[Advaita-l] apaurushheyatva of the shruti

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 3 19:59:12 CDT 2003

--- Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
> >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?
> Non-advaitins among vedAntin-s would have different
> ways of answering this. 
> My guess would be that they would argue that the
> upanishad-s do contain 
> injunctions to know brahman. The advaitin would go
> about it as follows.
> First, injunction to action is not the only purpose
> of the Veda, the other 
> purpose being to impart valid Self-knowledge. This
> is the "jnApaka" role of 
> Sruti. Second, that the upanishad-s are not useless
> because they serve the 
> above-stated second purpose. Therefore the
> pUrvapaksha claim of the 
> non-apaurusheyatva of Sruti remains unproved.

Well, that is one objection answered fully, but it
opens up other objections that were considered closed
by the mImAmsaka. I would definitely like to see how
the apaurushheyatva of the shruti is defended by the
advaitin with regards to several of the objections
already answered by the mImAmsaka. I'm not saying it's
impossible, but it does appear difficult. 

Firstly, for the advaitin, though the Vedas be
apaurushheya, the "motivation" for its study would be
absent (I think). In the context of motivation for
Vedic study, KumArila considers the fundamental

Why should one study the Vedas? 
Because the Vedas are the only source of dharma. 

Why should one enquire into dharma?
Because there are is a desire to know its nature by
the Self that is a doer and enjoyer of the results of
action [1]. 

(Considering anything more fundamental and asking,
"Why should one be concerned about the result of one's
actions?" is answered by KumArila as, "One who doesn't
care about the results of his actions is an ignorant
fool and will not enquire into anything."[2] Moreover,
making the enquiry into dharma as the starting point,
KumArila is on firm ground, since the Buddhist - and
most other opponents - have exactly the same starting
point, assuming the prima facie theory of
doer-enjoyer-nature of the Self. The Buddhists argue
for the omniscience of the Buddha in their theory of
dharma, and deny the Self in the final analysis, but
that's a different story.)

For the advaitin, the motivation for the study of
shruti should be "moksha" or "AtmavidyA". (Shankara's
Brahma sUtra bhAshhya 1.1.1) Now, to state moksha or
Self-realization as the goal of life *independent of
the Vedas* is a must if one is to find a motivation
for Vedic study. But how is this established
independent of the Vedas? If that's not established,
the (Bauddha) pUrvapakshin would consider the study of
Vedas as "useless". 

(The shruti will be split up into two portions by the
advaitin (1) GYAna kANDa for removing avidyaa for
those with sAdhana chatushhTaya and (2) karma kANDa
for practice of dharma until one possesses sAdhana
chatushhTaya. The "final goal" is therefore moksha.)

Secondly, the Self is never a doer for the advaitin.
This actually implies that one can never study the
Vedas, for as KumArila notes, there are statements in
the Vedas that speak of the necessity of Guruseva,
ceremonies etc. while studying the Vedas, which would
be impossible without action. Therefore things seems
rather too perfectly fine for KumArila because the
dharma taught by the Vedas completely explains
everything, including Vedic study itself as dharma. 

[1] shlokavArTika, verses 84-85&125 of 1.1.1, and
AtmavAda section verse 29.

[2] shlokavArTika, verse 17 of AtmavAda


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