Brahma Sutras (Shankara Bhashya)

by Swami Vireshwarananda | 1936 | 124,571 words | ISBN-10: 8175050063

This is the English translation of the Brahma-sutras including the commentary (Bhashya) of Shankara. The Brahma-sutra (or, Vedanta-sutra) is one of the three canonical texts of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy and represents an early exposition the Vedantic interpretation of the Upanishads. This edition has the original Sanskrit text, the r...

Chapter I, Section III, Adhikarana IV

Adhikarana summary: The Highest Person to be meditated upon is the Highest Brahman

In the last section the word ‘Akshara’, though it generally means syllable, was interpreted to refer to Brahman on account of the characteristic quality of supporting everything and we had to go to the etymological meaning of the word Akshara viz. that which does not perish or undergo change i.e. Brahman. Similarly in the text to be taken up for discussion the opponent holds that on account of the attainment of Brahmaloka as the result of the meditation we have to take by the Highest Person the Lower Brahman or Hiranyagarbha which is relatively speaking higher, and not the Higher Brahman.


Brahma-Sutra 1.3.13: Sanskrit text and English translation.

ईक्षतिकर्मव्यपदेशात् सः ॥ १३ ॥

īkṣatikarmavyapadeśāt saḥ || 13 ||

īkṣati-karma—Object of seeing; vyapadeśāt—because of his being mentioned; saḥ—he.

13. Because of his being mentioned as an object of (the act of) seeing, he (who is to be meditated upon is Brahman).

“Again he who meditates with the syllable ‘Om’ of three Matras (A-u-m), on the Highest Person” etc. (Pr. 5. 5).

A doubt arises whether the Highest Brahman or the Lower Brahman is meant, because, in 5. 2 both are mentioned, and also because Brahmaloka is described as the fruit by the worship of this Highest Person. The Sutra says that this Highest Person is the Highest Brahman and not Hiranya-garbha (the Lower Brahman). Why? Because the paragraph ends thus : “He sees the Highest Person” which shows that he realizes or actually gets identified with the Highest Person. It is not a mere imagination but an actuality, for the object of an act of seeing is an actuality, as we find from experience. But Hiranyagarbha is an imaginary being, since it is a product of ignorance. Hence the Highest Person means the Highest Brahman, which is a reality, and this very Brahman is taught at the beginning of the paragraph as the object of meditation, for it is not possible to realize one entity by meditating on another.

The attainment of Brahmaloka by the worshipper should not be regarded as an insignificant fruit of the worship of the Highest Person, for it is a step in gradual emancipation (Krama Mukti). First he attains this Loka and then final beatitude.

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