The Brahma sūtras, also called Vedanta Sūtras, constitute the Nyāya prasthāna, the logical starting point of the Vedānta philosophy (Nyāya = logic/order). No study of Vedānta is considered complete without a close examination of the Prasthāna Traya, the texts that stand as the three starting points.
While the Upanishads (Śruti prasthāna, the starting point of revelation) and the Bhagavad-Gītā (Smriti prasthāna, the starting point of remembered tradition) are the authoritative Vedānta source texts, it is in the Brahma sūtras that the teachings of Vedānta are set forth in a systematic and logical order. The Brahma Sūtras reconcile seemingly contradictory teachings of the various Upanishads, by placing each text in a doctrinal context. The word sūtra means thread, and the Brahma sūtras literally stitch together the various teachings of the Upanishads and the Gītā into a logical and self-consistent whole. However, the Brahma Sūtras are themselves so terse that they are often incomprehensible without the aid of the various commentaries handed down in the main schools of Vedānta thought. The Brahma Sūtras are also known by other names: Vedānta Sūtras, Uttara Mimāmsā-sūtras, Śāriraka Sūtras, Śāriraka Mimāmsā-sūtras and the Bhikshu sūtras.
The Vedānta Sūtras themselves supply ample evidence that at a very early time, i.e. a period before their own final composition, there were differences of opinion among the various interpreters of the Vedānta. Quoted in the Vedānta Sūtras are opinions ascribed to Audulomi, Kārshnāgni, Kāśakŗtsna, Jaimini and Bādari, in addition toBādarāyaņa.
The Brahma Sūtras consist of 555 aphorisms or sūtras, in 4 chapters (adhyāya), each chapter being divided into 4 quarters (pāda). Each quarter consists of several groups of sūtras called Adhikaraņas or topical sections. An Adhikaraņa usually consists of several sūtras, but some have only one sūtra. The first chapter (Samanvaya: harmony) explains that all the Vedānta texts talk of Brahman, the ultimate reality, which is the goal of life. The second chapter (Avirodha: non-conflict) discusses and refutes the possible objections against Vedānta philosophy. The third chapter (Sādhana: the means) describes the process by which ultimate emancipation can be achieved. The fourth chapter (Phala: the fruit) talks of the state that is achieved in final emancipation.
These sūtras systematize the jñānakāņda of the Veda, by combining the two tasks of
- concisely stating the teaching of the Veda and
- argumentatively establishing the specific interpretation of the Veda adopted in the Sūtras.
The sūtras also discuss the role of karma and God (see Karma in Hinduism) and refute the various doctrines associated with Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, Nyāya,Vaisheshika, Shaiva, Shakta, Atheism, and Sankhya philosophies.
Ist Chapter Braham Sutras
Sankara's Introduction to Brahma Sutras
(Note: This introduction is referred by some as 'Adyasa Bhashya')
REVERENCE TO THE VÂSUDEVA!
It is a matter not requiring any proof that the object and the subject whose respective spheres are the notion of the 'Thou' (the Non-Ego) and the 'Ego,' and which are opposed to each other as much as darkness and light are, cannot be identified. All the less can their respective attributes be identified. Hence it follows that it is wrong to superimpose upon the subject--whose Self is intelligence, and which has for its sphere the notion of the Ego--the object whose sphere is the notion of the Non-Ego, and the attributes of the object, and vice versâ to superimpose the subject and the attributes of the subject on the object. In spite of this it is on the part of man a natural procedure--which has its cause in wrong knowledge--not to distinguish the two entities (object and subject) and their respective attributes, although they are absolutely distinct, but to superimpose upon each the characteristic nature and the attributes of the other, and thus, coupling the Real and the Unreal, to make use of expressions such as 'That am I,' 'That is mine.'--But what have we to understand by the term 'superimposition?'--The apparent presentation, in the form of remembrance, to consciousness of something previously observed, in some other thing.
Some indeed define the term 'superimposition' as the superimposition of the attributes of one thing on another thing. Others, again, define superimposition as the error founded on the non-apprehension of the difference of that which is superimposed from that on which it is superimposed. Others, again, define it as the fictitious assumption of attributes contrary to the nature of that thing on which something else is superimposed. But all these definitions agree in so far as they represent superimposition as the apparent presentation of the attributes of one thing in another thing. And therewith agrees also the popular view which is exemplified by expressions such as the following: 'Mother-of-pearl appears like silver,' 'The moon although one only appears as if she were double.' But how is it possible that on the interior Self which itself is not an object there should be superimposed objects and their attributes? For every one superimposes an object only on such other objects as are placed before him (i.e. in contact with his sense-organs), and you have said before that the interior Self which is entirely disconnected from the idea of the Thou (the Non-Ego) is never an object. It is not, we reply, non-object in the absolute sense. For it is the object of the notion of the Ego, and the interior Self is well known to exist on account of its immediate (intuitive) presentation. Nor is it an exceptionless rule that objects can be superimposed only on such other objects as are before us, i.e. in contact with our sense-organs; for non-discerning men superimpose on the ether, which is not the object of sensuous perception, dark-blue colour.
Hence it follows that the assumption of the Non-Self being superimposed on the interior Self is not unreasonable.
This superimposition thus defined, learned men consider to be Nescience (avidyâ), and the ascertainment of the true nature of that which is (the Self) by means of the discrimination of that (which is superimposed on the Self), they call knowledge (vidyâ). There being such knowledge (neither the Self nor the Non-Self) are affected in the least by any blemish or (good) quality produced by their mutual superimposition. The mutual superimposition of the Self and the Non-Self, which is termed Nescience, is the presupposition on which there base all the practical distinctions--those made in ordinary life as well as those laid down by the Veda--between means of knowledge, objects of knowledge (and knowing persons), and all scriptural texts, whether they are concerned with injunctions and prohibitions (of meritorious and non-meritorious actions), or with final release.--But how can the means of right knowledge such as perception, inference, &c., and scriptural texts have for their object that which is dependent on Nescience?--Because, we reply, the means of right knowledge cannot operate unless there be a knowing personality, and because the existence of the latter depends on the erroneous notion that the body, the senses, and so on, are identical with, or belong to, the Self of the knowing person. For without the employment of the senses, perception and the other means of right knowledge cannot operate. And without a basis (i.e. the body) the senses cannot act. Nor does anybody act by means of a body on which the nature of the Self is not superimposed. Nor can, in the absence of all that, the Self which, in its own nature is free from all contact, become a knowing agent. And if there is no knowing agent, the means of right knowledge cannot operate (as said above).
Hence perception and the other means of right knowledge, and the Vedic texts have for their object that which is dependent on Nescience. (That human cognitional activity has for its presupposition the superimposition described above), follows also from the non-difference in that respect of men from animals. Animals, when sounds or other sensible qualities affect their sense of hearing or other senses, recede or advance according as the idea derived from the sensation is a comforting or disquieting one. A cow, for instance, when she sees a man approaching with a raised stick in his hand, thinks that he wants to beat her, and therefore moves away; while she walks up to a man who advances with some fresh grass in his hand. Thus men also--who possess a higher intelligence--run away when they see strong fierce-looking fellows drawing near with shouts and brandishing swords; while they confidently approach persons of contrary appearance and behaviour. We thus see that men and animals follow the same course of procedure with reference to the means and objects of knowledge. Now it is well known that the procedure of animals bases on the non-distinction (of Self and Non-Self); we therefore conclude that, as they present the same appearances, men also--although distinguished by superior intelligence--proceed with regard to perception and so on, in the same way as animals do; as long, that is to say, as the mutual superimposition of Self and Non-Self lasts.
With reference again to that kind of activity which is founded on the Veda (sacrifices and the like), it is true indeed that the reflecting man who is qualified to enter on it, does so not without knowing that the Self has a relation to another world; yet that qualification does not depend on the knowledge, derivable from the Vedânta-texts, of the true nature of the Self as free from all wants, raised above the distinctions of the Brâhmana and Kshattriya-classes and so on, transcending transmigratory existence. For such knowledge is useless and even contradictory to the claim (on the part of sacrificers, &c. to perform certain actions and enjoy their fruits). And before such knowledge of the Self has arisen, the Vedic texts continue in their operation, to have for their object that which is dependent on Nescience. For such texts as the following, 'A Brâhmana is to sacrifice,' are operative only on the supposition that on the Self are superimposed particular conditions such as caste, stage of life, age, outward circumstances, and so on. That by superimposition we have to understand the notion of something in some other thing we have already explained. (The superimposition of the Non-Self will be understood more definitely from the following examples.) Extra-personal attributes are superimposed on the Self, if a man considers himself sound and entire, or the contrary, as long as his wife, children, and so on are sound and entire or not. Attributes of the body are superimposed on the Self, if a man thinks of himself (his Self) as stout, lean, fair, as standing, walking, or jumping. Attributes of the sense-organs, if he thinks 'I am mute, or deaf, or one-eyed, or blind.' Attributes of the internal organ when he considers himself subject to desire, intention, doubt, determination, and so on. Thus the producer of the notion of the Ego (i.e. the internal organ) is superimposed on the interior Self, which, in reality, is the witness of all the modifications of the internal organ, and vice versâ the interior Self, which is the witness of everything, is superimposed on the internal organ, the senses, and so on. In this way there goes on this natural beginning--and endless superimposition, which appears in the form of wrong conception, is the cause of individual souls appearing as agents and enjoyers (of the results of their actions), and is observed by every one.
With a view to freeing one's self from that wrong notion which is the cause of all evil and attaining thereby the knowledge of the absolute unity of the Self the study of the Vedânta-texts is begun. That all the Vedânta-texts have the mentioned purport we shall show in this so-called Sârîraka-mîmâmsâ.
Of this Vedânta-mîmâmsâ about to be explained by us the first Sûtra is as follows.
1. Then therefore the enquiry into Brahman.
The word 'then' is here to be taken as denoting immediate consecution; not as indicating the introduction of a new subject to be entered upon; for the enquiry into Brahman (more literally, the desire of knowing Brahman) is not of that nature. Nor has the word 'then' the sense of auspiciousness (or blessing); for a word of that meaning could not be properly construed as a part of the sentence. The word 'then' rather acts as an auspicious term by being pronounced and heard merely, while it denotes at the same time something else, viz. immediate consecution as said above. That the latter is its meaning follows moreover from the circumstance that the relation in which the result stands to the previous topic (viewed as the cause of the result) is non-separate from the relation of immediate consecution.
If, then, the word 'then' intimates immediate consecution it must be explained on what antecedent the enquiry into Brahman specially depends; just as the enquiry into active religious duty (which forms the subject of the Pûrvâ Mîmâmsâ) specially depends on the antecedent reading of the Veda. The reading of the Veda indeed is the common antecedent (for those who wish to enter on an enquiry into religious duty as well as for those desirous of knowing Brahman). The special question with regard to the enquiry into Brahman is whether it presupposes as its antecedent the understanding of the acts of religious duty (which is acquired by means of the Pûrvâ Mîmâmsâ). To this question we reply in the negative, because for a man who has read the Vedânta-parts of the Veda it is possible to enter on the enquiry into Brahman even before engaging in the enquiry into religious duty. Nor is it the purport of the word 'then' to indicate order of succession; a purport which it serves in other passages, as, for instance, in the one enjoining the cutting off of pieces from the heart and other parts of the sacrificial animal. (For the intimation of order of succession could be intended only if the agent in both cases were the same; but this is not the case), because there is no proof for assuming the enquiry into religious duty and the enquiry into Brahman to stand in the relation of principal and subordinate matter or the relation of qualification (for a certain act) on the part of the person qualified; and because the result as well as the object of the enquiry differs in the two cases. The knowledge of active religious duty has for its fruit transitory felicity, and that again depends on the performance of religious acts. The enquiry into Brahman, on the other hand, has for its fruit eternal bliss, and does not depend on the performance of any acts. Acts of religious duty do not yet exist at the time when they are enquired into, but are something to be accomplished (in the future); for they depend on the activity of man. In the Brahma-mîmâmsâ, on the other hand, the object of enquiry, i.e. Brahman, is something already accomplished (existent),--for it is eternal,--and does not depend on human energy. The two enquiries differ moreover in so far as the operation of their respective fundamental texts is concerned. For the fundamental texts on which active religious duty depends convey information to man in so far only as they enjoin on him their own particular subjects (sacrifices, &c.); while the fundamental texts about Brahman merely instruct man, without laying on him the injunction of being instructed, instruction being their immediate result. The case is analogous to that of the information regarding objects of sense which ensues as soon as the objects are approximated to the senses. It therefore is requisite that something should be stated subsequent to which the enquiry into Brahman is proposed.--Well, then, we maintain that the antecedent conditions are the discrimination of what is eternal and what is non-eternal; the renunciation of all desire to enjoy the fruit (of one's actions) both here and hereafter; the acquirement of tranquillity, self-restraint, and the other means, and the desire of final release. If these conditions exist, a man may, either before entering on an enquiry into active religious duty or after that, engage in the enquiry into Brahman and come to know it; but not otherwise. The word 'then' therefore intimates that the enquiry into Brahman is subsequent to the acquisition of the above-mentioned (spiritual) means.
The word 'therefore' intimates a reason. Because the Veda, while declaring that the fruit of the agnihotra and similar performances which are means of happiness is non-eternal (as, for instance. Kh. Up. VIII, 1, 6, 'As here on earth whatever has been acquired by action perishes so perishes in the next world whatever is acquired by acts of religious duty'), teaches at the same time that the highest aim of man is realised by the knowledge of Brahman (as, for instance, Taitt. Up. II, I, 'He who knows Brahman attains the highest'); therefore the enquiry into Brahman is to be undertaken subsequently to the acquirement of the mentioned means.
By Brahman is to be understood that the definition of which will be given in the next Sûtra (I, 1, 2); it is therefore not to be supposed that the word Brahman may here denote something else, as, for instance, the brahminical caste. In the Sûtra the genitive case ('of Brahman;' the literal translation of the Sûtra being 'then therefore the desire of knowledge of Brahman') denotes the object, not something generally supplementary (sesha); for the desire of knowledge demands an object of desire and no other such object is stated.--But why should not the genitive case be taken as expressing the general complementary relation (to express which is its proper office)? Even in that case it might constitute the object of the desire of knowledge, since the general relation may base itself on the more particular one.--This assumption, we reply, would mean that we refuse to take Brahman as the direct object, and then again indirectly introduce it as the object; an altogether needless procedure.--Not needless; for if we explain the words of the Sûtra to mean 'the desire of knowledge connected with Brahman' we thereby virtually promise that also all the heads of discussion which bear on Brahman will be treated.--This reason also, we reply, is not strong enough to uphold your interpretation. For the statement of some principal matter already implies all the secondary matters connected therewith. Hence if Brahman, the most eminent of all objects of knowledge, is mentioned, this implies already all those objects of enquiry which the enquiry into Brahman presupposes, and those objects need therefore not be mentioned, especially in the Sûtra. Analogously the sentence 'there the king is going' implicitly means that the king together with his retinue is going there. Our interpretation (according to which the Sûtra represents Brahman as the direct object of knowledge) moreover agrees with Scripture, which directly represents Brahman as the object of the desire of knowledge; compare, for instance, the passage, 'That from whence these beings are born, &c., desire to know that. That is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. III, I). With passages of this kind the Sûtra only agrees if the genitive case is taken to denote the object. Hence we do take it in that sense. The object of the desire is the knowledge of Brahman up to its complete comprehension, desires having reference to results. Knowledge thus constitutes the means by which the complete comprehension of Brahman is desired to be obtained. For the complete comprehension of Brahman is the highest end of man, since it destroys the root of all evil such as Nescience, the seed of the entire Samsâra. Hence the desire of knowing Brahman is to be entertained.
But, it may be asked, is Brahman known or not known (previously to the enquiry into its nature)? If it is known we need not enter on an enquiry concerning it; if it is not known we can not enter on such an enquiry.
We reply that Brahman is known. Brahman, which is all-knowing and endowed with all powers, whose essential nature is eternal purity, intelligence, and freedom, exists. For if we consider the derivation of the word 'Brahman,' from the root brih, 'to be great,' we at once understand that eternal purity, and so on, belong to Brahman. Moreover the existence of Brahman is known on the ground of its being the Self of every one. For every one is conscious of the existence of (his) Self, and never thinks 'I am not.' If the existence of the Self were not known, every one would think 'I am not.' And this Self (of whose existence all are conscious) is Brahman. But if Brahman is generally known as the Self, there is no room for an enquiry into it! Not so, we reply; for there is a conflict of opinions as to its special nature. Unlearned people and the Lokâyatikas are of opinion that the mere body endowed with the quality of intelligence is the Self; others that the organs endowed with intelligence are the Self; others maintain that the internal organ is the Self; others, again, that the Self is a mere momentary idea; others, again, that it is the Void. Others, again (to proceed to the opinion of such as acknowledge the authority of the Veda), maintain that there is a transmigrating being different from the body, and so on, which is both agent and enjoyer (of the fruits of action); others teach that that being is enjoying only, not acting; others believe that in addition to the individual souls, there is an all-knowing, all-powerful Lord. Others, finally, (i.e. the Vedântins) maintain that the Lord is the Self of the enjoyer (i.e. of the individual soul whose individual existence is apparent only, the product of Nescience).
Thus there are many various opinions, basing part of them on sound arguments and scriptural texts, part of them on fallacious arguments and scriptural texts misunderstood. If therefore a man would embrace some one of these opinions without previous consideration, he would bar himself from the highest beatitude and incur grievous loss. For this reason the first Sûtra proposes, under the designation of an enquiry into Brahman, a disquisition of the Vedânta-texts, to be carried on with the help of conformable arguments, and having for its aim the highest beatitude.
So far it has been said that Brahman is to be enquired into. The question now arises what the characteristics of that Brahman are, and the reverend author of the Sûtras therefore propounds the following aphorism.
2. (Brahman is that) from which the origin, &c. (i.e. the origin, subsistence, and dissolution) of this (world proceed).
The term, &c. implies subsistence and re-absorption. That the origin is mentioned first (of the three) depends on the declaration of Scripture as well as on the natural development of a substance. Scripture declares the order
of succession of origin, subsistence, and dissolution in the passage, Taitt. Up. III, I, 'From whence these beings are born,' &c. And with regard to the second reason stated, it is known that a substrate of qualities can subsist and be dissolved only after it has entered, through origination, on the state of existence. The words 'of this' denote that substrate ofqualities which is presented to us by perception and the other means of right knowledge; the genitive case indicates it to be connected with origin, &c. The words 'from which' denote the cause. The full sense of the Sûtra therefore is: That omniscient omnipotent cause from which proceed the origin, subsistence, and dissolution of this world--which world is differentiated by names and forms, contains many agents and enjoyers, is the abode of the fruits of actions, these fruits having their definite places, times, and causes 1, and the nature of whose arrangement cannot even be conceived by the mind,--that cause, we say, is Brahman. Since the other forms of existence (such as increase, decline, &c.) are included in origination, subsistence, and dissolution, only the three latter are referred to in the Sûtra. As the six stages of existence enumerated by Yâska 2 are possible only during the period of the world's subsistence, it might--were they referred to in the Sûtra--be suspected that what is meant are not the origin, subsistence, and dissolution (of the world) as dependent on the first cause. To preclude this suspicion the Sûtra is to be taken as referring, in addition to the world's origination from Brahman, only to its subsistence in Brahman, and final dissolution into Brahman.
The origin, &c. of a world possessing the attributes stated above cannot possibly proceed from anything else but a Lord possessing the stated qualities; not either from a non-intelligent prâdhana 3, or from atoms, or from non-being,
or from a being subject to transmigration 1; nor, again, can it proceed from its own nature (i.e. spontaneously, without a cause), since we observe that (for the production of effects) special places, times, and causes have invariably to be employed.
