Eternality of the Veda and the role of rishis

When such riks clearly bring out the nature of mantrās as being created, how, it may be asked, can the Veda be said it be eternal, uncreated? The rik quoted above refers to the original, basic vāk, word, of the mantra abiding in the paramam vyoma, when it speaks of it as eternal. The entire Veda came to be understood as eternal on account of its origin in the paramam vyoma. Consider the rik (8.75.6) by the seer Virūpa. “O Virūpa, by the eternal word give now the impulse of the high laud to the Luminous One”. Even Sāyaņa’s commentary on the rik agrees with this. For he says: “By vāk, is meant speech in the form of mantra, which is eternal that is to say, not produced”. In this view, as explained by us, there is no contradiction inconsistency between the eternality of the Veda and the authorship of the rişhi. This has been clarified by Patanjali, author of the mahābhāşhya, while explaining the sūtra (4.3.101) of Pāņini. Patanjali accepted the eternality of the word and idea contained in the Veda, but not of the arrangement and order of syllables, words and sentences. The arrangement of words in the mantra-verse is of the rişhi’s making for the purposes of making the Veda known. Thus both the statements that the Vedās are both created and uncreated are compatible. That the riks are poetry of an extraordinary kind wherein lies their mantra-character, is evidenced by the hymns of Dīrghatamas and Virūpa above referred to. There are hundreds of such instances in the rik samhita which describe the glory of Speech, but they are not mentioned here for fear of swelling the subject with details.

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