[Advaita-l] (Advaita-I)-Accepting possibibility of Errror in Sastras.

Srikanta Narayanaswami srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 28 00:46:37 CST 2012

On 27 Dec.Sri Rajaram Venkataramani wrote:
"A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>

In many religions, the scriptures are considered inerrant. We also consider
the sastras to be the authroity. There is a lot of logic given to establish
why sabda is pramana. There are stories such as Kumarila Bhatta's
where complete acceptance of the authority of the sastras is
reinforced. However, we see that Madhusudana says in Siddanthabindu (v 79),
"The scriptures may state something that is merely the outcome of
delusion". Here he admits that sastras can be erroneous. Though the
tradition accepts the vedic model for creation, we see that there is a
recognition of a contradictions there that is to be resolved through
reason. For example, Gaudapada says (I.23), "In the matter of being
created, whether from the already existent or from the non-existent also,
the Sruti is equal, that is supporting both views. What is associated with
or fortified with logical reasoning holds not the other".  The importance
of reasoning is also stressed by Madhusudana, "The creation of names and
forms by Him who does the triplication in BSB 2.4.20 in only an explanatory
statement and cannot nullify quintuplication which is established by
reasoning".  Sankara himself says, forget where, "Even a thousand sruti
statements cannot make fire cold." In his bhashyas, we often see him quote
sruti and then the opponent makes a logical counter to sruti. Sankara does
not dismiss off the opponent saying that there cannot be a logical
opposition because already the point has been established using sruti. He
defends his position using logic.

Are there conditions in which sastras can be accepted as erroneous? I am
not talking about a presumption of error in sastras without evidence. But
when there is concrete evidence based on pratyaksha and anumana that shows
that the sastras are not correct, what is the valid traditional response?
In the above quotation of the Gaudapada Karika,riRajaram Venkataramani has quoted:"In the matter of being created,whether from the already existent or from the nonexistent also,the Sruthi is equal,that is supporting both views.that is supporting both views.What is associated with or fortified with logical  reasoning holds not the other".
Here,the quoted Karika is not I-23,as he says.The Karika I-23 is different.The actual karika is III-3.:"Bhutato abhutato vapi srjyamano sama sruthih
Nishcita yukti yuktam ca yat tadbhavati netarat!!
"The sruti is eqal whether it is created physically or non-physically.That which is (existing)decisively and that fits logically will become and not  the rest."
The purpose of the sastras,I am talking of Advaita Vedanta,is to enquire whether the Pratyaksha and anumana are true or false.For this,the sruthi statements are to be analysed.For this Sri Shankara takes into account the other limbs of logic also.We have upamana,arthapatti and nigamana also.The sruthi doesnot simpply makes a statement.It can be verified.Here,in this karika what is discussed is Gauna srsti and Mukya srsti,both are based on avidya.Thereare no other srstis.What is established in the sruthi statement is true and not others.

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