Shruti and Smriti

Nanda Chandran Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Thu Jun 4 15:43:51 CDT 1998

>From the dialogue between Shankara and Mandana Misra, I can infer only
this :

There's no way an Eternal Absolute Changeless Being can be logically
proved to exist as it's beyond the mind and the intellect. Thus the need
for an indisputable authority which states so. Holy scriptures,
generally claimed as having a divine authorship to enforce it's
indisputablity, perform this function in every religion. Vedanta is no
exception. Hence Adi Shankara's assertion that the shruti should be
considered as a pramana.

Though in the past few days we've seen numerous quotes which state that
Brahman can be known only through the shruti, is there any quote which
specifically says Brahman cannot be known through the smritis. I doubt
it. Because the smritis are itself derived from the shruti. The
Bhagavath Gita is supposed to contain the essence of the Upanishads. So
what's is implied is that Brahman can be known through the shruti or
from those texts which are derived from the shruti, in this case the
smritis and the puranas (Infact Ram Chandran's explantions from "The
Vedas" supports this). Again, it should be noted that the latter two
texts cannot exist but for the former.

BTW, I don't understand what Mandana Misra means when he states that
non-dualistic passages are without the support of other pramanas. Does
that mean Duality is? Yes, I can distinguish between myself and the next
man. But Duality in the essence means I and a God apart from me. How
could a God apart from me be proved by the other pramanas?

        Because e-mail can be altered electronically,
        the integrity of this communication cannot be guaranteed.

>From  Thu Jun  4 21:14:03 1998
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From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
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Vivek Anand Ganesan <v_ganesan at YAHOO.COM> writes:

>   1. Sometimes, Atharvavedam is mentioned but sometimes
>   it is omitted.   Why?

Greetings Vivek:

I appreciate your question and let me attempt to answer your first
question now and the other questions at a later time.

   Atharvaveda means the Veda of the Wise and the Old. It is associated
with the name of the ancient Rishi Atharvan.  It is also called
Atharva-Angirasa, being associated with the name of another rishi,
Angiras. Although later in age, the Atharvaveda reveals a more primitive
culture than the Rigveda. The custom is to enumerate Yajurveda and
Samaveda after the Rigveda, and mention Atharvaveda last. Atharvaveda
contains about 6 thousand verses forming 731 verses and a small portion
in prose.  About one seventh of the Atharvaveda text is common to the

       A major portion of  Atharvaveda describes the curative powers of
herbs and waters.  Many hymns relate to diseases like cough and
jaundice, to male and female demons that cause diseases, to
sweet-smelling herbs and magic amulets, which drive diseases away. There
are verses  relating to sins and their atonement, errors in performing
rituals and their expiatory acts, political and philosophical issues,
and a wonderful hymn to Prithvi or Mother Earth.

        Before Vedavyasa's time period, Rgveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda
enjoyed a higher status and Atharvaveda was neglected by the elite sages
of that time. The genius of  Vedavyasa recognized the greatness of sage
Atharva and Atharvaveda and Vedavyasa is responsible for bringing the
importance of Atharvaveda to the public front.  In fact, Vedavyasa
married the daughter of sage Atharva.  Vedavyasa compiled and classified
the Vedas into four branches Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas.  For
merely, it formed a single body of knowledge. Vyasa had a number of
disciples.  The four great 'rishis' called Vaishampayana, Paila, Jaimini
and Sumantu took the Vedas to people in different corners.   Vedavyasa
was also the author of the Mahabharat including the Bhagavad Gita,
Brahmasutras and the eighteen PurAnAs.  Guru Purnima, which is on the
full moon of July  is celebrated by the Hindus in honor of Vedavyasa the
first and foremost of Guru and the Light-giver.  Vyasa is one of the
mightiest of the mighty personalities in our mythology.  He wanted
nothing for himself. Selfishness and hatred were unknown to him.  He
radiated wisdom like the bright sun.  He witnessed the rise and fall of
seven generations from Shantanu to Janamejaya.   He lived among gigantic
heroes like Lord Krishna, Bheesh ma and Yudhishthira.   He spoke
tenderly to the grief stricken.  He gave clear warning to those who
erred.   He spoke encouragingly to the good and the pious. He was
himself an example to others and his life was as pure as fire.  The
stories of such great men shed light on our path.   Moral standards and
values of the Hindu Civilization, established by great sages such as
Vedavyasa and Adisankara were responsible for the preservation of Vedic
religion and Vedanta in spite of  invasions of foreign culture and

Reference: "Vedavyasa" by Dr. K. M. Munshi, Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan,
Bombay, India. (This is a great book about the life history of the
greatest sage of India)

 Note:  In North India, the family surname name "Chathurvedi" is to
indicate that those families follow all the four Vedas.   Similarly,
families with the surname "Trivedi" follow only three Vedas and they
exclude Atharvaveda.

Ram chandran
Burke, VA

>From  Thu Jun  4 22:39:41 1998
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Date: Thu, 4 Jun 1998 22:39:41 -0700
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To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
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From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
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Greetings Shri Krishna Vaidyanathan:

First let me welcome you to the list and congratulate you for your
eagerness to find the TRUTH about the rituals and rites.  I agree with
Ravi and what Jaladhar states is just a reflection of Lord Krishna's
advice to Arjun in Bhagavad Gita (Karma Yoga).  I just want to point out
that there is no such thing as " no understanding!"  Jaladhar's
suggestion is one method of reconciliation.  However, there are better
methods of understanding as pursued by Arjun for advice from Lord
Krishna.  I remember a famous paradox, "No one is convinced by other's
arguments."  This statement can never be false!  Logically "no
understanding" is an impossible proposition! Paramacharya says in his
book "The Vedas" that rites and rituals are conducted to please the
Devas and the society in return gets health, wealth and prosperity!  It
should be remembered that the Grace of God is the cause of our actions
and the Grace of God is responsible for the returns.   Finally, Life is
an opportunity given by the Grace of God to witness our own life!

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