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 II, Adhikarana VI

Adhikarana summary: The Pranas of a knower of the Nirguna Brahman do not depart from, the body at death

Brahma-Sutra 4.2.12: Sanskrit text and English translation.

प्रतिषेधादिति चेत्, न, शारीरात् ॥ १२ ॥

pratiṣedhāditi cet, na, śārīrāt || 12 ||

pratiṣedhāt—On account of denial; iti cet—if it be said; na—not so; śārīrāt—from the individual soul.

12. If it be said (that the Pranas of a knower of Brahman do not depart), on account of the Sruti denying it; (we say) not so, (because the scripture denies the departure of the Pranas) from the individual soul (and not from the body).

This Sutra gives the view of the opponent.

“His Pranas do not depart” (Brih. 4. 4. 6). This text refers to a knower of the Nirguna Brahman. It says that his Pranas do not depart at death. The opponent holds that the denial of the departure of the Pranas is from the soul and not from the body. It says that the Pranas do not depart from the soul—not that they do not depart from the body, for in the latter case there will be no death at all. This is made all the more clear from the Madhyandina recension, which says, “From him” etc. Therefore the soul of one who knows Brahman passes out of the body with the Pranas.


Brahma-Sutra 4.2.13: Sanskrit text and English translation.

स्पष्टो ह्येकेषाम् ॥ १३ ॥

spaṣṭo hyekeṣām || 13 ||

spaṣṭaḥ—Clear; hi—for; ekeṣām—of some (schools).

13. For (the denial of the departure) is clear (in the texts) of some (schools).

This Sutra refutes the view of the previous one by connecting the denial to the body and not to the soul.

That the Pranas do not depart from the body is made clear from Sruti texts like, “‘Yajnavalkya’, said he, ‘When this (liberated) man dies, do his Pranas go up from him, or do they not?’ ‘No’ replied Yajnavalkya, ‘they merge in him only’” etc. (Brih. 3. 2. 11). Therefore we have to take even the

Madhyandina reaamg ‘from him’ to refer to the body. It is not true that if the Pranas do not depart there will be no death, for they do not remain in the body, but get merged, which makes life impossible, and we say in common parlance that the person is dead. Moreover, if the Pranas did depart with the soul from the body, then a rebirth of such a soul would be inevitable, and consequently there would be no Liberation. So the Pranas do not depart from the body in the case of the knower of Brahman.


Brahma-Sutra 4.2.14: Sanskrit text and English translation.

स्मर्यते च ॥ १४ ॥

smaryate ca || 14 ||

smaryate—The Smriti says (so); ca—and.

14. And the Smriti (also) says (so).

“The gods themselves are perplexed, looking for the path of him who has no path” (Mbh. 12. 270. 22) which thus denies departure for the knower of Brahman.

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