the universal in comparison to the
> > manifestations of the individual particulars.
> >
> Nice presentation.
> One must remember that even mImAMsaka-s can't deny that entities are
> subject to birth. They just say that jAti-s are nitya.

And Sri Ramesh Krishnamurthy wrote:
> The point is simply that by straitjacketing our intellectual
> traditions and presenting them (falsely) as being pitted against this
> or that scientific or other laukika pramANa based theory, we are only
> a doing a great disservice to our dharma and our intellectual
> traditions.
Thank you both! It appears to me that you got the spirit of my response
outlining some possible ways by which the nitya-tva of Sabda (in the pUrva
mIMAmsA sense) is not compromised by biological evolution and linguistic
evolution. I merely wished to point out that if one so wishes, one can easily
accommodate these lines of thinking within one's world view and that they
indicate nothing negative about veda-prAmANya and veda-apaurusheyatva.
Speaking as a scientist and as a vedAntin, I fail to see how the latest scientific 
theories and findings impinge upon the vedAntic view of scripture in any way,
positive or negative. It is a simple matter of logic that logic itself requires an
axiom or two. Any attempt to prove the validity of an axiom, within the bounds 
of that logical system, is going to be, by default, a circular argument eventually.

If one's acceptance of veda-prAmANya is contingent upon one's acceptance of
veda-apaurusheyatva, then one has to be very, very clear about what is meant
by the word apaurusheya. And if one further goes around looking for "proof"
of apaurusheyatva, then one has to, by definition, accept a standard of proof
that is completely independent of the veda in the first place. So why should
such a line of thought bother about the veda and its prAmANya/apaurusheyatva
at all? It can stay content with its methods of proof that are independent of the
veda and leave the veda alone, safe in the hands of its traditional custodians!
What is the "creationism" in the veda? Is it supposed to be taken literally, like
the story of an old, white-haired god in heaven who created everything in a six
day period and then rested on the seventh? Or is it something else altogether?
Which "creationism" should one uphold as supreme - the one in the upanishads
(where the typical order is AtmA -> AkASa -> vAyu -> agni -> ApaH -> pRthivI
-> oshadhi -> annam -> purusha) or something else, say from the purANa-s,
where a lotus emerged from the sleeping Vishnu's navel, with Brahma sitting
upon it, who then created all living beings?

If either of these general accounts is taken as if they were historical events
that occured at the beginning of the universe and then pitted against the most
contemporary form of scientific thinking about the origins of the universe, which
is also taken as "really real", then what value is one attaching to the vedAntic
insight that all that is perceived as the universe is ultimately mithyA? The more
one insists upon a "vedic creationism", what value is one attaching to vedAntic
teaching that the ultimate truth is ajAti and that creation is only described as an
upAya to bring one's attention back to the highest Atman? 
Even apart from the highest level of vedAntic discourse, why should science 
be brought into every aspect of life and thinking? Science is its own domain;
it has its uses and the scientific process has its own insights and benefits to
offer to human beings as well as a lot to contribute towards the downfall of
human beings too. But who appointed science as the ruler over the arts, law,
religion, philosophy and all other dimensions of human life as well?

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