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 III, Section III, Adhikarana XXVI

Adhikarana summary: Pranagnihotra need not be observed on days of fast

Brahma-Sutra 3.3.40: Sanskrit text and English translation.

आदरादलोपः ॥ ४० ॥

ādarādalopaḥ || 40 ||

ādarāt—On account of the respect shown; alopaḥ—there can be no omission.

40. On account of the respect shown (to the Pranagnihotra by the Sruti) there can be no omission (of this act).

This Sutra gives the view of the opponent.

In the Vaisvanara Vidya of the Chhandogya the Upasaka, before he takes his meals is asked first to offer food to each of the Pranas, saying, “To Prana I offer this.” The Sruti attaches such importance to this Pranagnihotra that it enjoins food to be offered to the Pranas even before entertaining guests, whom all Hindus are supposed to attend before they take any food. The question is whether this Pranagnihotra is to be observed even on days of fasting. This Sutra says that there should be no omission of it, and so it must be observed even on fast days by sipping at least a few drops of water, since the Sruti attaches such importance to it.


Brahma-Sutra 3.3.41: Sanskrit text and English translation.

उपस्थितेऽतः, तद्वचनात् ॥ ४१ ॥

upasthite’taḥ, tadvacanāt || 41 ||

upasthite—When food is served; ataḥ—from that; tat-vacanāt—so (the Sruti) declares.

41. When food is served, from that (the Pranagnihotra is to be performed), for so (the Sruti) declares.

This refutes the view expressed in the last Sutra and says that the Pranagnihotra need not be performed on fasting days, for the Sruti says, “Therefore the first food which comes is meant for Homa. And he who offers that first oblation should offer it to Prana, saying Svaha” (Chh. 5. 19. 1). The importance given by the Sruti is only to the effect that the first portion of the food, on those days when it is taken, should be offered to the Pranas, and not that it should be observed even on fasting days.