(Some of) those who maintain a Lord to be the cause of the world 2, think that the existence of a Lord different from mere transmigrating beings can be inferred by means of the argument stated just now (without recourse being had to Scripture at all).--But, it might be said, you yourself in the Sûtra under discussion have merely brought forward the same argument!--By no means, we reply. The Sûtras (i.e. literally 'the strings') have merely the purpose of stringing together the flowers of the Vedânta-passages. In reality the Vedânta-passages referred to by the Sûtras are discussed here. For the comprehension of Brahman is effected by the ascertainment, consequent on discussion, of the sense of the Vedânta-texts, not either by inference or by the other means of right knowledge. While, however, the Vedânta-passages primarily declare the cause of the origin, &c., of the world, inference also, being an instrument of right knowledge in so far as it does not contradict the Vedânta-texts, is not to be excluded as a means of confirming the meaning ascertained. Scripture itself, moreover, allows argumentation; for the passages, Bri. Up. II, 4, 5 ('the Self is to be heard, to be considered'), and Kh. Up. VI, 14, 2 ('as the man, &c., having been informed, and being able to judge for himself, would arrive at Gandhâra, in the same way a man who meets with a teacher obtains knowledge'), declare that human understanding assists Scripture 3.
Scriptural text, &c. 4, are not, in the enquiry into Brahman,
the only means of knowledge, as they are in the enquiry into active duty (i.e. in the Pûrva Mimâmsâ), but scriptural textson the one hand, and intuition 1, &c., on the other hand, are to be had recourse to according to the occasion: firstly, because intuition is the final result of the enquiry into Brahman; secondly, because the object of the enquiry is an existing (accomplished) substance. If the object of the knowledge of Brahman were something to be accomplished, there would be no reference to intuition, and text, &c., would be the only means of knowledge. The origination of something to be accomplished depends, moreover, on man since any action either of ordinary life, or dependent on the Veda may either be done or not be done, or be done in a different way. A man, for instance, may move on either by means of a horse, or by means of his feet, or by some other means, or not at all. And again (to quote examples of actions dependent on the Veda), we meet in Scripture with sentences such as the following: 'At the atirâtra he takes the shodasin cup,' and 'at the atirâtra he does not take the shodasin cup;' or, 'he makes the oblation after the sun has risen,' and, 'he makes the oblation when the sun has not yet risen.' Just as in the quoted instances, injunctions and prohibitions, allowances of optional procedure, general rules and exceptions have their place, so they would have their place with regard to Brahmanalso (if the latter were a thing to be accomplished). But the fact is that no option is possible as to whether a substance is to be thus or thus, is to be or not to be. All option depends on the notions of man; but the knowledge of the real nature of a thing does not depend on the notions of man, but only on the thing itself. For to think with regard to a post, 'this is a post or a man, or something else,' is not knowledge of truth; the two ideas, 'it is a man or something else,' being false, and only the third idea, 'it
is a post,' which depends on the thing itself, falling under the head of true knowledge. Thus true knowledge of all existing things depends on the things themselves, and hence the knowledge of Brahman also depends altogether on the thing, i.e.Brahman itself.--But, it might be said, as Brahman is an existing substance, it will be the object of the other means ofright knowledge also, and from this it follows that a discussion of the Vedânta-texts is purposeless.--This we deny; for asBrahman is not an object of the senses, it has no connection with those other means of knowledge. For the senses have, according to their nature, only external things for their objects, not Brahman. If Brahman were an object of the senses, we might perceive that the world is connected with Brahman as its effect; but as the effect only (i.e. the world) is perceived, it is impossible to decide (through perception) whether it is connected with Brahman or something else. Therefore the Sûtra under discussion is not meant to propound inference (as the means of knowing Brahman), but rather to set forth a Vedânta-text.--Which, then, is the Vedânta-text which the Sûtra points at as having to be considered with reference to the characteristics of Brahman?--It is the passage Taitt. Up. III, 1, 'Bhrigu Vâruni went to his father Varuna, saying, Sir, teach me Brahman,' &c., up to 'That from whence these beings are born, that by which, when born, they live, that into which they enter at their death, try to know that. That is Brahman.' The sentence finally determining the sense of this passage is found III, 6: 'From bliss these beings are born; by bliss, when born, they, live; into bliss they enter at their death.' Other passages also are to be adduced which declare the cause to be the almighty Being, whose essential nature is eternal purity, intelligence, and freedom.
That Brahman is omniscient we have been made to infer from it being shown that it is the cause of the world. To confirm this conclusion, the Sûtrakâra continues as follows:
3. (The omniscience of Brahman follows) from its being the source of Scripture.
Brahman is the source, i.e. the cause of the great body of Scripture, consisting of the Rig-veda and other branches, which is supported by various disciplines (such as grammar, nyâya, purâna, &c.); which lamp-like illuminates all things; which is itself all-knowing as it were. For the origin of a body of Scripture possessing the quality of omniscience cannot be sought elsewhere but in omniscience itself. It is generally understood that the man from whom some special body of doctrine referring to one province of knowledge only originates, as, for instance, grammar from Pânini possesses a more extensive knowledge than his work, comprehensive though it be; what idea, then, shall we have to form of the supreme omniscience and omnipotence of that great Being, which in sport as it were, easily as a man sends forth his breath, has produced the vast mass of holy texts known as the Rig-veda, &c., the mine of all knowledge, consisting of manifoldbranches, the cause of the distinction of all the different classes and conditions of gods, animals, and men! See what Scripture says about him, 'The Rig-veda, &c., have been breathed forth from that great Being' (Bri. Up. II, 4, 10).
Or else we may interpret the Sûtra to mean that Scripture consisting of the Rig-veda, &c., as described above, is the source or cause, i.e. the means of right knowledge through which we understand the nature of Brahman. So that the sense would be: through Scripture only as a means of knowledge Brahman is known to be the cause of the origin, &c., of the world. The special scriptural passage meant has been quoted under the preceding Sûtra 'from which these beings are born,' &c.--But as the preceding Sûtra already has pointed out a text showing that Scripture is the source of Brahman, of what use then is the present Sûtra?--The words of the preceding Sûtra, we reply, did not clearly indicate the scriptural passage, and room was thus left for the suspicion that the origin, &c., of the world were adduced merely as determining an inference (independent of Scripture). To obviate this suspicion the Sûtra under discussion has been propounded.
But, again, how can it be said that Scripture is the means of knowing Brahman? Since it has been declared that Scripture aims at action (according to the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ
Sûtra I, 2, 1, 'As the purport of Scripture is action, those scriptural passages whose purport is not action are purportless'), the Vedânta-passages whose purport is not action are purportless. Or else if they are to have some sense, they must either, by manifesting the agent, the divinity or the fruit of the action, form supplements to the passages enjoining actions, or serve the purpose of themselves enjoining a new class of actions, such as devout meditation and the like. For the Veda cannot possibly aim at conveying information regarding the nature of accomplished substances, since the latter are the objects of perception and the other means of proof (which give sufficient information about them; while it is the recognised object of the Veda to give information about what is not known from other sources). And if it did give such information, it would not be connected with things to be desired or shunned, and thus be of no use to man. For this very reason Vedic passages, such as 'he howled, &c.,' which at first sight appear purposeless, are shown to have a purpose in so far as they glorify certain actions (cp. Pû. Mî. Sû. I, 2, 7, 'Because they stand in syntactical connection with the injunctions, therefore their purport is to glorify the injunctions'). In the same way mantras are shown to stand in a certain relation to actions, in so far as they notify the actions themselves and the means by which they are accomplished. So, for instance, the mantra, 'For strength thee (I cut;' which accompanies the cutting of a branch employed in the darsapûrnamâsa-sacrifice). In short, no Vedic passage is seen or can be proved to have a meaning but in so far as it is related to an action. And injunctions which are defined as having actions for their objects cannot refer to accomplished existent things. Hence we maintain that the Vedânta-texts are mere supplements to those passages which enjoin actions; notifying the agents, divinities, and results connected with those actions. Or else, if this be not admitted, on the ground of its involving the introduction of a subject-matter foreign to the Vedânta-texts (viz. the subject-matter of the Karmakânda of the Veda), we must admit (the second of the two alternatives proposed above viz.) that the
Vedânta-texts refer to devout meditation (upâsanâ) and similar actions which are mentioned in those very (Vedânta) texts. The result of all of which is that Scripture is not the source of Brahman.
To this argumentation the Sûtrakâra replies as follows:
But that (Brahman is to be known from Scripture), because it is connected (with the Vedânta-texts) as their purport.
The word 'but' is meant to rebut the pûrva-paksha (the primâ facie view as urged above). That all-knowing, all-powerfulBrahman, which is the cause of the origin, subsistence, and dissolution of the world, is known from the Vedânta-part of Scripture. How? Because in all the Vedânta-texts the sentences construe in so far as they have for their purport, as they intimate that matter (viz. Brahman). Compare, for instance, 'Being only this was in the beginning, one, without a second' (Kh. Up. VI, 2, 1); 'In the beginning all this was Self, one only' (Ait. Âr. II, 4, 1, 1); 'This is the Brahman without cause and without effect, without anything inside or outside; this Self is Brahman perceiving everything' (Bri. Up. II, 5, 19); 'That immortal Brahman is before' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 11); and similar passages. If the words contained in these passages have once been determined to refer to Brahman, and their purport is understood thereby, it would be improper to assume them to have a different sense; for that would involve the fault of abandoning the direct statements of the text in favour of mere assumptions. Nor can we conclude the purport of these passages to be the intimation of the nature of agents, divinities, &c. (connected with acts of religious duty); for there are certain scriptural passages which preclude all actions, actors, and fruits, as, for instance, Bri. Up. II, 4, 13, 'Then by what should he see whom?' (which passage intimates that there is neither an agent, nor an object of action, nor an instrument.) Nor again can Brahman, though it is of the nature of an accomplished thing, be the object of perception and the other means of
knowledge; for the fact of everything having its Self in Brahman cannot be grasped without the aid of the scriptural passage 'That art thou' (Kh. Up. VI, 8, 7). Nor can it rightly be objected that instruction is purportless if not connected with something either to be striven after or shunned; for from the mere comprehension of Brahman's Self, which is not something either to be avoided or endeavoured after, there results cessation of all pain, and thereby the attainment of man's highest aim. That passages notifying certain divinities, and so on, stand in subordinate relation to acts of devout meditation mentioned in the same chapters may readily be admitted. But it is impossible that Brahman should stand in an analogous relation to injunctions of devout meditation, for if the knowledge of absolute unity has once arisen there exists no longer anything to be desired or avoided, and thereby the conception of duality, according to which we distinguish actions, agents, and the like, is destroyed. If the conception of duality is once uprooted by the conception of absolute unity, it cannot arise again, and so no longer be the cause of Brahman being looked upon as the complementary object of injunctions of devotion. Other parts of the Veda may have no authority except in so far as they are connected with injunctions; still it is impossible to impugn on that ground the authoritativeness of passages conveying the knowledge of the Self; for such passages have their own result. Nor, finally, can the authoritativeness of the Veda be proved by inferential reasoning so that it would be dependent on instances observed elsewhere. From all which it follows that the Veda possesses authority as a means of right knowledge of Brahman.
Here others raise the following objection:--Although the Veda is the means of gaining a right knowledge of Brahman, yet it intimates Brahman only as the object of certain injunctions, just as the information which the Veda gives about the sacrificial post, the âhavanîya-fire and other objects not known from the practice of common life is merely supplementaryto certain injunctions 1. Why so?
[paragraph continues] Because the Veda has the purport of either instigating to action or restraining from it. For men fully acquainted with the object of the Veda have made the following declaration, 'The purpose of the Veda is seen to be the injunction of actions' (Bhâshya on Gaimini Sûtra I, 1, 1); 'Injunction means passages impelling to action' (Bh. on Gaim. Sû. I, 1, 2); 'Of this (viz. active religious duty) the knowledge comes from injunction' (part of Gaim. Sû. I, 1, 5); 'The (words) denoting those (things) are to be connected with (the injunctive verb of the vidhi-passage) whose purport is action' (Gaim. Sû. I, 1, 25); 'As action is the purport of the Veda, whatever does not refer to action is purportless' (Gaim. Sû. I, 2, 1). Therefore the Veda has a purport in so far only as it rouses the activity of man with regard to some actions and restrains it with regard to others; other passages (i.e. all those passages which are not directly injunctive) have a purport only in so far as they supplement injunctions and prohibitions. Hence the Vedânta-texts also as likewise belonging to the Veda can have a meaning in the same way only. And if their aim is injunction, then just as the agnihotra-oblation and other rites are enjoined as means for him who is desirous of the heavenly world, so the knowledge of Brahman is enjoined as a means for him who is desirous of immortality.--But--somebody might object--it has been declared that there is a difference in the character of the objects enquired into, the object of enquiry in the karma-kânda (that part of the Veda which treats of active religious duty) being something to be accomplished, viz. duty, while here the object is the already existent absolutely accomplished Brahman. From this it follows that the fruit of the knowledge of Brahmanmust be of a different nature from the fruit of the knowledge of duty which depends on the performance of actions 1.--We reply that it must not be such because the
[paragraph continues] Vedânta-texts give information about Brahman only in so far as it is connected with injunctions of actions. We meet with injunctions of the following kind, 'Verily the Self is to be seen' (Bri. Up. II, 4, 5); 'The Self which is free from sin that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand' (Kh. Up. VIII, 7, 1); 'Let a man worship him as Self' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 7); 'Let a man worship the Self only as his true state' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 15); 'He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9). These injunctions rouse in us the desire to know what thatBrahman is. It, therefore, is the task of the Vedânta-texts to set forth Brahman's nature, and they perform that task by teaching us that Brahman is eternal, all-knowing, absolutely self-sufficient, ever pure, intelligent and free, pure knowledge, absolute bliss. From the devout meditation on this Brahman there results as its fruit, final release, which, although not to be discerned in the ordinary way, is discerned by means of the sâstra. If, on the other hand, the Vedânta-texts were considered to have no reference to injunctions of actions, but to contain statements about mere (accomplished) things, just as if one were saying 'the earth comprises seven dvîpas,' 'that king is marching on,' they would be purportless, because then they could not possibly be connected with something to be shunned or endeavoured after.--Perhaps it will here be objected that sometimes a mere statement about existent things has a purpose, as, for instance, the affirmation, 'This is a rope, not a snake,' serves the purpose of removing the fear engendered by an erroneous opinion, and that so likewise the Vedânta-passages making statements about the non-transmigrating Self, have a purport of their own (without reference to any action), viz. in so far as they remove the erroneous opinion of the Self being liable to transmigration.--We reply that this might
be so if just as the mere hearing of the true nature of the rope dispels the fear caused by the imagined snake, so the mere hearing of the true nature of Brahman would dispel the erroneous notion of one's being subject to transmigration. But this is not the case; for we observe that even men to whom the true nature of Brahman has been stated continue to be affected by pleasure, pain, and the other qualities attaching to the transmigratory condition. Moreover, we see from the passage, Bri. Up. II, 4, 5, 'The Self is to be heard, to be considered, to be reflected upon, that consideration and reflection have to follow the mere hearing. From all this it results that the sâstra can be admitted as a means of knowing Brahman in so far only as the latter is connected with injunctions.
To all this, we, the Vedântins, make the following reply:--The preceding reasoning is not valid, on account of the different nature of the fruits of actions on the one side, and of the knowledge of Brahman on the other side. The enquiry into those actions, whether of body, speech, or mind, which are known from--Sruti and Smriti, and are comprised under the name 'religious duty' (dharma), is carried on in the Gaimini Sûtra, which begins with the words 'then therefore the enquiry into duty;' the opposite of duty also (adharma), such as doing harm, &c., which is defined in the prohibitory injunctions, forms an object of enquiry to the end that it may be avoided. The fruits of duty, which is good, and its opposite, which is evil, both of which are defined by original Vedic statements, are generally known to be sensible pleasure and pain, which make themselves felt to body, speech, and mind only, are produced by the contact of the organs of sense with the objects, and affect all animate beings from Brahman down to a tuft of grass. Scripture, agreeing with observation, states that there are differences in the degree of pleasure of all embodied creatures from men upward to Brahman. From those differences it is inferred that there are differences in the degrees of the merit acquired by actions in accordance with religious duty; therefrom again are inferred differences in degree between those qualified to perform
acts of religious duty. Those latter differences are moreover known to be affected by the desire of certain results (which entitles the man so desirous to perform certain religious acts), worldly possessions, and the like. It is further known from Scripture that those only who perform sacrifices proceed, in consequence of the pre-eminence of their knowledge and meditation, on the northern path (of the sun; Kh. Up. V, 10, 1), while mere minor offerings, works of public utility and alms, only lead through smoke and the other stages to the southern path. And that there also (viz. in the moon which is finally reached by those who have passed along the southern path) there are degrees of pleasure and the means of pleasure is understood from the passage 'Having dwelt there till their works are consumed.' Analogously it is understood that the different degrees of pleasure which are enjoyed by the embodied creatures, from man downward to the inmates of hell and to immovable things, are the mere effects of religious merit as defined in Vedic injunctions. On the other hand, from the different degrees of pain endured by higher and lower embodied creatures, there is inferred difference of degree in its cause, viz. religious demerit as defined in the prohibitory injunctions, and in its agents. This difference in the degree of pain and pleasure, which has for its antecedent embodied existence, and for its cause the difference of degree of merit and demerit of animated beings, liable to faults such as ignorance and the like, is well known--from Sruti, Smriti, and reasoning-to be non-eternal, of a fleeting, changing nature (samsâra). The following text, for instance, 'As long as he is in the body he cannot get free from pleasure and pain' (Kh. Up. VIII, 12, i), refers to the samsâra-state as described above. From the following passage, on the other hand, 'When he is free from the body then neither pleasure nor pain touches him,' which denies the touch of pain or pleasure, we learn that the unembodied state called 'final release' (moksha) is declared not to be the effect of religious merit as defined by Vedic injunctions. For if it were the effect of merit it would not be denied that it is subject to pain and pleasure. Should it be said
that the very circumstance of its being an unembodied state is the effect of merit, we reply that that cannot be, since Scripture declares that state to be naturally and originally an unembodied one. 'The wise who knows the Self as bodiless within the bodies, as unchanging among changing things, as great and omnipresent does never grieve' (Ka. Up. II, 22); 'He is without breath, without mind, pure' (Mu. Up. II, 1, 2); 'That person is not attached to anything' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 15) 1. All which passages establish the fact that so-called release differs from all the fruits of action, and is an eternally and essentially disembodied state. Among eternal things, some indeed may be 'eternal, although changing' (parinâminitya), viz. those, the idea of whose identity is not destroyed, although they may undergo changes; such, for instance, are earth and the other elements in the opinion of those who maintain the eternity of the world, or the three gunas in the opinion of the Sânkhyas. But this (moksha) is eternal in the true sense, i.e. eternal without undergoing any changes (kûtasthanitya), omnipresent as ether, free from all modifications, absolutely self-sufficient, not composed of parts, of self-luminous nature. That bodiless entity in fact, to which merit and demerit with their consequences and threefold time do not apply, is called release; a definition agreeing with scriptural passages, such as the following: 'Different from merit and demerit, different from effect and cause, different from past and future' (Ka. Up. I, 2, 14). It 2 (i.e. moksha) is, therefore, the same as Brahman in the enquiry into which we are at present engaged. If Brahman were represented as supplementary to certain actions, and release
were assumed to be the effect of those actions, it would be non-eternal, and would have to be considered merely as something holding a pre-eminent position among the described non-eternal fruits of actions with their various degrees. But that release is something eternal is acknowledged by whoever admits it at all, and the teaching concerning Brahman can therefore not be merely supplementary to actions.
There are, moreover, a number of scriptural passages which declare release to follow immediately on the cognition of Brahman, and which thus preclude the possibility of an effect intervening between the two; for instance, 'He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9); 'All his works perish when He has been beheld, who is the higher and the lower' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 8); 'He who knows the bliss of Brahman fears nothing' (Taitt. Up. II, 9); 'O Ganaka, you have indeed reached fearlessness' (Bri. Up. IV, 2, 4); 'That Brahman knew its Self only, saying, I am Brahman. From it all this sprang' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 10); 'What sorrow, what trouble can there be to him who beholds that unity?' (Îs. Up. 7.) We must likewise quote the passage,--Bri. Up. I, 4, 10, ('Seeing this the Rishi Vâmadeva understood: I was Manu, I was the sun,') in order to exclude the idea of any action taking place between one's seeing Brahman and becoming one with the universal Self; for that passage is analogous to the following one, 'standing he sings,' from which we understand that no action due to the same agent intervenes between the standing and the singing. Other scriptural passages show that the removal of the obstacles which lie in the way of release is the only fruit of the knowledge of Brahman; so, for instance, 'You indeed are our father, you who carry us from our ignorance to the other shore' (Pr. Up. VI, 8); 'I have heard from men like you that he who knows the Self overcomes grief. I am in grief. Do, Sir, help me over this grief of mine' (Kh. Up. VII, 1,3); 'To him after his faults had been rubbed out, the venerable Sanatkumâra showed the other side of darkness' (Kh. Up. VII, 26, 2). The same is the purport of the Sûtra, supported by arguments, of (Gautama) Âkârya, 'Final release
results from the successive removal of wrong knowledge, faults, activity, birth, pain, the removal of each later member of the series depending on the removal of the preceding member' (Nyây. Sû. I, 1, 2); and wrong knowledge itself is removed by the knowledge of one's Self being one with the Self of Brahman.
