[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Veda

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 14 06:30:38 CDT 2011

Namaskara SrI Anand ji

Regarding the eternality of the Vedas, I had the following doubt.

While the mantra-s can be accounted for as eternal and revealed in the same
manner in each cycle of creation. What is the status of the
mantrArtha-vAda-s - the Vedic itihAsa-s and purANa-s presented in the Vedic
mantras themselves dealing with the accounts of the Rishis interacting with
devata-s etc ? Are they also eternally fixed or perhaps we need not insist
on they being fixed down to the last detail especially given the fact that
these mythologies have (it appears) been arrived at by pratyaxa rather than
through mantra-darSana?

To elaborate: BSB 1.3.33 has "itihAsa purANamapi vyAkhyAtena mArgena
sambhavad.h mantrArthavAda-mUlatvAt.h prabhavati devatAvigrahAdi sAdhayituM.
pratyakShAdi mUlamapi sambhavati. bhavati hi asmAkam-apratyakShamapi
cirantanAnAM pratyakShaM. tathA ca vyAsAdayo devAdibhiH pratyakSham
vyavaharantIti smaryante."

(It is quite plausible that anecdotes and mythologies mentioned in the Vedic
mantra-s are based on the direct preception of VyAsa and others. For things
imperciptible to us can be perceptible to immortal beings.)

Also, bhAShyakAra approvingly quotes in the same context the smR^iti -
"svadhyAyAd-iShTa-devatA-samprayogaH" (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.44) (through
japam, proximity to and interacting with the chosen diety is possible.)

Also- "RShInAm mantra-brAhmaNa-darshinAm samarthyaM nA'asmadIyena
sAmarthyena upamAtuM yuktaM. - tasmAt samUlam itihAsa-purANam."
(Besides, the powers of the Rishis who were the seers of the mantra-a cannot
be measured by our conventional yardstick. Therefore the events described in
the Vedic itihAsa and purANa-s have a factual basis.)

As, iShTa-devatA- samprayoga, which is a type of yogaja-pratyaKSha
(yoga-born supersensory perception), seems to be acceptable as the basis for
the mantrArtha-vAda-s, can't we say that they were not mere gaunArtha-vAda
(figurative) and were in fact bhUtArtha-vAda (based on actual events).

Atleast the Vedic sound-syllables dealing with such accounts may differ in
different kalpa-s. The idea is that, perhaps, we need not take an
excessively literal stand that every single syllable of the Veda-s is

Hari Om

On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 9:12 AM, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:

> In his bhAShya on 1.3.29, Shankara BhagavatpAda says, "svantantrasya
> karturasmaraNAdibhiH sthite vedasya nityatve...", the eternality of Vedas
> is
> established because they are not known to have an author or authors. Note
> that this is not the same as saying the author or authors of the Vedas are
> not known, as for example in the case of an anonymous work. If we consider
> the Rg Veda, every mantra can be traced to a Rishi, but this Rishi is not
> the author of that mantra. He is said to be the draShTA or the seer. He
> "saw" the mantra that already existed. For many generations, the Vedas were
> orally handed down from one generation to the next. There was never any
> time
> when someone said, "The Vedas were composed by this author or these
> authors."
> In fact, one can argue that eternality of the Vedas (nityatva) and their
> unauthored-ness (apaurusheyatva) are two sides of the same coin. One
> follows
> from the other. If eternality is accepted, there can be two possibilities.
> Either they are authored like other works or not. If they are authored, the
> author(s) would have to be created afresh every time after a Pralaya so
> that
> the Vedas would come into existence again. And the author(s) would have to
> compose exactly the same way they did before the Pralaya. This is,
> obviously, a heavier assumption to make than accepting that the Vedas are
> without an author. In logic (Nyaya) this principle of accepting a
> conclusion
> that needs lighter explanation as opposed to a heavier one is called
> lAghavatva or the principle or parsimony or Occam's razor.
> Anand
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