, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 453-467,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Jun 2012

Classical Sāṁkhya on the Authorship of the Vedas

Abstract

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.