Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 19 13:10:22 CDT 1998

 Guy Werlings wrote:

>But I'd like to ask you
>wjether I am authorized to read them and study them (see my earlier
>discussions on the subject with Ravisankar S. Mayavaram)

 Ramakrishnan and Giri have clarified this point well. When you
 or I or anyone writes any words of the Shruti, the written words
 technically do not count as shruti. Shruti is something that is
 learned by listening and reciting it. It should not be learned
 otherwise. I   remember HH Shri Abhinava Vidyateertha of Sringeri's
 saying in a lecture that even if one tries to learn shruti by
 listening to a cassette recording, etc., that does not constitute a
 proper method of learning shruti. So shruti is something that is
 heard directly from the mouth of a Guru or a person qualified to
 chant it, with no intervening medium.

 This being the case, there are injunctions and prohibitions on
 _listening_ and _reciting_ shruti, but (fortunately!) none on
 reading or writing the words of the shruti. In fact, the pUrva
 mImAmsakas argue (correctly) that shruti contains words that
 are also used among non-vedic matters. For example, the shruti
 contains a word "sUrya", which means the sun. Many people in India
 use this word in their daily lives in numerous contexts not
 necessarily vedic, regardless of who says it and who listens it.
 The word occurs in many, if not most, Indian langauges. But we
 cannot argue that "sUrya" is a word from the vedas, so there
 should be restrictions on saying it. Shruti involves pronouncing
 words with a particular alphabet (varNa), accent (svara), the
 time required to pronounce it (mAtrA), emphasis (bala), etc.
 Unless chanted in this way, words do not qualify as shruti.
 So how can written words become shruti? The written words can,
 however, help us by motivating us to study the actual shruti.


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