Brahma Sutras (Vedanta Sutras)

With the Commentary by Śaṅkarācārya

by George Thibaut | 1890 | 203,611 words

The Brahma sūtras (aka. Vedānta Sūtras) are one of the three canonical texts of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy. The Brahma sūtra is the exposition of the philosophy of the Upanishads. It is an attempt to systematise the various strands of the Upanishads which form the background of the orthodox systems of thought....

4. If it be said (that the prāṇas do not go) on account of the scriptural statement as to entering into Agni, &c., we deny this on account of the metaphorical nature (of those statements).

Well, the pūrvapakṣa resumes, we deny that at the time when a new body is obtained the prāṇas go with the soul, because scripture speaks of their going to Agni, &c. For that at the time of death speech and the other prāṇas go to Agni and the other gods the following passage expressly declares: 'When the speech of the dead person enters into the fire, breath into the air,' &c. (Bṛ. Up. III, 2. l3).--To this we reply that the objection is of no force on account of the metaphorical character of those statements. The entering of speech, &c., into Agni is metaphorical, because we observe no such entering in the case of the hairs of the head and body. For although the text says that 'the hairs of the body enter into the shrubs and the hairs of the head into the trees;' still we cannot understand this to mean that the hairs actually fly away from the body and enter into trees and shrubs. On the other hand, the soul could not go at all if we denied to it the limiting adjunct formed by the prāṇas, and without the latter it could not, in the new body, enter into the state of fruition. Besides, other passages distinctly declare that the prāṇas go with the soul.--From all this we conclude that the passage about speech, &c. entering into Agni, metaphorically expresses that Agni and the other divinities who act as guides of the prāṇas and cooperate with them stop their cooperation at the time of death.

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