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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. On account of his being designated as the object of seeing, he (i.e. the highest Self) (is that object).

The followers of the Atharva-veda, in the section containing the question asked by Satyakâma, read as follows: 'He again who meditates with this syllable Aum of three Mâtrâs on the highest Person, he comes to light and to the sun. As a snake frees itself from its skin, so he frees himself from evil. He is led up by the Sâman verses to the Brahma-world; he sees the person dwelling in the castle who is higher than the individual souls concreted

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with bodies and higher (than those)' (Pra. Up. V, 2). Here the terms 'he meditates' and 'he sees' have the same sense, 'seeing' being the result of devout meditation; for according to the principle expressed in the text (Kh. Up. III, 14) 'According as man's thought is in this world,' what is reached by the devotee is the object of meditation; and moreover the text exhibits the same object, viz. 'the highest Person' in connexion with both verbs.

The doubt here presents itself whether the highest Person in this text be the so-called four-faced Brahmâ, the Lord of the mundane egg who represents the individual souls in their collective aspect, or the supreme Person who is the Lord of all.--The Pûrvapakshin maintains the former view. For, he argues, on the introductory question, 'He who here among men should meditate until death on the syllable Om, what would he obtain by it?' The text first declares that he who meditates on that syllable as having one Mâtrâ, obtains the world of men; and next, that he who meditates on it as having two Mâtrâs obtains the world of the atmosphere. Hence the Brahma-world, which the text after that represents as the object reached by him who meditates on Om as having three syllables, must be the world of Brahmâ Katurmukha who is constituted by the aggregate of the individual souls. What the soul having reached that world sees, therefore is the same Brahmâ Katurmukha; and thus only the attribute 'etasmâg' gîvaghanât parât param' is suitable; for the collective soul, i. e. Brahmâ Katurmukha, residing in the Brahma-world is higher (para) than the distributive or discrete soul (gîva) which is concreted (ghanî-bhûta) with the body and sense-organs, and at the same time is higher (para) than these. The highest Person mentioned in the text, therefore, is Brahmâa Katurmukha; and the qualities mentioned further on, such as absence of decay, &c., must be taken in such a way as to agree with that Brahmâ.

To this primâ facie view the Sûtra replies that the object of seeing is He, i.e. the highest Self, on account of designation. The text clearly designates the object of seeing as the highest Self. For the concluding sloka,

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which refers to that object of seeing, declares that 'by means of the Omkâra he who knows reaches that which is tranquil, free from decay, immortal, fearless, the highest'--all which attributes properly belong to the highest Self only, as we know from texts such as 'that is the Immortal, that is the fearless, that is Brahman' (Kh. Up. IV, 15, i). The qualification expressed in the clause 'etasmâg gîva.--ghanât,' &c. may also refer to the highest Self only, not to Brahmâ Katurmukha; for the latter is himself comprehended by the term 'gîvaghana.' For that term denotes all souls which are embodied owing to karman; and that Katurmukha is one of those we know from texts such as 'He who first creates Brahmâ' (Svet. Up. VI, 18). Nor is there any strength in the argument that, since the Brahma-world mentioned in the text is known to be the world of Katurmukha, as it follows next on the world of the atmosphere, the being abiding there must needs be Katurmukha. We rather argue as follows--as from the concluding clause 'that which is tranquil, free from decay,' &c., we ascertain that the object of intuition is the highest Brahman, the Brahma-world spoken of as the abode of the seeing devotee cannot be the perishable world of Brahmâ Katurmukha. A further reason for this conclusion is supplied by what the text says about 'him who is freed from all evil being led up by the Sâman verses to the world of Brahman'; for the place reached by him who is freed from all evil cannot be the mere abode of Katurmukha. Hence also the concluding sloka says with reference to that Brahma-world 'that which the wise teach ': what the wise see and teach is the abode of the highest, of Vishnu; cp. the text 'the wise ever see that highest abode of Vishnu.' Nor is it even strictly true that the world of Brahmâ follows on the atmosphere, for the svarga-world and several others lie between the two.

We therefore shortly explain the drift of the whole chapter as follows. At the outset of the reply given to Satyakâma there is mentioned, in addition to the highest (para) Brahman, a lower (apara) Brahman. This lower or effected (kârya) Brahman is distinguished as twofold, being connected either with this terrestrial world or yonder, non-terrestrial,

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world. Him who meditates on the Pranava as having one syllable, the text declares to obtain a reward in this world--he reaches the world of men. He, on the other hand, who meditates on the Pranava as having two syllables is said to obtain his reward in a super-terrestrial sphere--he reaches the world of the atmosphere. And he finally who, by means of the trisyllabic Pranava which denotes the highest Brahman, meditates on this very highest Brahman, is said to reach that Brahman, i. e. the supreme Person.--The object of seeing is thus none other than the highest Self.--Here terminates the adhikarana of the 'object of seeing.'

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