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Of the 6 astika darshanas, Vedanta holds that the veda-vakyams (Vedic sentences) are themselves literally eternal. This means that veda-vakyams like:

agnimile purohitam yajnasya devam rtvijam.... etc. (I offer to god Agni....)

are not authored by anyone (rishi, devata, or brahman) but simply passed around in an eternal cycle.

There are several issues. The first is that the Vedas themselves give no coherent account on the origin of the Vedas. Rather, it gives several conflicting accounts:

  1. The first account is that Brahman revealed the entire Veda (all four Vedas with all four sections in each Veda) to lord BrahmA, who then passed it through oral tradition to Rishis and so on:

He who created BrahmA and delivered to him the Vedas - Shvetashvatara Upanishad

BrahmA then uses the Vedas to create the universe:

By means of the Veda Pragâpati [BrahmA] evolved names and forms, the being and the non-being'; and 'Saying "bhûh" (earth) he created the earth; saying "bhuvah" he created the air,'

  1. The second account is that Brahman reveals the Vedas to various mantra-drashta rishis:

The Rishis being thus gifted by Pragâpati with the requisite powers, undergo suitable preparatory austerities and finally see the mantras, and so on, proclaimed by the Vasishthas and other Rishis of former ages of the world, perfect in all their sounds and accents, without having learned them from the recitation of a teacher.

  1. The third account is that the Rishis MAKE/AUTHOR the hymns based on their experiences:

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”

'He chooses the makers of mantras'; 'Reverence to the Rishis who are the makers of mantras'; 'That is Agni; this is a hymn of Visvâmitra.'

How can all these different passages be reconciled? Ramanujacharya's explanation seems contradictory:

For this reason the eternity of the Veda admits of being reconciled with what scripture says about the mantras and kândas (sections) of the sacred text having 'makers' and about Rishis seeing the hymns.

For by means of these very texts Pragâpati [BrahmA] presents to his own mind the characteristics and powers of the different Rishis who make the different sections, hymns, and mantras, thereupon creates them endowed with those characteristics and powers, and appoints them to remember the very same sections, hymns, &c. The Rishis being thus gifted by Pragâpati with the requisite powers, undergo suitable preparatory austerities and finally see the mantras, and so on, proclaimed by the Vasishthas and other Rishis of former ages of the world.

He seems to be saying that lord BrahmA uses the pre-made Vedic text to create Rishis who will MAKE the texts every kalpa, but then also says they will SEE the pre-existing mantras made by the previous Rishis.

This seems circular, and so I have no clue how to reconcile his attempted reconciliation.

In a question I wrote a while back, I said that the Vedas serve as a blueprint for creation. This mean that God forces the events of the Vedas to repeat every kalpa in an endless loop. But what would be the point of this? It doesn't serve any purpose other than simply trying to make the Vedas be "eternal" so Vedantins can be happy about it. It seems like this explanation is made up by Vedantins to reconcile their faith of the eternality of the Vedas with its mention of historic events.


The more rational account of the origin of the Vedas is the account postulated by the Nyaya, Vaisheshika, and Nirukta school, as well as other schools, which says that the Vedas were simply authored by Rishis based on their spiritual and worldly experiences.

In this way, all veda-vakyams can be logically and cleanly explained. For example:

He who created BrahmA and delivered to him the Vedas

Means that the supreme Brahman delivered to BrahmA the knowledge of the Vedas.

By means of the Veda Pragâpati [BrahmA] evolved names and forms, the being and the non-being'; and 'Saying "bhûh" (earth) he created the earth; saying "bhuvah" he created the air,'

Means that "by means of KNOWLEDGE of previous creations, BrahmA created the universe in a similar way by saying 'Earth (bhUh)', and Earth was created."

This is similar to the BIBLICAL account of creation, where God says "let there be light", and there was light. The same concept is there in Vedas.

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