[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Veda

Srikanta Narayanaswami srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 26 09:46:36 CDT 2011

The reasons given by the Mimamsakas give that the Vedas are separate pramana are as follows.Infact,Shankarites also 
follow the reasons of the 'mimamsakas".It is said,"vyavahare Bhatta nayah".
1)The Dharma is not a physical object(Bhautika vastu).It cannot be known by the Indriyas,or reasoning(anumana).Therefore,for the knowing of the dharma veda is the only means(sadhana).They use other pramanas to show that the they are not useful for knowing dharma,and to condemn(khandana)the arguments of others.
2)"Shabdha"is word.They are of two kinds.i)paurusheya and ii)apaurusheya.The paurusheya is born out of the signs(sanketa)of man.But,the words of vedas are not born from the signs of man devised by him.The letters devised by man by his sign.They only indicate the mundane(laukika) vishaya which can be known by other pramanas.But the words of the veda indicate the non-mundane(alaukika)dharmas which cannot be known by other pramanas.The laukika letters or words(pada)chnage.They are non-eternal.The words or letters of vedas are eternal.They donot change.If the laukika sentences are to be true,the person who says must be honest(Pramanikah).Therefore they are "sapeksha satya".The sentences of vedas are "svatapramana"(they are by themselves truthful).They are not created by men.
3)Both Kumarila and Prabhakara have answered the questions which have argued against the "apaurusheyatva"of vedas with the objections as below:
i)Objection:The words are created by the effort of man.Therefore,they are non-eternal.For them there is birth,therefore they are non-eternal.(this is the objection brought by the opponents who say that vedas are not eternal)
Answer:The veda is not created by any man.It is not said anywhere in the veda that it is created by 'such and such a man'It cannot also even be said that it is created by the "paramapurusha"God.Because,it is not established (asiddha)that God exists.Even for the sake of argument,God exists,it is nonsense to say that such a God has created a world which is so full of sorrow!To say such a God created this world,is to say he is cruel!.If he is omnipotent,he would not created this world which is with defects!Even if he is happy(trpta)what is the need to create this world.To say that it is his need to satisfy his needs(ishtapurthi),then he has to depend on it.He cannot be free in all ways(sarvasvatantra).Even to argue that inorder to distribute the "karmaphala"for the 'jivas'God should preside(adhyaksha)is not also apt."Karma"is born with the 'phala'embedded in its stomach.The cause for the 'enjoyment and sorrow'of the men ,their kama is responsible.There
 need be no other reason.This act of this world is beginningless(anadi).There is birth or death for it.Similarly,the Veda vak is also beginningless(anadi).It is eternal without the birth or death.
ii)Objection:The vedavakya is born at its utterance(uccharana).They disolve(laya)when the utterance is stopped.Therefore,it is non-eternal.For this argument,the "mimamsakas"answer as below:
In order that the vakya has to be uttered,it should have prior-existed.Therefore,the utterance(uccharana)shows what exists before,and doesnot create anew.What is uttered must have existed before it is uttered.It exists before utterance and also after utterance.Therefore,it is eternal(nitya),the utterance is incidental(prasangika).The utterance is a mere physical sound(bhautika sabdha).The talk(word uttered)is not a mere physical sound(bhautika sabdha).It is with meaning.That meaning is not physical(bhautika).It is 'alaukika"
iii)Objection:Since different persons,at different places could speak at the same time(ekakala) the same sentence(vakya),it is non-eternal.It is not all-pervasive(sarvavyapi).
Answer:Since the "Sun"(surya is seen by different persons at different places,can it be said that the Sun is non-eternal,and his light is not all-pervasive?
iv)Objection:The shape of the words change from time to time.Therefore,the words are not eternal.
Answer:The words of the mundane world(laukika)change.But,the words of the veda donot change.They are existing
from generations!
v)Objection:The "Ruks"of the veda have the names of the "Rishis".The "Rishis"are also mortals ,therefore the "Ruks"created by them are non-eternal!
Answer:The "Ruks"are not created by the "Rishis".They are the visioneries(drastarah).They are not mere names(nama),they are universal nouns(sarvanama).Vishwamitra is not a historical figure.Vishwamitra means -a friend of all.Since the universal nouns(sarvanama)have no adjuncts(upadhi)of time(kala),place(desha) and count(ganna),they are eternal!.
Prabhakara says that since the mundane(laukika)sentences are not selfevident(svatahpramana),they cannot be considered as "sabdhapramana".Kumarika connets them with "sabdhapramana",and if their creator is a friend(apta)then they also have "svatapramanya". Since, Kumarila also accepts that the "vedavakyas"are 'nirupadhika'(without adjuncts),there is no difference of views on the evidence of the veda(vedapramanya)
II)The "Spotavada"followed by Bhatruhari and others regard that the whole world is an explosion of the word(sabdha)The words are created by "varnas"or particles of letters.Inorder to create a word like "Ghata"many particles join to create it."Ghata'has "g+a+t+a",form the word"ghata".These particles exist only for a moment.Then how is the word become known to us.Bhatruhari says that the word and the meaning is created internally by a function called ""Sphota".
There are various levels of utterance(uccharana)and hearing.These levels are called:Para,pashyanti,madhyama and vaikhari.The vaikhari is the way of utterance or accent.One can hear madhyama as in music.The Yogis can hear upto pashyanti.The Para is eternal and to this category the veda belong.It can be heard only by "Rishis".Hence,the 'Rishis"are visioneries(drastarah).
But,Shankara has  criticised the "Sphotavada"in his "Brahmasutra Bhashya".

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list