Vedānta-sūtras Part I

With the Commentary by Śaṅkarācārya

by George Thibaut | 1890 | 203,611 words

The Brahma sūtras (aka. Vedānta Sūtras) are one of the three canonical texts of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy. The Brahma sūtra is the exposition of the philosophy of the Upanishads. It is an attempt to systematise the various strands of the Upanishads which form the background of the orthodox systems of thought....

17. And on account of the declaration of the difference (of the two, the ānandamaya cannot be the transmigrating soul).

The Self consisting of bliss cannot be identical with the transmigrating soul, for that reason also that in the section treating of the Self of bliss, the individual soul and the Self of bliss are distinctly represented as different; Taitt. Up. II, 7, 'It (i.e. the Self consisting of bliss) is a flavour; for only after perceiving a flavour can this (soul) perceive bliss.' For he who perceives cannot be that which is perceived.--But, it may be asked, if he who perceives or attains cannot be that which is perceived or attained, how about the following Śruti- and Smṛti-passages, 'The Self is to be sought;' 'Nothing higher is known than the attainment of the Self[1]?'--This objection, we reply, is legitimate (from the point of view of absolute truth). Yet we see that in ordinary life, the Self, which in reality is never anything but the Self, is, owing to non-comprehension of the truth, identified with the Non-Self, i.e. the body and so on; whereby it becomes possible to speak of the Self in so far as it is identified with the body, and so on, as something not searched for but to be searched for, not heard but to be heard, not seized but to be seized, not perceived but to be perceived, not known but to be known, and the like. Scripture, on the other hand, denies, in such passages as 'there is no other seer but he' (Bṛ. Up. III, 7, 23), that there is in reality any seer or hearer different from the all-knowing highest Lord. (Nor can it be said that the Lord is unreal because he is identical with the unreal individual soul; for)[2] the Lord differs from the soul (vijñānātman) which is embodied, acts and enjoys, and is the product of Nescience, in the same way as the real juggler who stands on the ground differs from the illusive juggler, who, holding in his hand a shield and a sword, climbs up to the sky by means of a rope; or as the free unlimited ether differs from the ether of a jar, which is determined by its limiting adjunct, (viz. the jar.) With reference to this fictitious difference of the highest Self and the individual Self, the two last Sūtras have been propounded.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Yadi labdhā na labdhavyaḥ kathaṃ tarhi paramātmano vastuto 'bhinnena jīvātmanā paramātmā labhyata ity arthaḥ. Bhāmatī.

[2]:

Yathā parameśvarād bhinno jīvātmā draṣṭā na bhavaty evam gīvātmano'pi draṣṭur na bhinnaḥ parameśvara iti, jīvasyānirvācyatve parameśvaro'py anirvācyaḥ syād ity ata āha parameśvaras tv avidyākalpitād iti. Ānanda Giri.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: