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Re: Apaursheyatva of shruti

gopalram_at_erols.com
Date: Wed Jun 17 1998 - 04:56:55 PDT

Dear VaishNavas,

There was a discussion sometime ago about apaursheyatva
("un-authoredness")
nature of the shruti.

My "understanding" of that discussion is that shruti is accepted by
vaidikas (or vedantins) as independent source of pure knowledge
not "authored" by anyone including God Himself, because otherwise
there would be an endless circularity of "logic" as follows:

- Existence of God is valid because shruti says so, and
- Shruti is an authoritative source of pure knowledge because God
"authored" it

If we adopt same line of "reasoning", one might ask the following
question:

1.What is the pramaana that shruti is pure factual and authoritative
knowledge?

Attempting to answer the question could result in a paradox:

a. If the pramaana for the validity of the shruti is contained in the
   shruti itself, then there would be a self-circularity . (in other
words,
   shruti would have to be accepted as authority because shruti itself
says so)

b. If the pramaana for the validity of the shruti is *not* contained in
   the shruti, then the pramaana would not be authoritative.

c. If the pramaana for the validity of the shruti is contained in smrti
   text like the Bhagavad Gita authored by God Himself, then we have the

   mutual circularity mentioned in previous discussions.

[ I have vague memory of some kind of "paradox" like the above,
mentioned in
  mathematical set theory: It goes something as below:

 Let "S" be the universal set whose members are sets that do not contain

 themselves as members.
 Then can "S" contain itself as a member ?
  - if "S" does contain itself as member, then "S" contradicts its
definition.
  - on the otherhand, if "S" does not contain itself as a member, then
    there is contradiction too !
]


Where is the fallacy ?
Is the question (1) itself invalid & absurd ? (since the authority of
the shruti is a basic axiom and shruti's authenticity must be accepted
without requiring pramaanam.)


Obviously, mundane reasoning by a condition soul in impure consciousnes
would not help understand reality. So i request vaishNavas to kindly
bear
with my mental concoctions ?

- Ram