[Advaita-l] Vedas are not apauresheya according to the Vedas ?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 16 16:24:03 CST 2013

> But the question is whether Vedas can be considered a pramana if it is not
> apauresheya. Though some of the astika darshanas think so, I am afraid
> not. Let me explain why. I see a pot and tell you "There is a pot". For
> you, my statement, verbal testimony, is the pramana for the pot. But your
> pramana is itself dependent on my pratyaksha and there is no need to
> consider it as distinct. But if I dont describe what I see but actually
> relay the statement I discover, then the statement "There is a pot" becomes
> an indpendent pramana. Hence my opinion that Vedas cannot be considered a
> pramana unless they are apauresheya.

There are multiple ways to slice that cake. But to begin with, I would need some
clarification on how one would discover a statement "there is a pot," without seeing
a pot, in one sense or the other. 

No matter how you come upon it, from that starting point, it is easy to relay that
piece of knowledge. For example, I, Vidyasankar, can now tell someone else, "there
is a pot," for Rajaram said so and he saw the pot (or discovered the statement
"there is a pot"). This becomes verbal testimony for those who accept that I am
not lying to them and that you were not lying to me. Extrapolate to a few more
chains in transmission and there you have it.
In this connection, please read carefully the brahmasUtra bhAshya 1.3.33. The sUtra
is about the adhikAra of the gods for brahmavidyA, so on the surface, it may not
appear as if it is pertinent to an apaurusheyatva discussion. However, in the bhAshya,
you will see how Sankara bhagavatpAda comments on the powers of the Rshis of
ancient times.

This view directly addresses the problem you raise about how one person's AptavAkya
has to be based on his pratyaksha. All that is required is to extend from a Rshi's
pratyaksha (or discovery) to the AptavAkya for his or her direct disciples and from then
onwards in a paramparA till today. This will avoid the dependency of pramANatva on
apaurusheyatva, but will require one to accept that the Rshis lived and got to know
the veda because of their special personal attributes.
If the argument is now that the Rshis who "saw" the veda couldn't have come upon 
it by pratyaksha, the question would be, why not? Please note that in fact, there are
numerous places where the word pratyaksha actually means Sruti and anumAna
means smRti. e.g. api ca samrAdhane pratyakshAnumAnAbhyAm. In the bhAshya,
pratyaksha = Sruti and anumAna = smRti. No real reason has ever been offered by
anybody for why this should be so. One could stop and ask, "to whom is Sruti
pratyaksha?" Certainly, one has to take it as Rshi-pratyaksha.  Ultimately, no
matter what view any darSana has about the veda and apaurusheyatva, the fact
remains that some Rshi began the transmission of each of the mantra-s/vAkya-s
of the veda on earth. 

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