[Advaita-l] Anantaa vai vedaah

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 28 04:06:49 CDT 2011

Namaste Sri Subrahmanian ji,  Rama ji and all other friends,
In trying to better understand "anantA vai vedAH", (the Vedas are
limitless),  the following points/questions come up.

1. The word vedAH quite clearly refers to the "veda mantra-s" and not to the
shAkha-s (recensions) which are generally agreed to be a definite number.

2 The question is, does anantA mean "the Veda mantras are numerically
infinite (and accordingly encapsulate limitless knowledge)" or whether "a
fixed and finite number of Veda mantra-s alone exist which are faithfully
reproduced but still can enfold limitless knowledge"

To elaborate :let us take it that the mantra-s are finite in number,  the
word anantA can possibly accounted for by taking it to mean that "analysis,
elucidation and cogitation (mImAmsA, vistAra, tapas ) based upon the
original veda mantras leads to an infinite multi-layered depth and also
breadth of knowledge (vij~nAna) enfolded in the Vedas which can thus be
gradually unfolded" ,.
(the unfoldment which takes place due to Ishvara - (IshvaraH .. kArayAmAsa)
- will naturally be termed 'paurusheya' - knowledge born of human
insight while the original mantras which enfold (encase) it are apaurusheya
- since in the Veda mantras the knowledge (shabdArtha-j~nAna) and the words
(shabda) are simultaneous.)
In the brahma sUtra-s,  शास्त्रयोनित्वात (BSB 1.1.3) - "Brahman is
all-knowing because he is the manifester/source of the Vedas"  is given as a
**complete and sufficient** reason for Brahman's All-knowledge
(सर्वज्ञत्वं).  In the bhAShya on this sUtra, it is clear that the word
shAstra refers only to the Vedas and bhAShyakAra says that the Vedas have
the capacity to bring to light ALL objects (i.e., give us their
knowledge), saying
महत:  ऋग्वेदादे: .... प्रदीपावत् सर्वार्थावद्योतिन: सर्वज्ञकल्पस्य योनि:
(Brahman is known as All-knowledge BECAUSE it is the source of the Vedas
which have the capacity to illuminate all objects, like even a lamp brings
to light all objects; the Vedas although 'acetana' themseles are thus no
less "all-knowledge" - they are termed सर्वज्ञकल्प: being pervaded by the
power of Ishvara)
Moreove, the sub-commentary also echoes this and says -
 वेदे  हि सर्वार्थप्रकाशनशक्तिरुपलभ्यते (bhAshya ratnaprabhA) (In the Vedas
lies the power to illuminate all (objects) that exists.), and after asking
whether Brahman's सर्वज्ञत्वं (omniscience) can be established purely on the
ground that He breathed out the Vedas or is there anything called
"knowledge not derivable from the Veda', in which case, just because He
breathed out the Vedas, we cannot rush to the conclusion that He is
omniscient, after asking this question, shrI govindAnanda indiates that "वेद
हेतुत्वेन ब्रह्मण: सर्वज्ञत्वं साधायति" ,  we conclude therefore that
"ALL knowledge, past, present, and future, (both known and unknown)  lies
encapsulated (needs only mImAmsa and upadesha) or
atleast enfolded (additionally needs tapas), in the Veda mantras". (not to
speak of that brahman-knowledge which of beyond both.)
 If we say, "No", and that there is other "secular" knowledge available in
this world, such as व्याकरणम् (grammar) logic etc., which has
no (in-principle)traceable connection to the Veda, and that such other
knowledge cannot be accordingly traced back to a Vedic source, then there is
a flawed hetu (reason) in saying that "Brahman is all-knowledge BECAUSE He
is the source of the Vedas." . The mere fact of the existence of any
non-vedic knowledge which can be derived independent of any elucidation by
tapas/cogitation/upadesa etc of the Veda would negate the possibility of
Ishvara's sarvaj~natvaM being premised on the all-knowledge that is the
Veda. But since, the hetu (reason)  is not flawed we have to contend that
"All knowledge secular and sacred is enfolded in the Veda mantras. By
gradual unfoldment, knowledge of all objects can be revealed, right from
grammar and logic to the knowledge of the basis of all knowledge which is
advitIyam brahma."
Is this acceptable? Can't this be asserted even at the vyAvAhArika
(empirical) level without invoking the brahmAstra viz.,at the pAramArthika
(absolute) level of understanding/unfoldment brahma-vidyA is most certainly
sarva-vidyA pratiShThA ?


P.S. Here the Vedic "capacity to bring to light all objects". I take this to
mean the capacity to produce in the antaHkaraNa, under suitable
unfoldment,(mImAmsA),  born of upadesha and most importantly tapas, ALL
possible types of pratyaya-s (corresponding to the respective objects of the
jagat (World) being brought to light during the mantra unfoldment process
.)  In such an arrangement,the original mantras remain apaurusheya
(revealed) but the later unfoldment can well be called paurusheya (by human
insight meditating upon the Veda or its derivatives.).
Also, it goes without saying that the uniqueness (alaukikatA) of the Veda
rests not on its ability to replicate the knowledge derivable from other
pramANa-s, nyAya etc.; in such cases such vedic vAkya-s are
ofcourse anuvAdArthavAda (tautological). That is well-known. But the point
is that the Vedic mantras form the basis of ALL vishesha (particularized)
knowledge even at the vyAvahArika level.  In other words, all laukika
vidyA-s (empirical knowledge) is merely a paurusheya (born of human insight)
unfoldment of Veda mantra-s. That is the contention being examined.

