Brahma Sutras (Nimbarka commentary)

by Roma Bose | 1940 | 290,526 words

English translation of the Brahma-sutra 4.4.19, 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 4.4.19

English of translation of Brahmasutra 4.4.19 by Roma Bose:

“And that which is not subject to change, for thus (scripture) declares (its) existence.”

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

The freed soul intuits Brahman alone, free from the changes of birth and the rest, an ocean of natural, inconceivable and infinite attributes, and possessed of super-human power, “for” Scripture declares the soul’s “existence” during salvation[1] to be “thus”: “For when, verily, he finds fearlessness as a foundation in that which is invisible, incorporal, undefined, unsupported, then he has gone to fearlessness” (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.7[2]), “Verily, he is the essence, for on attaining this essence one becomes blissful” (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.7).

Śrīnivāsa’s commentary (Vedānta-kaustubha)

It has been said the lordship of the freed soul is exclusive of the activities in connection with the universe. On the enquiry: In what, then, does it consist?—the author now shows that the lordship of the freed soul consists in a direct intuition of the Highest Brahman, possessed of super-human power, and thereby rejects the view—suggested by the statement made above that the objects of enjoyment, inhering in the spheres of those who are entrusted with special offices, are the freed soul’s objects of enjoyment,—viz. that the freed soul is just like the soul in bondage.

The freed soul intuits the Highest Brahman alone, “not subject to change”, i.e. untouched by any change like birth and so on, free by nature from all faults, the one ocean of all auspicious qualities, and possessed of super-human powers. The word “and” implies emphasis. Scripture declares “the existence” of the freed soul to be “thus”: “For when, verily, he finds fearlessness as a foundation in that which is invisible, incorporal, undefined, unsupported, then he has gone to fearlessness” (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.7), “Verily, he is the essence, for on attaining this essence, one becomes blissful” (Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.7), ‘“Whereby the unheard becomes heard, the unthought thought, the unknown known”’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 6.1.3). The sense is this: Even when the soul in bondage happens to go to the world of Hiraṇyagarbha, it does not find freedom from fear, in accordance with the declaration by the Lord: ‘“The worlds up to the world of Brahmā do return, O Arjuna!”’ (Gītā 8.16). But the freed soul, on attaining the Lord, possessed of supreme power, enjoys the pleasures belonging to the worlds of Hiraṇyagarbha and others too, which are included within Him as His particular power. This is declared by the scriptural text: “He comes to have freedom of movement in all the worlds” (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 7.25.2). All the worlds, which are powers of the Highest Brahman, abide in Him. This is declared by the scriptural text: “That alone is the bright, that is Brahman, that alone is said to be immortal. In him all worlds rest. Nothing surpasses him” (Kaṭha 5.8; 6.1). It cannot be said that the individual soul being other than the Highest must be subject to some fear, in accordance with the declaration: “Fear arises from a second” (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad 1.4.2),—because the freed soul is not a second something, distinct from the Lord, as a deer is from a tiger; and because it has been established many times before[3] that the individual soul, because of having Brahman as its essence, is non-different from Him,

Comparative views of Śaṅkara and Bhāskara:

“(The Highest Brahman) does not abide in effects (like the sun and. the rest), for (Scripture) declares (His) existence (to be) thus.” That is, it has been said in the previous sūtra that those who attain the effected Brahman are subject to the Lord abiding within the sun and the rest, But here it is shown that the Highest Brahman, who is noil-qualified, does not abide in sun and the rest, but only the qualified Brahman does.[4]

Footnotes and references:


[Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series] reads “mukta-sthiti”, (p. 91), also Brindāban ed. (p. 1354).


Quoted by Rāmānuja.


Vide, e.g., Vedānta-pārijata-saurabha 1.1.1, 1.1.7, 1.2.21, 1.4.9, 1.4.20, etc. etc.


Brahma-sūtras (Śaṅkara’s commentary) 4.4.19, p. 978; Brahma-sūtras (Bhāskara’s Commentary) 4,4.19, p. 248. The difference between Śaṅkara and Bhāskara with regard to these two aspects of the Lord—non-qualified and qualified—is that while Śaṅkara takes the former alone to be true, the latter false, Bhāskara takes the former to be real and eternal, the latter, real and non-eternal.

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