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That Which Is Not Created By Man – Concept In Hindu Religion

Apaurusheyatva has its opposite, paursheya, which is formed from the noun purusha with the suffix dhan meaning thereby man’s work or creation of man. The word ‘apaurusheya’ as a nan (negative) compound (a + paurusheya) means something which is not created by man in a span of time and it is an important concept in Hindu religion. 

The word is adjectival if used with some noun and is a nominal concept if it is taken as universal. The Veda is taken as that which is not created by man and the traditional systems of Hindu philosophy accept this. Those who accept apaurusheyatva to the Veda generally mean that the statements in the form of injunctions and commandments are not the compositions of a man or a group of men in a span of time. The seers do not claim to have created them but only to have receive them. These statements of knowledge (Veda) imparted orally from one generation to another came to be compiled by Veda Vyasa, according to the subject matter, into four, which are popularly called the four Vedas.

Veda is apaurusheya first in the sense that it is not the creation of man; the seers only received it and imparted it to their disciples for the welfare of humanity. Secondly, it is so in the sense that its statements are eternally true. According to Advaitins, it is with the faith that the statements of the Vedas are eternal truths that the orthodox philosophers believe that Brahman, who is neither an object of perception nor of inference, is known only through the Vedas (Brahmasutra Shankarabhashya 1/1/3).

Naiyayikas produce the evidence of the Vedas as one of the proofs for the existence of God, only because the Veda is apaurusheya in the sense that they are created neither by man nor by God or any other divine agency. It is notable here that they do not accept God as the creator of the world.  They express eternal truths and that is the reason why all those objects which are not given to epistemological justification or all those objects which are not known by experience are known only through the Vedas. Shayanacharya says that ‘one knows the inner self only through the Vedas; it is the ’vedaness’ of Veda (atma vidanti vedena tasmadvedasya vedata-Rgvedabhashya (P.22). Religion (dharma), fortune (apurva), gods (devatas) and heaven (svarga) are not the objects of other proofs and Vedas is the only proof of these subjects. It is apaurusheya in the sense of its non-dependency (anapekshatva), that is, as Parthasarathi Mishra observes – the relation between word and meaning (sabdarthasambandha); Relation between statements and their meanings (vakya-vakyartha samyogah; non-perception of its author (drishyadarshana badhitam) – (Shastradipila 1/1/5). A similar argument is given by Advaita Vedantins also. According to them, Brahman is known only through Vedas and not by other means of knowledge (Pramana).

In the Vaiyakarana system of Hindu philosophy the word (Shabda), the meaning (Artha) and the relation between the two are accepted as eternal in the sense that they are not constructions or creations of man but eternally given. Samkhya, Vedanta, and Vyakarana have their own logic and explanation for them as eternal in the sense of being without a beginning or continuity of the use of the language since time immemorial. Naiyayikas accept word – meaning relation as fixed by convention (samaya or sanketa) but according to Vaiyakaranas, it is not then a relation which, as Bhartrhari says, is the natural fitness of language. Convention only restrains this fitness to a fixed meaning on the basis of which a fixed meaning is known by a fixed word. This natural fitness is not created but apurusheya. The meaning is also not something created by man or by God but that which is revealed in the mind and hence it is also eternal. Thus, Vaiyakaranas take the language, meaning and the relation between the two as apaurusheya in the sense of being given. On the basis of their theory of apaurusheyatva they explain that all knowledge is revealed by language and hence is self-valid. The valid cognition revealed by language is a sound proof for the apaurusheyatva of language, meaning (revealed non-differently by it) and the relation between the two as natural fitness of the language. Thus Vaiyakaranas, on the basis of apaurusheyatva, explain the self-validity of knowledge and beginning-lessness of the expressive power of shabda from time immemorial.