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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.

27. Should it be said that it is not so, on account of the word, &c., and on account of the abiding within; we say, no; on account of meditation being taught thus, on account of impossibility; and because they read of him as person.

An objection is raised. Vaisvânara cannot be ascertained to be the highest Self, because, on the account of the text and of the abiding within, we can understand by the Vaisvânara in our text the intestinal fire also. The text to which we refer occurs in the Vaisvânara-vidyâ of the Vâgasaneyins, 'This one is the Agni Vaisvânara,' where the two words 'Agni' and 'Vaisvânara' are exhibited in

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co-ordination. And in the section under discussion the passage, 'the heart is the Gârhapatya fire, the mind the Anvâhârya-pakana fire, the mouth the Âhavanîya fire' (Kh. Up. V, 18, 2), represents the Vaisvânara in so far as abiding within the heart and so on as constituting the triad of sacred fires. Moreover the text, 'The first food which a man may take is in the place of Soma. And he who offers that first oblation should offer it to Prâna' (V, 19, 1), intimates that Vaisvânara is the abode of the offering to Prâna. In the same way the Vâgasaneyins declare that Vaisvânara abides within man, viz. in the passage 'He who knows this Agni Vaisvânara shaped like a man abiding within man.' As thus Vaisvânara appears in co-ordination with the word 'Agni,' is represented as the triad of sacred fires, is said to be the abode of the oblation to Breath, and to abide within man, he must be viewed as the intestinal fire, and it is therefore not true that he can be identified with the highest Self only.

This objection is set aside by the Sûtra. It is not so 'on account of meditation (on the highest Self) being taught thus,' i.e. as the text means to teach that the highest Brahman which, in the manner described before, has the three worlds for its body should be meditated upon as qualified by the intestinal fire which (like other beings) constitutes Brahman's body. For the word 'Agni' denotes not only the intestinal fire, but also the highest Self in so far as qualified by the intestinal fire.--But how is this to be known?--'On account of impossibility;' i.e. because it is impossible that the mere intestinal fire should have the three worlds for its body. The true state of the case therefore is that the word Agni, which is understood to denote the intestinal fire, when appearing in co-ordination with the term Vaisvânara represented as having the three worlds for his body, denotes (not the intestinal fire, but) the highest Self as qualified by that fire viewed as forming the body of the Self. Thus the Lord also says, 'As Vaisvânara fire I abide in the body of living creatures and, being assisted by breath inspired and expired, digest the fourfold food' (Bha Gî. XIV, 15). 'As Vaisvânara fire' here

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means 'embodied in the intestinal fire.'--The Khândogya text under discussion enjoins meditation on the highest Self embodied in the Vaisvânara fire.--Moreover the Vâgasaneyins read of him, viz. the Vaisvânara, as man or person, viz. in the passage 'That Agni Vaisvânara is the person' (Sa. Brâ. X, 6, 1, 11). The intestinal fire by itself cannot be called a person; unconditioned personality belongs to the highest Self only. Compare 'the thousand-headed person' (Ri. Samh.), and 'the Person is all this' (Sve. Up. III, 15).

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