[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Vedas.

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Sep 14 06:15:48 CDT 2011

On Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 10:27 PM, Omkar Deshpande
<omkar_deshpande at yahoo.com>wrote:

> Namaskara,
> <<<Correct. This is what parataH-prAmANyavAdin-s say.
> But, mImAMsaka-s and vedAntin-s are svataH-prAmANyavAdin-s. So, there is no
> need of guNa-s of puruSha to make words pramANa.>>>

On the aspect of 'guNa-s of puruSha are not taken care of while asserting
apauruSheya', it can be seen that the Veda has for its subject matter the
four puruShArtha-s that are relevant for the purusha, human.  So, despite
being a-pauruSheya, it can and does address itself to the puruSha's 'artha',
that which the human seeks/longs for/desires most, at one or the other
stage/level in life.  Thus there is definitely the 'puruSha guNa' while at
the same time there is no 'doSha' that could be attributed to a purusha.
All schools based on the Veda/anta agree that Ishwara is 'guNa pUrNa and
doSha-dUra.'  So, a Veda that comes from such an entity, where such an
entity is the pratipAdya viShaya, ultimately, cannot have any doSha, being
un-authored, and at the same time does not lack the 'guNa' that is
beneficial for the puruSha. So, पुरुष-अनिर्मितत्वेन पुरुषकृतदोषासत्वे सति
पुरुषार्थबोधकत्वेन पुरुषगुण-अवर्जितत्वं वेदस्य.

> Agreed, so the more fundamental question here is why svataH-prAmANya is
> preferable to parataH-prAmANya. In fact, these are not the only two options.
> A third option is "svataH-prAmANya for pratyakSha", and "parataH-prAmANya
> for anumAna and shabda". i.e, the authority of logic and verbal testimony
> could depend on pratyakSha, but pratyakSha itself need not depend on
> anything else.

The ShAnkaran advaita is not devoid of this thinking: very often in the
Bhashya we come across the statements 'न हि दृष्टे अनुपपन्नं नाम’,
श्रुतिशतेनापि अग्नेः शीतत्वं युज्यते’ etc.  So, clearly the role and
supremacy of pratyakSha is admitted in its field.  However, in matters
beyond the ken of the senses it is the veda pramaNa, of course, in
conjunction with anumAna, that is supreme.  In that level even the above
stated declarations of Shankara become invalid/inoperational.  It is then
the case of the prabala/uttara veda pramANa superseding/negating the
durbala/pUrva pratyakShAdi pramANa.

No doubt that pratyaksha is essential even for the shabda to operate.  Yet
it is a case of 'sva, para nirvAhaka' with regard to shabda: It
arises/becomes operational and finally falsifies all pramaNa-s including its
own status as a pramaNa.  The idea is: any pramana is valid only in the
realm of divisions like pramata, pramana, prameya.  In this realm there is a
knower aspiring to know something with the aid of an instrument, a tool, a
user-manual that is the veda.  When the realization that what is being
aspired to be known is oneself, the secondless Truth eternal arises, no
pramana including shabda stands alive.  After generating this realization,
even shabda recedes.


> I have read (in Edwin Bryant's translation of Yoga Sutras) that this is the
> epistemology followed by the Yoga school, and it's also (broadly speaking)
> what modern science follows.
> I am aware of an argument that parataH-prAmANya leads to an infinite
> regress, but that does not apply to the third option above, since pratyakSha
> is at the root. What do you think about this?
> Regards,
> Omkar

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