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 IV, Adhikarana IV

Adhikarana summary: The stories recorded in the Upanishads

Adhikarana IV - The stories recorded in the Upanishads do not serve the purpose of Pariplavas and so do not form part of the ritualistic acts. They are meant to glorify the Vidya taught in them.


Brahma-Sutra 3.4.23: Sanskrit text and English translation.

पारिप्लवार्था इति चेत्, न, विशेषितत्वात् ॥ २३ ॥

pāriplavārthā iti cet, na, viśeṣitatvāt || 23 ||

pāriplavārthāḥ—For the purpose of Pariplavas; iti cet—if it be said; na—not so; viśeṣitatvāt—on account of (certain stories alofie) being specified.

23. If it be said (that the stories that occur in the Upanishads are) for the purpose of Pariplavas, (we say) not so, because (certain stories alone) are specified (by the Sruti for this purpose).

In the Aswamedha sacrifice, which lasts for one year, the sacrificer and his family are expected to hear at intervals the recital of certain stories. These are known as Pariplavas, and form part of the ritualistic acts. The question is whether Upanishadic stories also serve this purpose, in which case they become part of the rites, and this means that the whole of Jnanakanda becomes subservient to Karma-kanda. The stories referred to are those relating to Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi, Pratardana and so on, which we find in the Brihadaranyaka, Kaushitaki and other Upanishads.

This Sutra denies that they serve the purpose of Pariplavas, for the scripture specifies the stories that are meant for this purpose. Any and every story cannot serve this purpose. Upanishadic stories are not mentioned in this category.


 Sutra 3,4.24

तथा चैकवाक्यतोपबन्धात् ॥ २४ ॥

tathā caikavākyatopabandhāt || 24 ||

tathā—So; ca—and; ekavākyataḥ-pabandhāt—being connected as one whole.

24. And so (they are meant to illustrate the nearest Vidyas), being connected as one whole.

The stories not serving the purpose of Pariplavas they are intended to introduce the Vidyas. The story form is meant to catch the imagination of the student, who will thereby be more attentive to the Vidya described.

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