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 IV, Section I, Adhikarana XI

Adhikarana summary: Works which have not begun to yield results are alone destroyed by Knowledge and not those which have already begun to yield results

 Sutra 4,1.15

अनारब्धकार्ये एव तु पूर्वे, तदवधेः ॥ १५ ॥

anārabdhakārye eva tu pūrve, tadavadheḥ || 15 ||

anārabdha-kārye—Works which have not begun to yield results; eva—only; tu—but; pūrve—former works; tadavadheḥ—that (death) being the limit.

15. But (of his) former works only those which have not begun to yield results (are destroyed by Knowledge); (for) death is the limit (set by the scriptures for Liberation to take place).

In the last two topics it has been said that all the past works of a knower of Brahman are destroyed. Now past works are of two kinds: Sanchita (accumulated) i.e. those which have not yet begun to bear fruit, and Prarabdha (commenced) i.e. those which have begun to yield results, and have produced the body through which a person has attained Knowledge. The opponent holds that both these are destroyed, because the Mundaka text cited says that all his works are destroyed. Moreover, the idea of nonagency of the knower is the same with respect to Sanchita or Prarabdha work; therefore it is reasonable that both are destroyed when Knowledge dawns.

The Sutra refutes this view and says that only the Sanchita works are destroyed by Knowledge, but not the Prarabdha, which are destroyed only by being worked out. So long as the momentum of these works lasts, the knower of Brahman has to be in the body. When they are exhausted, the body falls off, and he attains perfection. His Knowledge cannot check these works, even as an archer has no control over the arrows already discharged, which come to rest only when their momentum is exhausted. The Sruti declares this in texts like, “And for him the delay is only so long as he is not liberated (from this body); and then he is one (with Brahman)” (Chh. 6. 14. 2). If it were not so, then there would be no teachers of Knowledge. Therefore the Prarabdha works are not destroyed by Knowledge.

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