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 XI

Adhikarana summary: Expiation for one who transgresses the vow of lifelong celibacy

 Sutra 3,4.41

न च आधिकारिकमपि, पतनानुमानात्, तदयोगात् ॥ ४१ ॥

na ca ādhikārikamapi, patanānumānāt, tadayogāt || 41 ||

na—Not; ca—and; ādhikārikam—(expiation) mentioned in the chapter dealing with the qualification; api— even; patana-anumānāt—because a fall (in his case) is inferred from the Smriti; tadayogāt—and because of its inefficacy(in his case).

41. And (the expiation), although mentioned in the chapter dealing with qualifications (in Purva Mimamsa), is not (with reference to one who has taken the vow of lifelong celibacy), because a fall (in his case) is inferred from the Smriti, and because of its (of the expiatory ceremony) inefficacy (in his case).

The case of those who have taken the vow of lifelong celibacy and yet have transgressed this vow through a mistake in judgment, is taken up for discussion. The opponent, whose view is given in this Sutra, holds that for such transgressions there is no expiation. For no such ceremony is mentioned with respect to them, the one mentioned in Purva Mimamsa 6. 8. 22 referring to ordinary Brahmacharins, who are students, and not to Naishthika Brahmacharins. It can also be inferred that the Smriti declares such lapses as not expiable. A beheaded man cannot be cured. “For him who lapses after having embraced the vow of a Naishthika Brahmachari I see no expiatory ceremony by which such a suicide can be purified.” The Smriti here does not refer to the ordinary Brahmacharin, and so the expiatory ceremony applies only to them and not to the Naishthika. Moreover, the ceremony referred to in Purva Mimamsa is not efficacious in his case, for, to perform the ceremony he will have to light the sacrificial fire and therefore have to marry, which means that he will tease to be a Naishthika thereafter.


 Sutra 3,4.42

उपपूर्वमपि तु, एके भावमशनवत्, तदुक्तम् ॥ ४२ ॥

upapūrvamapi tu, eke bhāvamaśanavat, taduktam || 42 ||

upapūrvam—Prefixed with ‘Upa’, i.e. an Upapataka or a minor sin; api tu—but; eke—some; bhāvam—the existence; aśanavat—as in the case of eating; tat—this; uktam—is explained in Purva Mimamsa.

42. But some (consider this transgression on the part of the Naishthika) a minor sin (and therefore claim) the existence (of expiation for it), as in the case of eating (prohibited food by ordinary Brahmacharins). This is explained in Purva Mimamsa.

Some, however, think that such lapses on the part of a Naishthika, other than disloyalty to teacher’s wife etc., are minor sins and not major ones, and so can be expiated by proper ceremonies, even as ordinary Brahmacharins who take prohibited food are again purified by expiatory ceremonies. The reference to the text denying any such ceremony in his case is meant only to bring home to the Naishthika Brahmachari the grave responsibility on his part so that he may struggle with all his soul. Similarly in the case of the recluse and the Sannyasin. As a matter of fact, the Smriti does prescribe the purificatory ceremony for both the recluse and the Sannyasin. “The recluse when he has broken his vows undergoes the Krichchhra penance for twelve nights and then develops a place which is full of trees and grass.” The Sannyasin also undergoes the purificatory ceremony, with certain modifications.

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