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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Jan 23 13:02:01 CST 2013

In the commentary to the early verse of the Vivekachudamani 'jantUnAm
narajanma durlabham....' , for the term 'vaidikadharmamArgaparatA' HH Sri
Chandrashekhara Bharati Swamiji has made a brief but a very forceful
observation that cites a jaimini sutra too and says:

[I have given a free translation to each sentence for ease in reading and
appreciating the Bhashyam, which however, has no parallel]

 na hi vedam vinA pramANAntaram dharmaviShaye padamADhAtumIShTe tasya
atIndriyatvena pratyakShasya tatra aprasarAt.

Apart from the Veda there is no other means of knowing dharma since it is
beyond the grasp of one's senses.

ata eva na anumAnam tatra  prasarati, pratyakShamUlakatvAdanumAnapravRutteH

Therefore alone inference too has no place there since even inference has
to operate with perception for its basis.

ata eva vedavyatirikta shabdo'pi na tam bodhayitum pArayati pratyakShAdinA
avadhAritasyaiva arthasya laukikashabdena bodhayitum shakyatvAt.

That is why words other than that of the Veda too cannot teach us about
dharma since the words of the world are capable of conveying only that
which has been determined by perceptual knowledge.

smRutInAmapi pauruSheyatvena puruShANAm bhramapramAdAdisambhavena
kartRudoShanibandhana-aprAmANyashaMkAyAm apauruSheyatayA
doShagandha-anAgnadhitashrutimUlakatayaiva prAmANyasya vaktavyatayA
vedavyatiriktasya shabadsya dharme svataH apramANatvAt.

Here lies the crux of the commentary: Since even the smRti texts, being
human-authored are not free from the possibility of the defects like
inadvertence, and error, *when there arises a doubt about their not being
the valid means* of knowing (dharma, etc.), one will have to settle on that
means which being apauruSheya (not human-authored) and being free of any
defect (that are possible with humans) which can qualify as the right means
having its source in the Veda since words that are not of the Veda are
incapable of being the means for determining on things like dharma.

kimcha smRutikartAro vA antIndriyaM dharmaM kathaM vyajAnan?

Further, how indeed did the authors of the smRti-s know about dharma that
is beyond one's sensory perception?

yogajasAmarthyeneti cet tatsAmarthyaM kathaM taiH sampAditam?

If it is due to their powers derived from practice of yoga, how indeed was
that (power) acquired by them?

 dharmAnuShThAnena iti chet, sa dharmaH kathaMjnAtaH?

If it is replied: 'by their practicing dharma', how/from where indeed did
they come to know of that dharma (which they practiced and acquired those

 ata eva ' yo brahmANam vidadhAti pUrvaM, yo vai vedAmshcha prahiNoti
tasmai' iti prathamam sRujyamaanasya hiraNyagarbhasyaapi
IshvaraAnugRhItavedamUlkameva dharmajnAnamiti bodhayati shrutiH.

That is why from the vedic passage 'He who created brahmA and gave him the
Veda..' we know that the dharmajnAnam of even the first-born Hiranyagarbha
is engendered by the Veda that was blessed/vouchsafed to him by Ishwara.

 kiM vakyavyamitareShaM !!

What to say about the others (authors of the smRti-s)?

What a fine discourse!!

The key point to note here is that the apauruSheyatva comes in the
picture *only
when there is a doubt/question about the error-free nature of a teaching /
text one gets to read/hear.*  In those cases where such a doubt was not
raised, not due to ignorance, but due to correct intuition, there was
successful knowledge transmission from that text itself, as said in the
special cases of very advanced souls/ mahAtma-s.  This is just an aside.
But the Acharya above has very nicely delineated the idea of apauruSheyatA
with respect to the Veda as the means to inform/instruct us about dharma
(and brahma which is, of course, not divorced from dharma, 'dharmyam' -
[dharmAdanapetam], a term the Upanishad itself uses).

I have heard the above underlined portion stressed by learned scholars
while discussing about the concept/idea of apauruSheyatva. In the face of
such a doubt, shankA, the prAmANyasiddhi takes place only when
apaurSheyatva is brought in.  There is no other way out.

That is why questions like 'does not the Bh.Gita teach us about the Self,
the sthitaprajna lakshana, the sadhana, about the world,etc.' become valid
only when the aspirant concerned has no problems in accepting the smRti.
If, however, someone asks: 'how did Veda Vyasa know about all this?' then
the inevitable journey that is destined to end in apauruSheya-veda-vAda


On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 1:37 PM, <rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> How do the authors of pauresheya texts know? You can say they have special
> powers but how do you or they know that they have special powers. You
> need apauresheya text to say. Apauresheya texts are true because of
> sabdArtha nityatvA.
> Even you can't say Ishwara told me. How do you know someone is Ishwara?
> You need apaureshya text to know Ishwara. Pauresheya is valid as a
> secondary sabda pramana only.
> Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list