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  Srimad Bhagavatam

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  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

  Brahma Sutra
  Sankara Bhashya I
  Sankara Bhashya II
  Ramanuja SriBhashya


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  Brahma Sutras

Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Sri Adi Sanakara - Part I
translated by George Thibaut

22. (The initial statement is made) because (the highest Self) exists in the condition (of the individual soul); so Kâsakritsna thinks.

Because the highest Self exists also in the condition of the individual soul, therefore, the teacher Kâsakritsna thinks, the initial statement which aims at intimating the non-difference of the two is possible. That the highest Self only is that which appears as the individual soul, is evident from the Brâhmana-passage, 'Let me enter into them with this living Self and evolve names and forms,' and similar passages. We have also mantras to the same effect, for instance, 'The wise one who, having produced all forms and made all names, sits calling the things by their names' (Taitt. Âr. III, 12, 7) 2.

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[paragraph continues] And where Scripture relates the creation of fire and the other elements, it does not at the same time relate a separate creation of the individual soul; we have therefore no right to look on the soul as a product of the highest Self, different from the latter.--In the opinion of the teacher Kâsakritsna the non-modified highest Lord himself is the individual soul, not anything else. Âsmarathya, although meaning to say that the soul is not (absolutely) different from the highest Self, yet intimates by the expression, 'On account of the fulfilment of the promise'--which declares a certain mutual dependence--that there does exist a certain relation of cause and effect between the highest Self and the individual soul 1. The opinion of Audulomi again clearly implies that the difference and non-difference of the two depend on difference of condition 2. Of these three opinions we conclude that the one held by Kâsakritsna accords with Scripture, because it agrees with what all the Vedânta-texts (so, for instance, the passage, 'That art thou') aim at inculcating. Only on the opinion of Kâsakritsna immortality can be viewed as the result of the knowledge of the soul; while it would be impossible to hold the same view if the soul were a modification (product) of the Self and as such liable to lose its existence by being merged in its causal substance. For the same reason, name and form cannot abide in the soul (as was above attempted to prove by means of the simile of the rivers), but abide in the limiting adjunct and are ascribed to the soul itself in a figurative sense only. For the same reason the origin of the souls from the highest Self, of which Scripture speaks in some places as analogous to the issuing of sparks from the fire, must be viewed as based only on the limiting adjuncts of the soul.

The last three Sutras have further to be interpreted so as to furnish replies to the second of the pûrvapakshin's arguments, viz. that the Brihadâranyaka passage represents as

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the object of sight the individual soul, because it declares that the great Being which is to be seen arises from out of these elements. 'There is an indication of the fulfilment of the promise; so Âsmarathya thinks.' The promise is made in the two passages, 'When the Self is known, all this is known,' and 'All this is that Self.' That the Self is everything, is proved by the declaration that the whole world of names, forms, and works springs from one being, and is merged in one being  1; and by its being demonstrated, with the help of the similes of the drum, and so on, that effect and cause are non-different. The fulfilment of the promise is, then, finally indicated by the text declaring that that great Being rises, in the form of the individual soul, from out of these elements; thus the teacher Âsmarathya thinks. For if the soul and the highest Self are non-different, the promise that through the knowledge of one everything becomes known is capable of fulfilment.--'Because the soul when it will depart is such; thus Audulomi thinks.' The statement as to the non-difference of the soul and the Self (implied in the declaration that the great Being rises, &c.) is possible, because the soul when--after having purified itself by knowledge, and so on--it will depart from the body, is capable of becoming one with the highest Self. This is Audulomi's opinion.--'Because it exists in the condition of the soul; thus Kâsakritsna opines.' Because the highest Self itself is that which appears as the individual soul, the statement as to the non-difference of the two is well-founded. This is the view of the teacher Kâsakritsna.

But, an objection may be raised, the passage, 'Rising from out of these elements he vanishes again after them. When he has departed there is no more knowledge,' intimates the final destruction of the soul, not its identity with the highest Self!--By no means, we reply. The passage means to say

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only that on the soul departing from the body all specific cognition vanishes, not that the Self is destroyed. For an objection being raised--in the passage, 'Here thou hast bewildered me, Sir, when thou sayest that having departed there is no more knowledge'. Scripture itself explains that what is meant is not the annihilation of the Self, 'I say nothing that is bewildering. Verily, beloved, that Self is imperishable, and of an indestructible nature. But there takes place non-connexion with the mâtrâs.' That means: The eternally unchanging Self, which is one mass of knowledge, cannot possibly perish; but by means of true knowledge there is effected its dissociation from the mâtrâs, i.e. the elements and the sense organs, which are the product of Nescience. When the connexion has been solved, specific cognition, which depended on it, no longer takes place, and thus it can be said, that 'When he has departed there is no more knowledge.'

