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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Jan 19 11:53:01 CST 2013

On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 3:48 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Sri Subrahmanian,
> I am cutting and pasting below the response to your arguments on  my blog
> http://apaureshyatva.blogspot.co.uk/
> If it is not comfortable for the forum members to investigate the topic, we
> can move the discussion outside.
> Best Regards
> Below is the response on my blog to the arguments :
> Rajaram,
> I will address some of the points mentioned in response to me in the
> advaita-L list -
> "It is good to know that such a 'creation' is only symbolic."
> The question is not whether it is symbolic. The talk of creation of vedas
> itself shows that vedas do not consider themselves eternal.
> "Atharva Veda is not a later addition; it is only that it is not
> specifically mentioned."
> This is not a valid answer. Even mahabharata is not specifically mentioned
> here.

For that matter an ocean or mountain is also not mentioned there.  The
point is that there is something called 'upalakShaNa'.  When three members
are listed it is taken that the fourth is also meant though not said

> "What is meant by 'adhItya' here is only that one has completed a course.
> That he has become proficient in all the subjects taught is not inferable."
> The question is not whether Shwetaketu has become proficient or not. If he
> had already studied the chhAndogya upanishad as part of the vedas, then
> there is no need to approach his father, for he already knew the contents.

That is why I mentioned about what 'study' could mean.  It could mean
'along with the meaning' and 'just getting by rote'.  Which one did
Shwetaketu complete is not known.

> "Pl. read the bhashya agian, especially the last paragraph: Even if one has
> mastered the literature (the vedAdhyayana) unless there is vairAgya,
> approaching an Acharya, etc. are in place there will be no Brahman
> realization possible. For this reason alone the Rg.veda, etc. were
> 'excluded' from parA vidyA."
> The upanishad does not say that vedadhyayana is apara vidya. The upanishad
> says that the four vedas are apara vidya.

From the other mantra 'that is parA by which the akSharam, Brahman, is
known' it is taken by Shankara that all that exercise that falls outside
the specific effort directed at attaining BrahmavidyA comes under aparA
vidyA.  Adhyayana is one such and therefore is within aparA.

> "The above thinking is due to not looking at the bhashyam."
> Sankara bhashyam came at least a 1000 years after the age of upanishads.
> One needs to look at the upanishads themselves rather than the bhashyams to
> understand them.

But Shankara's was not the 'first ever' bhashyam.  From Shankara's works we
understand there were commentaries before His.  Shankara pays obeisance to
His preceptors, not just the ones that directly taught Him, but the entire
AchArya paramparA that has handed down this vidyA, thus, at the beginning
of the Taittiriyopanishad bhashyam:

यैरिमे गुरुभिः पूर्वं पदवाक्यप्रमाणतः ।
व्याख्याताः सर्ववेदान्ताः तान्नित्यं प्रणतोऽस्म्यहम् ॥

[I bow down ever before those adorable Teachers by whom was explained all
these Upanishads in the past, by taking into consideration the words
(vyAkaraNashAstram), the sentences (the pUrvamImAmsA shAstram) and the
means of valid knowledge (the nyAya shAstram).]

Such is Shankara's humility while commencing a commentary.  He has behind
Him a great tradition, sampradAya, paramparA, and nowhere does He claim
anything of what He says as His.

In the Prashnopanishat we have the Acharya submitting: 'Thus have we heard
from our Predecessors, by whom That has been explained.'

So, everyone points to a pre-existing system that forms the basis for what
they say.  Do you have such credentials? How can you venture into  a  'look
at the upanishads themselves rather than the bhashyams to understand
them.' when those Great Ones did not do so?  Without the help of the
bhashyam and
the sampradaya what one will get is only a lopsided view or an erroneous
idea of the veda-s.

