Classical Sāṁkhya on the Authorship of the Vedas

Journal of Indian Philosophy 40 (4):453-467 (2012)
The question as to whether the Vedas have an author is the topic of vivid polemics in Indian philosophy. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct the classical Sāṁkhya view on the authorship of the Vedas. The research is based chiefly on the commentaries to the Sāṁkhyakārikā definition of authoritative verbal testimony given by the classical Sāṁkhya writers, for these fragments provide the main evidence (both direct and indirect) for the reconstruction of this view. The textual analysis presented in this paper leads to the following conclusion. According to most classical Sāṁkhya commentaries, the Vedas have no author. Two commentators state directly that the Vedas have no author, and four commentators allude to the authorlessness of the Vedas. Only one commentator seems to hold the opposite view, stating that all the authoritative utterances are based on perception or inference of imperceptible objects by authoritative persons, from which it follows that the Vedas too have an author or authors
Keywords Classical Sāṁkhya  Authoritative verbal testimony (āpta-vacana)  Authoritative persons (āpta)  The Vedas  Authorless (apauruṣeya)
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-012-9161-4
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