krishna.com | iskconnews.org | bbt.org

Apauruseya

Some people argue that apauruseya means that the Vedas have no author at all, not even God. Apte's Sanskrit English dictionary has the following entry under 'Vedas': "According to the strict orthodox faith of the Hindus the Vedas are a-pauruseya, 'not human compositions'." Pauruseya also is always defined as 'having human origin'. Madhva, in his Sarva-darsana-sangraha describes a pauruseya-veda-vadin as 'one who asserts the human origin of the Veda'. Note here also that he doesn't speak about 'personal' origin, he says human origin. Still, the idea that the term 'a-pauruseya' should be taken to the extreme is rather popular, especially among impersonalists and certain other vedantic schools. In this connection please consider the following passage from the book Philosophical Foundation of Bengal Vaisnavism (Suhindra Chandra Chakravarti, Calcutta 1969, p. 15)

"The circumstances that render an ordinary verbal testimony invalid or cause the ascertainment of its invalidity, do not exist in the case of the Vedas, for the Vedas were not composed by anybody. The flaw in an ordinary verbal testimony is due to some personal source, such as, a speaker or a writer. Since the Vedas have no author (a-pauruseya), but are self-existent, there can be no flaw in them. The Nyaya view that the Vedas are infallible because they have been produced by God who is omnipotent and omniscient, does not find favour with the Mimamsakas, for they do not believe in the existence of an infallible author like God. The position of the Vedantins with regard to this point is peculiar. While admitting that the Vedas are self-existent, they do not altogether dispense with God in their doctrine. God, however, is not the author of the Vedas in the sense that Kalidasa is the author of Raghuvamsam, for God cannot interfere with the content of the eternal edition of the Vedas or with the order of the words in the Vedas at his sweet will as Kalidasa can do with the content and composition of his work in a subsequent edition. The authorship of the Vedas is ascribed to God only because he resuscitates the Vedas at the beginning of each Kalpa (cycle) exactly in the form in which it was in earlier cycles. In a sense the Vedas are not eternal, for the self-same issue of the Vedas does not appear to the people of every cycle from beginningless eternity. There has been, as it were, a re-issue of the Veda at the beginning of every cycle with God as its promulgator. Srimad-bhagavata has it that the Vedas were revealed to the first-born among the learned. Though promulgated by God, the Vedas are not composed by Him. They are impersonal, and there can be no doubt about their untainted nature. Since the Vedas refer only to matters beyond this life which do not admit of empirical verification here, there is no possibility of their coming into conflict with our ordinary experience based on other sources of knowledge..."

The difficulty is to comprehend how something that is eternal, like the Vedas, can still have a source. Therefore some people argue that since the Vedas are eternal, they can't possibly have a source. In this connection the following excerpt from a transcription of Satyanarayana Prabhu's seminar on Srila Jiva Gosvami's Tattva-sandarbha gives yet another interesting perspective:

"And we want to know about transcendence, so the only possibility is to use the process of Vedic knowledge. So therefore he says that these utterances have no earthly origin. They are not laukika, they are not material. They are transcendental. And in India all the theistic philosophers accept this: that the Vedas are not written by any human being, they are coming from the Supreme Lord. Anadi nidhano nityavabhutshrishtha svayambhuva adau vedamayi divya yatah sarva pravrtteyah. So these are considered as anadi-nidhana, means 'beginningless and unending'. And in the Upanishads they are called as the breath of the Lord. The breath of the Lord means that just as naturally the breath is coming from our nostrils, like that the Vedas come. Otherwise the question can be raised that if the Lord has made them, and He is a purusha, because as we say, He is parama-purusha, so why we say that these Vedas are a-paurusheya, not created by any purusha? So of course we can say 'not created by any material purusha', but actually they are also not created by the Lord, they are eternally existing. And just as even when a man sleeps, he breathes, but he never takes the credit that 'I breath' (chuckles) or 'I am the doer of this breathing system', so in that way the Lord breathes out the Vedas and we don't say they are created. So that is the sense of saying. Otherwise don't think they are just flying out of his nose, something like that (laughs). It's something like figurative explanation. (an answer:) The sense is that, ...but then we cannot say that He did not create, ultimately He is the source of everything. He is the source of everything, but some things are eternally existing. So this, sometimes it takes a little... trouble, or it's a problem to understand this thing. That how is it that something is eternal and still it has a source? Because eternal things cannot have a source. Otherwise they'll become non-eternal. So we... we can adjust it... (chuckling)."

It seems to be relatively wide spread even among scholars to speak about God as the author of the Vedas. Here is a translation of one famous verse from the Rgveda, which is also found in the Yajurveda (Rg 10.90.9, Yaj 31.7: tasmat yajnat sarva huta...) "From that adorable God unto Whom people make every kind of sacrifice, were created the Rigveda, the Samaveda. From Him was created the Atharvaveda and also the Yajurveda." (transl. Devi Chand, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi 1980)

The same verse is translated as follows in ISKCON's Arcana-Paddhati: "From the sacrifice, which was the embodiment of all oblations in the form of the all-pervading Purusa, the hymns of the Rg Veda and Sama Veda came into being, as well as the Vedic meters and the hymns of the Yajur Veda."

In the Gandharva-krta-stotra of the Narada-pancaratra (1.12.75), there is the following passage:

bijam nanavataranam sarva-karana-karanam
vedavedyam veda-bijam veda-karana-karanam

Here Krsna is called 'The cause of the cause of the Vedas'. Earlier in the same chapter (50) Vedas pray: vayaM vedAz tvam asmAkaM kAraNasyApi kArakaH - You (the Lord) are the cause of us.

Also in the Narada-pancaratra, Sri-Krsna-stotra (4.3.55):

ananta-mantra-kotisah sabda-brahmaika-pavakah
adi-vidvan >>veda-kartta<< vedatma sruti-sagarah

Here Krsna is directly called 'The Author of the Vedas'. There are many more such passages, like Narada-pancaratra 1.9.15 where veda-kartA is even the epithet of Siva, spoken by Narada Muni.

In the Narada Pancaratra the Lord is called veda-karana-karanam, the cause of the cause of the Vedas, and veda-kartri, which must be translated by all means as, 'the author of the Vedas,' which is exactly what some try to deny. In one translation of the Yajurveda there is a famous passage which is identical with the Purusa Sukta from the Rgveda, where it is directly stated that the Vedas are CREATED by the Supreme (that is of course a question of translation, because in another translation of the same passage things are not stated as clearly). See also SB 11.29.49 where Krsna is called nigama-krt, the author of the Vedas.

Related:
Purpose and Origin of Vedas

page url: http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/encyclopedia/apauruseya.htm
Please support us:  
 
© 2001 - 2020 VEDA - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Krishna.com, authors. CC-BY-SA J. Mares (contact)