[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Veda

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Thu Sep 15 00:46:06 CDT 2011

*Rajaram Venkataramani* wrote:

"It is a brilliant explanation. But one can argue that the naturalistic
explanation for the formation of world (big bang) and life (evolution) are
simpler and based on observed phenomena. So, one should accept scientific
theory instead of Purusha Suktam or Puranic descriptions, which involves
more complex and unseen forces. If one accepts the scientific theory, then
there is no evidence for God or eternal scriptures. These are simply recent
human inventions in the long span of time - just blind beliefs. How does
Shankara counter atheism based on scientific thinking? Which schools of
ancient thought are closest to the philosophy of modern science? It is
probably a separate thread."

Questioning the authority of the Scriptures is not a new thing. Even in the
olden days, there were people like the Carvakas or materialists who did not
accept the shruti pramANa. If one were to agree that there could be things
beyond the reach of the senses, then it is possible to talk about the
shruti, not otherwise. To give an example, if you were to convince a blind
person that an object such as the Sun exists, you could argue that the heat
felt during the "day" time by the blind person is due to the Sun. Similarly,
you could perhaps convince him/her that the rising tide in the ocean felt
during certain days is due to the moon. But how can you convince him/her
about the existence of the stars. No perceptible effect of the stars is felt
by the blind. You will only have to say that you have an "extra" sense, that
of sight, which allows you to "see" the stars. In similar fashion, the
shruti provides us with an "extra sense" that allows us to "see" things, not
seen by those with the usual sense organs.

Science operates in the sphere of indriyaviShaya, objects that can be
perceived by the senses. But the Veda provides knowledge about
atIndriyaviShaya, things that are beyond sense perception.

shrutishcha naH pramaaNaM atIndriyaviShayaviGYAnotpattau | shruti is our
source of knowledge of something that is beyond the reach of senses (and
mind). (Brahma suutra bhaashhya of Shankara)

If one were to interpret Shankara's view of Science, he agrees that in its
own sphere of objects known through the senses, Science is valid. But
regarding things that are beyond the reach of the senses, the Veda is the
authority. And, we must remember that in such cases:

shrutivirodhe nyaayaabhaasatvopagamaat.h | Reasoning that is against shruti
is a fallacy. (Shankara's Br. Up. bhaashhya)

I had written in detail about Shankara's view of pramANas a long time ago.
Some parts of it may be relevant to today's discussion:



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list