Nor is this knowledge of the Self being one with Brahman a mere (fanciful) combination 1, as is made use of, for instance, in the following passage, 'For the mind is endless, and the Visvedevas are endless, and he thereby gains the endless world' (Bri. Up. III, 1, 9) 2; nor is it an (in reality unfounded) ascription (superimposition) 3, as in the passages, 'Let him meditate on mind as Brahman,' and 'Âditya is Brahman, this is the doctrine' (Kh. Up. III, 18, 1; 19, 1), where the contemplation as Brahman is superimposed on the mind, Âditya and so on; nor, again, is it (a figurative conception of identity) founded on the connection (of the things viewed as identical) with some special activity, as in the passage, 'Air is indeed the absorber; breath is indeed the absorber 4' (Kh. Up. IV, 3, 1; 3); nor is it a mere (ceremonial) purification of (the Self constituting a subordinate member) of an action (viz. the action of seeing, &c., Brahman), in the same way as, for instance, the act of looking at the sacrificial
butter 1. For if the knowledge of the identity of the Self and Brahman were understood in the way of combination and the like, violence would be done thereby to the connection of the words whose object, in certain passages, it clearly is to intimate the fact of Brahman and the Self being really identical; so, for instance, in the following passages, 'That art thou' (Kh. Up. VI, 8, 7); 'I am Brahman' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 10); 'This Self is Brahman' (Bri. Up. II, 5, 19). And other texts which declare that the fruit of the cognition of Brahman is the cessation of Ignorance would be contradicted thereby; so, for instance, 'The fetter of the heart is broken, all doubts are solved' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 8). Nor, finally, would it be possible, in that case, satisfactorily to explain the passages which speak of the individual Self becoming Brahman: such as 'He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9). Hence the knowledge of the unity of Brahman and the Self cannot be of the nature of figurative combination and the like. The knowledge of Brahman does, therefore, not depend on the active energy of man, but is analogous to the knowledge of those things which are the objects of perception, inference, and so on, and thus depends on the object of knowledge only. Of such a Brahman or its knowledge it is impossible to establish, by reasoning, any connection with actions.
Nor, again, can we connect Brahman with acts by representing it as the object of the action of knowing. For that it is not such is expressly declared in two passages, viz. 'It is different from the known and again above (i.e. different from) the unknown' (Ken. Up. I, 3); and 'How should he know him by whom he knows all this?' (Bri. Up. II, 4, 13.) In the same way Brahman is expressly declared not to be the object of the act of devout meditation, viz. in the second half of the verse, Ken. Up. I, 5, whose first half
declares it not to be an object (of speech, mind, and so on), 'That which is not proclaimed by speech, by which speech is proclaimed, that only know to be Brahman, not that on which people devoutly meditate as this.' If it should be objected that if Brahman is not an object (of speech, mind, &c.) the sâstra can impossibly be its source, we refute this objection by the remark that the aim of the sâstra is to discard all distinctions fictitiously created by Nescience. The sâstra's purport is not to represent Brahman definitely as this or that object, its purpose is rather to show that Brahman as the eternal subject (pratyagâtman, the inward Self) is never an object, and thereby to remove the distinction of objects known, knowers, acts of knowledge, &c., which is fictitiously created by Nescience. Accordingly the sâstra says, 'By whom it is not thought by him it is thought, by whom it is thought he does not know it; unknown by those who know it, it is known by those who do not know it' (Ken. Up. II, 3}; and 'Thou couldst not see the seer of sight, thou couldst not hear the hearer of hearing, nor perceive the perceiver of perception, nor know the knower of knowledge' (Bri. Up. III, 4, 2). As thereby (i.e. by the knowledge derived from the sâstra) the imagination of the transitoriness of Release which is due to Nescience is discarded, and Release is shown to be of the nature of the eternally free Self, it cannot be charged with the imperfection of non-eternality. Those, on the other hand, who consider Release to be something to be effected properly maintain that it depends on the action of mind, speech, or body. So, likewise, those who consider it to be a mere modification. Non-eternality of Release is the certain consequence of these two opinions; for we observe in common life that things which are modifications, such as sour milk and the like, and things which are effects, such as jars, &c., are non-eternal. Nor, again, can it be said that there is a dependance on action in consequence of (Brahman or Release) being something which is to be obtained 1; for as Brahman constitutes a person's Self it is
not something to be attained by that person. And even if Brahman were altogether different from a person's Self still it would not be something to be obtained; for as it is omnipresent it is part of its nature that it is ever present to every one, just as the (all-pervading) ether is. Nor, again, can it be maintained that Release is something to be ceremonially purified, and as such depends on an activity. For ceremonial purification (samskâra) results either from the accretion of some excellence or from the removal of some blemish. The former alternative does not apply to Release as it is of the nature of Brahman, to which no excellence can be added; nor, again, does the latter alternative apply, since Release is of the nature of Brahman, which is eternally pure.--But, it might be said, Release might be a quality of the Self which is merely hidden and becomes manifest on the Self being purified by some action; just as the quality of clearness becomes manifest in a mirror when the mirror is cleaned by means of the action of rubbing.--This objection is invalid, we reply, because the Self cannot be the abode of any action. For an action cannot exist without modifying that in which it abides. But if the Self were modified by an action its non-eternality would result therefrom, and texts such as the following, 'unchangeable he is called,' would thus be stultified; an altogether unacceptable result. Hence it is impossible to assume that any action should abide in the Self. On the other hand, the Self cannot be purified by actions abiding in something else as it stands in no relation to that extraneous something. Nor will it avail to point out (as a quasi-analogous case) that the embodied Self (dehin, the individual soul) is purified by certain ritual actions which abide in the body, such as bathing, rinsing one's mouth, wearing the sacrificial thread, and the like. For what is purified by those actions is that Self merely which is joined to the body, i.e. the Self in so far as it is under the power of Nescience. For it is a matter of perception
that bathing and similar actions stand in the relation of inherence to the body, and it is therefore only proper to conclude that by such actions only that something is purified which is joined to the body. If a person thinks 'I am free from disease,' he predicates health of that entity only which is connected with and mistakenly identifies itself with the harmonious condition of matter (i.e. the body) resulting from appropriate medical treatment applied to the body (i.e. the 'I' constituting the subject of predication is only the individual embodied Self). Analogously that I which predicates of itself, that it is purified by bathing and the like, is only the individual soul joined to the body. For it is only this latter principle of egoity (ahamkartri), the object of the notion of the ego and the agent in all cognition, which accomplishes all actions and enjoys their results. Thus the mantras also declare, 'One of them eats the sweet fruit, the other looks on without eating' (Mu. Up. III, 1, 1); and 'When he is in union with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise people call him the Enjoyer' (Ka. Up. III, 1, 4). Of Brahman, on the other hand, the two following passages declare that it is incapable of receiving any accretion and eternally pure, 'He is the one God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the Self within all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the only one; free from qualities' (Sv. Up. VI, 11); and 'He pervaded all, bright, incorporeal, scatheless, without muscles, pure, untouched by evil' (Îs. Up. 8). But Release is nothing but being Brahman. Therefore Release is not something to be purified. And as nobody is able to show any other way in which Release could be connected with action, it is impossible that it should stand in any, even the slightest, relation to any action, excepting knowledge.
But, it will be said here, knowledge itself is an activity of the mind. By no means, we reply; since the two are of different nature. An action is that which is enjoined as being independent of the nature of existing things and dependent on the energy of some person's mind; compare, for instance, the following passages, 'To whichever divinity the
offering is made on that one let him meditate when about to say vashat' (Ait. Brâhm. III, 8, 1); and 'Let him meditate in his mind on the sandhyâ.' Meditation and reflection are indeed mental, but as they depend on the (meditating, &c.) person they may either be performed or not be performed or modified. Knowledge, on the other hand, is the result of the different means of (right) knowledge, and those have for their objects existing things; knowledge can therefore not be either made or not made or modified, but depends entirely on existing things, and not either on Vedic statements or on the mind of man. Although mental it thus widely differs from meditation and the like.
The meditation, for instance, on man and woman as fire, which is founded on Kh. Up. V, 7, 1; 8, 1, 'The fire is man, O Gautama; the fire is woman, O Gautama,' is on account of its being the result of a Vedic statement, merely an action and dependent on man; that conception of fire, on the other hand, which refers to the well-known (real) fire, is neither dependent on Vedic statements nor on man, but only on a real thing which is an object of perception; it is therefore knowledge and not an action. The same remark applies to all things which are the objects of the different means of right knowledge. This being thus that knowledge also which has the existent Brahman for its object is not dependent on Vedic injunction. Hence, although imperative and similar forms referring to the knowledge of Brahman are found in the Vedic texts, yet they are ineffective because they refer to something which cannot be enjoined, just as the edge of a razor becomes blunt when it is applied to a stone. For they have for their object something which can neither be endeavoured after nor avoided.--But what then, it will be asked, is the purport of those sentences which, at any rate, have the appearance of injunctions; such as, 'The Self is to be seen, to be heard about?'--They have the purport, we reply, of diverting (men) from the objects of natural activity. For when a man acts intent on external things, and only anxious to attain the objects of his desire and to eschew the objects of his aversion, and does not thereby reach the highest aim of man although desirous of attaining it; such
texts as the one quoted divert him from the objects of natural activity and turn the stream of his thoughts on the inward (the highest) Self. That for him who is engaged in the enquiry into the Self, the true nature of the Self is nothing either to be endeavoured after or to be avoided, we learn from texts such as the following: 'This everything, all is that Self' (Bri, Up. II, 4, 6); 'But when the Self only is all this, how should he see another, how should he know another, how should he know the knower?' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15); 'This Self is Brahman' (Bri. Up. II, 5, 19). That the knowledge of Brahman refers to something which is not a thing to be done, and therefore is not concerned either with the pursuit or the avoidance of any object, is the very thing we admit; for just that constitutes our glory, that as soon as we comprehend Brahman, all our duties come to an end and all our work is over. Thus Sruti says, 'If a man understands the Self, saying, "I am he," what could he wish or desire that he should pine after the body?' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 12.) And similarly Smriti declares, 'Having understood this the understanding man has done with all work, O Bhârata' (Bha. Gîtâ XV, 20). Therefore Brahman is not represented as the object of injunctions.
We now proceed to consider the doctrine of those who maintain that there is no part of the Veda which has the purport of making statements about mere existent things, and is not either an injunction or a prohibition, or supplementary to either. This opinion is erroneous, because the soul (purusha), which is the subject of the Upanishads, does not constitute a complement to anything else. Of that soul which is to be comprehended from the Upanishads only, which is non-transmigratory, Brahman, different in nature from the four classes of substances 1, which forms a topic of its own and is not a complement to anything else; of that
soul it is impossible to say that it is not or is not apprehended; for the passage, 'That Self is to be described by No, no!' (Bri. Up. III, 9, 26) designates it as the Self, and that the Self is cannot be denied. The possible objection that there is no reason to maintain that the soul is known from the Upanishads only, since it is the object of self-consciousness, is refuted by the fact that the soul of which the Upanishads treat is merely the witness of that (i.e. of the object of self-consciousness, viz. the gîvâtman). For neither from that part of the Veda which enjoins works nor from reasoning, anybody apprehends that soul which, different from the agent that is the object of self-consciousness, merely witnesses it; which is permanent in all (transitory) beings; uniform; one; eternally unchanging; the Self of everything. Hence it can neither be denied nor be represented as the mere complement of injunctions; for of that very person who might deny it it is the Self. And as it is the Self of all, it can neither be striven after nor avoided. All perishable things indeed perish, because they are mere modifications, up to (i.e. exclusive of) the soul. But the soul is imperishable 1, as there is no cause why it should perish; and eternally unchanging, as there is no cause for its undergoing any modification; hence it is in its essence eternally pure and free. And from passages, such as 'Beyond the soul there is nothing; this is the goal, the highest road' (Ka. Up. I, 3, 11), and 'That soul, taught in the Upanishads, I ask thee' (Bri. Up. III, 9, 26), it appears that the attribute of resting on the Upanishads is properly given to the soul, as it constitutes their chief topic. To say, therefore, that there is no portion of the Veda referring to existing things, is a mere bold assertion.
With regard to the quotations made of the views of men acquainted with the purport of the Sâstra (who alone were stated to have declared that the Veda treats of actions) it is to be understood that they, having to do with the enquiry into duty, refer to that part of the Sâstra which consists of
injunctions and prohibitions. With regard to the other passage quoted ('as action is the purport of the Veda, whatever does not refer to action is purportless') we remark that if that passage were taken in an absolutely strict sense (when it would mean that only those words which denote action have a meaning), it would follow that all information about existent things is meaningless 1. If, on the other hand, the Veda--in addition to the injunctions of activity and cessation of activity--does give information about existent things as being subservient to some action to be accomplished, why then should it not give information also about the existent eternally unchangeable Self? For an existent thing, about which information is given, does not become an act (through being stated to be subservient to an act).--But, it will be said, although existent things are not acts, yet, as they are instrumental to action, the information given about such things is merely subservient to action.--This, we reply, does not matter; for although the information may be subservient to action, the things themselves about which information is given are already intimated thereby as things which have the power of bringing about certain actions. Their final end (prayogana) indeed may be subserviency to some action, but thereby they do not cease to be, in the information given about them, intimated in themselves.--Well, and if they are thus intimated, what is gained thereby for your purpose 2? We reply that the information about the Self, which is an existing thing not comprehended from other sources, is of the same nature (as the information about other existent things); for by the comprehension of the Self a stop is put to all false knowledge, which is the cause of transmigration, and thus a
purpose is established which renders the passages relative to Brahman equal to those passages which give information about things instrumental to actions. Moreover, there are found (even in that part of the Veda which treats of actions) such passages as 'a Brâhmana is not to be killed,' which teach abstinence from certain actions. Now abstinence from action is neither action nor instrumental to action. If, therefore, the tenet that all those passages which do not express action are devoid of purport were insisted on, it would follow that all such passages as the one quoted, which teach abstinence from action, are devoid of purport--a consequence which is of course unacceptable. Nor, again, can the connexion in which the word 'not' stands with the action expressed by the verb 'is to be killed'--which action is naturally established 1--be used as a reason for assuming that 'not' denotes an action non-established elsewhere 2, different from the state of mere passivity implied in the abstinence from the act of killing. For the peculiar function of the particle 'not' is to intimate the idea of the non-existence of that with which it is connected, and the conception of the non-existence (of something to be done) is the cause of the state of passivity. (Nor can it be objected that, as soon as that momentary idea has passed away, the state of passivity will again make room for activity; for) that idea itself passes away (only after having completely destroyed the natural impulse prompting to the murder of a Brâhmana, &c., just as a fire is extinguished only after having completely consumed its fuel. Hence we are of opinion that the aim of prohibitory passages, such as 'a Brâhmana is not to be killed, 'is a merely passive state, consisting in the abstinence from some possible action; excepting some special cases, such as the so-called Pragâpati-vow, &c. 3 Hence the charge of want of purpose is to be
considered as referring (not to the Vedânta-passages, but only) to such statements about existent things as are of the nature of legends and the like, and do not serve any purpose of man.
The allegation that a mere statement about an actually existent thing not connected with an injunction of something to be done, is purposeless (as, for instance, the statement that the earth contains seven dvîpas) has already been refuted on the ground that a purpose is seen to exist in some such statements, as, for instance, 'this is not a snake, but a rope.'--But how about the objection raised above that the information about Brahman cannot be held to have a purpose in the same way as the statement about a rope has one, because a man even after having heard about Brahman continues to belong to this transmigratory
world?--We reply as follows: It is impossible to show that a man who has once understood Brahman to be the Self, belongs to the transmigratory world in the same sense as he did before, because that would be contrary to the fact of his being Brahman. For we indeed observe that a person who imagines the body, and so on, to constitute the Self, is subject to fear and pain, but we have no right to assume that the same person after having, by means of the Veda, comprehended Brahman to be the Self, and thus having got over his former imaginings, will still in the same manner be subject to pain and fear whose cause is wrong knowledge. In the same way we see that a rich householder, puffed up by the conceit of his wealth, is grieved when his possessions are taken from him; but we do not see that the loss of his wealth equally grieves him after he has once retired from the world and put off the conceit of his riches. And, again, we see that a person possessing a pair of beautiful earrings derives pleasure from the proud conceit of ownership; but after he has lost the earrings and the conceit established thereon, the pleasure derived from them vanishes. Thus Sruti also declares, 'When he is free from the body, then neither pleasure nor pain touches him' (Kh. Up. VIII, 12, 1). If it should be objected that the condition of being free from the body follows on death only, we demur, since the cause of man being joined to the body is wrong knowledge. For it is not possible to establish the state of embodiedness upon anything else but wrong knowledge. And that the state of disembodiedness is eternal on account of its not having actions for its cause, we have already explained. The objection again, that embodiedness is caused by the merit and demerit effected by the Self (and therefore real), we refute by remarking that as the (reality of the) conjunction of the Self with the body is itself not established, the circumstance of merit and demerit being due to the action of the Self is likewise not established; for (if we should try to get over this difficulty by representing the Self's embodiedness as caused by merit and demerit) we should commit the logical fault of making embodiedness dependent on merit and demerit,
and again merit and demerit on embodiedness. And the assumption of an endless retrogressive chain (of embodied states and merit and demerit) would be no better than a chain of blind men (who are unable to lead one another). Moreover, the Self can impossibly become an agent, as it cannot enter into intimate relation to actions. If it should be said that the Self may be considered as an agent in the same way as kings and other great people are (who without acting themselves make others act) by their mere presence, we deny the appositeness of this instance; for kings may become agents through their relation to servants whom they procure by giving them wages, &c., while it is impossible to imagine anything, analogous to money, which could be the cause of a connexion between the Self as lord and the body, and so on (as servants). Wrong imagination, on the other hand, (of the individual Self, considering itself to be joined to the body,) is a manifest reason of the connexion of the two (which is not based on any assumption). This explains also in how far the Self can be considered as the agent in sacrifices and similar acts 1. Here it is objected that the Self's imagination as to the body, and so on, belonging to itself is not false, but is to be understood in a derived (figurative) sense. This objection we invalidate by the remark that the distinction of derived and primary senses of words is known to be applicable only where an actual difference of things is known to exist. We are, for instance, acquainted with a certain species of animals having a mane, and so on, which is the exclusive primary object of the idea and word 'lion,' and we are likewise acquainted with persons possessing in an eminent degree certain leonine qualities, such as fierceness, courage, &c.; here, a well settled difference of objects existing, the idea and the name 'lion' are applied to those persons in a derived or figurative sense. In those cases, however, where the difference of the objects is not well established, the transfer of the conception and
name of the one to the other is not figurative, but simply founded on error. Such is, for instance, the case of a man who at the time of twilight does not discern that the object before him is a post, and applies to it the conception and designation of a man; such is likewise the case of the conception and designation of silver being applied to a shell of mother-of-pearl somehow mistaken for silver. How then can it be maintained that the application of the word and the conception of the Ego to the body, &c., which application is due to the non-discrimination of the Self and the Not-Self, is figurative (rather than simply false)? considering that even learned men who know the difference of the Self and the Not-Self confound the words and ideas just as common shepherds and goatherds do.
