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  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

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  Ramanuja SriBhashya


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Ramanujacharya's Brahma Sutra Bhashya translated By George Thibaut
SriBhashya - Ramanuja's Commentary On Brahma Sutra (Vedanta Sutra)

Sri Bhashya (also spelled as Sri Bhasya) is a commentary of Ramanujacharya on the Brama Sutras (also known as Vedanta Sutras) of Badarayana. In this bhashya, Ramanuja presents the fundamental philosophical principles of Visistadvaita based on his interpretation of the Upanishads, Bhagavad-gita and other smrti texts. In his Sri-bhashya he describes the three categories of reality (tattvas): God, soul and matter, which have been used by the later Vaisnava theologians including Madhva. The principles of bhakti as a means to liberation were also developed.

12. And because it is directly stated in Scripture.

The text of the same Upanishad directly declares that the being denoted by the word 'Sat' evolves, as the universal Self, names and forms; is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-embracing; is free from all evil, &c.; realises all its wishes and purposes. 'Let me, entering those beings with this living; Self, evolve names and forms' (Kh. Up. VI, 3, 2); 'All these creatures have their root in the Sat, they dwell in the Sat, they rest in the Sat' (VI, 8, 4); 'All this has that for its Self; it is the True, it is the Self (VI, 8, 7);

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[paragraph continues] 'Whatever there is of him here in the world, and whatever is not, all that is contained within it' (VIII, 1, 3); 'In it all desires are contained. It is the Self free from sin, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, whose wishes come true, whose purposes come true' (VIII, 1, 5).--And analogously other scriptural texts, 'Of him there is no master in the world, no ruler; not even a sign of him. He is the cause, the lord of the lords of the organs, and there is of him neither parent nor lord' (Svet. Up. VI, 9). 'The wise one who, having created all forms and having given them names, is calling them by those names' (Taitt. Ar. III, 12, 7); 'He who entered within is the ruler of all beings, the Self of all' (Taitt. Ar. III, 24); 'The Self of all, the refuge, the ruler of all, the Lord of the souls' (Mahânâr. Up. XI); 'Whatsoever is seen or heard in this world, inside or outside, pervading that all Nârâyana abides' (Mahânâr. Up. XI); 'He is the inner Self of all beings, free from all evil, the divine, the only god Nârâyana.'--These and other texts which declare the world to have sprung from the highest Lord, can in no way be taken as establishing the Pradhâna. Hence it remains a settled conclusion that the highest Person, Nârâyana, free from all shadow of imperfection, &c., is the single cause of the whole Universe, and is that Brahman which these Sûtras point out as the object of enquiry.

For the same reasons the theory of a Brahman, which is nothing but non-differenced intelligence, must also be considered as refuted by the Sûtrakâra, with the help of the scriptural texts quoted; for those texts prove that the Brahman, which forms the object of enquiry, possesses attributes such as thinking, and so on, in their real literal sense. On the theory, on the other hand, of a Brahman that is nothing but distinctionless intelligence even the witnessing function of consciousness would be unreal. The Sûtras propose as the object of enquiry Brahman as known from the Vedânta-texts, and thereupon teach that Brahman is intelligent (Sû. I, 1, 5 ff.) To be intelligent means to possess the quality of intelligence: a being devoid of the quality of thought would not differ in nature from the

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[paragraph continues] Pradhâna. Further, on the theory of Brahman being mere non-differenced light it would be difficult to prove that Brahman is self-luminous. For by light we understand that particular thing which renders itself, as well as other things, capable of becoming the object of ordinary thought and speech; but as a thing devoid of all difference does not, of course, possess these two characteristics it follows that it is as devoid of intelligence as a pot may be.--Let it then be assumed that although a thing devoid of all distinction does not actually possess these characteristics, yet it has the potentiality of possessing them!--But if it possesses the attribute of potentiality, it is clear that you abandon your entire theory of a substance devoid of all distinction!--Let us then admit, on the authority of Scripture, that the universal substance possesses this one distinguishing attribute of self-luminousness.--Well, in that case you must of course admit, on the same authority, all those other qualities also which Scripture vouches for, such as all-knowingness, the possession of all powers, and so on.--Moreover, potentiality means capability to produce certain special effects, and hence can be determined on the ground of those special effects only. But if there are no means of knowing these particular effects, there are also no means of cognising potentiality.--And those who hold the theory of a substance devoid of all difference, have not even means of proof for their substance; for as we have shown before, Perception, Inference, Scripture, and one's own consciousness, are all alike in so far as having for their objects things marked by difference.--It therefore remains a settled conclusion that the Brahman to be known is nothing else but the highest Person capable of the thought 'of becoming many' by manifesting himself in a world comprising manifold sentient and non-sentient creatures.--Here terminates the adhikarana of 'seeing'.

So far the Sûtras have declared that the Brahman which forms the object of enquiry is different from the non-intelligent Pradhâna, which is merely an object of fruition for intelligent beings. They now proceed to show that Brahman--which is antagonistic to all evil and constituted

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by supreme bliss--is different from the individual soul, which is subject to karman, whether that soul be in its purified state or in the impure state that is due to its immersion in the ocean of manifold and endless sufferings, springing from the soul's contact with Prakriti (Pradhâna).

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