[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Vedas.

Omkar Deshpande omkar_deshpande at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 10 14:37:49 CDT 2011

Dear Sri Raghav,

<<<Under modern circumstances, it would be impossible for anyone to believe that the earth always supported life since the kalpaadi; and as Omkarji said, this has nothing to do with evolution etc.  The plain fact seems to be that the *first* transmission from the "breath of Ishvara" to a human vehicle is where the questions arise...  Any model proposed for explaining अपौरुषेयत्वं will surely have to accommodate the fact that the earth could not support life earlier. We can call upon shraddhA to do the rest of the job. But to ask for jettisoning even such strong evidence such as the late origin for life on Earth  should be avoided. (this does not mean that we have to accept Darwinian evolution etc.,) >>>

Just to clarify, I do accept evolutionary theory, and my point was that even if we set it aside, as long as we accept the earth had a finite origin in the past (as people who accept modern science will say they believe independent of any scripture), one will need to be explicit about how the Vedas were first transmitted to the earth. Whether it happened within the last 5000 yrs or much long ago is not the point. The event of first transmission will require invoking some supernatural entity/powers in the Rishis who saw the mantras and/or the devatAs who gave the mantras to the Rishis. This means that there is no fundamental difference between accepting apauruSheyatva or accepting revelation in some other specific way (as done in other traditions/religions) in terms of the amount of faith needed. That is why I said I don't agree that the Mimamsakas/Vedantins came up with some argument requiring less faith. I have heard that Mimamsakas considered the world
 to be eternal, and if that's true, then from their perspective, they may have been making less assumptions by pushing back the date of the Vedic paramparA indefinitely as they did not think the earth had an origin back in time. However, modern science today puts a constraint on that because the existence of such a parampara cannot be pushed back indefinitely as the earth (according to modern science) originated around 4.6 billion years ago. So the question about the first transmission of Vedas to the earth is going to arise, at which point one will have to appeal to revelation or some supernatural vision. 

Thus, I am unable to understand how using the apauruSheyatva route requires less faith than other routes (used by other traditions/religions).



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