. On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 3:10 PM, V Subrahmanian
<v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 7:38 AM, Raghav Kumar <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
> >wrote:
> >
> > 3. In BS bhAShya on the shAstra-yonitvAt sUtra, we have (quoted already)
> >  yadyat-vistarArtham shAstram yasmAt puruShAt sambhavati, yatha
> vyAkaraNadi
> > pANiNyAdeH jneyaikadeshArthamapi, sa tato'pi adhikataravijnAnaH
> > kimuvaktavyam aneka-shAkhAbhinnasya RgvedAdeH ...
> > "whatever shAstra is composed by a given person, even in the case of a
> > particular branch of knowledge such as grammar by pANiNi, we see that (on
> > the analogy of pANiNi) he would be endowed with much more knwoledge than
> > what was set forth/manifested." (so what to speak of sarvajna-Ishvara,
> this
> > kaimUtika-nyAya is presented and in the next line in bhAShya, the word
> > 'aprayatnena' precludes the extension of the analogy to mean 'created' or
> > 'composed'.)
> > The word adhikatara-vijnAna (one endowed with **more** knowledge) is
> > noteworthy, indicating that Ishvara has not exhausted all the knowledge
> > which inseparably exists/rests in Him, in manifesting (not amounting to
> > freshly creating) the Vedas as we know them. (The word 'aprayatnena'
> > precludes the extension of the analogy to mean 'created' or 'composed'.)
> To
> > say that exactly the same finite set of mantras are manifested in every
> > kalpa while some other mantras are never "breathed" out and are
> permanently
> > resident in Ishvara, seems a little far-fetched.
> >
> The 'adhika tara' vijnAna in Ishwara need not be in the form of
> veda-mantras
> alone. 'shruti-smRtee mamaivaajne' is a saying which means 'both the shruti
> and the smRti are Ishwara's injunction/instruction/command'.  It is also
> said that Ishwara, through the Rshi-s 'caused', कारयामास, smRti-s to be
> written.  Even though the veda-s are the core-basis for the smRti-s, the
> expansion/explanation/elucidation can be in terms of non-veda sentences.
> So, there is nothing unreasonable in holding that the 'same' quantum of
> veda
> mantra-s were brought out/revealed/breathed out in every kalpa.  The
> 'adhika-tara' adjective is used only with reference to the 'vijnAna'.  As
> they say 'Nature will never reveal her secrets all at once', there is
> virtually no limit to the secrets hidden, unexplored/undiscovered. Bhagavan
> Himself says regarding nature/knowledge/vibhUti 'नान्तोऽस्ति मम दिव्यानां
> विभूतीनाम्’ (Bh.G.10.40) Shankara comments:
> न हि ईश्वरस्य सर्वात्मनः दिव्यानां विभूतीनाम् इयत्ता शक्या वक्तुं ज्ञातुं
> वा
> केनचित्।
> None can specify or know the limits of this vibhUti of Ishwara.
> And this additional line of the commentary is especially relevant in the
> present discussion:
> एष तु उद्देशतः एकदेशेन प्रोक्तः विभूतेः विस्तरः मया। ।।10.40।।
> What has been 'stated', revealed, breathed out, is only an 'ekadesha', an
> undefined, yet finite, part, of the limitless.
> So, the body of knowledge that has been revealed, at each kalpa/creation,
> though limited, need not be thought of being 'incomplete'.  For, the Veda
> itself has taught the concept of and the method of acquiring, the
> 'essence/essential knowledge' - एकविज्ञानेन सर्वविज्ञानम्’.
> If Panini is capable of giving out his ideas in the form of sutras, the
> encapsulated form, it goes without saying that he is in possession of the
> fund of knowledge that exists behind/beneath those sutra-s.  That is called
> 'vistaraArtha'.
> Thus, even though Ishvara's knowledge is 'adhika-tara' in comparison to the
> revealed veda/knowledge, there is no conflict with the traditional view
> regarding the Veda, its apauruSheyatva, the revelation being 'the same as
> it
> was in the previous creation-cycle', etc. Just because some shAkhA-s have
> become lupta, lost, there is no real 'loss' for humanity in respect of the
> essential knowledge.  After all, the Upanishad itself says: ब्रह्मविद्या
> सर्वविद्याप्रतिष्ठा’. There is never a situation where one is denied the
> ways and means to brahmavidyA despite the loss of some shAkhA-s owing to
> disuse.
> It is pertinent to note some points made by the commentary
> 'bhAshyaratnaprabhaa' for the Br.Sutra शास्त्रयोनित्वात् -
> वेदे हि सर्वार्थप्रकाशनशक्तिरुपलभ्यते, सा तदुपादानब्रह्मगतशक्रिपूर्विका
> तद्गता वा, प्रकाशनशक्तिवत् ।....वेदोपादानत्वेन ब्रह्मणः
> स्वसंबद्धाशेषार्थप्रकाशनसामर्थ्यरूपं सर्वसाक्षित्वं सिद्ध्यति ।
> यद्वा.....चिन्मात्रः परमेश्वरः स्वकृतपूर्वकल्पीयक्रमसजातीयक्रमवन्तं
> वेदराशिं
> तदर्थांश्च युगपज्जाननेव करोतीति न वेदस्य पौरुषेयता । ....*विस्तरः
> शब्दाधिक्यम्, अनेनार्थतोऽल्पत्वं वदन् कर्तुर्ज्ञानस्य अर्थाधिक्यं
> सूचयति.... *
> Thank you Subhanu ji, for bringing up the verse *
> अनन्तपारं किल* शब्दशास्त्रं स्वल्पं तथायुर्बहवश्च विघ्नाः ।
>  सारं ततो ग्राह्यमपास्य फल्गु हंसो यथा क्षीरमिवाम्बुमध्यात् ||
> for while composing the above post I recalled this verse and wanted to
> include it herein.
> Regards,
> subrahmanian.v
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