Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why are Vedas apaurushEyA???


SrimathE rAmAnujAya namaha:

(Written: Panguni uthra thirunAAL - 18th day of Panguni 5018th year of nammazhwar (April 1, 2007), Srirangam based on discussion with my AchAryan Sri.U.Ve. TiruppullAni sundararajan swami).

Vedas are "apaurusheya" (Not written by a person). - How is this statement justified?

Vedaha apaurusheyaha asmaryamana karthrukarthvAth

(Vedas are apaurusheya because an author is not remembered for it).

Now let us analyze this question at hand. Apart from Vedas, literature can be classified into 3 main categories (looking at it from a spiritual/vEdantic point of view):

1. Those works that support the Vedic point of view. (Sri bAshyam etc)

2. Those works that do not have the same subject (topic) of discussion as the vEdas. (Example: Science, Technology).

3. Those works that are against the vEdic point of view. (Quran, Bible etc)

The first type of works are written by great people who are learned in vEdas and so, we can easily see that these works have an author (karthru sAmAnya is there. Though in some cases we may not know the exact author - karthru visesha).

The second type of works are written by people who through their knowledge of pratyakasha and anumana pramAnas realise some concepts of regarding material things of life. These are also written by an author. Once again, karthru sAmAnya is remembered.

The third type of books have statements that are against even prathyaksha pramAnA. For example, Quran/Bible states that only humans have "soul" (Atma) and animals and plants do not have "Soul". This is against pratyaksha pramAnA. Because we can see that even animals do the same things of life like we do (Birth, Eating, sleeping, walking, growing up, fighting, dying etc). Obviously they also have "Soul". Since these kind of works are born out of ignorance and falsity, they are obviously works of some person who has the flaw of ignorance. By default we assume God to be completely knowledgeable and free of ignorance.

The only other work that does not fall into the above three categories is the Vedas. Now Let us examine if it has been written by a person (purushA) or not.

A statement in smrithi states that,
"anAdhi nidhanA hyeshA vAguthsrushtA swayambhuvaAdhou vEdhamayi dhivya yata: sarvA: paraseethaya:"

(This statement, which has no beginning or end was revealed by Brahma at the time of beginning of creation. This gives knowledge and is hence Veda. This shows non-material meanings and gives knowledge about creation.)

The above statement claims that vEdas have no beginning or end and thus is apaurushEya.
But, is this statement alone enough justification for this claim??
To understand this better, we need to understand a few other aspects. Let us examine if any given statement has validity (prAmAnya) or the lack of it (aprAmAnya) naturally or for some reason. Now we have four cases:
1. The statement can have validity and invalidity naturally. (ubayam svatha:)

2. The statement can have validity and invalidity due to a reason (Ubayam paratha:)

3. The statement can have validity due to some reasons and is invalid naturally. (svatha: aprAmAnyam, paratha: prAmAnyam)

4. The statement can be valid naturally and is invalid due to some reasons. (svatha: prAmAnyam, paratha: aprAmAnyam)

Let us examine the above four cases carefully.

1. The statement can have both validity and invalidity naturally. (ubayam svatha:)In this case, statement has a flaw. It has contradictory and ambiguous meanings. Any coherent statement cannot be valid and invalid at the SAME time. (This arguement is accepted by sAnkya religion)

2. The statement can have both validity and invalidity due to a reason (Ubayam paratha:) In this case the statement has a flaw. It has no original meaning and its meaning is dependent on the reason which makes it valid or invalid (nis-svabhAvathvam). Also it has the flaw of having infinite meanings. (anavasthai- aprAmAnika anantha padArtha kalpanA anavasthai). (This arguement is accepted by naiyayika religion)

3. The statement can have validity due to some reasons and is invalid naturally. (svatha: aprAmAnyam, paratha: prAmAnyam)
While this statement has no flaws like those mentioned above, it does have the flaw of being against practical sense. In this world, we see that most statements are valid and we can see the truth in most statements naturally. Falsity comes to a statement only if some flaw is shown. However, we see that this statement is contradicting this empirical knowledge. Hence this case cannot be true.
(This arguement is accepted by Boudha (Budhism) religion)

4. The statement can be valid naturally and is invalid due to some reasons. (svatha: prAmAnyam, paratha: aprAmAnyam). Since all the other three are falise, this statement is the true statement and it is the statement accepted by visishtAdvaita sri vaishnava religion. We can see that it does not contradict empirical knowledge. We can easily understand that even a lie cannot be said with all fale words. A believable lie has least number of flaws. Most statements are naturally true. Prevaricated statements have one or few prevaricated aspects. Not many. That is why we accept that most statements are valid naturally and invalid if we show a dOsham (flaw).

Now due to the svatha prAmAnyam of the smrithi text given above, we can see that it is true naturally.
But is this enough to prove that vEdas are apaurushEya? What if we are able to find a flaw in it? In that case the statement ceases to be true. However, we see no such evidence.
All statements are naturally valid. (This is similar to the eyes showing things of the world naturally. And eyes cease to do so ONLY if there is some eye disease). So the above smrithi vAkyam is also valid, since no reason to show its invalidity is seen anywhere. In other words, the pratyaksha and anumana pramAnAs are not against the validity of the sruti vAkyam. Nor is there is some other evidence which negates the above sruti vAkyam. Hence, it results that it is infact true that the vEdas are apaurushEya.

AchAryan tiruvadigaLE saranam!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Home of Spirituality

Welcome to the zone of spirituality. This site proposes to express the importance of various Vedantic views. Vedanta is the resource of philosophy and deep thought and there is no surprise, a volley of views are exchanged on almost all concepts of Vedanta. In general, the Vedanta explains the Brahmam or the eternal being about whom the science of spirituality pivots. There have been several discussions on many Vedantic topics. Principally , Vedanta has been commented in terms of respective philosophies by Adi Sankara , Ramanuja and Madhva - three philosophers with divergent thought . The essence of the teaching of these three great acharyas are famously reckoned as Advaita , Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita respectively.
Notwithstanding the difference in Vedantic views, people differ in the basics of the philosophies themselves. For instance there are several interpretations of Advaita. Advaita of the north and that of the south are quite repulsive in certain features , though they agree on many core concepts. Similar differences in scanter extent exist in other philosophies too. But ultimately discussion of such work rests with the actual works of the philosophers themselves, a subject taken up by this blog to ascertain who said what about the Vedanta - a quest for real understanding.