We know that Vedas are Shruti text which are called Aparusheya. Shruti literally means "which is heard". Rishis heard Vedas directly from Ishvar in the state of deep meditation and hence Rishis are called Drashta (seers) of Vedas, not author of Vedas. Apaurusheya means not of human origin.

Vedas constitutes two parts one is Samhita or Mantra and second is Brahmanas. Aranyakas are usually portions of Brahmans and Upanishads are of Aranyakas. Vedas have Shakhas and each of Shakha had its own Samhita and Brahmans as discussed in this post. So, every Aranyakas and Upanishads are associated with particular Brahmanas of particular Shakha of particular Veda. (except Ishavashya Upanishad which is part of Yajurveda Samhita itself).

Now, talking about Shruti-ness or Apaurusheya-tva of Vedas, there are three opinions as follows:

  1. Some believes that only Samhitas are Vedas.Brahmans are not Vedas but they are commentary on Vedas. A popular example of this belief is Swami Dayanand Saraswati of Aryasamaj.

  2. Many (including I) believes that though Samhitas are only core part of Vedas which are the hymns heard by Rishis in deep meditation and hence called Shruti, however Brahmans are also considered as part of Vedas or forming Vedas altogether with Samhitas as I've discussed in this answer

  3. Recently I found that there is also an argument which states that all part of Vedas including Brahmans, Aaranyakas and Upanishads are Apaurusheya and Shruti from this answer:

    As a matter of fact, all parts of the Vedas, including Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, are Apaurusheya or authorless

This sounds interesting to know for me and hence I am interested in knowing the basis behind this statement, mentioned in the answer:

This is demonstrated in Adhyaya 1 Pada 1 of the Purva Mimamsa Sutras; see this excerpt from Shabara Swami's Bhashya.

The excerpt linked is whole of 50 pages having commentary on 32 Sutras of Purva Mimansa 1.1. and hence I find it difficult to locate the arguments I am looking for. So, I want to know what are the arguments of Purva Mimansa Sutra that states or concludes that all parts of Vedas including Brahmanas, Aaranyaka and Upanishads are Apaurusheya and Shruti.

Note: If bunch of arguments in the form of "objections and replies" are much lengthy then a brief summery with explanation and citing only major arguments would be useful and appreciated. Also note that I'm not looking for arguments for proving Samhitas Apaurusheya, I'm looking for arguments that proves other parts i.e Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads are Apaurusheya.

1 Answer 1


What are the arguments of Purva Mimansa that says Brahmanas are Apaurusheya?

Their argument is that the entire Vedas, aranyakas and upanishads included, do not have an author because there is no recollection of authorship.

Here is where the relevant argument starts. They say (paraphrased by me):

Our answer to this view is as follows: What we have asserted is established by the fact that the said relation could never have been created by a human being.

"But how do you know?"

It follows from the fact that there could not have been any person to create the relations.

"Why not?"

Because no person can be cognized by any means of knowledge, including memory.

"Since he existed a long time back, he would be forgotten."

Even if he existed a long time back, people would remember him since he is important. They would not forget him like they forget creators of trivial things like gardens.

Now, note an important thing: the argument isn't "We forgot the author, so there is no author." That argument is fallacious. Rather, the argument is a form of anupalabdhi, or "proof of non-existence by non-perception." For example, I know I've never been to Antarctica because if I have, I would remember it.

The Purva Mimamsa school does not believe that the mantras were revealed by Devatas because they believe that Devatas do not exist. Rather, they think the Vedas are apaurusheya because the expounders of the Vedas do not remember an author for the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, like they do remember an author for works like Yaska's Nirukta or Panini's Ashtadhyayi.

  • In simpler/modern terms, suppose we have 2 extremely important and popular mathematical theorems, with both being mentioned in history books as far back as 1750 A.D. And one of them is claimed to have been discovered by Pythagoras, but no mention of who discovered the second theorem - the chances are, in decreasing probability - 1. the 2nd theorem was probably much older than 1750 (hence people forgot), or 2. the 2nd theorem was authored by some genius who just left the paperwork on the street to be found (by someone with a decent level of mathematical knowledge)
    – ram
    Oct 28, 2019 at 14:22
  • Now dialing the clock back further to 5000 years ago, we have 2 extremely important scriptures, say Brahma Sutra, and Yajur Veda Samhita. Again, for one of them (Brahma Sutras) we know the author (Vyasa), but do not know who the author is of the second scripture (Vyasa did not invent Vedas, he simply collated them). Again, possible the 2nd is much older, or it was discovered by a genius (Bhagavan) who left it on the street to be found by someone with a decent level of tapas (Rishis). No matter how far back we dial the clock, we always find the author untraceable.
    – ram
    Oct 28, 2019 at 14:24
  • Basically, If 2 scriptures are from the same era in history, but people remember the author of only one, that says something out-of-ordinary about the 2nd.
    – ram
    Oct 28, 2019 at 14:26

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