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...
Adhikarana summary: The Brahman to which the departed souls go by the path of the gods is the Saguna Brahman
Brahma-Sutra 4.3.7: Sanskrit text and English translation.
कार्यं बादरिः, अस्य गत्युपपत्तेः ॥ ७ ॥
kāryaṃ bādariḥ, asya gatyupapatteḥ || 7 ||
7. The relative (Brahman) (is attained by the soul going by the path of the gods), (so says) Badari, on account of the possibility of its being the goal (of a journey).
In the previous Sutra the way was discussed. Now from this Sutra onwards the discussion is about the goal reached. The Chhandogya text quoted in connection with the way, says, “Then a being who is not a man leads them to Brahman” (Chh. 5. 10. 1). The question is whether this Brahman is the Saguna Brahman or the Supreme Brahman. Badari says it is the Saguna Brahman, for such a journey is possible only with respect to the Saguna Brahman, which is finite and therefore occupies a particular place to which the souls may go. But it is not possible with respect to the Nirguna Brahman, which is all-pervading.
Brahma-Sutra 4.3.8: Sanskrit text and English translation.
विशेषितत्वाच्च ॥ ८ ॥
viśeṣitatvācca || 8 ||
viśeṣitatvāt—On account of the qualification; ca—and.
8. And on account of the qualification (with respect to this Brahman in another text).
“And conducts them to the worlds of Brahman” (Brih. 6. 2. 15). The plural number is not possible with respect to the Supreme Brahman, while it is possible in the case of the Saguna Brahman, which may abide in different conditions.
Brahma-Sutra 4.3.9: Sanskrit text and English translation.
सामीप्यात् तु तद्व्यपदेशः ॥ ९ ॥
sāmīpyāt tu tadvyapadeśaḥ || 9 ||
sāmīpyāt—On account of the nearness; tu—but; tat-vyapadeśaḥ—(its) designation as that.
9. But on account of the nearness (of the Saguna Brahman to the Supreme Brahman, it is) designated as that (Supreme Brahman).
‘But’ sets aside any doabt that may arise on account of the word ‘Brahman’ being used for the Saguna Brahman in the Chhandogya text. This designation, the Sutra says, is because of the nearness of the Saguna Brahman to the Supreme Brahman.
Brahma-Sutra 4.3.10: Sanskrit text and English translation.
कार्यात्यये तदध्यक्षेण सहातः परम्, अभिधानात् ॥ १० ॥
kāryātyaye tadadhyakṣeṇa sahātaḥ param, abhidhānāt || 10 ||
kārye-atyaye—On the dissolution of the Brahmaloka; tat-adhyakṣeṇa saha—along with the ruler of that world (i.e. Saguna Brahman); ataḥ param—higher than that (i.e. the Supreme Brahman); abhidhānāt—on account of the declaration of the Sruti.
10. On the dissolution of the Brahmaloka (the souls attain), along with the ruler of that world, what is higher than that (i.e. the Supreme Brahman), on account of the declaration of the Sruti.
If the souls going by the path of the gods reach the Saguna Brahman, then how can a statement like “They no more return to this world” (Brih. 6. 2. 15) be made with respect to them, as there can be no permanency anywhere apart from the Supreme Brahman ? This Sutra explains it saying that at the dissolution of the Brahmaloka the souls, which by that time have attained Knowledge, along with the Saguna Brahman attain what is higher than the Saguna Brahman, i.e. the Supreme Brahman. So the Sruti texts declare.
Brahma-Sutra 4.3.11: Sanskrit text and English translation.
स्मृतेश्च ॥ ११ ॥
smṛteśca || 11 ||
smṛteḥ—On account of the Smriti; ca—and.
11. And on account of the Smriti (texts supporting this view).
Brahma-Sutra 4.3.12: Sanskrit text and English translation.
परं जैमिनिः, मुख्यत्वात् ॥ १२ ॥
paraṃ jaiminiḥ, mukhyatvāt || 12 ||
12. The Supreme (Brahman) (is attained by the souls going by the path of the gods), (so says) Jaimini, on account of that being the primary meaning (of the word ‘Brahman’).
Sutras 12-14 give a prima facie view of the matter.
Jaimini thinks that the word ‘Brahman’ in the Chhandogya text refers to the Supreme Brahman, us that is the primary meaning of the word.
Brahma-Sutra 4.3.13: Sanskrit text and English translation.
दर्शनाच्च ॥ १३ ॥
darśanācca || 13 ||
darśanāt—On account of the Sruti texts; ca—and.
13. And because the Sruti declares that.
“Going upwards by that he reaches immortality” (Chh. 8. 6. 6; Kath. 2. 6. 16). This text says that the soul which passes out of the body by the nerve Sushumna reaches immortality, and this can be attained only in the Supreme Brahman.
Brahma-Sutra 4.3.14: Sanskrit text and English translation.
न च कार्ये प्रतिपत्त्यभिसंधिः ॥ १४ ॥
na ca kārye pratipattyabhisaṃdhiḥ || 14 ||
na—Not; ca—and; kārye—in the Saguna Brahman; pratipatti-abhisaṃdhiḥ—the desire to attain Brahman.
14. And the desire to attain Brahman (which an Upasaka has at the time of death can) not (be with respect to) the Saguna Brahman.
“I come to the assembly-house of Prajapati” (Chh. 8. 14. 1). This desire to attain ‘the house’ cannot be with respect to the Saguna Brahman, but is appropriate only with respect to the Supreme Brahman. For the text quoted says earlier, “And that within which these (names and forms) are contained is Brahman,” where the Supreme Brahman is referred to.
Sutras 12-14 give the opponent’s view against what has been said in Sutras 7-11. The arguments of Sutras 12-14 are refuted thus: The Brahman attained by those who go by the path of the gods cannot be the Supreme Brahman. They attain only the Saguna Brahman. The Supreme Brahman is all-pervading, the Inner Self of all. Such a Brahman cannot be attained, for It is the Self of everyone. Journey or attainment is possible only where there is difference, where the attainer is different from the thing attained. What is called realization of the Supreme Brahman is nothing but the removal of ignorance about It. In such a realization there is no going or attaining. When the ignorance is removed Brahman manifests Itself. But the attainment of Brahman spoken of in the texts connected with the path of the gods is not merely the removal of ignorance but actual. Such an attainment is not possible with Tespect to the Supreme Brahman. Again the passage, “I enter the assembly-house of Prajapati,” etc., can be separated from what precedes and be connected with the Saguna Brahman.
The fact that Chh. 8 . 14. 1 says,
“I am the glory of the Brahmanas, of the kings” cannot make it refer to the Nirguna Brahman, for the Saguna Brahman can also be said to be the Self of all, as we find in texts like, “He to whom all works, all desires belong” etc. (Chh. 3. 14. 2).
The reference to the journey to Brahman, which belongs to the sphere of relative knowledge, in a chapter which deals with Supreme Knowledge is only by way of glorification of the latter. Therefore the view expressed in Sutras 7-11 by Badari is the correct one.