[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Vedas.

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 12 13:37:20 CDT 2011

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

If apaurusheyatva of the veda is accepted, one does not need 
     a. the notion that every sentence is to be literally understood as per conventional language
         (even if one is not a sophisticated and expert interpreter of the veda),
     b. the notion that a God created the world (the pUrva mImAMsaka-s in fact don't have this
         idea, and in advaita vedAnta, creation is ultimately a non-event),
     c. the lifelong (or at least post-revelation) infallibility of those to whom it was revealed,
     d. the notion that we who currently have the text are special, here and now, from others.
On the other hand, in all other cases, one has to accept on faith, one or more of the following:
    a. the text embodying the revelation is literally true (sophisticated theologians of those
        traditions may reject literal-ness, but not so with the vast majority of adherents),
    b. the person to whom it was revealed was (at least post-revelation) infallible,
    c. the revealer is a special God who created the world (except Buddhists),
    d. we who currently have the text are special, here and now (e.g. chosen people - Jews,
        saved by Jesus/Church - Christians, favored by Allah - Muslims).
As you can see from the above, unlike in other religious traditions, apaurusheyatva of the
veda does not require one to accept anything more than that the veda is a valid means of
knowledge, i.e. pramANa. It is a sort of Occam's razor, if you will. We acknowledge the
diversity within the veda and interpret in a self-consistent manner. The Rshi-s to whom
the veda was revealed are regarded as having possessed special insight, yes, but we don't
claim that their views and opinions on everything are of utmost moral or legal importance. (*)
I may be missing a few points or overstating others with comparing various religions/traditions,
but my point is that none of them are built on purely logical principles. At the core is a set of
articles of faith. We would do well if we understood our own core better. Unfortunately, the
apaurusheyatva of the veda seems to be very highly misunderstood and/or misinterpreted.
* See yaksha praSna - tarko 'pratishThaS Srutayo vibhinnA naika Rshir yasya mataM pramANam.
This is part of yudhishThira's answer to the last of the yaksha's questions. 		 	   		  

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