[Advaita-l] apaurushheyatva of the shruti

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 1 23:30:54 CDT 2003

--- "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
> 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
> bodies.)

This is exactly where Shankara Himself refers to the
pUrva-mImAmsA theory of apaurushheyatva of the shruti.
Swami Gambhirananda's translation of the Brahma sUtra
BhAshhya 1.3.29 (BSB) goes: 

"The beginninglessness of the Vedas stands established
(in the pUrva-mImAmsA) from the fact that no
independent author of the Vedas is remembered (i.e.

Here, Shankara very obviously refers to the
Jaimini-KumArila (J-K) theory of apaurushheyatva (as
Shankara readily notes in BSB 1.3.28). Guess why
Shankara needs to clarify the doubt regarding the
eternality of gods and the words that denote them? 

Because, for the pUrva-mImAmsaka, the denial of
person-hood in the Vedas is *necessary* to establish
the apaurushheyatva of the shruti! I refer to J-K
1.1.28 and 1.1.31:
pUrvapaksha: "How is it that we find mention of
non-eternal entities in the shruti, such as 'auddAlaki
desired', auddAlaki referring to the person who was
born and must have died?" 

siddhAnta: "As for the mention of names of men and
things in the Veda, there is nothing to show that the
word as found in the Veda was actually the name of a
person; it is in fact nothing more than a chance
resemblance of sounds...that does not show that in the
Veda the word must be regarded as a proper name..." 

> 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.

Yes, J-K treat no shruti words as referring to

> Maharshi Badarayana replies no because a 'word' is
> the eternal relation
> between a sound and a particular type of form. 

Jaimini completely accepts BAdarAyaNa in this regard,
as stated explicitly in Jaimini 1.1.5:

"Constant is the relation between the Word and its
Meaning...(therefore Vedic injunction) is
authoritative with regards to the object not
perceived...so says BAdarAyaNa." 

This is where Jaimini-KumArila and BAdarAyaNa really

> 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]

BAdarAyaNa accepts creation, but KumArila argues
vehemently against creation, since he thinks that will
render the Vedas non-eternal. 

> 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]

Again, Shankara merely answers one objection of the
pUrva-mImAmsaka regarding the mention of person-hood
in the Veda, but that's hardly saying he actually
establishes apaurushheyatva of the shruti from

I repeat what I said in my previous posting:

If the advaitin accepts the pUrva-mImAmsA proof of
apaurushheyatva of the shruti, many questions will
remain unanswered, e.g:

Jaimini 1.2.1: "The purpose of the Veda being
injunction to action, those portions that do not serve
that purpose (i.e. upanishhads) are useless, and these
portions are non-eternal."

J-K answer the above pUrvapaksha objection by saying
that the upanishhads are arthavAda. Now, how would a
VedAntin answer the objection?


PS: All translations of J-K by Ganganath Jha. 

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