The third argument also of the pûrvapakshin, viz. that the word 'knower'--which occurs in the concluding passage, 'How should he know the knower?'--denotes an agent, and therefore refers to the individual soul as the object of sight, is to be refuted according to the view of Kâsakritsna.--Moreover, the text after having enumerated--in the passage, 'For where there is duality as it were, there one sees the other,' &c.--all the kinds of specific cognition which belong to the sphere of Nescience declares--in the subsequent passage, 'But when the Self only is all this, how should he see another?'--that in the sphere of true knowledge all specific cognition such as seeing, and so on, is absent. And, again, in order to obviate the doubt whether in the absence of objects the knower might not know himself, Yâavalkya goes on, 'How, O beloved, should he know himself, the knower?' As thus the latter passage evidently aims at proving the absence of specific cognition, we have to conclude that the word 'knower' is here used to denote that being which is knowledge, i.e. the Self.--That the view of Kâsakritsna is scriptural, we have already shown above. And as it is so, all the adherents of the Vedânta must admit that the difference of the soul and the highest Self is not

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real, but due to the limiting adjuncts, viz. the body, and so on, which are the product of name and form as presented by Nescience. That view receives ample confirmation from Scripture; compare, for instance, 'Being only, my dear, this was in the beginning, one, without a second' (Kh. Up. VI, 2, 1); 'The Self is all this' (Kh. Up. VII, 25, 2); 'Brahman alone is all this' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 11); 'This everything is that Self (Bri. Up. II, 4, 6); 'There is no other seer but he' (Bri. Up. III, 7, 23); 'There is nothing that sees but it' (Bri. Up. III, 8, 11).--It is likewise confirmed by Smriti; compare, for instance, 'Vâsudeva is all this' (Bha. Gî. VII, 19); 'Know me, O Bhârata, to be the soul in all bodies' (Bha. Gî. XIII, 2); 'He who sees the highest Lord abiding alike within all creatures' (Bha. Gî. XIII, 27).--The same conclusion is supported by those passages which deny all difference; compare, for instance, 'If he thinks, that is one and I another; he does not know' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 10); 'From death to death he goes who sees here any diversity' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 19). And, again, by those passages which negative all change on the part of the Self; compare, for instance, 'This great unborn Self, undecaying, undying, immortal, fearless is indeed Brahman' (Bri. Up. IV, 24).--Moreover, if the doctrine of general identity were not true, those who are desirous of release could not be in the possession of irrefutable knowledge, and there would be no possibility of any matter being well settled; while yet the knowledge of which the Self is the object is declared to be irrefutable and to satisfy all desire, and Scripture speaks of those, 'Who have well ascertained the object of the knowledge of the Vedânta' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 6). Compare also the passage, 'What trouble, what sorrow can there be to him who has once beheld that unity?' (Is. Up. 7.)--And Smriti also represents the mind of him who contemplates the Self as steady (Bha. Gî. II, 54).

As therefore the individual soul and the highest Self differ in name only, it being a settled matter that perfect knowledge has for its object the absolute oneness of the two; it is senseless to insist (as some do) on a plurality of Selfs, and to maintain that the individual soul is different from the

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highest Self, and the highest Self from the individual soul. For the Self is indeed called by many different names, but it is one only. Nor does the passage, 'He who knows Brahman which is real, knowledge, infinite, as hidden in the cave' (Taitt. Up. II, 1), refer to some one cave (different from the abode of the individual soul) 1. And that nobody else but Brahman is hidden in the cave we know from a subsequent passage, viz. 'Having sent forth he entered into it' (Taitt. Up. II, 6), according to which the creator only entered into the created beings.--Those who insist on the distinction of the individual and the highest Self oppose themselves to the true sense of the Vedânta-texts, stand thereby in the way of perfect knowledge, which is the door to perfect beatitude, and groundlessly assume release to be something effected, and therefore non-eternal 2. (And if they attempt to show that moksha, although effected, is eternal) they involve themselves in a conflict with sound logic.

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