[Advaita-l] apaurushheyatva of the shruti

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Jun 1 17:53:03 CDT 2003

On Sun, 1 Jun 2003, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> Shankara himself never actually proves the
> apaurushheyatva of the shruti. He seems to assume it
> from the mImAmsaka's theories.

Actually a closely related subject does come up in the Brahmasutras under
1.3.28-30 which deals with whether the Gods actully have bodies or not.
(which in turn comes up as part of a discussion of whether the Gods are
entitled to study the Vedas.  Obviously they cannot if they don't have

shabdeti chet na atah prabhavAt pratyakshamAnumAnAbhyAm || 28 ||

if it is said concerning [Vedic] words, not here because of creation as
said in shruti and smrti.

The opponent (who interestingly is identified as Jaimini earlier in
the adhikarana) says that we cannot assume the Gods have bodies because
their names are mentioned in the Vedas which only speak of eternal things.
Having a body implies being born and dying.

Maharshi Badarayana replies no because a 'word' is the eternal relation
between a sound and a particular type of form.  So for example the
sound 'Indra' represents 'Indraness' which is embodied in a particular
person who we call Indra.  At the creation all this names and forms come
from Brahman and at the pralaya they are reabsorbed in Brahman.  Then at
the next creation the process is begun again.  This creation is made
through the Vedic words viz. sa manasa vAchaM mithunaM saMbhavat "with
mind and speech He created all this."[brhadaranyaka 1.2.4]

Interestingly Shankaracharya takes pratyaksha and anumana to mean Shruti
and Smrti rather than their common meanings.

ata eva cha nityatvam || 29 ||

And this is why eternity [of the Vedas is proved]

Because the Vedic words are spoken at every creation they must also exist
after each destruction.  Thus they are eternal.  The Rshis  did not
compose them but only 'saw' them thus they are said to be unauthored.
Neither can Brahman be said to be the author.  Rather Vedic speech is
Brahman.  (in fact "sacred speech" is one of the earliest usages of the
word Brahman.) Rgveda 10.71.3 is quoted here: yajnena vAchah
padavIyamAyantAmanvavindannrShiShu praviShTAM "by means of their
sacrifices they [the Brahmanas] found the meaning of the [Vedic] speech
which they found dwelling in the Rshis."

samAnanAmarUpatvAchchAvrttAvapyvirodho darshanAt || 30 ||

[Due to] the sameness of names and forms between cycles also no  contradiction
is seen

In every world cycle there are Rk, Yajus, Sama, and Atharva Vedas,
consising of Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads same as
before.  In every world cycle there is an Indra, Agni, Varuna etc.  Just
as the person who wakes up in the morning is the same as the one who went
to sleep the night before despite having no knowledge of his self in
between, the Vedas and all they refer to are the same.  In truth it is the
apparent 'creation' and 'destruction' which are false.  So there is no
contradiction between sayin the Veda are eternal and the Vedas were
created by Brahman.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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