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"paingirahasyabrahmama" is a good example. Most of it is claimed to be lost - but AFAIK, only a few lines supporting one sect are supposed to have survived.

Is this a fair way to search for scriptural knowledge?

For example, partial readings of what we know of the Mahanarayana Upanishad can lead to widely different conclusions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahanarayana_Upanishad

Narayana is particularly solemnized in the 11th chapter of the text, calling Atman (soul) as Narayana.[37] This description mirrors those found in Yogashikha Upanishad and Yogatattva Upanishad.[37] Narayana is described as the highest goal, the light beyond, the highest self, the highest Brahman, the highest object of thought.[37][15]

The chapter 12 and twenty six verses that follow then solemnize Rudra, in a manner similar to Narayana, as being all the universe, the manifest One, the right, the just, the truth and the highest Brahman.[38][39] Once again, the text references and integrates numerous hymns and their fragments from the Vedas, as it solemnizes Narayana and Rudra.[40][41]

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

there is the risk of the "blind men and an elephant" fallacy.

For ancient texts, there might be lost portions, interpolations, natural distortions in transmission etc. - but we need a significant amount of material to be able to draw conclusions from what is still available.

An enormous corpus is still preserved in the case of Shruti works - not one or two lines making sharp claims as in the case of paingirayasyabrahmana.

EDIT: clarified to focus the question.

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    We are not encouraging any sectarian games on this site.
    – Pandya Mod
    May 22 at 16:17

1 Answer 1

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As per this QnA on our MAINS site,

Can it be precisely known exactly how much amount of Vedas has been lost?

It is concluded that -

It means about 98% Shakhas of Vedas are lost upto now.

Now, regarding loss of verses (Richas/Suktas), Samhitas of same Vedas do not differ so much wildly in content. For instance in my answer here I have presented variation of Sri Rudram Hymn in various Shakhas. And regarding content we can't be sure how much percentage of Vedas we have lost.


So as a corollary, as per the inferences drawn by the questioner in their question, one may also conclude that we must stop using Vedas, since most of it might be lost in content, and thus,

So unless the entire text is available,

there is the risk of the "blind men and an elephant" fallacy.

So, shall we stop using the foundational text, aka the Vedas of Hinduism?

NO.




To Conclude:

Is this a fair way to search for scriptural truths?

Yes.

We have to make the most, out of what is available to us in the Present (which by the way is itself unfathomable for a current human lifetime), rather than crying over spilt milk.

Also, one must remember this excellent post by the EX-CM: Jon Ericson - Moderating for knowledge, not truth

This site is not for "discovering the Supreme Truth", rather as stated in the Tour Page -

Hinduism Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for followers of the Hindu religion and those interested in learning more about Hinduism.

It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about Hindu religion.


For understanding/discovering the "scriptural truths", the best suggested path is to reach out to a qualified preceptor (guru), and learn under their guidance.

As our own Site's Guidance Notice states -

Like any library, Hinduism Stack Exchange shares great information, but does not offer personalized advice, and does not take the place of seeking such advice from any Acharya, Pundit, astrologer, Guru or other trustworthy Counselor.


The main objective of this site is to share "great information" (not great truths) about Hinduism. And that is made possible through whatever extant works we have with us in the present. Whatever is lost is lost. In due cyclic course, it'll return perhaps. For now, make best use of the present.

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  • very insightful.
    – S K
    May 19 at 15:00
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    Yudhishtir answered this doubt 5000+ years ago in Yaksha Prashna - "What is the path?". "Argument leads to no certain conclusion, the Srutis are different from one another;there is not even one Rishi whose opinion can be accepted by all; the truth about religion and duty is hid in caves: therefore, that alone is the path along which the great have trod". Basically, the same issue of conflicting/missing scriptures exists today, existed in the past, and will do so in future. To resolve this, Bhagavan sends down avatara purushas to clarify confusion of public using current lingua franca
    – mar
    May 21 at 22:07
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    The 3 main acharyas of Dvaita, Advaita & v.advaita have chosen 10 major upanishads to comment on, then gita bhashya, then brahma sutra. Pick the acharya that your family elders follow and stick with it till the end. @SK
    – mar
    May 21 at 22:08

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