by Roma Bose | 1940 | 290,526 words
English translation of the Brahma-sutra 1.4.14, 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.
English of translation of Brahmasutra 1.4.14 by Roma Bose:
“And (the lord alone is to be understood) as the cause with regard to the ether and the rest, on account of the declaration of (Brahman) as designated.”
Nimbārka’s commentary (Vedānta-pārijāta-saurabha):
Omniscient and omnipotent Brahman alone is to be understood everywhere in the texts about the creation of the ether and the rest, because the very same Brahman, “as designated” in the characterizing aphorism and the following, is demonstrated “as the cause” of the ether and the rest.
Śrīnivāsa’s commentary (Vedānta-kaustubha)
An objection may be raised here: That view, too, which rejecting pradhāna, established by Smṛti, as the cause of the world, takes the universe to have Brahman as its sole cause, is, indeed, a doubtful one, since in the Vedānta texts, demonstrating the cause, creation is stated to be due to manifold causes. Thus, in a certain text: ‘“The existent alone, my dear, was this in the beginning”’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.2.1), creation is said to be due to the existent; in a certain other text: ‘From this soul the ether has arisen’ (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.1), to be due to the soul alone; again in another text, on the other hand: ‘The non-existent, verily, was this in the beginning, from that, forsooth, the existent arose’ (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.7), likewise in the text: ‘The non-existent alone was this in the beginning, it was existent’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 3.19.1), to be due to the nonexistent; in. another text: ‘“What is its final goal?” “The ether” said he’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 1.9.1), to be due to the ether; in a certain other text again: ‘“All these beings, verily, enter into the vital-breath”’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 1.11.5), to be due to the vital-breath; and in some passages in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka: ‘The soul alone was this in the beginning’ (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 1.4.17), ‘Brahman, verily, was this in the beginning’ (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 1.4.10), to be due to the soul and to Brahman. Such being our knowledge of the cause of the universe, it is not possible to ascertain definitely that Brahman alone is the cause of the universe. But it is possible to ascertain definitely that pradhāna, independent of Brahman, is the cause of the universe. Thus, in the text: ‘Verily, at that time this was unmanifest (avyākṛta), it became manifest simply by name and form’ (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 1.4.7), by the word ‘unmanifest’ pradhāna, independent of a sentient principle, is declared to he the.cause of the universe. The meaning of the text is that ‘this’, i.e. the manifest world, was ‘at that time’, i.e. prior to creation, ‘unmanifest’ and ‘it’, viz. pradhāna, ‘became manifest by name and form’. The mass of texts demonstrating the cause of the universe should he taken to be referring to pradhāna alone.
With a view to disposing of the above view, his Holiness is showing that the mass of texts designating the cause of the universe all refer to Brahman.
The word “and” is for disposing of the objection. The word “as” implies the kind. It is possible to ascertain definitely that the Highest Person alone, omnipotent, endowed with the attributes of omniscience and the rest and the Lord of all, is the Cause of the Universe. How? “On account of the declaration” of the very same Brahman, “designated” in the characterizing aphorism and the rest, “as the cause” of effects like the ether and the rest. Thus, Brahman alone, mentioned previously in the passage: ‘Brahman is truth, knowledge and infinite’ (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.1), is designated as the cause in the passage: ‘From him, verily’ (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.1) and so on. Likewise, Brahman alone, indicated by the passages, ‘“The existent alone, my dear”’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.2.1), ‘He thought: “May I be many’” (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.2.3), is designated in the passage: ‘He created light’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.2.3). The same is to be understood with regard to other Upaniṣad texts too.
Comparative views of Śaṅkara:
General import same, literal interpretation different, viz. ‘(Although there may be a conflict among the Vedānta texts) with regard to (the order of the things created, like) the ether and the rest, (there is no conflict among them with regard to the creator,) because as (Brahman) is designated as the cause (in one Vedānta) so (He) is. mentioned (in other Vedāntas too).
Comparative views of Śrīkaṇṭha:
Interpretation different. He does not begin a new adhikaraṇa here, but continues the same topic. Hence the sūtra: ‘And just as on account of the declaration (i.e. understanding) (of Brahman) as. the cause (in all the Vedānta texts) with regard to (all the effects like) the ether and the rest, (as well as in all other general texts), (pradhāna of the Śaṃkhyas is not understood, so the Sāṃkhya principles are not understood here)’. That is, just as we interpret the vague and general text ‘verily, at that time, it was unmanifest’ (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 1.4.7) in the light of the specific text: ‘The soul alone was this in the beginning’ (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 1.4.1), and understand thereby the first text as denoting Brahman and not the Sāṃkhya unmanifest or pradhāna, so exactly, here we should interpret the vague and general text about the ‘five five-people’ (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 4.4.17, etc.) in the light of the specific passage about the vital-breath and the rest (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 4.4.18, etc.), and understand, thereby, the ‘five five-people’ as the vital-breath and the rest, and not as the Sāṃkhya principles.
Footnotes and references:
Viz. Brahma-sūtra 1.1.2, etc.
Brahma-sūtras (Śaṅkara’s commentary) 1.4.14, p. 414.
Brahma-sūtras (Śrīkaṇṭha’s commentary) 1.1.14, p. 530, Part 6.