As therefore the application of the conception of the Ego to the body on the part of those who affirm the existence of a Self different from the body is simply false, not figurative, it follows that the embodiedness of the Self is (not real but) caused by wrong conception, and hence that the person who has reached true knowledge is free from his body even while still alive. The same is declared in the Sruti passages concerning him who knows Brahman: 'And as the slough of a snake lies on an ant-hill, dead and cast away, thus lies this body; but that disembodied immortal spirit is Brahman only, is only light' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 7); and 'With eyes he is without eyes as it were, with ears without ears as it were, with speech without speech as it were, with a mind without mind as it were, with vital airs without vital airs as it were.' Smriti also, in the passage where the characteristic marks are enumerated of one whose mind is steady (Bha. Gîtâ II, 54), declares that he who knows is no longer connected with action of any kind. Therefore the man who has once comprehended Brahman to be the Self, does not belong to this transmigratory world as he did before. He, on the other hand, who still belongs to this transmigratory world as before, has not comprehended Brahman to be the Self. Thus there remain no unsolved contradictions.
With reference again to the assertion that Brahman is not
fully determined in its own nature, but stands in a complementary relation to injunctions, because the hearing about Brahman is to be followed by consideration and reflection, we remark that consideration and reflection are themselves merely subservient to the comprehension of Brahman. If Brahman, after having been comprehended, stood in a subordinate relation to some injunctions, it might be said to be merely supplementary. But this is not the case, since consideration and reflection no less than hearing are subservient to comprehension. It follows that the Sâstra cannot be the means of knowing Brahman only in so far as it is connected with injunctions, and the doctrine that on account of the uniform meaning of the Vedânta-texts, an independent Brahman is to be admitted, is thereby fully established. Hence there is room for beginning the new Sâstra indicated in the first Sûtra, 'Then therefore the enquiry into Brahman.' If, on the other hand, the Vedânta-texts were connected with injunctions, a new Sâstra would either not be begun at all, since the Sâstra concerned with injunctions has already been introduced by means of the first Sûtra of the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ, 'Then therefore the enquiry into duty;' or if it were begun it would be introduced as follows: 'Then therefore the enquiry into the remaining duties;' just as a new portion of the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ Sûtras is introduced with the words, 'Then therefore the enquiry into what subserves the purpose of the sacrifice, and what subserves the purpose of man' (Pû. Mî. Sû. IV, 1, 1). But as the comprehension of the unity of Brahman and the Self has not been propounded (in the previousSâstra), it is quite appropriate that a new Sâstra, whose subject is Brahman, should be entered upon. Hence all injunctions and all other means of knowledge end with the cognition expressed in the words, 'I am Brahman;' for as soon as there supervenes the comprehension of the non-dual Self, which is not either something to be eschewed or something to be appropriated, all objects and knowing agents vanish, and hence there can no longer be means of proof. In accordance with this, they (i.e. men knowing Brahman) have made the following declaration:--
'When there has arisen (in a man's mind) the knowledge, "I am that which is, Brahman is my Self," and when, owing to the sublation of the conceptions of body, relatives, and the like, the (imagination of) the figurative and the false Self has come to an end 1; how should then the effect 2 (of that wrong imagination) exist any longer? As long as the knowledge of the Self, which Scripture tells us to search after, has not arisen, so long the Self is knowing subject; but that same subject is that which is searched after, viz. (the highest Self) free from all evil and blemish. Just as the idea of the Self being the body is assumed as valid (in ordinary life), so all the ordinary sources of knowledge (perception and the like) are valid only until the one Self is ascertained.'
(Herewith the section comprising the four Sûtras is finished 3.)
So far it has been declared that the Vedânta-passages, whose purport is the comprehension of Brahman being the Self, and which have their object therein, refer exclusively to Brahman without any reference to actions. And it has further been shown that Brahman is the omniscient omnipotent cause of the origin, subsistence, and dissolution of the world. But now the Sânkhyas and others being of opinion that an existent substance is to be known through other means of proof (not through the Veda) infer different causes, such as the pradhâna and the like, and thereupon interpret the Vedânta-passages as referring to the latter. All the Vedânta-passages, they maintain, which treat of the creation of the world distinctly point out that the cause (of the world) has to be concluded from the effect by inference; and the cause which is to be inferred is the connexion of the pradhâna with the souls (purusha). The followers of Kanâda again infer from the very same
passages that the Lord is the efficient cause of the world while the atoms are its material cause. And thus other argumentators also taking their stand on passages apparently favouring their views and on fallacious arguments raise various objections. For this reason the teacher (Vyâsa)--thoroughly acquainted as he is with words, passages, and means of proof--proceeds to state as primâ facie views, and afterwards to refute, all those opinions founded on deceptive passages and fallacious arguments. Thereby he at the same time proves indirectly that what the Vedânta-texts aim at is the comprehension of Brahman.
The Sânkhyas who opine that the non-intelligent pradhâna consisting of three constituent elements (guna) is the cause of the world argue as follows. The Vedânta-passages which you have declared to intimate that the all-knowing all-powerful Brahman is the cause of the world can be consistently interpreted also on the doctrine of the pradhâna being the general cause. Omnipotence (more literally: the possession of all powers) can be ascribed to the pradhâna in so far as it has all its effects for its objects. All-knowingness also can be ascribed to it, viz. in the following manner. What you think to be knowledge is in reality an attribute of the guna of Goodness 1, according to the Smriti passage 'from Goodness springs knowledge' (Bha. Gîtâ XIV, 17). By means of this attribute of Goodness, viz. knowledge, certain men endowed with organs which are effects (of the pradhâna) are known as all-knowing Yogins; for omniscience is acknowledged to be connected with the very highest degree of 'Goodness.' Now to the soul (purusha) which is isolated, destitute of effected organs, consisting of pure (undifferenced) intelligence it is quite impossible to ascribe either all-knowingness or limited knowledge; the pradhâna, on the other hand, because consisting of the three gunas, comprises also in its pradhâna state the element of Goodness which is the cause of all-knowingness. The Vedânta-passages therefore in
a derived (figurative) sense ascribe all-knowingness to the pradhâna, although it is in itself non-intelligent. Moreover you (the Vedântin) also who assume an all-knowing Brahman can ascribe to it all-knowingness in so far only as that term means capacity for all knowledge. For Brahman cannot always be actually engaged in the cognition of everything; for from this there would follow the absolute permanency of his cognition, and this would involve a want of independence on Brahman's part with regard to the activity of knowing. And if you should propose to consider Brahman's cognition as non-permanent it would follow that with the cessation of the cognition Brahman itself would cease. Therefore all-knowingness is possible only in the sense of capacity for all knowledge. Moreover you assume that previously to the origination of the world Brahman is without any instruments of action. But without the body, the senses, &c. which are the instruments of knowledge, cognition cannot take place in any being. And further it must be noted that the pradhâna, as consisting of various elements, is capable of undergoing modifications, and may therefore act as a (material) cause like clay and other substances; while the uncompounded homogeneous Brahman is unable to do so.
To these conclusions he (Vyâsa) replies in the following Sûtra.
5. On account of seeing (i. e. thinking being attributed in the Upanishads to the cause of the world; the pradhâna) is not (to be identified with the cause indicated by the Upanishads; for) it is not founded on Scripture.
It is impossible to find room in the Vedânta-texts for the non-intelligent pradhâna, the fiction of the Sânkhyas; because it is not founded on Scripture. How so? Because the quality of seeing, i. e. thinking, is in Scripture ascribed to the cause. For the passage, Kh. Up. VI, 2, (which begins: 'Being only, my dear, this was in the beginning, one only, without a second,' and goes on, 'It thought (saw),
may I be many, may I grow forth. It sent forth fire,') declares that this world differentiated by name and form, which is there denoted by the word 'this,' was before its origination identical with the Self of that which is and that the principle denoted by the term 'the being' (or 'that which is') sent forth fire and the other elements after having thought. The following passage also ('Verily in the beginning all this was Self, one only; there was nothing else blinking whatsoever. He thought, shall I send forth worlds? He sent forth these worlds,' Ait. Âr. II, 4, 1, 2) declares the creation to have had thought for its antecedent. In another passage also (Pr. Up. VI, 3) it is said of the person of sixteen parts, 'He thought, &c. He sent forth Prâna.' By 'seeing' (i.e. the verb 'seeing' exhibited in the Sûtra) is not meant that particular verb only, but any verbs which have a cognate sense; just as the verb 'to sacrifice' is used to denote any kind of offering. Therefore other passages also whose purport it is to intimate that an all-knowing Lord is the cause of the world are to be quoted here, as, for instance, Mu. Up. I,.1, 9, 'From him who perceives all and who knows all, whose brooding consists of knowledge, from him is born that Brahman, name and form and food.'
The argumentation of the Sânkhyas that the pradhâna may be called all-knowing on account of knowledge constituting an attribute of the guna Goodness is inadmissible. For as in the pradhâna-condition the three gunas are in a state of equipoise, knowledge which is a quality of Goodness only is not possible 1. Nor can we admit the explanation that the pradhâna is all-knowing because endowed with the capacity for all knowledge. For if, in the condition of equipoise of the gunas, we term the pradhâna all-knowing with reference to the power of knowledge residing in Goodness, we must likewise term it little-knowing, with reference to the power impeding knowledge which resides in Passion and Darkness.
[paragraph continues] Moreover a modification of Goodness which is not connected with a witnessing (observing) principle (sâkshin) is not called knowledge, and the non-intelligent pradhâna is destitute of such a principle. It is therefore impossible to ascribe to the pradhâna all-knowingness. The case of the Yogins finally does not apply to the point under consideration; for as they possess intelligence, they may, owing to an excess of Goodness in their nature, rise to omniscience 1.--Well then (say those Sânkhyas who believe in the existence of a Lord) let us assume that the pradhâna possesses the quality of knowledge owing to the witnessing principle (the Lord), just as the quality of burning is imparted to an iron ball by fire.--No, we reply; for if this were so, it would be more reasonable to assume that that which is the cause of the pradhâna having the quality of thought i.e. the all-knowing primary Brahman itself is the cause of the world.
The objection that to Brahman also all-knowingness in its primary sense cannot be ascribed because, if the activity of cognition were permanent, Brahman could not be considered as independent with regard to it, we refute as follows. In what way, we ask the Sânkhya, is Brahman's all-knowingness interfered with by a permanent cognitional activity? To maintain that he, who possesses eternal knowledge capable to throw light on all objects, is not all-knowing, is contradictory. If his knowledge were considered non-permanent, he would know sometimes, and sometimes he would not know; from which it would follow indeed that he is not all-knowing. This fault is however avoided if we admit Brahman's knowledge to be permanent.--But, it may be objected, on this latter alternative the knower cannot be designated as independent with reference to the act of knowing.--Why not? we reply; the sun also, although his heat and light are permanent, is nevertheless designated as independent
when we say, 'he burns, he gives light 1.'--But, it will again be objected, we say that the sun burns or gives light when he stands in relation to some object to be heated or illuminated; Brahman, on the other hand, stands, before the creation of the world, in no relation to any object of knowledge. The cases are therefore not parallel.--This objection too, we reply, is not valid; for as a matter of fact we speak of the Sun as an agent, saying 'the sun shines' even without reference to any object illuminated by him, and hence Brahman also may be spoken of as an agent, in such passages as 'it thought,' &c., even without reference to any object of knowledge. If, however, an object is supposed to be required ('knowing' being a transitive verb while 'shining' is intransitive), the texts ascribing thought to Brahman will fit all the better.--What then is that object to which the knowledge of the Lord can refer previously to the origin of the world?--Name and form, we reply, which can be defined neither as being identical with Brahman nor as different from it, unevolved but about to be evolved. For if, as the adherents of the Yoga-sâstra assume, the Yogins have a perceptive knowledge of the past and the future through the favour of the Lord; in what terms shall we have to speak of the eternal cognition of the ever pure Lord himself, whose objects are the creation, subsistence, and dissolution of the world! The objection thatBrahman, previously to the origin of the world, is not able to think because it is not connected with a body, &c. does not apply; for Brahman, whose nature is eternal cognition--as the sun's nature is eternal luminousness--
can impossibly stand in need of any instruments of knowledge. The transmigrating soul (samsârin) indeed, which is under the sway of Nescience, &c., may require a body in order that knowledge may arise in it; but not so the Lord, who is free from all impediments of knowledge. The two following Mantras also declare that the Lord does not require a body, and that his knowledge is without any obstructions. 'There is no effect and no instrument known of him, no one is seen like unto him or better; his high power is revealed as manifold, as inherent, acting as knowledge and force.' 'Grasping without hands, hasting without feet, he sees without eyes, he hears without ears. He knows what can be known, but no one knows him; they call him the first, the great person' (Sv. Up. VI, 8; III, 19).
But, to raise a new objection, there exists no transmigrating soul different from the Lord and obstructed by impediments of knowledge; for Sruti expressly declares that 'there is no other seer but he; there is no other knower but he' (Bri. Up. Ill, 7, 23). How then can it be said that the origination of knowledge in the transmigrating soul depends on a body, while it does not do so in the case of the Lord?--True, we reply. There is in reality no transmigrating soul different from the Lord. Still the connexion (of the Lord) with limiting adjuncts, consisting of bodies and so on, is assumed, just as we assume the ether to enter into connexion with divers limiting adjuncts such as jars, pots, caves, and the like. And just as in consequence of connexion of the latter kind such conceptions and terms as 'the hollow (space) of a jar,' &c. are generally current, although the space inside a jar is not really different from universal space, and just as in consequence thereof there generally prevails the false notion that there are different spaces such as the space of a jar and so on; so there prevails likewise the false notion that the Lord and the transmigrating soul are different; a notion due to the non-discrimination of the (unreal) connexion of the soul with the limiting conditions, consisting of the body and so on. That the Self, although in reality the only existence, imparts the quality of Selfhood to bodies and the like
which are Not-Self is a matter of observation, and is due to mere wrong conception, which depends in its turn on antecedent wrong conception. And the consequence of the soul thus involving itself in the transmigratory state is that its thought depends on a body and the like.
The averment that the pradhâna, because consisting of several elements, can, like clay and similar substances, occupy the place of a cause while the uncompounded Brahman cannot do so, is refuted by the fact of the pradhâna not basing on Scripture. That, moreover, it is possible to establish by argumentation the causality of Brahman, but not of the pradhâna and similar principles, the Sûtrakâra will set forth in the second Adhyâya (II, I, 4, &c.).
Here the Sânkhya comes forward with a new objection. The difficulty stated by you, he says, viz. that the non-intelligent pradhâna cannot be the cause of the world, because thought is ascribed to the latter in the sacred texts, can be got over in another way also, viz. on the ground that non-intelligent things are sometimes figuratively spoken of as intelligent beings. We observe, for instance, that people say of a river-bank about to fall, 'the bank is inclined to fall (pipatishati),' and thus speak of a non-intelligent bank as if it possessed intelligence. So the pradhâna also, although non-intelligent, may, when about to create, be figuratively spoken of as thinking. Just as in ordinary life some intelligent person after having bathed, and dined, and formed the purpose of driving in the afternoon to his village, necessarily acts according to his purpose, so the pradhâna also acts by the necessity of its own nature, when transforming itself into the so-called great principle and the subsequent forms of evolution; it may therefore figuratively be spoken of as intelligent.--But what reason have you for setting aside the primary meaning of the word 'thought' and for taking it in a figurative sense?--The observation, the Sânkhya replies, that fire and water also are figuratively spoken of as intelligent beings in the two following scriptural passages, 'That fire thought; that water thought' (Kh. Up. VI, 2, 3; 4). We therefrom conclude that thought is to be taken in a figurative sense there
also where Being (Sat) is the agent, because it is mentioned in a chapter where (thought) is generally taken in a figurative sense 1.
To this argumentation of the Sânkhya the next Sutra replies:
6. If it is said that (the word 'seeing') has a figurative meaning, we deny that, on account of the word Self (being applied to the cause of the world).
Your assertion that the term 'Being' denotes the non-intelligent pradhâna, and that thought is ascribed to it in a figurative sense only, as it is to fire and water, is untenable. Why so? On account of the term 'Self.' For the passage Kh. Up. VI, 2, which begins 'Being only, my dear, this was in the beginning,' after having related the creation of fire, water, and earth ('it thought,' &c.; 'it sent forth fire,' &c.), goes on--denoting the thinking principle of which the whole chapter treats, and likewise fire, water, and earth, by the term--'divinities'--as follows, 'That divinity thought: Let me now enter those three divinities with this living Self (gîva. âtman) and evolve names and forms.' If we assumed that in this passage the non-intelligent pradhâna is figuratively spoken of as thinking, we should also have to assume that the same pradhâna--as once constituting the subject-matter of the chapter--is referred to by the term 'that divinity.' But in that case the divinity would not speak of the gîva as 'Self.' For by the term 'Giva' we must understand, according to the received meaning and the etymology of the word, the intelligent (principle) which rules over the body and sustains the vital airs. How could such a principle be the Self of the non-intelligent pradhâna? By 'Self' we understand (a being's) own nature, and it is clear that the intelligent Giva cannot constitute the nature of the non-intelligent pradhâna. If, on the other hand, we refer the whole chapter to the intelligent Brahman, to
which thought in its primary sense belongs, the use of the word 'Self' with reference to the Gîva is quite adequate. Then again there is the other passage, 'That which is that subtle essence, in it all that exists has its self. It is the true. It is the Self. That art thou, O Svetaketu' (Kh. Up. VI, 8, 7, &c.). Here the clause 'It is the Self' designates the Being of which the entire chapter treats, viz. the subtle Self, by the word 'Self,' and the concluding clause, 'that art thou, O Svetaketu,' declares the intelligent Svetaketu to be of the nature of the Self. Fire and water, on the other hand, are non-intelligent, since they are objects (of the mind), and since they are declared to be implicated in the evolution of names and forms. And as at the same time there is no reason for ascribing to them thought in its primary sense--while the employment of the word 'Self' furnishes such a reason with reference to the Sat--the thought attributed to them must be explained in a figurative sense, like the inclination of the river-bank. Moreover, the thinking on the part of fire and water is to be understood as dependent on their being ruled over by the Sat. On the other hand, the thought of the Sat is, on account of the word 'Self,' not to be understood in a figurative sense. 1
Here the Sânkhya comes forward with a new objection. The word 'Self,' he says, may be applied to the pradhâna, although unintelligent, because it is sometimes figuratively used in the sense of 'that which effects all purposes of another;' as, for instance, a king applies the word 'Self' to some servant who carries out all the king's intentions, 'Bhadrasena is my (other) Self.' For the pradhâna, which effects the enjoyment and the emancipation of the soul, serves the latter in the same way as a minister serves his king in the affairs of peace and war. Or else, it may be said, the one word 'Self' may refer to non-intelligent things as well as to intelligent beings, as we see that such expressions as 'the Self of the elements,' 'the Self of the senses,' are made use of, and as the one word 'light' (gyotis) denotes a certain
sacrifice (the gyotishtoma) as well as a flame. How then does it follow from the word 'Self' that the thinking (ascribed to the cause of the world) is not to be taken in a figurative sense?
To this last argumentation the Sûtrakâra replies:
7. (The pradhâna cannot be designated by the term 'Self') because release is taught of him who takes his stand on that (the Sat).
