[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Vedas.

Omkar Deshpande omkar_deshpande at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 13 09:15:13 CDT 2011

<<<In popular culture we have many notions about the Rshis but the Mimamsakas 
themselves are silent on how or why the they "saw" mantras.  They did 
that's all.>>>

If the Mimamsakas did not think the earth had an origin, they could be silent, because they are extrapolating back in time the parampara that is seen in the present, and so there is no encounter with the supernatural in doing so. They are indefinitely extending it back. 

But the moment the earth's origin is accepted, silence is not an option, because the very first thing that an opponent will ask when the apauruSheyatva claim is made based on parampara is how it existed before the earth's origin. Even if the traditional Vedantin says he will be silent on that, the opponent will say that there is no other option for the Vedantin but to appeal to the supernatural "in some way" at that point. The Vedantin can be silent about 'who'  does the revealing, and 'who' had supernormal vision, etc but an appeal to revelation of some kind is inevitable just to uphold the existence of the parampara in that time. What other option is there in theory? And one does find that this is the internal answer in the tradition, since (in Bhagavata Purana for example) Rishis like Yajnavalkya are mentioned as being given the mantras by the god Surya, etc. 

<<<The key difference here is we don't particularly care.>>>

Not identifying who does the revelation does not solve the problem, because "whoever" it is, the question of faith on that person will arise, since revelation of some kind is inevitable with the earth having an origin. 

<<<Maybe some primordial molecules combined to form more complex ones which 
began self-replicating which became bacteria which became plants which 
became animals which became mammals which became primates which became men 
who saw mantras.  It's as good an explanation as any.>>>

I would keep the origin of life separate from evolutionary theory, because the former is still an open question in science, but common descent is accepted by not just evolutionists but also many proponents of ID (Intelligent Design), because there is good evidence for it, so it is a better explanation than the alternative ones which have no supporting evidence. Whether evolution is blind or whether it's guided by intelligence is a separate philosophical question, but common descent itself (whatever be the mechanisms underlying it) is grounded on good evidence. 



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