[Advaita-l] Apourusheyatva

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 31 16:26:06 CST 2005

--- S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:

> In pUrva mImAmsA, the Vedas are NOT "sounds" at all (strictly
> speaking). The "sounds" or "chants" of the Vedas are the "manifestive
> agency" of the Vedas -- they are the means by which humans perceive
> the
> existence of the Vedas.

If someone feels I'm nitpicking, there is every reason to do so, since
the websites/organizations that promote the Vedas repeatedly
misunderstand this aspect of Vedic philosophy, e.g.:

"Vedic Mantras are from the beginning of Time 
prior to Big Bang !!!
Sounds as vibrations have come down unchanged from origin of creation."

The above words may seem flattering to the Vedas, but KumArila BhaTTa
and other mImAmsakas would find fault with such fanciful ideas. Nowhere
does KumArila say that the Vedas are "coeval with creation". In fact,
he argues that the Vedas *cannot have an origin*. As per pUrva mImAmsA,
the Vedas are *eternal*, meaning that they have neither a beginning nor
an end with time. The idea of scriptures having been "created (by an
omniscient being)" is Buddhist, and KumArila argues against such an
attitude towards the Vedas.

The R^ishhis "saw" (not with the physical, but the meta-physical eyes)
the Vedas that exist in a transcendental realm and "gave" it to humans
in the form of sounds. The power of being able to "see" the
transcendental realm where the Vedas reside is a special power of the
R^ishhis, explained by Shankara thus (Brahma sUtra BhAshhya 1.3.33):

R^ishhINAmapi mantra-brAhmaNa-darshinAm.h sAmarthyaM nAsmadIye na
sAmarthyaM nopamAtu ...

"The capacity of the Rishis who visualize the Mantra and Brahmana
(portions of the Vedas) is [so great that it is] not to be compared
with ours..."

Hence the term "mantra-drashhTa" or "seers" for Rishis. Shankara also
argues that the Vedas are to be considered as without beginning or end
(see Brahma sUtras 1.3.30 onwards). 


> An analogy may be given: "2" is not a number at all, but is merely
> the
> symbolic representation of a certain number. The Romans used the
> symbol
> "II" and a computer that uses binary arithmetic represents it as
> "10".
> But they all refer to the *same number*, the existence of which is
> perceived by the symbolic representation. Similarly, the Vedic chants
> reveal the Vedas, but are not the Vedas per se. The Vedas don't exist
> in this physical realm, and the Vedic chants are the "physical" means
> by which the Vedas are perceived.
> -Kartik

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