[Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Vedas

Shyam shyam_md at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 16 09:54:29 CDT 2011

PranAms Raghavji
Beautiful summary - its wonderful - to see how nicely you have combined a vast array of talking points, some very cryptic, into one essay. My pranAms to Shri Lalitalalitah, as well for his terse, yet very insightful, interjections, and to all other active participants.

I want to add to this 2 small excerpts of the sublime words of Kanchi Mahaperiyavar, which I think are very relevant here:

Excerpt 1

If we believe that both Isvara and the Vedas are anadi it would mean that Isvara could not have created them. But if you believe that Isvara created them, they cannot be said to be without the origin. Everything has its origin in Isvara. It would be wrong to maintain[according to this logic]that both Isvara and the Vedas have no beginning in time. Well, it is all so confusing. 

What is the basis of the belief that the Vedas are anadi and were not created by Isvara? An answer is contained in the Vedas themselves. In the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad(2. 4. 10) ---the Upanishads are all part of the Vedas---it is said that the Rg, Yajus and Sama Vedas are the very breath of Isarva. The word "nihsvasitam"is used here. 

It goes without saying that we cannot live even a moment without breathing. The Vedas are the life-breath of the Paramatman who is an eternal living Reality. It follows that the Vedas exist together with him as his breath. 

We must note here that it is not customory to say that the Vedas are the creation of Iswara. Do we create our own breath? Our breath exists from the very moment we are born. It is the same case with Iswara and the Vedas. We can not say that he created them. 

When Vidyaranyaswamin wrote his commentary on the Vedas he prayed to his guru regarding him as Iswara. He used these words in his prayer : "Yasya nihsvasitam Vedah" (whose --that is Isvara's -- breath constitutes the Vedas). The word "nihsvasitam" occurs in the Upanishads also. Here too it is not stated that Iswara created the Vedas. 

The Lord says in the Gita : "It is I who am known by all the Vedas "(Vedaisca sarvair aham eva vedyah). " Instead of describing himself as "Vedakrd" (creator of the Vedas), he calls himself "Vedantakrd" (creator of philosophical system that is the crown of the Vedas). He also refers to himself as "Vedavid" (he who knows the Vedas). Before Vedanta that enshrines great philosophical truths had been made know to mankind, the Vedas had existed in the form of sound, as the very breath of Isvara - they were ( and are) indeed Isvara dwelling in Isvara. 

Excerpt 2

The Bhagavata too, like the Gita, does not state that the Lord created the Vedas. It declares that they occured in a flash in his heart, that they came to him in a blaze of light. The word used on this context is "Sphuranam", occuring in the mind in a flash. Now we can not apply this word to any thing that is created a new, any thing that did not exist before. Bramha is the premordial sage who saw all the mantras. But it was the Parmatman who revealed them to him. Did he transmit them orally? No, says the Bhagavatha. The paramatman imparted the Vedas to Bramha through his heart : " Tene Bramha hrdaya Adikavaye" says the very first verse of that Purana. The Vedas were not created by the Parmatman. The truth is that they are always present in his heart. When he mearly resolved to pass on the Vedas to Bramha the latter instantly received them. And with their sound he began the work of creation. 

The Vedic seers have the name of "mantra-drastas" --a "drasta" is one who sees. In Tamil it is "parppavan". "Parppan" also means the same thing. If the sages "saw" the mantras it would mean that they did not "hear" them. Which of the two versions is correct? Did the sages see the mantras or did they hear them? If they saw them, in what script did they appear? There was no script at the time, neither Devanagari nor Grantha nor Brahmi, the basis of all. But, then, the sound of Vedas, their svaras, cannot be truly written down in any script. 

The answer to this problem is that when the sages were meditating the mantras of the Vedas appeared to them in a flash in their hearts. It may be that in this state of theirs they could neither see nor hear anything. The mantras must have appeared in a flash in the inner recesses of their minds. 


Hari OM
Shri Gurubhyo namah

--- On Fri, 9/16/11, Raghav Kumar <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com> wrote:

> From: Raghav Kumar <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Apaurusheyatva of Vedas
> To: "Omkar Deshpande" <omkar_deshpande at yahoo.com>, "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> Date: Friday, September 16, 2011, 8:45 AM
> Namaskara  Sri Omkar ji
> Thus the idea of non-authorship does not mean that an
> intelligent
> communication did not take place in the mantra-s revealed
> in the minds of
> the Rishis. The texts revealed do constitute intelligent
> communication and
> yet are delinked from the lifestyles and idiosyncrasies of
> those to whom the
> mantra-s were revealed. But does not the defect then get
> transferred to the
> originator, Ishvara who revealed the mantra-s to the
> Rishis?  Were they
> pratyaxa for him ?No. That is whrere we bring in the "other
> side of the
> coin", as SrI Anand ji said, viz., the nityatvaM or
> eternality of the Vedas.
> (please see Footnote 1) The idea is that neither are the
> Vedas authored by
> Ishvara nor are they independent of him. In fact the big
> difference between
> the naiyAyikas postulating this Cosmic Intelligent
> Principle as the "author"
> and the Vedantic position on this is that - the Vedantins
> don't say that
> Ishvara created or authored the Vedas; rather they regard
> the Vedas as
> representing *Ishvara Himself* in his role/aspect as the
> nimitta-kAraNam
> (efficient cause/inteligent cause) of the Jagat (Please see
> footnote 3 and
> 4)  In other words, Ishvara and the Vedas are related
> like the Sun and
> sunlight. The Sun cannot be said to "create" sunlight.;
> they are
> inseparable. To say that Ishvara authored the Vedas would
> be like saying
> that "Ishvara 'created' his maya shakti or his own
> intelligence/efficiency
> vis-a-vis Jagat." We do not say that the Vedas have
> infallibility as an
> "attribute" since Ishvara created/authored them, rather.
> infallibility and
> the Veda are regarded as synonymous; i.e., infallibility is
> the Veda. Thus
> the apauruSheyatvaM and eternality of the Vedas go
> together. The key idea is
> what has been termed "shabdAnupUrvI-sRShTi" (creation
> through the means of
> the Word - footnote 5.) Thus the Vedas are not merely a
> cultural artefact
> left behind by an ancient agrarian society with some
> epistemological
> significance as one of six pramANas ; rather they have an
> important
> ontological dimension as well which is inextricably
> connected to the idea of
> unauthoredness. This is how the tradition has looked at the
> Veda, as I
> understand.
> Om
> Raghav

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