According to Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta, the Vedas are eternal and unauthored. That is, the Vedic words and sentences were not composed or created by any sentient being, human or divine.

Yamunacharya, an ancient Sri Vaishnava acharya who predates Ramanujacharya by a few generations, says this in his Agama Pramanyam, or "validity of the Pancharatra Agamas":

Moreover, if the Vedas were created by someone, this creator would be remembered: [as,] "He is the one who has composed them." It is not proper to assume that he has been forgotten, just as the digger of an exhausted well is forgotten. The latter is justifiable because the well no longer serves a purpose. But in the case of the Vedas, who, without remembering that the author was reliable, would give credence to all the Vedic rites which are to be performed at the expense of great trouble involving the loss of various properties?

Therefore, the Vedas do not originate from a person.

Are there works from any school of philosophy in the world, that address this argument?

  • 2
    He said the same thing that Vedas don't originate from a person so he is on the same page as others. What argument to address now? – Pinakin Feb 8 '19 at 4:26
  • I think he is asking if Other schools either make this argument or refute it as inadequate. OP, please change the question title to reflect the body of Question more appropriately. – DirghaChintayanti Feb 8 '19 at 6:05
  • Title and body is different! Change the title! – Parabrahman Jyoti Feb 8 '19 at 10:52
  • Does this not just mean that the Vedas are authored from a place beyond persons and authors, from Truth itself? I.e. 'channelled' rather than authored. . – PeterJ Feb 8 '19 at 12:01

Is it possible for the Vedas to have been authored?

Yes, they were authored. First off, here is some background information: If a text is authored, then it can be doubted because the author might be wrong. Thus we can doubt the Bible, Koran, etc. and all other spiritual and scientific texts because the writers could be wrong. But if a text is authorless, then there is no basis to doubt its validity, and hence it must be accepted:

Shabara bhashya on Purva Mimamsa sutra 2:

[human authorship can be doubted], but in the case of the Vedic assertion on the other hand, there is nothing to indicate its falsity.

Thus, if one can show a text is authorless, then one establishes the validity of that text. It is for this reason that ancient Hindu scholars advanced a massive propaganda campaign to show that the Vedas are unauthored when there is tons of evidence to the contrary. How did they do this? By showing that all declamatory and historic statements in the Vedas are false, that the gods do not exist, Brahman does not exist, and all smritis are false. By doing so, all the mantras in the Vedas that speak of authorship of the Vedas by the Rishis would be rendered false.

For example, here is the Purva Mimamsa argument in the Sri Bhashya of Ramanujacharya:

For if Indra and the other gods are corporeal beings, it follows that ...[they are] non-permanent. This implies ...that ...the Veda itself is non-permanent, non-eternal.

So, this argument was fabricated by Jaimini and the proponents of the Purva Mimamsa school at the beginning of the kali yuga to get believe to believe in the Vedas at all costs, because in kali yuga, people do not see the Devas, supernatural beings, or have experiences of Brahman to create mantras.

But as a matter of fact, before the kali yuga, people believed that the Vedas were authored by the Rishis. For example, the extremely ancient Yaska, author of the Nirukta, says in the Nirukta:

1.20 - The rishis were the ones who had a direct vision Dharma. For the sake of the inferior people who were not endowed with a vision of Dharma, [the rishis] gave mantras as instruction/teaching. This is the Veda and Vedāṅgas.

7.3 - Thus, the visions of the rishis occur with various intentions and topics.

Yaska lived in a previous yuga.

And mantras in the Vedas like the following all show that the Vedas were authored:

RV 1.61.4: asmā idu stomaṃ saṃ hinomi rathaṃ na taṣṭeva — “For him, I design this hymn, just as a carpenter designs a chariot”

RV 1.94.1: imaṃ stomamarhate jātavedase rathamiva saṃ mahemā manīṣayā — “This stotra we make for the most sacred Jātaveda with deep meditation, just like building a chariot

Sri Bhashya (uncited Veda) - 'He [Brahman] chooses the makers of mantras'; 'Reverence to the Rishis who are the makers of mantras'; 'That is Agni; this is a hymn of Visvâmitra.'

If the mantras were just "eternally passed down orally" and were "never created", then there would be no mention of "building them like chariots". The Purva Mimamsa school would say that these mantras have no ability to convey facts (they are meaningless).

Moreover, the Vedas have conversations between people, mention historic events like battles, talk about the Rishis life experiences, their sexual experiences and fantasies, mention temporal and relative things, and only take place in the limited area of North India, which is where the Rishis lived. If the Vedas are eternal and authorless, then they would describe other geographic locations where the Rishis didn't live.

For example, there are mantras like, "a new language is being developed in the northern countries". This is obviously a temporal and relative statement composed during a time when this was true.

Thus, the Vedas are authored by the Rishis. But this doesn't mean that the Vedas are not credible. They are credible because they are authored by trustworthy Rishis based on their spiritual experiences of direct apprehension of Brahman. The Vedas consist of stories of spiritual experiences of the Rishis. This is a common theme in the Vedas. For example, in the Bhrigu Valli of the Taittiriya Upanishad,

He perceived that food is Brahman, for from food these beings are produced; by food, when born, they live; and into food they enter at their death. Having perceived this, he went again to his father Varuna, saying: 'Sir, teach me Brahman.'

And in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

The Rishi Vâmadeva saw and understood it, singing, 'I was Manu (moon), I was the sun.'

Aitareya Upanishad:

And this has been declared by a Rishi (Rv. IV, 27, 1): 'While dwelling in the womb, I discovered all the births of these Devas. A hundred iron strongholds kept me, but I escaped quickly down like a falcon.' Vâmadeva, lying in the womb, has thus declared this. And having this knowledge he stepped forth, after this dissolution of the body, and having obtained all his desires in that heavenly world, became immortal, yea, he became immortal.

But ultimately, it is Brahman who authors the Vedas through the medium of the Rishis, as this mantra says:

'He [Brahman] chooses the makers of mantras'.

  • curious, what made you make a U-turn on this position about Apaurusheya-tvam of Vedas? – mar Jan 1 at 7:00
  • Regarding Indra/corporeal etc. - the reason Purva Mimasaka's deny gods,as mentioned in Keshav's link, maybe that people of dull intellect believe directly in yagna & yagna-phala without needing to believe in unseen devas, the reason need not to establish apaurusheya-tvam, because the mere mention of Indra/Devatas does not contradict apaurusheya-tvam. Indra, being a post, not a person, in no way reduces the authorless-ness of Vedas. – mar Jan 1 at 7:13
  • @ram Yeah that's what the brahma sutra commentaries say, but there are other issues like conversations, historical events, mantras that say the mantras were created, etc. All of this can't be explained with the concept of class/post. – Ikshvaku Jan 1 at 14:13

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