Brahma Sutras (Ramanuja)

by George Thibaut | 1904 | 275,953 words | ISBN-10: 8120801350 | ISBN-13: 9788120801356

The English translation of the Brahma Sutras (also, Vedanta Sutras) with commentary by Ramanuja (known as the Sri Bhasya). The Brahmasutra expounds the essential philosophy of the Upanishads which, primarily revolving around the knowledge of Brahman and Atman, represents the foundation of Vedanta. Ramanjua’s interpretation of these sutras from a V...

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1. Repetition, on account of the text teaching (what has to be done more than once).

The third adhyāya was concerned with the consideration of meditation, together with its means. The Sūtras now enter on a consideration of the results of meditation, after a further preliminary clearing up of the nature of meditation. The question here arises whether the act of knowledge of Brahman inculcated in Vedānta-texts, such as 'He who knows Brahman reaches the Highest,' 'Having known him thus he passes beyond death,' 'He knows Brahman, he becomes Brahman,' is, in the view of Scripture, to be performed once only, or to be repeated more than once.—Once suffices, the Pūrvapakshin maintains; for as the text enjoins nothing more than knowing there is no authority for a repetition of the act. Nor can it be said that the act of knowing, analogous to the act of beating the rice-grains until they are freed from the husks, is a visible means towards effecting the intuition of Brahman, and hence must, like the beating, be repeated until the effect is accomplished; for knowing is not a visible means towards anything. Such acts as the Jyotishṭoma sacrifice and the knowledge inculcated in the Vedānta-texts are alike of the nature of conciliation of the Supreme Person; through whom thus conciliated man obtains all that is beneficial to him, viz. religious duty, wealth, pleasure, and final Release. This has been shown under III, 2, 38. The meaning of Scripture therefore is accomplished by performing the act of knowledge once only, as the Jyotishṭoma is performed once.—This view the Sūtra sets aside. The meaning of Scripture is fulfilled only by repeated acts of knowledge 'on account of teaching,' i.e. because the teaching of Scripture is conveyed by means of the term 'knowing' (vedana), which is synonymous with meditating (dhyāna, upāsana). That these terms are so synonymous appears from the fact that the verbs vid, upās, dhyāi are in one and the same text used with reference to one and the same object of knowledge. A text begins, e.g. 'Let him meditate (upāsīta) on mind as Brahman,' and concludes 'he who knows (veda) this shines, warms,' etc. (Ch. Up. III, 18). In the same way the knowledge of Raikva is at first referred to by means of vid, 'He who knows (veda) what he knows is thus spoken of by me,' and further on by means of upās,'teach me the deity on which you meditate' (Ch. Up. IV, 1, 2). Similarly texts which have the same meaning as the text 'He who knows Brahman reaches the Highest'—viz. 'the Self should be seen, be heard, be reflected on, be meditated upon (nididhyāsitavya)'—'Then he sees him meditating (dhyāyamāna) on him as without parts' (Mu. Up. III, 1, 8), and others—use the verb dhyāi to express the meaning of vid. Now dhyāi means to think of something not in the way of mere representation (smṛti), but in the way of continued representation. And upās has the same meaning; for we see it used in the sense of thinking with uninterrupted concentration of the mind on one object. We therefore conclude that as the verb 'vid' is used interchangeably with dhyāi and upās, the mental activity referred to in texts such as 'he knows Brahman' and the like is an often-repeated continuous representation.

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