The non-intelligent pradhâna cannot be the object of the term 'Self' because in the passage Kh. Up. VI, 2 ff., where the subtle Sat which is under discussion is at first referred to in the sentence, 'That is the Self,' and where the subsequentclause, 'That art thou, O Svetaketu,' declares the intelligent Svetaketu to have his abode in the Self, a passage subsequent to the two quoted (viz. 'a man who has a teacher obtains true knowledge; for him there is only delay as long as he is not delivered, then he will be perfect') declares final release. For if the non-intelligent pradhâna were denoted by the term 'Sat' and did comprehend--by means of the phrase 'That art thou'--persons desirous of final release who as such are intelligent, the meaning could only be 'Thou art non-intelligent;' so that Scripture would virtually make contradictory statements to the disadvantage of man, and would thus cease to be a means of right knowledge. But to assume that the faultless sâstra is not a means of right knowledge, would be contrary to reason. And if the sâstra, considered as a means of right knowledge, should point out to a man desirous of release, but ignorant of the way to it, a non-intelligent Self as the real Self, he would--comparable to the blind man who had caught hold of the ox's tail 1--cling to the view of that being the Self,
and thus never be able to reach the real Self different from the false Self pointed out to him; hence he would be debarred from what constitutes man's good, and would incur evil. We must therefore conclude that, just as the sâstra teaches the agnihotra and similar performances in their true nature as means for those who are desirous of the heavenly world, so the passage 'that is the Self, that art thou, O Svetaketu,' teaches the Self in its true nature also. Only on that condition release for him whose thoughts are true can be taught by means of the simile in which the person to be released is compared to the man grasping the heated axe (Kh. Up. VI, 16). For in the other case, if the doctrine of the Satconstituting the Self had a secondary meaning only, the cognition founded on the passage 'that art thou' would be of the nature of a fanciful combination only 1, like the knowledge derived from the passage, 'I am the hymn' (Ait. Âr. II, 1, 2, 6), and would lead to a mere transitory reward; so that the simile quoted could not convey the doctrine of release. Therefore the word 'Self is applied to the subtle Sat not in a merely figurative sense. In the case of the faithful servant, on the other hand, the word 'Self' can--in such phrases as 'Bhadrasena is my Self'--be taken in a figurative sense, because the difference between master and servant is well established by perception. Moreover, to assume that, because words are sometimes seen to be used in figurative senses, a figurative sense may be resorted to in the case of those things also for which words (i.e. Vedic words) are the only means of knowledge, is altogether indefensible; for an assumption of that nature would lead to a general want of confidence. The assertion that the word 'Self' may (primarily) signify what is non-intelligent as well as what is intelligent, just as the word 'gyotis' signifies a certain sacrifice as well as light, is inadmissible, because we have no right to attribute to words a plurality of meanings. Hence (we rather assume that) the word 'Self' in its primary meaning refers to what is intelligent only and is then, by a figurative
attribution of intelligence, applied to the elements and the like also; whence such phrases as 'the Self of the elements,' 'the Self of the senses.' And even if we assume that the word 'Self' primarily signifies both classes of beings, we are unable to settle in any special case which of the two meanings the word has, unless we are aided either by the general heading under which it stands, or some determinative attributive word. But in the passage under discussion there is nothing to determine that the word refers to something non-intelligent, while, on the other hand, the Sat distinguished by thought forms the general heading, and Svetaketu, i.e. a being endowed with intelligence, is mentioned in close proximity. That a non-intelligent Self does not agree with Svetaketu, who possesses intelligence, we have already shown. All these circumstances determine the object of the word 'Self' here to be something intelligent. The word 'gyotis' does moreover not furnish an appropriate example; for according to common use it has the settled meaning of 'light' only, and is used in the sense of sacrifice only on account of the arthavâda assuming a similarity (of the sacrifice) to light.
A different explanation of the Sûtra is also possible. The preceding Sûtra may be taken completely to refute all doubts as to the word 'Self' having a figurative or double sense, and then the present Sûtra is to be explained as containing an independent reason, proving that the doctrine of the pradhâna being the general cause is untenable.
Hence the non-intelligent pradhâna is not denoted by the word 'Self.' This the teacher now proceeds to prove by an additional reason.
8. And (the pradhâna cannot be denoted by the word 'Self') because there is no statement of its having to be set aside.
If the pradhâna which is the Not-Self were denoted by the term 'Being' (Sat), and if the passage 'That is the Self, that art thou, O Svetaketu,' referred to the pradhâna; the teacher whose wish it is to impart instruction about the
true Brahman would subsequently declare that the pradhâna is to be set aside (and the true Brahman to be considered); for otherwise his pupil, having received the instruction about the pradhâna, might take his stand on the latter, looking upon it as the Non-Self. In ordinary life a man who wishes to point out to a friend the (small) star Arundhatî at first directs his attention to a big neighbouring star, saying 'that is Arundhatî,' although it is really not so; and thereupon he withdraws his first statement and points out the real Arundhatî. Analogously the teacher (if he intended to make his pupil understand the Self through the Non-Self) would in the end definitely state that the Self is not of the nature of the pradhâna. But no such statement is made; for the sixth Prapâthaka arrives at a conclusion based on the view that the Self is nothing but that which is (the Sat).
The word 'and' (in the Sûtra) is meant to notify that the contradiction of a previous statement (which would be implied in the rejected interpretation) is an additional reason for the rejection. Such a contradiction would result even if it were stated that the pradhâna is to be set aside. For in the beginning of the Prapâthaka it is intimated that through the knowledge of the cause everything becomes known. Compare the following consecutive sentences, 'Have you ever asked for that instruction by which we hear what cannot be heard, by which we perceive what cannot be perceived, by which we know what cannot be known? What is that instruction? As, my dear, by one clod of clay all that is made of clay is known, the modification (i.e. the effect) being a name merely which has its origin in speech, while the truth is that it is clay merely,' &c. Now if the term 'Sat' denoted the pradhâna, which is merely the cause of the aggregate of the objects of enjoyment, its knowledge, whether to be set aside or not to be set aside, could never lead to the knowledge of the aggregate of enjoyers (souls), because the latter is not an effect of the pradhâna. Therefore the pradhâna is not denoted by the term 'Sat.'--For this the Sûtrakâra gives a further reason.
9. On account of (the individual Soul) going to the Self (the Self cannot be the pradhâna).
With reference to the cause denoted by the word 'Sat,' Scripture says, 'When a man sleeps here, then, my dear, he becomes united with the Sat, he is gone to his own (Self). Therefore they say of him, "he sleeps" (svapiti), because he is gone to his own (svam apîta).' (Kh. Up. VI, 8, 1.) This passage explains the well-known verb 'to sleep,' with reference to the soul. The word, 'his own,' denotes the Self which had before been denoted by the word Sat; to the Self he (the individual soul) goes, i.e. into it it is resolved, according to the acknowledged sense of api-i, which means 'to be resolved into.' The individual soul (gîva) is called awake as long as being connected with the various external objects by means of the modifications of the mind--which thus constitute limiting adjuncts of the soul--it apprehends those external objects, and identifies itself with the gross body, which is one of those external objects 1. When, modified by the impressions which the external objects have left, it sees dreams, it is denoted by the term 'mind 2.' When, on the cessation of the two limiting adjuncts (i.e. the subtle and the gross bodies), and the consequent absence of the modifications due to the adjuncts, it is, in the state of deep sleep, merged in the Self as it were, then it is said to be asleep (resolved into the Self). A similar etymology of the word 'hridaya' is given by sruti, 'That Self abides in the heart. And this is the etymological explanation: he is in the heart (hridi ayam).' (Kh. Up. VIII, 3, 3.) The words asanâya and udanyâ are similarly etymologised: 'water is carrying away what has been eaten by him;' 'fire carries away what has been drunk by him' (Kh. Up. VI, 8, 3; 5). Thus the passage quoted above explains the resolution (of the soul) into the Self, denoted by the term 'Sat,' by means of the etymology of the word 'sleep.' But the intelligent
[paragraph continues] Self can clearly not resolve itself into the non-intelligent pradhâna. If, again, it were said that the pradhâna is denoted by the word 'own,' because belonging to the Self (as being the Self's own), there would remain the same absurd statement as to an intelligent entity being resolved into a non-intelligent one. Moreover another scriptural passage (viz. 'embraced by the intelligent--prâgña--Self he knows nothing that is without, nothing that is within,' Bri. Up. IV, 3, 21) declares that the soul in the condition of dreamless sleep is resolved into an intelligent entity. Hence that into which all intelligent souls are resolved is an intelligent cause of the world, denoted by the word 'Sat,' and not the pradhâna.--A further reason for the pradhâna not being the cause is subjoined.
10. On account of the uniformity of view (of the Vedânta-texts, Brahman is to be considered the cause).
If, as in the argumentations of the logicians, so in the Vedânta-texts also, there were set forth different views concerning the nature of the cause, some of them favouring the theory of an intelligent Brahman being the cause of the world, others inclining towards the pradhâna doctrine, and others again tending in a different direction; then it might perhaps be possible to interpret such passages as those, which speak of the cause of the world as thinking, in such a manner as to make them fall in with the pradhâna theory. But the stated condition is absent since all the Vedânta-texts uniformly teach that the cause of the world is the intelligent Brahman. Compare, for instance, 'As from a burning fire sparks proceed in all directions, thus from that Self the prânas proceed each towards its place; from the prânas the gods, from the gods the worlds' (Kau. Up. III, 3). And 'from that Self sprang ether' (Taitt. Up. II, 1). And 'all this springs from the Self' (Kh. Up. VII, 26, 1). And 'this prâna is born from the Self' (Pr. Up. III, 3); all which passages declare the Self to be the cause. That the word 'Self' denotes an intelligent being, we have already shown.
And that all the Vedânta-texts advocate the same view as to an intelligent cause of the world, greatly strengthens their claim to be considered a means of right knowledge, just as the corresponding claims of the senses are strengthened by their giving us information of a uniform character regarding colour and the like. The all-knowing Brahman is therefore to be considered the cause of the world, 'on account of the uniformity of view (of the Vedânta-texts).'--A further reason for this conclusion is advanced.
11. And because it is directly stated in Scripture (therefore the all-knowing Brahman is the cause of the world).
That the all-knowing Lord is the cause of the world, is also declared in a text directly referring to him (viz. the all-knowing one), viz. in the following passage of the mantropanishad of the Svetâsvataras (VI, 9) where the word 'he' refers to the previously mentioned all-knowing Lord, 'He is the cause, the lord of the lords of the organs, and there is of him neither parent nor lord.' It is therefore finally settled that the all-knowing Brahman is the general cause, not the non-intelligent pradhâna or anything else.
In what precedes we have shown, availing ourselves of appropriate arguments, that the Vedânta-texts exhibited under Sûtras I, I-II, are capable of proving that the all-knowing, all-powerful Lord is the cause of the origin, subsistence, and dissolution of the world. And we have explained, by pointing to the prevailing uniformity of view (I, 10), that all Vedânta-texts whatever maintain an intelligent cause. The question might therefore be asked, 'What reason is there for the subsequent part of the Vedânta-sûtras?' (as the chief point is settled already.)
To this question we reply as follows: Brahman is apprehended under two forms; in the first place as qualified by limiting conditions owing to the multiformity of the evolutions of name and form (i.e. the multiformity of the created world; in the second place as being the opposite of this, i.e. free from all limiting conditions whatever. Compare
the following passages: Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15, 'For where there is duality as it were, then one sees the other; but when the Self only is all this, how should he see another?' Kh. Up. VII, 24, 1, 'Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else, that is the greatest. Where one sees something else, hears something else, understands something else, that is the little. The greatest is immortal; the little is mortal;' Taitt. Âr. III, 12, 7, 'The wise one, who having produced all forms and made all names, sits calling (the things by their names 1);' Sv. Up. VI, 19, 'Who is without parts, without actions, tranquil, without faults, without taint, the highest bridge of immortality, like a fire that has consumed its fuel;' Bri. Up. II, 3, 6, 'Not so, not so;' Bri. Up. III, 8, 8, 'It is neither coarse nor fine, neither short nor long;' and 'defective is one place, perfect the other.' All these passages, with many others, declare Brahman to possess a double nature, according as it is the object either of Knowledge or of Nescience. As long as it is the object of Nescience, there are applied to it the categories of devotee, object of devotion, and the like 2. The different modes of devotion lead to different results, some to exaltation, some to gradual emancipation, some to success in works; those modes are distinct on account of the distinction of the different qualities and limiting conditions 3. And although the one highest Self only, i.e. the Lord distinguished by those different qualities constitutes the object of devotion, still the fruits (of devotion) are distinct, according as the devotion refers to different qualities. Thus Scripture says, 'According as man worships him, that he becomes;' and, 'According to what his thought is in this world, so will he be when he has departed
this life' (Kh. Up. III, 14, 1). Smriti also makes an analogous statement, 'Remembering whatever form of being he leaves this body in the end, into that form he enters, being impressed with it through his constant meditation' (Bha. Gîtâ VIII, 6).
Although one and the same Self is hidden in all beings movable as well as immovable, yet owing to the gradual rise of excellence of the minds which form the limiting conditions (of the Self), Scripture declares that the Self, although eternally unchanging and uniform, reveals itself 1 in a graduated series of beings, and so appears in forms of various dignity and power; compare, for instance (Ait. Âr. II, 3, 2, 1), 'He who knows the higher manifestation of the Self in him 2,' &c. Similarly Smriti remarks, 'Whatever being there is of power, splendour or might, know it to have sprung from portions of my glory' (Bha. Gîtâ, X, 41); a passage declaring that wherever there is an excess of power and so on, there the Lord is to be worshipped. Accordingly here (i.e. in the Sûtras) also the teacher will show that the golden person in the disc of the Sun is the highest Self, on account of an indicating sign, viz. the circumstance of his being unconnected with any evil (Ved. Sû. I, 1, 20); the same is to be observed with regard to I, 1, 22 and other Sûtras. And, again, an enquiry will have to be undertaken into the meaning of the texts, in order that a settled conclusion may be reached concerning that knowledge of the Self which leads to instantaneous release; for although that knowledge is conveyed by means of various limiting conditions, yet no special connexion with limiting conditions is intended to be intimated, in consequence of which there arises a doubt whether it (the
knowledge) has the higher or the lower Brahman for its object; so, for instance, in the case of Sûtra I, 1, 12 1. From all this it appears that the following part of the Sâstra has a special object of its own, viz. to show that the Vedânta-textsteach, on the one hand, Brahman as connected with limiting conditions and forming an object of devotion, and on the other hand, as being free from the connexion with such conditions and constituting an object of knowledge. The refutation, moreover, of non-intelligent causes different from Brahman, which in I, 1, 10 was based on the uniformity of the meaning of the Vedânta-texts, will be further detailed by the Sûtrakâra, who, while explaining additional passages relating to Brahman, will preclude all causes of a nature opposite to that of Brahman.
12. (The Self) consisting of bliss (is the highest Self) on account of the repetition (of the word 'bliss,' as denoting the highest Self).
The Taittirîya-upanishad (II, 1-5), after having enumerated the Self consisting of food, the Self consisting of the vital airs, the Self consisting of mind, and the Self consisting of understanding, says, 'Different from this which consists of understanding is the other inner Self which consists of bliss.' Here the doubt arises whether the phrase, 'that which consists of bliss,' denotes the highest Brahman of which it had been said previously, that 'It is true Being, Knowledge, without end,' or something different from Brahman, just as the
[paragraph continues] Self consisting of food, &c., is different from it.--The pûrvapakshin maintains that the Self consisting of bliss is a secondary (not the principal) Self, and something different from Brahman; as it forms a link in a series of Selfs, beginning with the Self consisting of food, which all are not the principal Self. To the objection that even thus the Self consisting of bliss may be considered as the primary Self, since it is stated to be the innermost of all, he replies that this cannot be admitted, because the Self of bliss is declared to have joy and so on for its limbs, and because it is said to be embodied. If it were identical with the primary Self, joy and the like would not touch it; but the text expressly says 'Joy is its head;' and about its being embodied we read, 'Of that former one this one is the embodied Self' (Taitt. Up. II, 6), i.e. of that former Self of Understanding this Self of bliss is the embodied Self. And of what is embodied, the contact with joy and pain cannot be prevented. Therefore the Self which consists of bliss is nothing but the transmigrating Soul.
To this reasoning we make the following reply:--By the Self consisting of bliss we have to understand the highest Self, 'on account of repetition.' For the word 'bliss' is repeatedly applied to the highest Self. So Taitt. Up. II, 7, where, after the clause 'That is flavour'--which refers back to the Self consisting of bliss, and declares it to be of the nature of flavour--we read, 'For only after having perceived flavour can any one perceive delight. Who could breathe, who could breathe forth if that Bliss existed not in the ether (of the heart)? For he alone causes blessedness;' and again, II, 8, 'Now this is an examination of Bliss;' 'He reaches that Self consisting of Bliss;' and again, II, 9, 'He who knows the Bliss of Brahman fears nothing;' and in addition, 'He understood that Bliss is Brahman' (III, 6). And in another scriptural passage also (Bri. Up. III, 9, 28), 'Knowledge and bliss is Brahman,' we see the word 'bliss' applied just to Brahman. As, therefore, the word 'bliss' is repeatedly used with reference to Brahman, we conclude that the Self consisting of bliss is Brahman also. The objection that the Self consisting of bliss can only denote
the secondary Self (the Samsârin), because it forms a link in a series of secondary Selfs, beginning with the one consisting of food, is of no force, for the reason that the Self consisting of bliss is the innermost of all. The Sâstra, wishing to convey information about the primary Self, adapts itself to common notions, in so far as it at first refers to the body consisting of food, which, although not the Self, is by very obtuse people identified with it; it then proceeds from the body to another Self, which has the same shape with the preceding one, just as the statue possesses the form of the mould into which the molten brass had been poured; then, again, to another one, always at first representing the Non-Self as the Self, for the purpose of easier comprehension; and it finally teaches that the innermost Self 1, which consists of bliss, is the real Self. Just as when a man, desirous of pointing out the star Arundhatî to another man, at first points to several stars which are not Arundhatî as being Arundhatî, while only the star pointed out in the end is the real Arundhatî; so here also the Self consisting of bliss is the real Self on account of its being the innermost (i.e. the last). Nor can any weight be allowed to the objection that the attribution of joy and so on, as head, &c., cannot possibly refer to the real Self; for this attribution is due to the immediately preceding limiting condition (viz. the Self consisting of understanding, the so-called vigñânakosa), and does not really belong to the real Self. The possession of a bodily nature also is ascribed to the Self of bliss, only because it is represented as a link in the chain of bodies which begins with the Self consisting of food, and is not ascribed to it in the same direct sense in which it is predicated of the transmigrating Self. Hence the Self consisting of bliss is the highest Brahman.
13. If (it be objected that the term ânandamaya, consisting of bliss, can) not (denote the highest Self) on account of its being a word denoting a modification
[paragraph continues] (or product); (we declare the objection to be) not (valid) on account of abundance, (the idea of which may be expressed by the affix maya.)
Here the pûrvapakshin raises the objection that the word ânandamaya (consisting of bliss) cannot denote the highest Self.--Why?--Because the word ânandamaya is understood to denote something different from the original word (i.e. the word ânanda without the derivative affix maya), viz. a modification; according to the received sense of the affix maya. 'Ânandamaya' therefore denotes a modification, just as annamaya (consisting of food) and similar words do.
This objection is, however, not valid, because 'maya' is also used in the sense of abundance, i.e. denotes that where there is abundance of what the original word expresses. So, for instance, the phrase 'the sacrifice is annamaya' means 'the sacrifice is abounding in food' (not 'is some modification or product of food'). Thus here Brahman also, as abounding in bliss, is called ânandamaya. That Brahman does abound in bliss follows from the passage (Taitt. Up. II, 8), where, after the bliss of each of the different classes of beings, beginning with man, has been declared to be a hundred times greater than the bliss of the immediately preceding class, the bliss of Brahman is finally proclaimed to be absolutely supreme. Maya therefore denotes abundance.14. And because he is declared to be the cause of it, (i.e. of bliss; therefore maya is to be taken as denoting abundance.)
Maya must be understood to denote abundance, for that reason also that Scripture declares Brahman to be the cause of bliss, 'For he alone causes bliss' (Taitt. Up. II, 7). For he who causes bliss must himself abound in bliss; just as we infer in ordinary life, that a man who enriches others must himself possess abundant wealth. As, therefore, maya may be taken to mean 'abundant,' the Self consisting of bliss is the highest Self.
15. Moreover (the ânandamaya is Brahman because)
the same (Brahman) which had been referred to in the mantra is sung, (i.e. proclaimed in the Brâhmana passage as the ânandamaya.)
The Self, consisting of joy, is the highest Brahman for the following reason also 1. On the introductory words 'he who knows Brahman attains the highest' (Taitt. Up. II, 1), there follows a mantra proclaiming that Brahman, which forms the general topic of the chapter, possesses the qualities of true existence, intelligence, infinity; after that it is said that fromBrahman there sprang at first the ether and then all other moving and non-moving things, and that, entering into the beings which it had emitted, Brahman stays in the recess, inmost of all; thereupon, for its better comprehension, the series of the different Selfs ('different from this is the inner Self,' &c.) are enumerated, and then finally the same Brahmanwhich the mantra had proclaimed, is again proclaimed in the passage under discussion, 'different from this is the other inner Self, which consists of bliss.' To assume that a mantra and the Brâhmana passage belonging to it have the same sense is only proper, on account of the absence of contradiction (which results therefrom); for otherwise we should be driven to the unwelcome inference that the text drops the topic once started, and turns to an altogether new subject.
