[Advaita-l] Anantaa vai vedaah

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 28 14:20:27 CDT 2011

I would suggest that apaurusheya-tva and ananta-tva are two independent attributes of
the veda and need not be clubbed together or intimately related to each other.
It is a given that the apaurusheya veda is revealed to human beings through the insight
of the Rshis. It is their special dRshTi, which qualifies them to be called mantra-drashTa,
which gives us the words of the veda as we know it. Even if our society degenerates to 
such an extent that we have lost all but one mantra, and our collective memory is such
that we cannot even assert that we have lost a lot more, that one mantra that remains
within our horizon would be apaurusheya. Therefore, the number of mantra-s, known
or not known, finite or infinite, has no correlation with the fact of the "unauthoredness"
of the veda.
Within the veda itself, we have the upanishad texts, which tell us that sarvajnatva lies
in knowing the one Being (sat) that is indeed all this (idaM sarvam). The answer to the
question of all-encompassing jnAna lies not in asserting the infinitude of the veda, but 
in asserting that it is possible to "know" and be that one Being. 

> "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 ?

That advitIya brahman is the basis of all knowledge itself leads you to the pAramArthika
level of discourse. Already in the upanishad itself, we see a distinction between what is
called veda and what is other (itihAsa-purANa, kalpa, anuvyAkhyAna, vyAkhyAna etc.) 
In a general sense, the word veda, as a noun form related to the verb vid - "to know"
- can be seen as encapsulating every single element of human knowledge. In a different
day and age, perhaps this attitude would be unexceptionable. However, making assertions
about the unfolding of any and every kind of human knowledge from veda mantras, and
that too at a vyAvahArika level is fraught with problems, especially in contemporary times.
It should be seen as nothing more than arthavAda - stuti of knowledge in general. Given
the weakness of social and ideological support for the transmission tradition today,
combined with the motivation from multiple quarters to generate new texts aspiring to
be called veda, I would urge a huge note of caution about pressing this point. 

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list