[Advaita-l] Shruti prAmANya and jnAna

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Thu Oct 6 18:03:28 CDT 2016

Namaste Sri Srinath ji,

> On this, a pUrvapaxin (to PM) would ask;
> 1. How do you know vEdas have no sources?
The pUrva mImAmsaka has empiricism at the heart of his philosophy - the
world was never other than what it is now that is, one cannot believe in
the existence of something which has never been observed. He says that the
complete absence of evidence for something establishes its non-existence
(anupalabdhi). We have not observed anyone to have composed vedAs in our
own time. Tradition has not given us the name of its authors (rishis are
not authors). We only observe people who have learned it from others who
have learned it from others previously. What is not observed by any pramANa
is non-existent and hence the composers of the vedA are non-existent, or
the vedAs have no sources and eternal.

> 2. Given that we do not see any texts without author and we always see a
> text has known author or forgotten author, so also vEdas must have "some
> author(s)" even though we might not know who they are.

To answer this question, the mImAmsaka will argue that the vedAs cannot
have a known author because he has not observed such an author in the
present. And if the author is forgotten, how can we accept that there was a
person at some point in the past who has the ability to know alaukika
matters? We do not observe any men who are omniscient now, on what basis
can we conclude that they have existed in the past? Further, just because
one is an expert in one subject, one cannot conclude that he is an expert
in another subject. So just because someone has the knowledge of laukika
matters, we cannot conclude that he would have the knowledge of alaukika
matters that are beyond the world.

More importantly, why should we postulate something extraneous / unseen
which cannot be proven to explain something seen?

"All these are good, but pUrva-mImAmsakas do not deny reality of this jagat
either. Hence their concepts of prAmANya-svatatsva, vEda-apoUruShEyaatvaM
are all coherent and strong internally."

True, they do not deny reality of jagat. However, svatah prAmANya has a
corresponding principle of paratah aprAmANya also. A cognition is valid
until it is sublated by another cognition generated by a pramANa. Similarly
the reality of jagat is valid until it is sublated by the brahma satyatva -
jagat mithyAtva jnAna generated by shruti pramANa.


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