Nor is there mentioned a further inner Self different from the Self consisting of bliss, as in the case of the Self consisting of food, &c. 2 On the same (i.e. the Self consisting of bliss) is founded, 'This same knowledge of Bhrigu and Varuna; he understood that bliss is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. III, 6). Therefore the Self consisting of bliss is the highest Self.
16. (The Self consisting of bliss is the highest Self,) not the other (i.e. the individual Soul), on account of the impossibility (of the latter assumption).
And for the following reason also the Self consisting of bliss is the highest Self only, not the other, i.e. the one which isother than the Lord, i.e. the transmigrating individual soul. The personal soul cannot be denoted by the term 'the one consisting of bliss.' Why? On account of the impossibility. For Scripture says, with reference to the Self consisting of bliss, 'He wished, may I be many, may I grow forth. He brooded over himself. After he had thus brooded, he sent forth whatever there is.' Here, the desire arising before the origination of a body, &c., the non-separation of the effects created from the creator, and the creation of all effects whatever, cannot possibly belong to any Self different from the highest Self.
17. And on account of the declaration of the difference (of the two, the ânandamaya cannot be the transmigrating soul).
The Self consisting of bliss cannot be identical with the transmigrating soul, for that reason also that in the sectiontreating 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 Sruti- and Smriti-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 otherseer but he' (Bri. 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) 1 the Lord differs from the soul (vigñânâtman) 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 Sûtras have been propounded.
18. And on account of desire (being mentioned as belonging to the ânandamaya) no regard is to be had to what is inferred, (i.e. to the pradhâna inferred by the Sânkhyas.)
Since in the passage 'he desired, may I be many, may I grow forth,' which occurs in the chapter treating of the ânandamaya (Taitt. Up. II, 6), the quality of feeling desire is mentioned, that which is inferred, i.e. the non-intelligent pradhâna assumed by the Sânkhyas, cannot be regarded as being the Self consisting of bliss and the cause of the world. Although the opinion that the pradhâna is the
cause of the world, has already been refuted in the Sûtra I, 1, 5, it is here, where a favourable opportunity presents itself, refuted for a second time on the basis of the scriptural passage about the cause of the world feeling desire, for the purpose of showing the uniformity of view (of all scriptural passages).
19. And, moreover, it (i.e. Scripture) teaches the joining of this (i.e. the individual soul) with that, (i.e. the Self consisting of bliss), on that (being fully known).
And for the following reason also the term, 'the Self consisting of bliss,' cannot denote either the pradhâna or the individual soul. Scripture teaches that the individual soul when it has reached knowledge is joined, i.e. identified, with the Self of bliss under discussion, i.e. obtains final release. Compare the following passage (Taitt. Up. II, 7), 'When he finds freedom from fear, and rest in that which is invisible, incorporeal, undefined, unsupported, then he has obtained the fearless. For if he makes but the smallest distinction in it there is fear for him.' That means, if he sees in that Self consisting of bliss even a small difference in the form of non-identity, then he finds no release from the fear of transmigratory existence. But when he, by means of the cognition of absolute identity, finds absolute rest in the Self consisting of bliss, then he is freed from the fear of transmigratory existence. But this (finding absolute rest) is possible only when we understand by the Self consisting of bliss, the highest Self, and not either the pradhâna or the individualsoul. Hence it is proved that the Self consisting of bliss is the highest Self.
But, in reality, the following remarks have to be made concerning the true meaning of the word 'ânandamaya 1.' On what grounds, we ask, can it be maintained that the
affix 'maya' after having, in the series of compounds beginning with annamaya and ending with vigñânamaya, denoted mere modifications, should all at once, in the word ânandamaya, which belongs to the same series, denote abundance, so that ânandamaya would refer to Brahman? If it should be said that the assumption is made on account of the governing influence of the Brahman proclaimed in the mantra (which forms the beginning of the chapter, Taitt. Up. II), we reply that therefrom it would follow that also the Selfs consisting of food, breath, &c., denote Brahman (because the governing influence of the mantra extends to them also).--The advocate of the former interpretation will here, perhaps, restate an argument already made use of above, viz. as follows: To assume that the Selfs consisting of food, and so on, are not Brahman is quite proper, because after each of them an inner Self is mentioned. After the Self of bliss, on the other hand, no further inner Self is mentioned, and hence it must be considered to be Brahman itself; otherwise we should commit the mistake of dropping the subject-matter in hand (as which Brahman is pointed out by the mantra), and taking up a new topic.--But to this we reply that, although unlike the case of the Selfs consisting of food, &c., no inner Self is mentioned after the Self consisting of bliss, still the latter cannot be considered as Brahman, because with reference to the Self consisting of bliss Scripture declares, 'Joy is its head. Satisfaction is its right arm. Great satisfaction is its left arm. Bliss is its trunk. Brahman is its tail, its support.' Now, here the very same Brahman which, in the mantra, had been introduced as the subject of the discussion, is called the tail, the support; while the five involucra, extending from the involucrum of food up to the involucrum of bliss, are merely introduced for the purpose of setting forth the knowledge of Brahman. How, then, can it be maintained that our interpretation implies the needless dropping of the general subject-matter and the introduction of a new topic?--But, it may again be objected, Brahman is called the tail, i.e. a member of the Self consisting of bliss; analogously to those passages in which a tail and
other members are ascribed to the Selfs consisting of food and so on. On what grounds, then, can we claim to know that Brahman (which is spoken of as a mere member, i.e. a subordinate matter) is in reality the chief matter referred to?--From the fact, we reply, of Brahman being the general subject-matter of the chapter.--But, it will again be said, that interpretation also according to which Brahman is cognised as a mere member of the ânandamaya does not involve a dropping of the subject-matter, since the ânandamaya himself is Brahman.--But, we reply, in that case one and the same Brahman would at first appear as the whole, viz. as the Self consisting of bliss, and thereupon as a mere part, viz. as the tail; which is absurd. And as one of the two alternatives must be preferred, it is certainly appropriate to refer to Brahman the clause 'Brahman is the tail' which contains the word 'Brahman,' and not the sentence about the Self of Bliss in which Brahman is not mentioned. Moreover, Scripture, in continuation of the phrase, 'Brahman is the tail, the support,' goes on, 'On this there is also the following sloka: He who knows the Brahman as non-existing becomes himself non-existing. He who knows Brahman as existing him we know himself as existing.' As this sloka, without any reference to the Self of bliss, states the advantage and disadvantage connected with the knowledge of the being and non-being of Brahman only, we conclude that the clause, 'Brahman is the tail, the support,' represents Brahman as the chief matter (not as a merely subordinate matter). About the being or non-being of the Self of bliss, on the other hand, a doubt is not well possible, since the Self of bliss distinguished by joy, satisfaction, &c., is well known to every one.--But if Brahman is the principal matter, how can it be designated as the mere tail of the Self of bliss ('Brahman is the tail, the support')?--Its being called so, we reply, forms no objection; for the word tail here denotes that which is of the nature of a tail, so that we have to understand that the bliss of Brahman is not a member (in its literal sense), but the support or abode, the one nest (resting-place) of all worldly bliss. Analogously another
scriptural passage declares, 'All other creatures live on a small portion of that bliss' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 32). Further, if by the Self consisting of bliss we were to understand Brahman we should have to assume that the Brahman meant is the Brahman distinguished by qualities (savisesha), because it is said to have joy and the like for its members. But this assumption is contradicted by a complementary passage (II, 9) which declares that Brahman is the object neither of mind nor speech, and so shows that the Brahman meant is the (absolute) Brahman (devoid of qualities), 'From whence all speech, with the mind, turns away unable to reach it, he who knows the bliss of that Brahman fears nothing.' Moreover, if we speak of something as 'abounding in bliss 1,' we thereby imply the co-existence of pain; for the word 'abundance' in its ordinary sense implies the existence of a small measure of what is opposed to the thing whereof there is abundance. But the passage so understood would be in conflict with another passage (Kh. Up. VII, 24), 'Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else, that is the Infinite;' which declares that in the Infinite, i.e. Brahman, there is nothing whatever different from it. Moreover, as joy, &c. differ in each individual body, the Self consisting of bliss also is a different one in each body. Brahman, on the other hand, does not differ according to bodies; for the mantra at the beginning of the chapter declares it to be true Being, knowledge, infinite, and another passage says, 'He is the one God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the Self within all beings' (Sv. Up. VI, 11). Nor, again, does Scripture exhibit a frequent repetition of the word 'ânandamaya;' for merely the radical part of the compound (i.e. the word ânanda without the affix maya) is repeated in all the following passages; 'It is a flavour, for only after seizing flavour can any one seize bliss. Who could breathe, who could breathe forth, if that bliss existed not in the ether? For he alone causes blessedness;' 'Now this is an examination of bliss;' 'He who
knows the bliss of that Brahman fears nothing;' 'He understood that bliss is Brahman.' If it were a settled matter that Brahman is denoted by the term, 'the Self consisting of bliss,' then we could assume that in the subsequent passages, where merely the word 'bliss' is employed, the term 'consisting of bliss' is meant to be repeated; but that the Self consisting of bliss is not Brahman, we have already proved by means of the reason of joy being its head, and so on. Hence, as in another scriptural passage, viz. 'Brahman is knowledge and bliss' (Bri. Up. III, 9, 28), the mere word 'bliss' denotes Brahman, we must conclude that also in such passages as, 'If that bliss existed not in the ether,' the word bliss is used with reference to Brahman, and is not meant to repeat the term 'consisting of bliss.' The repetition of the full compound, 'consisting of bliss,' which occurs in the passage, 'He reaches that Self consisting of bliss' (Taitt. Up. II, 8), does not refer to Brahman, as it is contained in the enumeration of Non-Selfs, comprising the Self of food, &c., all of which are mere effects, and all of which are represented as things to be reached.--But, it may be said, if the Self consisting of bliss, which is said to have to be reached, were not Brahman--just as the Selfs consisting of food, &c. are not Brahman--then it would not be declared (in the passage immediately following) that he who knows obtains for his reward Brahman.--This objection we invalidate by the remark that the text makes its declaration as to Brahman--which is the tail, the support--being reached by him who knows, by the very means of the declaration as to the attainment of the Self of bliss; as appears from the passage, 'On this there is also this sloka, from which all speech returns,' &c. With reference, again, to the passage, 'He desired: may I be many, may I grow forth,' which is found in proximity to the mention of the Self consisting of bliss, we remark that it is in reality connected (not with the Self of bliss but with) Brahman, which is mentioned in the still nearer passage, 'Brahman is the tail, the support,' and does therefore not intimate that the Self of bliss is Brahman. And, on account of its referring to the passage last quoted ('it desired,' &c.), the later passage
also, 'That is flavour,' &c., has not the Self of bliss for its subject.--But, it may be objected, the (neuter word) Brahman cannot possibly be designated by a masculine word as you maintain is done in the passage, 'He desired,' &c.--In reply to this objection we point to the passage (Taitt. Up. II, 1), 'From that Self sprang ether,' where, likewise, the masculine word 'Self' can refer to Brahman only, since the latter is the general topic of the chapter. In the knowledge of Bhrigu and Varuna finally ('he knew that bliss is Brahman'), the word 'bliss' is rightly understood to denote Brahman, since we there meet neither with the affix 'maya,' nor with any statement as to joy being its head, and the like. To ascribe to Brahman in itself joy, and so on, as its members, is impossible, unless we have recourse to certain, however minute, distinctions qualifying Brahman; and that the whole chapter is not meant to convey a knowledge of the qualified (savisesha) Brahman is proved by the passage (quoted above), which declares that Brahman transcends speech and mind. We therefore must conclude that the affix maya, in the word ânandamaya, does not denote abundance, but expresses a mere effect, just as it does in the words annamaya and the subsequent similar compounds.
The Sûtras are therefore to be explained as follows. There arises the question whether the passage, 'Brahman is the tail, the support,' is to be understood as intimating that Brahman is a mere member of the Self consisting of bliss, or that it is the principal matter. If it is said that it must be considered as a mere member, the reply is, 'The Self consisting of bliss on account of the repetition.' That means: Brahman, which in the passage 'the Self consisting of bliss,' &c., is spoken of as the tail, the support, is designated as the principal matter (not as something subordinate). On account of the repetition; for in the memorial sloka, 'he becomes himself non-existing,' Brahman alone is reiterated. 'If not, on account of the word denoting a modification; not so, on account of abundance.' In this Sûtra the word 'modification' is meant to convey the sense of member. The objection that on account of
the word 'tail,' which denotes a mere member, Brahman cannot be taken as the principal matter must be refuted. This we do by remarking that there is no difficulty, since a word denoting a member may be introduced into the passage on account of prâkurya 1. Prâkurya here means a phraseology abounding in terms denoting members. After the different members, beginning with the head and ending with the tail, of the Selfs, consisting of food, &c. have been enumerated, there are also mentioned the head and the other limbs of the Self of bliss, and then it is added, 'Brahman is the tail, the support;' the intention being merely to introduce some more terms denoting members, not to convey the meaning of 'member,' (an explanation which is impossible) because the preceding Sûtra already has proved Brahman (not to be a member, but) to be the principal matter. 'And because he is declared to be the cause of it.' That means: Brahman is declared to be the cause of the entire aggregate of effects, inclusive of the Self, consisting of bliss, in the following passage, 'He created all whatever there is' (Taitt. Up. II, 6). And as Brahman is the cause, it cannot at the same time be called the member, in the literal sense of the word, of the Self of bliss, which is nothing but one of Brahman's effects. The other Sûtras also (which refer to the Self of bliss 2) are to be considered, as well as they may, as conveying a knowledge of Brahman, which (Brahman) is referred to in the passage about the tail.
20. The one within (the sun and the eye) (is the highest Lord), on account of his qualities being declared 3.
The following passage is found in Scripture (Kh. Up. I, 6, 6 ff.), "Now that person bright as gold who is seen within
the sun, with beard bright as gold and hair bright as gold, bright as gold altogether to the very tips of his nails, whose eyes are like blue lotus; his name is Ut, for he has risen (udita) above all evil. He also who knows this rises above all evil. So much with reference to the devas.' And further on, with reference to the body, 'Now the person who is seen in the eye,' &c. Here the following doubt presents itself. Do these passages point out, as the object of devotion directed on the sphere of the sun and the eye, merely some special individual soul, which, by means of a large measure of knowledge and pious works, has raised itself to a position of eminence; or do they refer to the eternally perfect highest Lord?
The pûrvapakshin takes the former view. An individual soul, he says, is referred to, since Scripture speaks of a definite shape. To the person in the sun special features are ascribed, such as the possession of a beard as bright as gold and so on, and the same features manifestly belong to the person in the eye also, since they are expressly transferred to it in the passage, 'The shape of this person is the same as the shape of that person.' That, on the other hand, no shape can be ascribed to the highest Lord, follows from the passage (Kau. Up. I,3,15), 'That which is without sound, without touch, without form, without decay.' That an individual soul is meant follows moreover from the fact that a definite abode is mentioned, 'He who is in the sun; he who is in the eye.' About the highest Lord, who has no special abode, but abides in his own glory, no similar statement can be made; compare, for instance, the two following passages, 'Where does he rest? In his own glory?' (Kh. Up. VII, 24, 1); and 'like the ether he is omnipresent, eternal.' A further argument for our view is supplied by the fact that the might (of the being in question) is said to be limited; for the passage, 'He is lord of the worlds beyond that, and of the wishes of the devas,' indicates the
limitation of the might of the person in the sun; and the passage, 'He is lord of the worlds beneath that and of the wishes of men,' indicates the limitation of the might of the person in the eye. No limit, on the other hand, can be admitted of the might of the highest Lord, as appears from the passage (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22), 'He is the Lord of all, the king of all things, the protector of all things. He is a bank and a boundary so that these worlds may not be confounded;' which passage intimates that the Lord is free from all limiting distinctions. For all these reasons the person in the eye and the sun cannot be the highest Lord.
To this reasoning the Sûtra replies, 'The one within, on account of his qualities being declared.' The person referred to in the passages concerning the person within the sun and the person within the eye is not a transmigrating being, but the highest Lord. Why? Because his qualities are declared. For the qualities of the highest Lord are indicated in the text as follows. At first the name of the person within the sun is mentioned--'his name is Ut'--and then this name is explained on the ground of that person being free from all evil, 'He has risen above all evil.' The same name thus explained is then transferred to the person in the eye, in the clause, 'the name of the one is the name of the other.' Now, entire freedom from sin is attributed in Scripture to the highest Self only; so, for instance (Kh. Up. VIII, 7, 1), 'The Self which is free from sin,' &c. Then, again, there is the passage, 'He is Rik, he is Sâman, Uktha, Yagus, Brahman,' which declares the person in the eye to be the Self of the Rik, Sâman, and so on; which is possible only if that person is the Lord who, as being the cause of all, is to be considered as the Self of all. Moreover, the text, after having stated in succession Rik and Sâman to have earth and fire for their Self with reference to the Devas, and, again, speech and breath with reference to the body, continues, 'Rik and Sâman are his joints,' with reference to the Devas, and 'the joints of the one are the joints of the other,' with reference to the body. Now this statement
also can be made only with regard to that which is the Self of all. Further, the passage, 'Therefore all who sing to the Vînâ sing him, and from him also they obtain wealth,' shows that the being spoken of is the sole topic of all worldly songs; which again holds true of the highest Lord only. That absolute command over the objects of worldly desires (as displayed, for instance, in the bestowal of wealth) entitles us to infer that the Lord is meant, appears also from the following passage of the Bhagavadgîtâ (X, 41), 'Whatever being there is possessing power, glory, or strength, know it to be produced from a portion of my energy 1.' To the objection that the statements about bodily shape contained in the clauses, 'With a beard bright as gold,' &c., cannot refer to the highest Lord, we reply that the highest Lord also may, when he pleases, assume a bodily shape formed of Mâyâ, in order to gratify thereby his devout worshippers. Thus Smriti also says, 'That thou seest me, O Nârada, is the Mâyâ emitted by me; do not then look on me as endowed with the qualities of all beings.' We have further to note that expressions such as, 'That which is without sound, without touch, without form, without decay,' are made use of where instruction is given about the nature of the highest Lord in so far as he is devoid of all qualities; while passages such as the following one, 'He to whom belong all works, all desires, all sweet odours and tastes' (Kh. Up. III, 14, 2), which represent the highest Lord as the object of devotion, speak of him, who is the cause of everything, as possessing some of the qualities of his effects. Analogously he may be spoken of, in the passage under discussion, as having a beard bright as gold and so on. With reference to the objection that the highest Lord cannot be meant because an abode is spoken of, we remark that, for the purposes of devout meditation, a special abode may be assigned to Brahman, although it abides in its own glory only; for as Brahman is, like ether, all-pervading, it may be viewed as
being within the Self of all beings. The statement, finally, about the limitation of Brahman's might, which depends on the distinction of what belongs to the gods and what to the body, has likewise reference to devout meditation only. From all this it follows that the being which Scripture states to be within the eye and the sun is the highest Lord.
21. And there is another one (i.e. the Lord who is different from the individual souls animating the sun, &c.), on account of the declaration of distinction.
There is, moreover, one distinct from the individual souls which animate the sun and other bodies, viz. the Lord who rules within; whose distinction (from all individual souls) is proclaimed in the following scriptural passage, 'He who dwells in the sun and within the sun, whom the sun does not know, whose body the sun is, and who rules the sun within; he is thy Self, the ruler within, the immortal' (Bri. Up. III, 7, 9). Here the expression, 'He within the sun whom the sun does not know,' clearly indicates that the Ruler within is distinct from that cognising individual soul whose body is the sun. With that Ruler within we have to identify the person within the sun, according to the tenet of the sameness of purport of all Vedânta-texts. It thus remains a settled conclusion that the passage under discussion conveys instruction about the highest Lord.
