Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Thu Oct 2 13:35:20 CDT 1997

Re: the recent discussion on the truth value of the vedas, On Thu, 2 Oct
1997, Martin Gifford wrote:

> I think some orthodox members are responding because if they don't say
> something everyone will notice they have been clearly defeated on this point.
> In fact I'd say he has already proved all his points and all the long winded
> responses to his posts on this subject are really just diplomacy to water
> down and obscure the issue and to protect peoples feelings.
>          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

??? Since I am the one who has written the most number of responses to
Allan's questions, I'd suggest that you read the entire exchange again and
reevaluate this opinion. I thought Allan's questions were an honest
attempt to understand the tradition's self-image, and I tried to keep my
answers as straightforward as possible. Although I keep my language
polite, I care not a whit for anybody's feelings, and I try not to obscure
the issue. And I don't care for the appearance of victory or defeat.

Moreover, if you have already decided that the vedas are full of mistakes,
fine. No amount of pointing out otherwise will change this opinion.
However, I would like to ask you this. Since when were the vedas on the
dock? They seem to have subtly changed character in your mind, from being
witness at a trial, to the status of the accused. All I can say is that
advaita vedAnta is not just philosophy, it is a philosophy of religion. No
religion can survive without relying upon a scripture, the authority of
which is not questioned. If you cannot live with it, bear in mind that you
cannot live without it. If you are going to throw out existing scripture,
you will only sow the seeds for the arising of a new scripture. The
Buddhists and the Jains threw out the vedas, and now they have their own
sUtras and tantras. Zoroaster threw out the existing Iranian texts and
created a new Avesta. Muhammad gave his followers the Koran, in lieu of
whatever other texts they had then. Thus, the 5000+ years of known human
history shows that people always need some kind of scripture, and as tired
as the cliche sounds, history has a way of repeating itself.

As for the infallibility of the vedas, when a Hindu says this about the
vedas, he means something very different from what a Jew or a Christian or
a Muslim says about his own scripture. I don't care if I sound
"fundamentalist". Go to a good university and get a course in religious
studies, to really understand how we treat the vedas.

Anyway, I'm not going to say anything further on this issue. As always,
maunam sarvaarthasaadhakam.


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