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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 18 10:24:16 CST 2013

> All scriptures are verbal testimonies. Logical arguments can be used to
> establish correctness of one over the other. People have done it which is
> why evil practices such as slavery and witch hunting have gone away and new
> memes have replaced old ones. But the easiest approach is to accept any
> verbal testimony, hindu smrtis or bible or quran, only if they don't
> contradict apauresheya Veda. Apauresheya texts constitute primary verbal
> testimony and hence the need to establish it.

I submit that any attempt at such establishing will lead you into the same logical trap in
which the pUrva mImAMsaka-s caught out the naiyyAyikas. I also do not see any need
to club together the Bible and the Quran with the smRti texts and thereby subordinate
them to Sruti. Plainly put, this is an attempt at proselytizing the vedas, which is alien
to the entire history and spirit of the vaidika tradition.
> >
> RV: What is the logical reason to accept Shruti as the basis for smrti? The
> only difference is former is apauresheya and the latter pauresheya. If
> some astika traditions have flaws in their thinking, we have to call it out
> not accept it.

You are overloading the apaurusheyatva cart with too many responsibilities that it was not
designed to carry in the first place.
Human beings don't always operate by logic, especially when it comes to religion. Within
a religion, yes, the good philosophers are very rigorous and logical, but in each case, you 
will find that the disagreements among them pertain primarily to their assumptions and
axioms, and only secondarily to to the conclusions they reach based on these assumptions
and axioms. 
So, what is a logical basis for subordinating the authority of smRti to that of Sruti? The need
for a tAratamya in pramANa-s, in case of conflicts. If everything were clearly logical in this
world, there would be no conflict at all. Yet, our experience says otherwise. anumAna should
not contradict pratyaksha; that is a logical principle that you need to accept a priori. You do
not need an anumAna-based logical proof for why anumAna should not contradict pratyaksha.
In a country's laws, a particular piece of legislation may seem like a good idea, the only logical
way to address a given issue at a given time and it may even be passed by the lawmakers.
However, there needs to be a principle that such laws cannot violate the constitution of the
land. The entire structure of governance in that country needs to accept this principle or else
the very basis of law in general will be lost. And such conflicts, real or imaginary, cannot be
resolved all that easily, which is why nations entrust their supreme courts with the duty of 
deciding on the constitutionality or otherwise of such conflicting laws. When you can have
such a hierarchy of authority based on what is accepted by all, there is no logical reason to
say that it is the apaurusheyatva of Sruti that puts it above the smRti in authority. Those who
say that Sruti was authored by ISvara at the start of creation can also accept that the smRti
is only a secondary authority, for other reasons that are entirely logical and internally consistent
to their own worldviews. Even those who say that Sruti was composed by Rshi-s can subscribe
to subordinating the smRti, by saying that the Rshi-s were superior and that their vision should
be primary. What I am saying is, one can always find a reason one way or the other to validate
the principle of Sruti trumping smRti, without necessarily subscribing to apaurusheyatva. It
just so happens that apaurusheyatva is the mImAMsA and the dominant vedAnta position, but
this is more a descriptive statement than otherwise. It was not offered as a reason for why
Sruti is pramANa and it is not the reason why Sruti overrules smRti in case of conflict.

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