22. The âkâsa, i.e. ether (is Brahman) on account of characteristic marks (of the latter being mentioned).
In the Khândogya (I, 9) the following passage is met with, 'What is the origin of this world?' 'Ether,' he replied. 'For all these beings take their rise from the ether only, and return into the ether. Ether is greater than these, ether is their rest.'--Here the following doubt arises. Does the word 'ether' denote the highest Brahman or the elemental ether?--Whence the doubt?--Because the word is seen to be used in both senses. Its use in the sense of 'elemental ether' is well established in ordinary as well as in Vedic speech;
and, on the other hand, we see that it is sometimes used to denote Brahman, viz. in cases where we ascertain, either from some complementary sentence or from the fact of special qualities being mentioned, that Brahman is meant. So, for instance, Taitt. Up. II, 7, 'If that bliss existed not in the ether;' and Kh. Up. VIII, 14, 'That which is called ether is the revealer of all forms and names; that within which forms and names are 1 that is Brahman.' Hence the doubt.--Which sense is then to be adopted in our case?--The sense of elemental ether, the pûrvapakshin replies; because this sense belongs to the word more commonly, and therefore presents itself to the mind more readily. The word 'ether' cannot betaken in both senses equally, because that would involve a (faulty) attribution of several meanings to one and the same word. Hence the term 'ether' applies to Brahman in a secondary (metaphorical) sense only; on account of Brahman being in many of its attributes, such as all pervadingness and the like, similar to ether. The rule is, that when the primary sense of a word is possible, the word must not be taken in a secondary sense. And in the passage under discussion only the primary sense of the word 'ether' is admissible. Should it be objected that, if we refer the passage under discussion to the elemental ether, a complementary passage ('for all these beings take their rise from the ether only, &c.') cannot be satisfactorily accounted for; we reply that the elemental ether also may be represented as a cause, viz. of air, fire, &c. in due succession. For we read in Scripture (Taitt. Up. II, 1), 'From that Self sprang ether, from ether air, from air fire, and so on.' The qualities also of being greater and of being a place of rest may be ascribed to the elemental ether, if we consider its relations to all other beings. Therefore we conclude that the word 'ether' here denotes the elemental ether.
To this we reply as follows:--The word ether must here be taken to denote Brahman, on account of characteristic marks of the latter being mentioned. For the sentence,
[paragraph continues] 'All these beings take their rise from the ether only,' clearly indicates the highest Brahman, since all Vedânta-texts agree in definitely declaring that all beings spring from the highest Brahman.--But, the opponent may say, we have shown that the elemental ether also may be represented as the cause, viz. of air, fire, and the other elements in due succession.--We admit this. But still there remains the difficulty, that, unless we understand the word to apply to the fundamental cause of all, viz. Brahman, the affirmation contained in the word 'only' and the qualification expressed by the word 'all' (in 'all beings') would be out of place. Moreover, the clause, 'They return into the ether,' again points toBrahman, and so likewise the phrase, 'Ether is greater than these, ether is their rest;' for absolute superiority in point of greatness Scripture attributes to the highest Self only; cp. Kh. Up. III, 14, 3, 'Greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than heaven, greater than all these worlds.' The quality of being a place of rest likewise agrees best with the highest Brahman, on account of its being the highest cause. This is confirmed by the following scriptural passage: 'Knowledge and bliss is Brahman, it is the rest of him who gives gifts' (Bri. Up. III, 9, 28). Moreover, Gaivali finding fault with the doctrine of Sâlâvatya, on account of (his sâman) having an end (Kh. Up. I, 8, 8), and wishing to proclaim something that has no end chooses the ether, and then, having identified the ether with the Udgîtha, concludes, 'He is the Udgîtha greater than great; he is without end.' Now this endlessness is a characteristic mark of Brahman. To the remark that the sense of 'elemental ether' presents itself to the mind more readily, because it is the better established sense of the word âkâsa, we reply, that, although it may present itself to the mind first, yet it is not to be accepted, because we see that qualities of Brahman are mentioned in the complementary sentences. That the word âkâsa is also used to denote Brahman has been shown already; cp. such passages as, 'Ether is the revealer of all names and forms.' We see, moreover, that various synonyma of âkâsa are employed to denote Brahman. So, for instance, Rik Samh.
[paragraph continues] I, 164, 39, 'In which the Vedas are 1, in the Imperishable one (i. e. Brahman), the highest, the ether (vyoman), on which all gods have their seat.' And Taitt. Up. III, 6, 'This is the knowledge of Bhrigu and Varuna, founded on the highest ether (vyoman).' And again, 'Om, ka is Brahman, ether (kha) is Brahman' (Kh. Up. IV, 10, 5), and 'the old ether' (Bri. Up. V, 1) 2. And other similar passages. On account of the force of the complementary passage we are justified in deciding that the word 'ether,' although occurring in the beginning of the passage, refers to Brahman. The case is analogous to that of the sentence, 'Agni (lit. the fire) studies a chapter,' where the word agni, although occurring in the beginning, is at once seen to denote a boy 3. It is therefore settled that the word 'ether' denotes Brahman.
23. For the same reason breath (is Brahman).
Concerning the udgîtha it is said (Kh. Up. I, 10, 9), 'Prastotri, that deity which belongs to the prastâva, &c.,' and, further on (I,11,4; 5), 'Which then is that deity? He said: Breath. For all these beings merge into breath alone, and from breath they arise. This is the deity belonging to the prastâva.' With reference to this passage doubt and decision are to be considered as analogous to those stated under the preceding Sûtra. For while in some passages--as, for instance, 'For indeed, my son, mind is fastened to prâna,' Kh. Up. VI, 8, 2; and, 'the prâna of prâna,' Bri. Up. IV, 4, 18--the word'breath' is seen to denote Brahman, its use
in the sense of a certain modification of air is better established in common as well as in Vedic language. Hence there arises a doubt whether in the passage under discussion the word prâna denotes Brahman or (ordinary) breath. In favour of which meaning have we then to decide?
Here the pûrvapakshin maintains that the word must be held to denote the fivefold vital breath, which is a peculiar modification of wind (or air); because, as has been remarked already, that sense of the word prâna is the better established one.--But no, an objector will say, just as in the case of the preceding Sûtra, so here also Brahman is meant, on account of characteristic marks being mentioned; for here also a complementary passage gives us to understand that all beings spring from and merge into prâna; a process which can take place in connexion with the highest Lord only.--This objection, the pûrvapakshin replies, is futile, since we see that the beings enter into and proceed from the principal vital air also. For Scripture makes the following statement (Sat. Br. X, 3, 3, 6), 'When man sleeps, then into breath indeed speech merges, into breath the eye, into breath the ear, into breath the mind; when he awakes then they spring again from breath alone.' What the Veda here states is, moreover, a matter of observation, for during sleep, while the process of breathing goes on uninterruptedly, the activity of the sense organs is interrupted and again becomes manifest at the time of awaking only. And as the sense organs are the essence of all material beings, the complementary passage which speaks of the merging and emerging of the beings can be reconciled with the principal vital air also. Moreover, subsequently to prâna being mentioned as the divinity of the prastâva the sun and food are designated as the divinities of the udgîtha and the pratihâra. Now as they are not Brahman, the prâna also, by parity of reasoning, cannot beBrahman.
To this argumentation the author of the Sûtras replies: For the same reason prâna--that means: on account of the presence of characteristic marks--which constituted the reason stated in the preceding Sûtra--the word prâna also
must be held to denote Brahman. For Scripture says of prâna also, that it is connected with marks characteristic ofBrahman. The sentence, 'All these beings merge into breath alone, and from breath they arise,' which declares that the origination and retractation of all beings depend on prâna, clearly shows prâna to be Brahman. In reply to the assertion that the origination and retractation of all beings can be reconciled equally well with the assumption of prâna denoting the chief vital air, because origination and retractation take place in the state of waking and of sleep also, we remark that in those two states only the senses are merged into, and emerge from, the chief vital air, while, according to the scriptural passage, 'For all these beings, &c.,' all beings whatever into which a living Self has entered, together with their senses and bodies, merge and emerge by turns. And even if the word 'beings' were taken (not in the sense of animated beings, but) in the sense of material elements in general, there would be nothing in the way of interpreting the passage as referring to Brahman.--But. it may be said, that the senses together with their objects do, during sleep, enter into prâna, and again issue from it at the time of waking, we distinctly learn from another scriptural passage, viz. Kau. Up. III, 3, 'When a man being thus asleep sees no dream whatever, he becomes one with that prâna alone. Then speech goes to him with all names,' &c.--True, we reply, but there also the word prâna denotes (not the vital air) but Brahman, as we conclude from characteristic marks of Brahman being mentioned. The objection, again, that the word prâna cannot denote Brahman because it occurs in proximity to the words 'food' and 'sun' (which do not refer to Brahman), is altogether baseless; for proximity is of no avail against the force of the complementary passage which intimates that prâna isBrahman. That argument, finally, which rests on the fact that the word prâna commonly denotes the vital air with its five modifications, is to be refuted in the same way as the parallel argument which the pûrvapakshin brought forward with reference to the word 'ether.' From all this it follows that the prâna, which is the deity of the prastâva, is Brahman.
Some (commentators) 1 quote under the present Sûtra the following passages, 'the prâna of prâna' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 18), and 'for to prâna mind is fastened' (Kh. Up. VI, 8, 2). But that is wrong since these two passages offer no opportunity for any discussion, the former on account of the separation of the words, the latter on account of the general topic. Whenwe meet with a phrase such as 'the father of the father' we understand at once that the genitive denotes a father different from the father denoted by the nominative. Analogously we infer from the separation of words contained in the phrase, 'the breath of breath,' that the 'breath of breath' is different from the ordinary breath (denoted by the genitive 'of breath'). For one and the same thing cannot, by means of a genitive, be predicated of--and thus distinguished from--itself. Concerning the second passage we remark that, if the matter constituting the general topic of some chapter is referred to in that chapter under a different name, we yet conclude, from the general topic, that that special matter is meant. For instance, when we meet in the section which treats of the gyotishtoma sacrifice with the passage, 'in every spring he is to offer the gyotis sacrifice,' we at once understand that the word denotes the gyotishtoma. If we therefore meet with the clause 'to prâna mind is fastened' in a section of which the highest Brahman is the topic, we do not for a moment suppose that the word prâna should there denote the ordinary breath which is a mere modification of air. The two passages thus do not offer any matter for discussion, and hence do not furnish appropriate instances for the Sûtra. We have shown, on the other hand, that the passage about the prâna, which is the deity of the prastâva, allows room for doubt, pûrvapaksha and final decision.
24. The 'light' (is Brahman), on account of the mention of feet (in a passage which is connected with the passage about the light).
Scripture says (Kh. Up. III, 13, 7), 'Now that light which shines above this heaven, higher than all, higher than everything,
in the highest worlds beyond which there are no other worlds that is the same light which is within man.' Here the doubt presents itself whether the word 'light' denotes the light of the sun and the like, or the highest Self. Under the preceding Sûtras we had shown that some words which ordinarily have different meanings yet in certain passages denote Brahman, since characteristic marks of the latter are mentioned. Here the question has to be discussed whether, in connexion with the passage quoted, characteristic marks of Brahman are mentioned or not.
The pûrvapakshin maintains that the word 'light' denotes nothing else but the light of the sun and the like, since that is the ordinary well-established meaning of the term. The common use of language, he says, teaches us that the two words 'light' and 'darkness' denote mutually opposite things, darkness being the term for whatever interferes with the function of the sense of sight, as, for instance, the gloom of the night, while sunshine and whatever else favours the action of the eye is called light. The word 'shines' also, which the text exhibits, is known ordinarily to refer to the sun and similar sources of light; while of Brahman, which is devoid of colour, it cannot be said, in the primary sense of the word, that it 'shines.' Further, the word gyotis must here denote light because it is said to be bounded by the sky ('that light which shines above this heaven'). For while it is impossible to consider the sky as being the boundary of Brahman, which is the Self of all and the source of all things movable or immovable, the sky may be looked upon as forming the boundary of light, which is a mere product and as such limited; accordingly the text says, 'the light beyond heaven.'--But light, although a mere product, is perceived everywhere; it would therefore be wrong to declare that it is bounded by the sky!--Well, then, the pûrvapakshin replies, let us assume that the light meant is the first-born (original) light which has not yet become tripartite 1. This explanation again cannot be
admitted, because the non-tripartite light does not serve any purpose.--But, the pûrvapakshin resumes, Why should its purpose not be found therein that it is the object of devout meditation?--That cannot be, we reply; for we see that only such things are represented as objects of devotion as have some other independent use of their own; so, for instance, the sun (which dispels darkness and so on). Moreover the scriptural passage, 'Let me make each of these three (fire, water, and earth) tripartite,' does not indicate any difference 1. And even of the non-tripartite light it is not known that the sky constitutes its boundary.--Well, then (the pûrvapakshin resumes, dropping the idea of the non-tripartite light), let us assume that the light of which the text speaks is the tripartite (ordinary) light. The objection that light is seen to exist also beneath the sky, viz. in the form of fire and the like, we invalidate by the remark that there is nothing contrary to reason in assigning a special locality to fire, although the latter is observed everywhere; while to assume a special place for Brahman, to which the idea of place does not apply at all, would be most unsuitable. Moreover, the clause 'higher than everything, in the highest worlds beyond which there are no other worlds,' which indicates a multiplicity of abodes, agrees much better with light, which is a mere product (than with Brahman). There is moreover that other clause, also, 'That is the same light which is within man,' in which the highest light is identified with the gastric fire (the fire within man). Now such identifications can be made only where there is a certain similarity of nature; as is seen, for instance, in the passage, 'Of that person Bhûh is the head, for the head is one and that syllable is one' (Bri. Up. V, 5, 3). But that the fire within the human body is not Brahman clearly appears from the passage, 'Of this we have visible and audible proof' (Kh. Up. III, 13, 7; 8), which declares that
the fire is characterised by the noise it makes, and by heat; and likewise from the following passage, 'Let a man meditate on this as that which is seen and heard.' The same conclusion may be drawn from the passage, 'He who knows this becomes conspicuous and celebrated,' which proclaims an inconsiderable reward only, while to the devout meditation onBrahman a high reward would have to be allotted. Nor is there mentioned in the entire passage about the light any other characteristic mark of Brahman, while such marks are set forth in the passages (discussed above) which refer to prâna and the ether. Nor, again, is Brahman indicated in the preceding section, 'the Gâyatrî is everything whatsoever exists,' &c. (III, 12); for that passage makes a statement about the Gâyatrî metre only. And even if that section did refer toBrahman, still Brahman would not be recognised in the passage at present under discussion; for there (in the section referred to) it is declared--in the clause, 'Three feet of it are the Immortal in heaven'--that heaven constitutes the abode; while in our passage the words 'the light above heaven' declare heaven to be a boundary. For all these reasons the word gyotis is here to be taken in its ordinary meaning, viz. light.
To this we make the following reply. The word gyotis must be held to denote Brahman. Why? On account of the feet (quarters) being mentioned. In a preceding passage Brahman had been spoken of as having four feet (quarters). 'Such is the greatness of it; greater than it is the Person (purusha). One foot of it are all the beings, three feet of it are the Immortal in heaven.' That which in this passage is said to constitute the three-quarter part, immortal and connected with heaven, of Brahman, which altogether comprises four quarters; this very same entity we recognise as again referred to in the passage under discussion, because there also it is said to be connected with heaven. If therefore we should set it aside in our interpretation of the passage and assume the latter to refer to the ordinary light, we should commit the mistake of dropping, without need, the topic started and introducing
a new subject. Brahman, in fact, continues to form the subject-matter, not only of the passage about the light, but likewise of the subsequent section, the so-called Sândilya-vidyâ (Kh. Up. III, 14). Hence we conclude that in our passage the word 'light' must be held to denote Brahman. The objection (raised above) that from common use the words 'light' and 'to shine' are known to denote effected (physical) light is without force; for as it is known from the general topic of the chapter that Brahman is meant, those two words do not necessarily denote physical light only to the exclusion ofBrahman 1, but may also denote Brahman itself, in so far as it is characterised by the physical shining light which is its effect. Analogously another mantra declares, 'that by which the sun shines kindled with heat' (Taitt. Br. III, 12, 9, 7). Or else we may suppose that the word gyotis here does not denote at all that light on which the function of the eye depends. For we see that in other passages it has altogether different meanings; so, for instance, Bri. Up. IV, 3, 5, 'With speech only as light man sits,' and Taitt. Sa. I, 6, 3, 3, 'May the mind, the light, accept,' &c. It thus appears that whatever illuminates (in the different senses of the word) something else may be spoken of as 'light.' Hence to Brahmanalso, whose nature is intelligence, the term 'light' may be applied; for it gives light to the entire world. Similarly, other scriptural passages say, 'Him the shining one, everything shines after; by his light all this is lighted' (Kau. Up. II, 5, 15); and 'Him the gods worship as the light of lights, as the immortal' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 16). Against the further objection that the omnipresent Brahman cannot be viewed as bounded by heaven we remark that the assignment, to Brahman, of a special locality is not contrary to reason because it subserves the purpose of devout meditation. Nor does it avail anything to say that it is impossible to assign any place to Brahman because Brahman is out of connexion with all place. For it is possible to make such
an assumption, because Brahman is connected with certain limiting adjuncts. Accordingly Scripture speaks of different kinds of devout meditation on Brahman as specially connected with certain localities, such as the sun, the eye, the heart. For the same reason it is also possible to attribute to Brahman a multiplicity of abodes, as is done in the clause (quoted above) 'higher than all.' The further objection that the light beyond heaven is the mere physical light because it is identified with the gastric fire, which itself is a mere effect and is inferred from perceptible marks such as the heat of the body and a certain sound, is equally devoid of force; for the gastric fire may be viewed as the outward appearance (or symbol) of Brahman, just as Brahman's name is a mere outward symbol. Similarly in the passage, 'Let a man meditate on it (the gastric light) as seen and heard,' the visibility and audibility (here implicitly ascribed to Brahman) must be considered as rendered possible through the gastric fire being the outward appearance of Brahman. Nor is there any force in the objection that Brahman cannot be meant because the text mentions an inconsiderable reward only; for there is no reason compelling us to have recourse to Brahman for the purpose of such and such a reward only, and not for the purpose of such and such another reward. Wherever the text represents the highest Brahman--which is free from all connexion with distinguishing attributes--as the universal Self, it is understood that the result of that instruction is one only, viz. final release. Wherever, on the other hand, Brahman is taught to be connected with distinguishing attributes or outward symbols, there, we see, all the various rewards which this world can offer are spoken of; cp. for instance, Bri. Up. IV, 4, 24, 'This is he who eats all food, the giver of wealth. He who knows this obtains wealth.' Although in the passage itself which treats of the light no characteristic mark of Brahman is mentioned, yet, as the Sûtra intimates, the mark stated in a preceding passage (viz. the mantra, 'Such is the greatness of it,' &c.) has to be taken in connexion with the passage about the light as well. The question how the mere circumstance of Brahman being
mentioned in a not distant passage can have the power of divorcing from its natural object and transferring to another object the direct statement about light implied in the word 'light,' may be answered without difficulty. The passage under discussion runs 1, 'which above this heaven, the light.' The relative pronoun with which this clause begins intimates, according to its grammatical force 2, the same Brahman which was mentioned in the previous passage, and which is here recognised (as being the same which was mentioned before) through its connexion with heaven; hence the word gyotis also--which stands in grammatical co-ordination to 'which'--must have Brahman for its object. From all this it follows that the word 'light' here denotes Brahman.
25. If it be objected that(Brahman is) not (denoted) on account of the metre being denoted; (we reply) not so, because thus (i.e. by means of the metre) the direction of the mind (on Brahman) is declared; for thus it is seen (in other passages also).
We now address ourselves to the refutation of the assertion (made in the pûrvapaksha of the preceding Sûtra) that in the previous passage also Brahman is not referred to, because in the sentence, 'Gâyatrî is everything whatsoever here exists,' the metre called Gâyatrî is spoken of.--How (we ask the pûrvapakshin) can it be maintained that, on account of the metre being spoken of, Brahman is not denoted, while yet the mantra 'such is the greatness of it,' &c., clearly sets forth Brahman with its four quarters?--You are mistaken (the pûrvapakshin replies). The sentence, 'Gâyatrî is everything,' starts the discussion of Gâyatrî. The same Gâyatrî is thereupon described under the various forms of all beings, earth, body, heart, speech, breath; to which there refers also the verse, 'that Gâyatrî
has four feet and is sixfold.' After that we meet with the mantra, 'Such is the greatness of it.' &c. How then, we ask, should this mantra, which evidently is quoted with reference to the Gâyatrî (metre) as described in the preceding clauses, all at once denote Brahman with its four quarters? Since therefore the metre Gâyatrî is the subject-matter of the entire chapter, the term 'Brahman' which occurs in a subsequent passage ('the Brahman which has thus been described') must also denote the metre. This is analogous to a previous passage (Kh, Up. III, 11, 3, 'He who thus knows this Brahma-upanishad'), where the word Brahma-upanishad is explained to mean Veda-upanishad. As therefore the preceding passage refers (not to Brahman, but) to the Gâyatrî metre, Brahman does not constitute the topic of the entire section.
