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....

1. The purpose of man (is effected) thence (i.e. through the mere knowledge of Brahman), thus Bādarāyaṇa opines.

The Sūtrakāra at present enters on an inquiry whether the knowledge of the Self which is derived from the Upaniṣads, is connected with works through him who is entitled to perform the works[1], or is an independent means to accomplish the purpose of man. He begins by stating the final view in the above Sūtra, 'Thence' &c. The teacher Bādarāyaṇa is of opinion that thence, i.e. through the independent knowledge of Brahman enjoined in the Vedānta-texts, the purpose of man is effected.--Whence is this known?--'From scripture,' which exhibits passages such as the following: 'He who knows the Self overcomes grief' (Ch. Up. III, 4, 1); 'He who knows that highest Brahman becomes even Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9); 'He who knows Brahman attains the Highest' (Taitt. Up. II, 1); 'For him who has a teacher there is delay only so long as he is not delivered; then he will be perfect'(Ch. Up. VI. 14, 2); 'He who has searched out and understands the Self which is free from sin, &c. &c., obtains all worlds and all desires'(Ch. Up. VIII, 7, 1); 'The Self is to be seen' &c. up to 'Thus far goes immortality' (Bṛ. Up. IV, 5, 6-15). These and similar texts declare that mere knowledge effects the purpose of man.--Against this the opponent raises his voice as follows.

Footnotes and references:


The pūrvapakṣin (see next Sūtra) maintains that the knowledge of the Self is subordinate to (sacrificial) action through the mediation of the agent, i.e. in so far as it imparts to the agent a certain qualification.

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