[Advaita-l] Accepting Possibility of Error in Sastras

sriram srirudra at vsnl.com
Sun Dec 30 05:57:22 CST 2012

Shruthi is shruthi.Its applicability is to spiritual life and not to 
physical phenomenal  world outside.May be some examples in the shruthi 
appear as erroneous in the light of some scientific discoveries.But as our 
understanding is not as deep and our intellect is not as sharp there is a 
chance of misinterpretation of shruthi vakyas.Even  in the example that fire 
is cold if uttered by a shrurhi vakya is to be discarded is just an 
illistration that logic or prathyaksha pramana is valid and not shruthi 
vakya .But you should know that shruthi has not said like that 
anywhere.Shruthi and smruthi vakyas are collection of pramanas and 
observations in the days of yore.They will be valid if the same environment 
continues.As this is not the case you have to take the shruthi vakya to its 
abstract/subtle meaning and not to gross/apparent meaning.Shruthi says 
Brahman was there alone.You may say what is the proof?But if you think 
deeply you will come to understand by deductive reasoning that nothing 
comesout of nothing.Brahman is the total intelligence,total material and 
total consciousness. so to say.It divided itself to become many.You may ask 
why it should do like that?Akamayatha says shruthi.It desired.Can you say 
why it desired?Any conscious intelligent being can desire to do some 
thing.It is not illogical.So if you contemplate the shruthi vakyas you will 
understand the purport and a logical build up.Of course our brains are not 
fully evolved to understand the shruthi.Like a dog will unable to understand 
how an electric fan works though it has brain to accept the command to 
switch it off.So shruthi and shastras are pramanam for leading a meaningful 
life here and here after is my conviction.R.Krishnamoorthy.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rajaram Venkataramani" <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" 
<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2012 7:52 PM
Subject: [Advaita-l] Accepting Possibility of Error in Sastras

> 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 
> aontinues.
> 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?
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