> "Sri Shankaracharya, while commenting on this mantra, writes for the word
> इतिहासः itihAsa of the Upanishad: ‘such as the dialogue, etc. between
> UrvashI and PurUravas"
> While the word itihAsa may or may not mean the mahabharata, it is pure
> speculation to take it to mean only the dialogue between Uravashi and
> Pururavas or other vedic statements. Same goes for the rest. Further, the
> reason as to why the upanishads are mentioned separately from the vedas
> also needs explanation (which a traditionalist cannot give).
> "However, the texts of the MahAbhArata, etc. cannot be regarded to be
> included by these Vedic terms as it would be unreasonable to hold that they
> have their source in the Vedas."
> The character of Krishna is mentioned in the chhandogya upanishad (which,
> the traditionalists consider to be part of vedas). There is also a
> Rig-vedic ramayana which is derived from the 10th mandala of Rig veda. So a
> traditionalist cannot make the above argument.

There is a jaimini sUtra (pUrva mImAmsA) परं तु श्रुतिसामान्यम् where it
has been concluded that the names/characters found in the world   can bear
a similarity with that in the shruti but that is only incidental.  There is
a case of a 'bavaraH' a son of 'pravAhan' in the shruti.  An objection is
raised  as to whether this father-son duo is the same as that of a duo in
the world of similar names.  In reply the sUtra concludes that such
similarities are only incidental.  There is only a shabda-sAmyam (the word
'shruti' in the sutra means 'shabda' = word) (a similarity with respect to
the words) and not the vyakti (persons).  Hence there is no validity in the
case that tries to link the kriShna of the Chandogya upanishad with the
krishna of the Mahabharata.  The mImAmsA view is that the stories,
AkhyAyikA-s, found in the Veda are only arthavAda-s; what is to be grasped
from them is the moral/teaching.  Shankara Himself terms the
Yama-Nachiketas dialogue and the story underlying the episode as an
AkhyAyikaa, for the stuti of the vidyA, the AtmavidyA that is what is
sought to be taught through the imagery of the story.

And a few words about the term प्रत्यक्षानुमानाभ्याम् found in several
brahmasutra-s: In the bhashya for the sutra शब्द इति चेन्नातः प्रभवत्वात्
प्रत्यक्षानुमानाभ्याम् Shankara says:  प्रत्यक्षानुमानाभ्याम् ।
प्रत्यक्षं श्रुतिः, *प्रामाण्यं प्रत्यनपेक्षत्वात्* ।  अनुमानं
स्मृतिः, *प्रामाण्यं
प्रति सापेक्षत्वात्* ।

Shruti is called by the name 'pratyakSha' because it does not need any
other support for proof.  'anumAnam' designates 'smRti' because there is a
need for support from some other source for its being a proof.

Here the RatnaprabhA makes a comment for the smRti definition:  स्मृत्या
स्वप्रामाण्यार्थं मूलश्रुतिरनुमीयत इत्यनुमानं स्मृतिः । [for being a proof
by itself, the foundation shruti (in that matter) is 'inferred' by
'remembering' it and therefore anumAnam (inference) is smRti.]

Anandagiri in his 'न्यायनिर्णयः’ gloss says: ...तत्रापि श्रुतौ
प्रत्यक्षशब्दे हेतुमाह - प्रामाण्यमिति । तथापि तत्रानुमानं कथं प्रमाणं,
तत्राह - अनुमामिति । तत्रापि प्रवृत्तिनिमित्तमाह - प्रामाण्यमिति ।
अव्यभिचारिलिङ्गोत्थत्वादनुमानस्य स्वतःप्रामाण्येऽप्युत्पत्तौ
सापेक्षत्वमात्रसाम्यादनुमानशब्दः स्मृताविति भावः ।
[The essence of Anandagiri's explanation is found in the last sentence:
Even though inference is founded on an unfailing vyApti (smoke is attended
by fire) and therefore an independent proof, yet for the inference to arise
there has to be a pratyakSha foundation (the perception of the smoke) and
merely on this ground (that is, the dependence on pratyakSha) the word
'anumAna' is used to denote 'smRti'.]
[The sutra bhashya reference courtesy : Vidwan Mani Dravid SastriNaH]


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