[INDOLOGY] Antw: Re: origin and discussion that the Vedas are "nitya apaurusheya"

Raik Strunz raik.strunz at indologie.uni-halle.de
Sat Nov 9 06:46:32 EST 2019

Dear Prof. Olivelle,

would you by any chance have a source of Madhātithi’s remarks about
Manu, or could perhaps recommend a text edition where to find it? I
think this would be something very interesting to read with my students.

Best regards,

Raik Strunz


Raik Strunz, M.A.

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Email: raik.strunz at indologie.uni-halle.de
Tel.: +49 345 / 55 23655 

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Institut für Altertumswissenschaften
Seminar für Indologie
Emil-Abderhalden-Straße 9
D-06108 Halle (Saale)



सर॑स्वत्यै॒ स्वाहा॑ ॥

>>> "Olivelle, J P via INDOLOGY" <indology at list.indology.info> 06.11.19
20.06 Uhr >>>
 If you are responding to my post, then you have misunderstood it. My
point was simply that the apauruṣeyatva of the Veda was central to
Dharmaśāstric views regarding the epistemology of dharma, and this tenet
was borrowed from the sister school  of Mīmāṃsā, as Jan Houben stated. I
am not talking about the apauruṣeyatve of Dharmaśāstras!! These texts
were always believed to have been humanly authored. See Madhātithi’s
wonderful, almost modern, view of how Manu composed his treatise.
 Patrick Olivelle
   On Nov 6, 2019, at 12:00 PM, alakendu das via INDOLOGY
<indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
 With due respect,If I may just highlight a point ,namely, Dharmashastra
is a part of Smriti , or more specifically , a part of Vedanga.Can we
term it as "Apauruesheya"? Stuti is "Apauruesheya", but is.Smriti so?
 Alakendu Das.
 Sent from RediffmailNG on Android
 From: "Jan E.M. Houben via INDOLOGY" <indology at list.indology.info>
 Sent: Wed, 6 Nov 2019 19:05:23 GMT+0530
 To: Dean Michael Anderson <eastwestcultural at yahoo.com>
 Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] origin and discussion that the Vedas are "nitya
 Dear Dean,  Some quick notes in reaction to your query: 
 It is a widely accepted cliché that "the Vedas are eternal and
apauruṣeya" and another cliché, equally widely accepted by both
traditional and modern, Indian and non-Indian, scholars is that this is
essentially (!) THE Indian view on the Vedas.  At some point in time,
indeed, the "irrational" view of the nitya and apauruṣeya Veda became
dominant, and the theory of elevated but basically "human" authors
disappeared from view in "orthodox" circles (just as the view of an
originally basically "human"  Jesus Christ advocated by Arius made in
the course of time place for more "irrational" positions such as
Trinitarianism which implies the anādinidhanam divinity of Jesus in
Christianity?). This means there was an earlier time that the view of a
nitya and apauruṣeya  Veda was not dominant or evident. Even if we limit
ourselves to the six so-called "orthodox" schools of Indian philosophy
we find that widely divergent views were held about the nature and
(extent of) authoritativeness of the Vedas -- and on the question
whether  the Vedic texts had or did not have authors: Sāṁkhya is
severely critical of the Vedas and Vedic ritual (Houben 1999); Nyāya
makes efforts to prove that the Veda is not apauruṣeya but pauruṣeya:
deriving from a Puruṣa, namely God (Chemparathy 1983); the school  of
Aitihāsika interpretation of the Rgveda did not survive but interpreted
the subject matter of hymns often in terms of references to human or
divine,“historical” personalities (E. Sieg 1902). Not much of their
views is preserved, but it is likely that the  authors of the hymns were
also regarded as “historical” personalities; in Vaiśeṣika, although
theism overtook later on, there is no early systematic commitment even
to God but to the Ṛṣis and their knowledge (even Praśastapāda accepts,
apart from pratyakṣa,  laiṅgika and smṛti, only ārṣa as another category
of reliable knowledge, vidyā, in contradistinction to four forms of
avidyā) From Vaiśeṣika-sūtra (VS)6.1.1 buddhipūrvā vākyakṛtir vede we
can infer the position that the composition of Vedic texts is preceded 
by thinking, and hence a creation by individuals, esp. the seers,
although Candrānanda’s commentary forcefully tries to interpret the
plural as honorific and the reference to the author of the Veda as a
reference to Maheśvara (Houben 2019, pp. 198-199); in  the system of
Yoga (Yoga-sūtra etc.) the Veda and God have marginal roles, as for the
latter i.a. in an optional way to the ultimate Yogic goal (A. Nugteren,
God as an alternative, Leuven, Apeldoorn: Garant, 1991). Hence, we are
left with only Pūrva-mīmāṁsā  and Vedānta as fully and originally
committed to the Vedas as sources of ultimate knowledge, an irrational
position which Mīmāṁsakas such as Kumārila brilliantly tried to defend
rationally by arguing for a nitya and apauruṣeya Veda. Somewhere in
Alexis Pinchard’s  Les langues de sagesse dans la Grèce et l’Inde
anciennes (2009, based on a thesis defended in 2005) the author
describes how there is an 'inflation' in the sacred status of Vedic and
Sanskrit, an ‘inflation’ that can be easily traced back to its earlier
stages.  At first, the “secret names or footsteps of the cows” are
preserved in ‘human’ hymns addressed to the gods. Subsequently, the
entire ‘human’ hymns, skillfully composed by trained poets, acquire the
status of divine texts which through their metre etc. are  demarcated
from all other language use, including the comments and explanations of
difficulties associated with these divine texts. The next stage is the
acquisition of divine status of both the hymns and their explanations,
the stage reflected in the dictum  mantra-brāhmaṇayor veda-nāmadheyam
“Mantras and Brāhmaṇas have the designation ‘Veda’ ” (Āpastamba
Śrauta-sūtra 24.1.31). The auxiliary disciplines such as grammar,
etc., which develop in order to bridge the increasing distance between
the language of the  Veda and even the polished language of daily life,
are the next candidates to receive divine status; the last observed
stage is the attribution of divine status not only to Vedic literature
and its auxiliary disciplines but to the entire Sanskrit language,  a
view which we find already clearly formulated by the 5th century
grammarian-philosopher Bhartṛhari, but which remained in his time far
from uncontested (Houben 1996b). This does not detract from the de facto
role of classical Sanskrit as a language to the  co-production of which
Buddhists contributed importantly, a philosophical and literary lingua
franca (Houben 2018 “Linguistic Paradox and Diglossia”).  
 Jan Houben
  On Mon, 4 Nov 2019 at 18:37, Dean Michael Anderson via INDOLOGY
<indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
     Sorry, I mistitled that earlier thread.
 Does anyone know the origin of the term and concept that the Vedas are
"nitya apaurusheya", eternal and uncreated by humans?
 I have heard it might have originated in Karma Mimamsa.
 Also, any information about how it was conceived, discussed and debated
would be appreciated.
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   Jan E.M. Houben
 Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology
 Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite
 École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, PSL - Université Paris)
 Sciences historiques et philologiques 
 54, rue Saint-Jacques, CS 20525 – 75005 Paris
 johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr
 johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu
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