3

I found this in an answer from the question: Does Science contradict Hinduism? How to deal with scientific discoveries that don't line up with Vedas?

*Bhishma said in Mahabharata Shanti Parva Section 142:

Even the words heard from an ignorant person, if in themselves they be fraught with sense, come to be regarded as pious and wise. In days of old, Usanas said unto the Daityas this truth, which should remove all doubts, that scriptures are no scriptures if they cannot stand the test of reason.*

In the comments of that answer, there is some confusion about the meaning of the above. So, I thought I'll start a new discussion about it.

4
  • 1
    Such statements are found in scriptures but they are mostly said in certain specific contexts. If we use them as generic statements to show that they are the conclusions of the scriptures then that is clearly wrong. For example the quote says "if an ignorant says something reasonable then that opinion has to be accepted". But it is full of subjectivity. Who is going to decide if the person is really "ignorant" or not and who is to decide if what he said is "reasonable" or not? Such statements are fancy to use in answers sometimes but they are never the overall conclusion of scriptures.
    – Rickross
    Feb 10 at 5:58
  • Where is the confusion? Bhishma quotes with approval the statement that scriptures are no scriptures if they do not satisfy the test of reason. This requirement that scripture needs to satisfy reason has led to Hindu darsanas where different commentators have had to give reason why their interpretation of scripture is correct. If you do not use reason to interpret scripture then you get dogma and not darsana. Feb 10 at 13:12
  • 1
    @PradipGangopadhyay - if we all use our own reason to interpret scripture, we get confusion and not clarity. For e.g. you recently interpreted a verse in Bhagavad Gita to say that Bhagavan is not attached to DOING any karma (karma sanyasa). When it is abundantly clear that Bhagavan is not attached to RESULTS of karma (karma yoga).
    – mar
    Mar 13 at 19:46
  • Lord Krishna says in the Gita, 'Reflecting on this teaching do as you think fit'. This seems to me a carte blanche to individually interpret the Gita. As far as I know I never said that Bhagavan is not attached to doing any karma (karma sanyasa). I didn't understand the last sentence. Mar 14 at 11:44
1

Usanas said unto the Daityas this truth

Should we even believe what the guru of the Asuras (Ushanas) said to the Asuras (demons)?

The evil Asuras are not a trustworthy source of knowledge. Nor is their guru:

Chhandogya Upanishad - Now Virochana, satisfied in his heart, went to the Asuras and preached this doctrine to them, that the body alone is to be worshipped [thinking it is the true self], that the body alone is to be served, and that he who worships the body and serves the body , gains both worlds, this [Earth] and the next [heaven].

0

Even the words heard from an ignorant person, if in themselves they be fraught with sense, come to be regarded as pious and wise.

This can be taken in the general sense, but the context of the statement is religion specifically. Indeed, everybody claims to know the truth; however, they arrive at their own concocted conclusion through illogical means and attempt to deceive others for a large following, especially in the kali-yuga.

... a man will be known as a brahmana just by his wearing a thread. ... (ŚB 12.2.3) And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar. (ŚB 12.2.4)

Even with the Vedic context, it is important to look into these deceptive, twisted interpretations of scripture and realize how unreasonable they really are. As for other beliefs, they must also be held to the same standard, which is what Bhishma says next.

In days of old, Usanas said unto the Daityas this truth, which should remove all doubts, that scriptures are no scriptures if they cannot stand the test of reason.

Any scripture should be supremely logical, for it is not a revelation of the truth otherwise. Obviously, this applies to non-Vedic holy books, but self-critique is just as essential. There cannot be double-standard—if one criticizes another religion for being illogical, then one must apply the same standards, the same test of reason, to one's own faith.

Now, why did Bhishma declare this so emphatically? He was a learned authority himself, and he never deviated from sanatana-dharma. Inspecting not only what he stated at a surface level but its conclusion as well makes something clear: Bhishma implied that the Vedic scriptures are supremely logical.

Indeed, there is no doubt about it.

1

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .