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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jan 17 04:09:15 CST 2013

On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 3:54 AM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> > 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.

During a recent interaction with the eminent scholar/thinker Vidwan Mani
Dravid SastrigaL at Tumkur during the meet on The Contributions of Sri
Vidyaranya, I broached the above topic.  He said:  If anyone were to ask me
on this, I would say: Supposing we admit someone to be the author of the
Veda.  The immediate question would be 'how / from where did he know?'
For, in respect of anything that we are informed/taught, etc. in the world
we ask to or seek to know as to who or what is the source of that person
('s knowledge)  who informs/teaches us.  Sometimes we may not ask this
question taking for granted like for example in a newspaper report from a
reporter.  But by and large we do try to find out the source of that
person's knowledge of that subject.  In this case, we will have to specify
as to from where or whom this 'author' of the Veda knew.  Then one will
have to invariably end up at the Ishwara level tracking the trail
backwards.  So 'due to the anugraha of Ishwara certain persons got to know
of the contents of the Veda and from them the world.'

One should not conclude from the above that Ishwara is the author.  No,
what is meant is that Ishwara is the source from whom this, that has ever
been in existence, comes down.

In Advaita we have no problem with this thinking for we admit several
entities to be anAdi, having not been created. For example, the jIva.
Excepting Brahman that is absolutely anAdi and absolutely ananta, all
others are admitted only as long as one is in the throes of avidyA.  In
other words, all other entities enjoy only a vyAvahArika reality.


> 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.
> Regards,
> Vidyasankar
> _

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