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  By Edwin Arnold

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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.

15. And on account of the text referring only to what is characterised by pleasure.

The Person abiding within the eye is the highest Person, for the following reason also. The topic of the whole section is Brahman characterised by delight, as indicated in the passage 'Ka(pleasure) is Brahman, Kha(ether) is Brahman' (Kh. Up. IV,10, 5). To that same Brahman the passage under discussion ('The Person that is seen in the eye') refers for the purpose of enjoining first a place with which Brahman is to be connected in meditation, and secondly some special qualities--such as comprising and leading all blessings--to be attributed to Brahman in meditation.--The word 'only' in the Sûtra indicates the independence of the argument set forth.

But--an objection is raised--between the Brahman introduced in the passage 'Ka is Brahman,'&c.,and the text under discussion there intervenes the vidyâ of the Fires (Kh. Up. IV, 11-13), and hence Brahman does not readily connect itself with our passage. For the text says that after the Fires had taught Upakosala the knowledge of Brahman ('Breath is Brahman, Ka is Brahman,' &c.), they taught him a meditation on themselves ('After that the (Gârhapatya fire taught him,' &c., Kh. Up. IV, 11, 1). And this knowledge of the Fires cannot be considered a mere subordinate part of the knowledge of Brahman, for the text declares that it has special fruits of its own--viz. the attainment of a ripe old age and prosperous descendants,

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[paragraph continues] &c.--which are not comprised in the results of the knowledge of Brahman, but rather opposed to them in nature.--To this we make the following reply. As both passages (viz. IV, 10, 5, 'Breath is Brahman,' &c.; and IV, 15, 1, 'this is Brahman') contain the word Brahman, and as from the words of the Fires, 'the teacher will tell you the way,' it follows that the knowledge of Brahman is not complete before that way has been taught, we determine that the knowledge of the Fires which stands between the two sections of the knowledge of Brahman is a mere subordinate member of the latter. This also appears from the fact that the Gârhapatya fire begins to instruct Upakosala only after he has been introduced into the knowledge of Brahman. Upakosala moreover complains that he is full of sorrows (I, 10, 3), and thus shows himself to be conscious of all the sufferings incidental to human life-birth, old age, death, &c.--which result from man being troubled by manifold desires for objects other than the attainment of Brahman; when therefore the Fires conclude their instruction by combining in saying, 'This, O friend, is the knowledge of us and the knowledge of the Self which we impart to thee,' it is evident that the vidyâ of the Fires has to be taken as a subordinate member of the knowledge of the Self whose only fruit is Release. And from this it follows that the statement of the results of the Agnividyâ has to be taken (not as an injunction of results-phalavidhi--but) merely as an arthavâda (cp. Pû. Mî. Sû. IV, 3, 1). It, moreover, is by no means true that the text mentions such fruits of the Agnividyâ as would be opposed to final Release; all the fruits mentioned suit very well the case of a person qualified for Release. 'He destroys sin' (Kh. Up. IV, 11, 2; 12, 2; 13, 2), i.e. he destroys all evil works standing in the way of the attainment of Brahman. 'He obtains the world,' i. e. all impeding evil works having been destroyed he obtains the world of Brahman. 'He reaches his full age,' i.e. he fully reaches that age which is required for the completion of meditation on Brahman. 'He lives long,' i.e. he lives unassailed by afflictions until he reaches Brahman. 'His descendants do not perish,'

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i.e. his pupils, and their pupils, as well as his sons, grandsons, &c., do not perish; i.e. they are all knowers of Brahman, in agreement with what another text declares to be the reward of knowledge of Brahman--'In his family no one is born ignorant of Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9). 'We guard him in this world and the other,' i.e. we Fires guard him from all troubles until he reaches Brahman.--The Agnividyâ thus being a member of the Brahmavidyâ, there is no reason why the Brahman introduced in the earlier part of the Brahmavidyâ should not be connected with the latter part--the function of this latter part being to enjoin a place of meditation (Brahman being meditated on as the Person within the eye), and some special qualities of Brahman to be included in the meditation.--But (an objection is raised) as the Fires tell Upakosala 'the teacher will tell you the way,' we conclude that the teacher has to give information as to the way to Brahman only; how then can his teaching refer to the place of meditation and the special qualities of Brahman?--We have to consider, we reply, in what connexion the Fires address those words to Upakosala. His teacher having gone on a journey without having imparted to him the knowledge of Brahman, and Upakosala being dejected on that account, the sacred fires of his teacher, well pleased with the way in which Upakosala had tended them, and wishing to cheer him up, impart to him the general knowledge of the nature of Brahman and the subsidiary knowledge of the Fires. But remembering that, as scripture says, 'the knowledge acquired from a teacher is best,' and hence considering it advisable that the teacher himself should instruct Upakosala as to the attributes of the highest Brahman, the place with which it is to be connected in meditation and the way leading to it, they tell him 'the teacher will tell you the way,' the 'way' connoting everything that remains to be taught by the teacher. In agreement herewith the teacher--having first said, 'I will tell you this; and as water does not cling to a lotus leaf, so no evil clings to one who knows it'--instructs him about Brahman as possessing certain

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auspicious attributes, and to be meditated upon as abiding within the eye, and about the way leading to Brahman.--It is thus a settled conclusion that the text under discussion refers to that Brahman which was introduced in the passage 'Ka is Brahman,' and that hence the Person abiding within the eye is the highest Self.

But--an objection is raised--how do you know that the passage 'Ka (pleasure) is Brahman, Kha (ether) is Brahman' really refers to the highest Brahman, so as to be able to interpret on that basis the text about the Person within the eye? It is a more obvious interpretation to take the passage about Ka and Kha as enjoining a meditation on Brahman viewed under the form of elemental ether and of ordinary worldly pleasure. This interpretation would, moreover, be in agreement with other similarly worded texts (which are generally understood to enjoin meditation on Brahman in a definite form), such as 'Name is Brahman', 'Mind is Brahman.'

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