[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Vedas.
uramakrishna at gmail.com
Tue Sep 13 12:05:15 CDT 2011
namaste to people interested in this thread.
Here is the relevant excerpt from Swami Satprakashananda-ji's book
... As observed by Shankara: " A means of knowledge is or is not a
means according as it leads or does not lead to valid knowledge" [Br.
Up. II.1.20]. Since 'shabda' (verbal-testimony) leads to valid
knowledge independently of perception inference, so far as the object
of knowledge is concerned, why should it not be regarded as a separate
means of knowledge?
Nor can shabda be rejected as an independent means of knowledge on the
ground that its validity has to be ascertained by perception of
inference when there is doubt as to the reliability of the report. In
that case, perception and inference have also to be discarded as
independent means of knowledge; inasmuch as perceptual as well as
inferential knowledge need verification whenever there is doubt as to
their validity. The point is that the method of verification of any
knowledge does not produce the knowledge in question. It only proves
or disproves the information that is already gained. Therefore, shabda
remains an independent means of valid knowledge just as perception or
According to nyAya, the validity of every method of knowledge has to
be established by inference, yet it accepts shabda as a means of valid
knowledge for the reasons we have said above.
10. Knowledge gained from authority cannot be discounted as mere belief.
The information gained from an authoritative statement is valid
cognition of fact. Though mediate like inferential knowledge, it
should be regarded as mere belief, and consequently something
different from knowledge. Unfortunately, the Western thinkers have
shown a general tendency in this direction. The words of the
trustworthy (aaptavaakya) are a veritable source of knowledge. They
carry conviction without proof. When a person learns from another's
report that the hill has fire, he usually believes it, unless there is
a cause of doubt as to its reliability. "To hear is to believe", as
montague says is true in the sense that it is a general tendency of
man to believe in what he hears or learns from authority.
Moreover, advaita vedanta as well as mImAMsa school hold that true
knowledge has not be verified from by any other knowledge. It is its
own proof. its validity is due to the very conditions that cause it
and is certified by them. Thus, the knowledge of a fact or truth is
intrinsically valid and its validity is self-evident. it carries
conviction. Doubt arises in the mind of the cognizer only when he is
aware of some drawback in the conditions that produce knowledge. In
that case verification is needed for removal of knowledge and nor for
establishing the validity of the knowledge in question. ...
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