Brahma Sutras (Nimbarka commentary)

by Roma Bose | 1940 | 290,526 words

English translation of the Brahma-sutra 1.2.8, 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 1.2.8

English of translation of Brahmasutra 1.2.8 by Roma Bose:

“If it be objected that (if Brahman were to dwell within the heart, then) there follows experience (of pleasures and pains), (we reply:) no, on account of difference.”

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

If it be objected that owing to His connection with all hearts, “there will follow experience” of pleasure and pain on the part of Brahman, as on the part of the individual soul,—(we reply:) no such objection can be raised, because there is an absolute difference between the individual soul and Brahman, as the soul is an enjoyer of the fruits of the works done by itself, while Brahman is ever-free from sins.

Śrīnivāsa’s commentary (Vedānta-kaustubha)

If it be objected: Owing to its connection with a single heart, there results experience of pleasures and pains on the part of the individual soul. Owing to His connection with all hearts simultaneously, there certainly results experience of all pleasures and pains everywhere on the part of the all-pervading Highest Self. If this be so, then the Highest Self, as the enjoyer of pleasures and pains, will inevitably become subject to all sorts of faults, as the individual soul itself is. Hence even the Supreme Being will be subject to karmas,—

(We reply:) “No.” “On account of difference (vaiśeṣyāt)”. The word “vaiśeṣyāt” is formed by adding the suffix ‘ṣyañ’ to the word ‘viśeṣa’ in an identical sense, (viz. difference) or to indicate excessive difference. That the individual soul is an enjoyer of the fruits of works performed by itself and the Supreme Soul is just the opposite is established, in Scripture, in accordance with the Smṛti-passage: ‘Of these, He who is the Supreme Self is said to be eternal and free from the properties of matter.....[1] He is not affected even by the fruit, as a lotus-leaf is not touched by water. The active self, on the other hand, is another, who is liable to release and bondage’ (Mahābhārata (Asiatic Society edition) 12.13754-13755[2]), and the declaration of the Lord Himself: ‘Works do not affect me; I have no desire for fruits of works’ (Gītā 4.14). Thus, on account of an absolute difference between these two, it follows that the individual soul alone experiences pleasures and pains, and not the Supreme Soul. Hence it is established that that which consists of mind and has the breath for its body, is none but the Highest Self.

Here ends the section entitled ‘Celebrity everywhere’ (1).

Comparative views of Śaṅkara:

Reading and literal interpretation same. Here, too, he is forced to add his usual explanation that the difference between the individual soul and Brahman is not real, but only phenomenal.[3]

Comparative views of Rāmānuja:

Interpretation of the word ‘vaiśeṣyāt’ different. According to Nimbārka, ‘vaiśeṣyāt’ means ‘on account of the difference of nature between the individual soul and Brahman’; while according to Rāmānuja, it means ‘on account of the difference of the cause of enjoyment’[4]; i.e. it is not abiding within the body which is the cause of undergoing pleasure and pain, but being subject to karmas, which is never possible in the case of the Lord.[5]

Comparative views of Bhāskara:

Reading and interpretation same. The example cited is appropriate—Simply because the Lord abides within the heart, it does not follow that He shares its experiences, for there is no rule that coexistence and the consequent inter-relation imply the sharing of the same attributes. The ether, e.g. though in connection with a burning place, does not burn itself.[6]

Comparative views of Śrīkaṇṭha:

Reading and literal interpretation same, though the topic is different, as noted above.[7]

Footnotes and references:


One line omitted, viz. ‘Sa hi Nārāyaṇa jñeyaḥ sarvātmā puruṣo hi saḥ’.


P. 852, lines 9-10, vol. 3.


Ś.B. 1.2.8, p. 268.




Śrī-bhāṣya (Madras edition) 1.2.8, p. 238, vol. 1.


Brahma-sūtras (Bhāskara’s Commentary) 1.2.8, p. 40.


Brahma-sūtras (Śrīkaṇṭha’s commentary) 1.2.8, pp. 327 et seq., Part 4

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