[Advaita-l] Is God "unscientific"?

Sanjay Srivastava sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
Fri Sep 23 11:33:32 CDT 2005

On 9/23/05, Sri Seshan Narayanan <mdrfan at gmail.com> wrote:

> 1. the applicability of certain pramanas to certain kinds of objects
> cannot be made in such categorical terms. if you do that a large body of
> knowledge that explicitly claim allegiance to the Vedas will have to be
> dumped as baseless. Take the case of Ayurveda for instance....

The mImAmska position is that if shruti contradicts experience, it
should be re-interpreted. In the fields of dharma or moksha, shruti
reigns supreme since no experience can ever contradict it. For
example, vedas declare that performance of certain animal sacrifices
gives us punya. Personally I may abhor animal sacrifices. But is there
any way for me to prove or disprove that it does not give me punya?
Based on my faith in shruti, I can take it or leave it, but there is
no middle ground.

However, if vedas said something about anatomy of sacrificed animal,
would that also be beyond other pramANas? Certainly not. My experience
can confirm or contradict such declarations and shruti may need
reinterpretion based on the rules of mImAmsa.

> A large
> number of claims of this particular branch of knowledge are based on
> Sruti and the texts that constitute it. And these claims are available
> for now verification through the sense organs...

..and therefore if they contradict shruti, it only shows that our
interpretation of shruti was faulty.

Feeling shy of reinterpreting shruti in the face of a contradictory
experience is not showing any respect to shruti, but going directly
against the tradition it upholds.

> The point I wish to make is simple. The theories of knowledge and
> meta-justificatory principles enshrined in the Sruti are clearly more
> accomodating than the claims made on their behalf. Please do not rob
> these texts of their flexibility and its open-endedness.

Let us also not rob the validity of other pramANas. When Vedanta
accepts certain pramANas as valid, it does not rank them in the order
of validity.  Shruti is neither superior nor inferior to other
pramANas. It has just a different jurisdiction. And if there is any
doubt about its jurisdiction, there is always the pUrva-mImAmsa to
help us out.


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