[Advaita-l] definition of apauruSheyatvam ?

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Fri Sep 9 00:54:14 CDT 2011


A reference for Apaurusheyatvam ("authorlessness") of the Veda

“parameshvaraH …...vedarAshiM tadarthAn cha yugapat.h  jAnan eva karotIti na
vedasya paurusheyatA”
“yatra hi arthaj~nAna pUrvakam vAkya-j~nAnam vAkya-sRShTau kAraNam, tatra
paurusheyatA, atra ca yaugapadyAt na sA“ .(bhAShya ratnaprabhA
sub-commentary, introductory gloss on the third brahma-sUtra,

Rough translation: The Lord manifested the collection of veda-mantra-s
together with their meaning/knowledge simultaneously.  A given text is
termed "paurusheya", when we see that the shabdArtha j~nAna
(knowledge/insight/meaning conveyed by the words) is prior to and becomes
the cause for the manifestation of the shabda (the word which is thus
articulated by effort). Now, in the case of the Veda-mantra-s, the
sabda (words) and sabdArtha (knowledge/meaning) arise together inseparably
(as in the case of parameshvaraH), therefore they are termed "apaurusheya."

In the above reference, we may take note of the phrase in fifth case -
 "yaugapadyaat" which to me seems both necessary and *sufficient* reason for
establishing apaurusheyataa (that the Vedas have no author). If it were only
a necessary but not sufficient condition, then it could not have been
advanced as a definite reason for the Veda's apaurusheyataa. Therefore the
other factors such as the Lord being the factor etc., are merely incidental
factors to apaurusheyatvaM, it would seem.

 Sri Ramakrishna Upadrasta ji quoted:
>But even the permanence of the word and its meaning and the relation
>between the two does not make the Veda eternal. The Veda is a literary
>work consisting of sounds and symbols. According to the Mīmāḿsā view,
>all the uttered or written words are really permanent, though the
>sounds and the symbols through which they are manifested may be
>evanescent and changing. Then what is the difference between the Veda
>and any other literary work? The Mīmāḿsaka answers this question by
>saying that the Veda is authorless, while all other works are the
>creation of their authors.

Sri Ramakrishna Upadrasta ji, from your very thorough and helpful excerpt,
it is clear that for the miimaamsakas, even laukikI (conventional) words are
permanent since their constituent phonemes (varNa-s) and the relation
between the word and the meaning is also permanent (shaashvata), I have a
question - is this also accepted by vedanta ?  Can we say therefore that
permanence of the Veda is not dissimilar to the permanence of the phonemes
(varNa-s), and also conventional words-and-meanings ? It is only when it
comes to the **validity, infallibility** as a pramANa, that the Vedas are on
a superior footing and different from conventional human-authored texts ? Is
this right?

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