This argumentation, we reply, proves nothing against our position. 'Because thus direction of the mind is declared,' i. e. because the Brahmana passage, 'Gâyatrî indeed is all this,' intimates that by means of the metre Gâyatrî the mind is to be directed on Brahman which is connected with that metre. Of the metre Gâyatrî, which is nothing but a certain special combination of syllables, it could not possibly be said that it is the Self of everything. We therefore have to understand the passage as declaring that Brahman, which, as the cause of the world, is connected with that product also whose name is Gâyatrî, is 'all this;' in accordance with that other passage which directly says, 'All this indeed is Brahman' (Kh. Up. III, 14, 1). That the effect is in reality not different from the cause, we shall prove later on, under Sûtra II, 1, 14. Devout meditation on Brahman under the form of certain effects (of Brahman) is seen to be mentioned in other passages also, so, for instance, Ait. Âr. III, 2, 3, 12, 'For the Bahvrikas consider him in the great hymn, the Adhvaryus in the sacrificial fire, the Khandogas in the Mahâvrata ceremony.' Although, therefore, the previous passage speaks of the metre, Brahman is what is meant, and the same Brahman is again referred to in the passage about the light, whose purport it is to enjoin another form of devout meditation.
Another commentator 1 is of opinion that the term Gâyatrî (does not denote Brahman in so far as viewed under the formof Gâyatrî, but) directly denotes Brahman, on account of the equality of number; for just as the Gâyatrî metre has four feet consisting of six syllables each, so Brahman also has four feet, (i. e. quarters.) Similarly we see that in other passages also the names of metres are used to denote other things which resemble those metres in certain numerical relations; cp. for instance, Kh. Up. IV, 3, 8, where it is said at first, 'Now these five and the other five make ten and that is the Krita,' and after that 'these are again the Virâg which eats the food.' If we adopt this interpretation, Brahman only is spoken of, and the metre is not referred to at all. In any case Brahman is the subject with which the previous passage is concerned.
26. And thus also (we must conclude, viz. that Brahman is the subject of the previous passage), because (thus only) the declaration as to the beings, &c. being the feet is possible.
That the previous passage has Brahman for its topic, we must assume for that reason also that the text designates the beings and so on as the feet of Gâyatrî. For the text at first speaks of the beings, the earth, the body, and the heart 2, and then goes on 'that Gâyatrî has four feet and is sixfold.' For of the mere metre, without any reference to Brahman, it would be impossible to say that the beings and so on are its feet. Moreover, if Brahman were not meant, there would be no room for the verse, 'Such is the greatness,' &c. For that verse clearly describes Brahman in its own nature; otherwise it would be impossible to represent the Gâyatrî as the Self of everything as is done in the words, 'One foot of it are all the beings; three feet of it are what is immortal in heaven.' The purusha-sûkta also (Rik
[paragraph continues] Samh. X, 90) exhibits the verse with sole reference to Brahman. Smriti likewise ascribes to Brahman a like nature, 'I stand supporting all this world by a single portion of myself' (Bha. Gîtâ X, 42). Our interpretation moreover enables us to take the passage, 'that Brahman indeed which,' &c. (III, 12, 7), in its primary sense, (i.e. to understand the word Brahman to denote nothing but Brahman.) And, moreover, the passage, 'these are the five men of Brahman' (III, 13, 6), is appropriate only if the former passage about the Gâyatrî is taken as referring to Brahman (for otherwise the 'Brahman' in 'men of Brahman' would not be connected with the previous topic). Hence Brahman is to be considered as the subject-matter of the previous passage also. And the decision that the same Brahman is referred to in the passage about the light where it is recognised (to be the same) from its connexion with heaven, remains unshaken.
27. The objection that (the Brahman of the former passage cannot be recognised in the latter) on account of the difference of designation, is not valid because in either (designation) there is nothing contrary (to the recognition).
The objection that in the former passage ('three feet of it are what is immortal in heaven'), heaven is designated as the abode, while in the latter passage ('that light which shines above this heaven'), heaven is designated as the boundary, and that, on account of this difference of designation, the subject-matter of the former passage cannot be recognised in the latter, must likewise be refuted. This we do by remarking that in either designation nothing is contrary to the recognition. Just as in ordinary language a falcon, although in contact with the top of a tree, is not only said to be on the tree but also above the tree, so Brahman also, although being in heaven, is here referred to as being beyond heaven as well.
Another (commentator) explains: just as in ordinary language a falcon, although not in contact with the top of a
tree, is not only said to be above the top of the tree but also on the top of the tree, so Brahman also, which is in reality beyond heaven, is (in the former of the two passages) said to be in heaven. Therefore the Brahman spoken of in the former passage can be recognised in the latter also, and it remains therefore a settled conclusion that the word 'light' denotes Brahman
28. Prâna (breath) is Brahman, that being understood from a connected consideration (of the passages referring to prâna).
In the Kaushîtaki-brâhmana-upanishad there is recorded a legend of Indra and Pratardana which begins with the words, 'Pratardana, forsooth, the son of Divodâsa came by means of fighting and strength to the beloved abode of Indra' (Kau. Up. III, 1). In this legend we read: 'He said: I am prâna, the intelligent Self (pragñâtman), meditate on me as Life, as Immortality' (III, 2). And later on (III, 3), 'Prâna alone, the intelligent Self, having laid hold of this body, makes it rise up.' Then, again (III, 8), 'Let no man try to find out what speech is, let him know the speaker.' And in the end (III, 8), 'That breath indeed is the intelligent Self, bliss, imperishable, immortal.'--Here the doubt presents itself whether the word prâna denotes merely breath, the modification of air, or the Self of some divinity, or the individual soul, or the highest Brahman.--But, it will be said at the outset, the Sûtra I, 1, 21 already has shown that the word prâna refers to Brahman, and as here also we meet with characteristic marks of Brahman, viz. the words 'bliss, imperishable, immortal,' what reason is there for again raising the same doubt?--We reply: Because there are observed here characteristic marks of different kinds. For in the legend we meet not only with marks indicating Brahman, but also with marks pointing to other beings Thus Indra's words, 'Know me only' (III, 1) point to the Self of a divinity; the words, 'Having laid hold of this body it makes it rise up,' point to the breath; the words, 'Let no man try to find out what speech is, let him know
the speaker,' point to the individual soul. There is thus room for doubt.
If, now, the pûrvapakshin maintains that the term prâna here denotes the well-known modification of air, i.e. breath, we, on our side, assert that the word prâna must be understood to denote Brahman.--For what reason?--On account of such being the consecutive meaning of the passages. For if we examine the connexion of the entire section which treats of the prâna, we observe that all the single passages can be construed into a whole only if they are viewed as referring toBrahman. At the beginning of the legend Pratardana, having been allowed by Indra to choose a boon, mentions the highest good of man, which he selects for his boon, in the following words, 'Do you yourself choose that boon for me which you deem most beneficial for a man.' Now, as later on prâna is declared to be what is most beneficial for man, what should prâna denote but the highest Self? For apart from the cognition of that Self a man cannot possibly attain what is most beneficial for him, as many scriptural passages declare. Compare, for instance, Sve. Up. III, 8, 'A man who knows him passes over death; there is no other path to go.' Again, the further passage, 'He who knows me thus by no deed of his is his life harmed, not by theft, not by bhrûnahatyâ' (III, 1), has a meaning only if Brahman is supposed to be the object of knowledge. For, that subsequently to the cognition of Brahman all works and their effects entirely cease, is well known from scriptural passages, such as the following, 'All works perish when he has been beheld who is the higher and the lower' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 8). Moreover, prâna can be identified with the intelligent Self only if it is Brahman. For the air which is non-intelligent can clearly not be the intelligent Self. Those characteristic marks, again, which are mentioned in the concluding passage (viz. those intimated by the words 'bliss,' 'imperishable,' 'immortal') can, if taken in their full sense, not be reconciled with any being except Brahman. There are, moreover, the following passages, 'He does not increase by a good action, nor decrease by a bad action. For he makes him whom he wishes
to lead up from these worlds do a good deed; and the same makes him whom he wishes to lead down from these worlds do a bad deed;' and, 'He is the guardian of the world, he is the king of the world, he is the Lord of the world' (Kau. Up. III, 8). All this can be properly understood only if the highest Brahman is acknowledged to be the subject-matter of the whole chapter, not if the vital air is substituted in its place. Hence the word prâna denotes Brahman.
29. If it be said that (Brahman is) not (denoted) on account of the speaker denoting himself; (we reply that this objection is not valid) because there is in that (chapter) a multitude of references to the interior Self.
An objection is raised against the assertion that prâna denotes Brahman. The word prâna, it is said, does not denote the highest Brahman, because the speaker designates himself. The speaker, who is a certain powerful god called Indra, at first says, in order to reveal himself to Pratardana, 'Know me only,' and later on, 'I am prâna, the intelligent Self.' How, it is asked, can the prâna, which this latter passage, expressive of personality as it is, represents as the Self of the speaker, be Brahman to which, as we know from Scripture, the attribute of being a speaker cannot be ascribed; compare, for instance, Bri. Up. III, 8, 8, 'It is without speech, without mind.' Further on, also, the speaker, i.e. Indra, glorifies himself by enumerating a number of attributes, all of which depend on personal existence and can in no way belong toBrahman, 'I slew the three-headed son of Tvashtri; I delivered the Arunmukhas, the devotees, to the wolves,' and so on. Indra may be called prâna on account of his strength. Scripture says, 'Strength indeed is prâna,' and Indra is known as the god of strength; and of any deed of strength people say, 'It is Indra's work.' The personal Self of a deity may, moreover, be called an intelligent Self; for the gods, people say, possess unobstructed knowledge. It thus being a settledmatter that some passages convey information about the personal Self
of some deity, the other passages also--as, for instance, the one about what is most beneficial for man--must be interpreted as well as they may with reference to the same deity. Hence prâna does not denote Brahman.
This objection we refute by the remark that in that chapter there are found a multitude of references to the interior Self. For the passage, 'As long as prâna dwells in this body so long surely there is life,' declares that that prâna only which is the intelligent interior Self--and not some particular outward deity--has power to bestow and to take back life. And where the text speaks of the eminence of the prânas as founded on the existence of the prâna, it shows that that prâna is meant which has reference to the Self and is the abode of the sense-organs. 1
Of the same tendency is the passage, 'Prâna, the intelligent Self, alone having laid hold of this body makes it rise up;' and the passage (which occurs in the passus, 'Let no man try to find out what speech is,' &c.), 'For as in a car the circumference of the wheel is set on the spokes and the spokes on the nave, thus are these objects set on the subjects (the senses) and the subjects on the prâna. And that prâna indeed is the Self of prâgña, blessed, imperishable, immortal.' So also the following passage which, referring to this interior Self, forming as it were the centre of the peripherical interaction of the objects and senses, sums up as follows, 'He is my Self, thus let it be known;' a summing up which is appropriate only if prâna is meant to denote not some outward existence, but the interior Self. And another scriptural passage declares 'this Self is Brahman, omniscient' 2 (Bri. Up. II, 5, 19). We therefore arrive at
the conclusion that, on account of the multitude of references to the interior Self, the chapter contains information regarding Brahman, not regarding the Self of some deity.--How then can the circumstance of the speaker (Indra) referring to himself be explained?30. The declaration (made by Indra about himself, viz. that he is one with Brahman) (is possible) through intuition vouched for by Scripture, as in the case of Vâmadeva.
The individual divine Self called Indra perceiving by means of rishi-like intuition 1--the existence of which is vouched for by Scripture--its own Self to be identical with the supreme Self, instructs Pratardana (about the highest Self) by means of the words 'Know me only.'
By intuition of the same kind the rishi Vâmadeva reached the knowledge expressed in the words, 'I was Manu and Sûrya;' in accordance with the passage, 'Whatever deva was awakened (so as to know Brahman) he indeed became that' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 10). The assertion made above (in the pûrvapaksha of the preceding Sûtra) that Indra after saying, 'Know me only,' glorifies himself by enumerating the slaying of Tvashtri's son and other deeds of strength, we refute as follows. The death of Tvashtri's son and similar deeds are referred to, not to the end of glorifying Indra as the object of knowledge--in which case the sense of the passage would be, 'Because I accomplished such and such deeds, therefore know me'--but to the end of glorifying the cognition of the highest Self. For this reason the text, after having referred to the slaying of Tvashtri's son and the like, goes on in the clause next following to exalt knowledge, 'And not one hair of me is harmed there. He who knows me thus by no deed of his is his life harmed.'--(But how does this passage convey praise of knowledge?)--Because, we reply, its meaning is as follows: 'Although I do such cruel deeds,
yet not even a hair of mine is harmed because I am one with Brahman; therefore the life of any other person also who knows me thus is not harmed by any deed of his.' And the object of the knowledge (praised by Indra) is nothing else butBrahman which is set forth in a subsequent passage, 'I am prâna, the intelligent Self.' Therefore the entire chapter refers to Brahman.
31. If it be said (that Brahman is) not (meant), on account of characteristic marks of the individual soul and the chief vital air (being mentioned); we say no, on account of the threefoldness of devout meditation (which would result from your interpretation); on account of (the meaning advocated by us) being accepted (elsewhere); and on account of (characteristic marks of Brahman) being connected (with the passage under discussion).
Although we admit, the pûrvapakshin resumes, that the chapter about the prâna does not furnish any instruction regarding some outward deity, since it contains a multitude of references to the interior Self; still we deny that it is concerned with Brahman.--For what reason?--Because it mentions characteristic marks of the individual soul on the one hand, and of the chief vital air on the other hand. The passage, 'Let no man try to find out what speech is, let him know the speaker,' mentions a characteristic mark of the individual soul, and must therefore be held to point out as the object of knowledge the individual soul which rules and employs the different organs of action such as speech and so on. On the other hand, we have the passage, 'But prâna alone, the intelligent Self, having laid hold of this body makes it rise up,' which points to the chief vital air; for the chief attribute of the vital air is that it sustains the body. Similarly, we read in the colloquy of the vital airs (Pra. Up. II, 3), concerning speech and the other vital airs, 'Then prâna (the chief vital air) as the best said to them: Be not deceived; I alone dividing myself fivefold support this body and keep it.' Those, again, who in the
passage quoted above read 'this one (masc.), the body 1' must give the following explanation, Prâna having laid hold of this one, viz. either the individual soul or the aggregate of the sense organs, makes the body rise up. The individual soul as well as the chief vital air may justly be designated as the intelligent Self; for the former is of the nature of intelligence, and the latter (although non-intelligent in itself) is the abode of other prânas, viz. the sense organs, which are the instruments of intelligence. Moreover, if the word prâna be taken to denote the individual soul as well as the chief vital air, the prâna and the intelligent Self may be spoken of in two ways, either as being non-different on account of their mutual concomitance, or as being different on account of their (essentially different) individual character; and in these two different ways they are actually spoken of in the two following passages, 'What is prâna that is pragñâ, what is pragñâ that is prâna;' and, 'For together do these two live in the body and together do they depart.' If, on the other hand, prâna denoted Brahman, what then could be different from what? For these reasons prâna does not denoteBrahman, but either the individual soul or the chief vital air or both.
All this argumentation, we reply, is wrong, 'on account of the threefoldness of devout meditation.' Your interpretation would involve the assumption of devout meditation of three different kinds, viz. on the individual soul, on the chief vital air, and on Brahman. But it is inappropriate to assume that a single sentence should enjoin three kinds of devout meditation; and that all the passages about the prâna really constitute one single sentence (one syntactical whole) appears from the beginning and the concluding part. In the beginning we have the clause 'Know me only,' followed by 'I am prâna, the intelligent Self, meditate on me as Life, as Immortality;' and in the end we read, 'And that prâna indeed is the intelligent Self, blessed, imperishable, immortal.' The beginning and the concluding part are thus seen to be similar, and we
therefore must conclude that they refer to one and the same matter. Nor can the characteristic mark of Brahman be so turned as to be applied to something else; for the ten objects and the ten subjects (subjective powers) 1cannot rest on anything but Brahman. Moreover, prâna must denote Brahman 'on account of (that meaning) being accepted,' i.e. because in the case of other passages where characteristic marks of Brahman are mentioned the word prâna is taken in the sense of 'Brahman.' And another reason for assuming the passage to refer to Brahman is that here also, i.e. in the passage itself there is 'connexion' with characteristic marks of Brahman, as, for instance, the reference to what is most beneficial for man. The assertion that the passage, 'Having laid hold of this body it makes it rise up,' contains a characteristic mark of the chief vital air, is untrue; for as the function of the vital air also ultimately rests on Brahman it can figuratively be ascribed to the latter. So Scripture also declares, 'No mortal lives by the breath that goes up and by the breath that goes down. We live by another in whom these two repose' (Ka. Up. II, 5, 5). Nor does the indication of the individual soul which you allege to occur in the passage, 'Let no man try to find out what speech is, let him know the speaker,' preclude the view of prâna denoting Brahman. For, as the passages, 'I am Brahman,' 'That art thou,' and others, prove, there is in reality no such thing as an individual soul absolutely different from Brahman, but Brahman, in so far as it differentiates itself through the mind (buddhi) and other limiting conditions, is called individual soul, agent, enjoyer. Such passages therefore as the one alluded to, (viz. 'let no man try to find out what speech is, let him know the speaker,') which, by setting aside all the differences due to limiting conditions, aim at directing the mind on the internal Self and thus showing that the
individual soul is one with Brahman, are by no means out of place. That the Self which is active in speaking and the like isBrahman appears from another scriptural passage also, viz. Ke. Up. I, 5, 'That which is not expressed by speech and by which speech is expressed that alone know as Brahman, not that which people here adore.' The remark that the statement about the difference of prâna and pragñâ (contained in the passage, 'Together they dwell in this body, together they depart') does not agree with that interpretation according to which prâna is Brahman, is without force; for the mind and the vital air which are the respective abodes of the two powers of cognition and action, and constitute the limiting conditions of the internal Self may be spoken of as different. The internal Self, on the other hand, which is limited by those two adjuncts, is in itself non-differentiated, so that the two may be identified, as is done in the passage 'prâna is pragñâ.'
The second part of the Sûtra is explained in a different manner also 1, as follows: Characteristic marks of the individual soul as well as of the chief vital air are not out of place even in a chapter whose topic is Brahman. How so? 'On account of the threefoldness of devout meditation.' The chapter aims at enjoining three kinds of devout meditation on Brahman, according as Brahman is viewed under the aspect of prâna, under the aspect of pragñâ, and in itself. The passages, 'Meditate (on me) as life, as immortality. Life is prâna,' and 'Having laid hold of this body it makes it rise up. Therefore let man worship it alone as uktha,' refer to the prâna aspect. The introductory passage, 'Now we shall explain how all things become one in that pragñâ,' and the subsequent passages, 'Speech verily milked one portion thereof; the word is its object placed outside;' and, 'Having by pragñâ taken possession of speech he obtains by speech all words &c.,' refer to the pragñâ aspect. The Brahman aspect finally is referred to in the following passage, 'These ten
objects have reference to pragñâ, the ten subjects have reference to objects. If there were no objects there would be no subjects; and if there were no subjects there would be no objects. For on either side alone nothing could be achieved. But that is not many. For as in a car the circumference of the wheel is set on the spokes and the spokes on the nave, thus are these objects set on the subjects and the subjects on the prâna.' Thus we see that the one meditation on Brahman is here represented as threefold, according as Brahman is viewed either with reference to two limiting conditions or in itself. In other passages also we find that devout meditation on Brahman is made dependent on Brahman being qualified by limiting adjuncts; so, for instance (Kh. Up. III, 14, 2), 'He who consists of mind, whose body is prâna.' The hypothesis of Brahman being meditated upon under three aspects perfectly agrees with the prâna chapter 1; as, on the one hand, from a comparison of the introductory and the concluding clauses we infer that the subject-matter of the whole chapter is one only, and as, on the other hand, we meet with characteristic marks of prâna, pragñâ, and Brahman in turns. It therefore remains a settled conclusion that Brahman is the topic of the whole chapter.