[Advaita-l] On rationality; was "Vedas are not apauresheya according to the Vedas ?"

S Srivastava sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 21 23:55:43 CST 2013

Firstly, the above approach may work for some individuals, but not for
> others. Be that as it
> may, one question will still remain - whose tentative hypothesis is this
> Sruti?
> ISvara's? Atman's? Rshi-s'? Impersonal brahman's?

Sir: It does not matter whether this hypothesis is ISvara's or Atman's or
Rshi-s'. The source is not important. Shruti says that I am limitless
impersonal awareness. And right now as I am formulating these words for
typing I verify in my experience that indeed I do not have any limits nor
any locus. This recognition is immediate. It does not require any
reasoning. No purpose is going to be served by inquiring or
answering whether this hypothesis is ISvara's or Atman's or Rshi-s'.

> You see, the problem of apaurusheyatva
> or authoredness of Sruti will not go away even if the Sabda pramANa were
> to be seen as a
> kind of arthApatti, no matter how tentatively. There would be no reason to
> take this as any
> more valid of a hypthesis than some moral taught in the Aesop's fables,
> which also speak to
> and in the light of human experience.

The morals taught in Aesop's fables needs action on those precepts for
validation. The outcome of action is always uncertain. However, testing
validity of Shruti's assertions does not require any action. Only clear
seeing is required, right here, right now as you are reading these words.
As you are reading these words please let me know if you experience any
limits in the awareness that is understanding these words.You do not.

> What is it that would privilege Sruti as the tentative
> hypothesis worth considering, by which you evaluate your experience?

No privileging of Shruti is required except the fact that Shruti's
assertions are not something that you have to verify through some action in
future. The truth of Shruti's assertions is evident immediately if you
directly look into your experience as it is happening right now.

> The entire history of
> human thought teaches us that our indisputable experience, e.g. of the sun
> rising in the east,
> is more often than not, extremely misleading.

Reality of interpretation of experience of sun rising in the east may be
disputed. But can you really dispute that there was an experience of sun
rising in some particular place? No. Whatever I am experiencing right now
may be a dream, but can I deny that I am experiencing something right now?
No. The truth of experiencing something right now does not depend upon any
pramANa. It is self evident. Along with the experiencing of something, it
is also self evident that right now I exist and I am aware. sat and chit
are self evident aspects of experience. Even the experience of illusion or
dream or a false experience is not possible without sat and chit.

> It might be said that moksha still needs only one's own experience of
> onself as limitless and
> impersonal consciousness and that it does not really need Sruti. That may
> be the case for
> the very rare, exceptional case. It is precisely because one habitually
> experiences and defines
> onself in terms of the not-self that the vast majority of people need
> something called Sruti.

Recognition of truth of Shruti's statements is always instantaneous. The
abidance in that knowledge may take time according to the prArabdha of a
particular body/mind. However once the truth of Shruti's statements is
recognized it is clearly seen that even when we seemingly forget this
truth, the nature of experience does not change. In reality there is no
subject/ object duality in our experience. It never was. It never will be.
Even if I forget this fact, it does not alter the fact.

> Furthermore, the veda accomplishes other things also, not just vedAnta. If
> one keeps the
> structure of the purushArtha-s in mind, one can easily see that the veda
> is meant to address
> not only moksha, but also dharma. And in the vast field of dharma, the
> authority of the veda
> needs to be emphasized even more than than in that of moksha.

I agree that veda accomplishes other things also, not just vedAnta. dharma
is also necessary for society. Emphasizing authority of veda  for
maintenance of dharma is a personal choice. As long as we remember that
dharma shAstra portion of veda is aparA vidya and will be different for
people of different faiths. However moksha part or vedAnta will not change
for anyone whether he believes in it or not. It is not out of any dogma
that Shruti asserts the non dual nature of our experience. It is self
evidently true. That some people may willingly ignore this truth does not
alter the nature of the truth.

> At least in the latter case,
> one can point to one's own experience (although disagreeing with a need to
> "verify" what
> is said in the veda) or one can point to the instances of jIvanmukta-s. In
> the case of dharma,
> it is not so. All the more reason for worrying about whether an ISvara
> authored the veda, as
> the naiyyAyika-s held, or whether the veda is apaurusheya, as the pUrva
> mImAMsaka-s held.
> What vedAnta is telling cannot be arrived at by anyone by any reasoning
whatsoever unless it is pointed out by someone else. However in that case
the natural question arises how did the first person arrive at this
intuition. The only plausible answer is that it was revealed to him. It is
only in this sense that Shruti is apaurusheya. All other finer arguments
are for setting up a consistent philosophical system but IMHO they are not
needed for moksha shAstra.


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