[Advaita-l] Apoureshyatva - Faith or Logic?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 20:47:37 CDT 2012

There is also an instance, at least one, of what Shankara held to be
pauruSheya, the text in the Mandukya Upanishad first chapter other
than the 12 mantras, as Gaudapada's work, but the Dvaitins and a few
later Advaitins (selectively) holding them to be shruti.


On 6/29/12, Omkar Deshpande <omkar.vallabh at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Sri Vidyasankar,
> <<<There is a reason that all arguments made about apaurusheyatva, from
> the heyday of the pUrva mImAMsakas to that of the dvaita vedAntins, have
> been structured in the opposite direction, so as to disprove
> paurusheyatva.... I fail to see why the prAmANya of Sruti needs to be
> further validated by
> appealing to a logical proof that establishes its apaurusheyatva,
> especially
> given the svataH-prAmANya-vAda.>>>
> If pauruSheyatva is "decisively" disproved, then apauruSheyatva stands
> automatically proven. The question is whether pauruSheyatva is
> actually disproved decisively (by the arguments given by the
> traditionalists), or whether the arguments against pauruSheyatva are
> merely raising some uncertainties about the pauruSheyatva claim.
> As far as I understand, the disagreement between modern historians and
> traditional Dvaitins (possibly other Vedantins as well) boils down to
> whether akartR^itva-prasiddhi of the Vedas is sufficient to decisively
> remove the doubt that the Vedas could be authored. For historians, no
> matter how widespread the belief today that the Vedas have no author,
> it is not a sufficient proof that the Vedas actually have no author.
> Beliefs held by humans can change or evolve over time, and even if
> there is unanimity about the lack of authors at time t, it does not
> follow that there was unanimity about it at time (t - 5000) years, or
> further back. Ideas that are in a minority at one point can become a
> consensus at a later point. Thus, historians will not extrapolate the
> claims carried by a tradition indefinitely into the past. They will
> require evidence from the indefinite past that those claims have
> existed at those points in the distant past. Since we do not find
> texts without an author in our experience of the world, and since the
> texts being claimed as apauruSheya seem just like other authored texts
> (upon reading the contents), historians/scientists will consider it
> more economical to believe that the Vedas are originally authored, and
> that they have been attributed unauthoredness at a later point in
> time. A historian will also point to the composition of "Upanishads"
> all the way up to the last few centuries, and those recent Upanishads
> are considered spurious by many of the Vedanta traditions themselves.
> No one knows who exactly authored the Chaitanya Upanishad for
> instance. But that does not prevent even the dvaitin from assuming
> that it is an authored text that has acquired the status of an
> Upanishad, the historian will say. Why assume that this phenomenon (of
> composed texts being given the status of being unauthored) is only
> recent in time, the historian will ask. It could very well have
> happened with every single text that is claimed as unauthored today.
> On the other hand, traditional dvaitins at least, consider the
> attribution of an author to the Vedas as an instance of
> kalpanA-gaurava and will consider it more economical to believe that
> the Vedas have never had an author. After all, historians cannot point
> to any particular person or group of persons in history, and provide
> evidence that those people were authors of the Vedas. And traditional
> dvaitins are confident that they do have an anAdi-paramparA going back
> indefinitely in time, which has always maintained that the Vedas have
> had no author, and that the burden of proof lies on the historian to
> disprove this claim.
> So there is a difference of opinion about who bears the burden of
> proof -- does the historian bear the burden of proving that the Vedas
> are originally authored, or does the tradition bear the burden of
> proving that the Vedas have always been considered as apauruSheya (and
> were not originally authored). This difference of opinion exists even
> though the historians will agree with the tradition that the Vedas
> have been considered apauruSheya for a long time (although not by all
> Vedic schools - the Nyaya and Vaisheshika schools did not do so). But
> the historian will say that it is the tradition that bears the burden
> of proof, because apauruSheyatva is an "extraordinary" claim, which
> requires extraordinary evidence, to be able to convince a historian or
> a scientist.
> Regards,
> Omkar
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