Brahma Sutras (Nimbarka commentary)

by Roma Bose | 1940 | 290,526 words

English translation of the Brahma-sutra 1.1.7, including the commentary of Nimbarka and sub-commentary of Srinivasa known as Vedanta-parijata-saurabha and Vedanta-kaustubha resepctively. Also included are the comparative views of important philosophies, viz., from Shankara, Ramanuja, Shrikantha, Bhaskara and Baladeva.

Brahma-Sūtra 1.1.7

English of translation of Brahmasutra 1.1.7 by Roma Bose:

“(Pradhāna cannot be meant by the term ‘self’,) because salvation is taught of one who relies upon that.”

Nimbārka’s commentary (Vedānta-pārijāta-saurabha):

As salvation, characterized by the attainment of His (i.e. Brahman’s) nature, is taught of a knower, who relies on the cause, the meaning of the terms ‘existent’, ‘perceiver’, ‘self’ and the rest,—so pradhāna cannot be denoted by the terms ‘existent’ and ‘self’.

Śrīnivāsa’s commentary (Vedānta-kaustubha)

To the objection, viz. in that case, let the term ‘self’ stand equally for the sentient and the non-sentient, like the term ‘light’[1] which denotes equally a sacrifice[2] and fire; hence, no inconsistency is involved here,—the reverend Bādarāyaṇa replies here:

The non-sentient pradhāna is not the object denoted by the term ‘self’. Why? “Because salvation is taught of one who relies on Him” i.e. of one who has reliance (or devotion), other-wise called ‘meditation’, with regard to Him, i.e. with regard to one who is denoted by the terms ‘existent’ and the rest, who is a perceiver and who is the creator of fire, water and food.[3] Thus, after having taught an investigation, by one who is desirous of salvation, into the effect as consisting of the Cause (viz. Brahman) in essence, in the text: ‘Thou art that’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.8.7; 6.9.8; 6.10.3; 6.11.3; 6.12.3; 6.13.3; 6.14.3; 6.15.3; 6.16.3), Scripture goes on to teach salvation, characterized by the attainment of the nature of Brahman, in the text: ‘For him there is delay, so long as I am not freed, then I shall attain (Brahman)’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.14.2). (The meaning of this text is:) So long as a person, who desires for salvation, is not freed from his body and is impeded, being compelled to undergo the fruits of works which have already begun to produce results, there is delay for him; but when the fruits of works will be fully enjoyed, he will attain the nature of Brahman at once, owing to the absence of impediments. The use of the first person in both the cases, viz. ‘I shall be free’, and ‘I shall attain’ should be known to be implying the third person in accordance with Vedic use.

If in the text ‘He is the Self’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.8.7, etc.), the term ‘self’ is to refer to pradhāna, then in the text ‘Thou art that’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.8.7, etc.), the very same thing must be referred to by the term ‘that’. Hence the text: ‘Thou art that’ would mean: ‘Thou hast pradhāna for thy soul’, whereby a great mishap would take place, since through the meditation: ‘I have the non-sentient as my soul’, one would be obstructed from salvation for ever. In the present case, on the other hand, Brahman, having the stated characteristics, is denoted by the term ‘that’; and the meaning of the term ‘thou’ is the individual soul, His part, otherwise called His power, and possessed of the stated marks. Here, between the part and the whole, there is a relation of difference and non-difference,—well-known everywhere in ordinary life and in the Veda,—as between the attribute and its substratum. Although the individual soul is different from Brahman, in, nature, it is also non-different from Him, having no existence and activity apart from Him. On account of being enveloped by the beginningless may a, the individual soul has no knowledge of such a non-difference. Hence it is said ‘Thou art that’, i.e. you are non-different from the object denoted by the term ‘that Even during the state of salvation, one who has attained the nature of Brahman is of a different nature (from Brahman), but should yet be known to be non-different from Him, because of having no existence and activity separately from Him; because from the text: ‘He attains the highest identity’ (Muṇḍaka-upaniṣad 3.1.3) we learn that Brahman alone is one that is to be approached, while the individual soul only one that approaches; and, finally, because we find the words ‘together with’ in the text: ‘He enjoys all objects of desire together with Brahman, the all-knowing’ (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.1). Hence, Brahman alone is denoted by the terms ‘existent’, ‘self’ and the rest.

Comparative views of Baladeva:

Reading same, interpretation different—viz:—‘(The creator of the world is not the Saguṇa Brahman, but the Nirguṇa Brahman[4]), for salvation is taught of him who relies on Him (viz. the Nirguṇa Brahman)’.[5]

Footnotes and references:


This explains the compound: ‘tan-niṣṭhasya’.


For the explanation of the terms Saguṇa and Nirguṇa, see Govinda-bhāṣya


Govinda-bhāṣya 1.1.7, pp. 49-50, Chap. 1.

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