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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.

13. The small (ether) (is Brahman), on account of the subsequent (arguments).

The Khandogas have the following text, 'Now in that city of Brahman there is the palace, the small lotus, and in it that small ether. Now what is within that small ether that is to be sought for, that is to be understood' (Kh. Up. VIII, 1, 1).--The question here arises whether that small ether (space) within the lotus of the heart be the material clement called ether, or the individual Self, or the highest Self.--The first view presenting itself is that the element is meant, for the reason that the word 'ether' is generally used in that sense; and because the clause 'what is within that small ether' shows that the ether mentioned constitutes the abode of something else that is to be enquired into.--This view is set aside by the Sûtra. The small ether within the heart is the highest Brahman, on account of the subsequent reasons, contained in clauses of the same section. The passage 'That Self which is free from evil, free from old age, free from death, free from grief, free from hunger and thirst, whose wishes and purposes come true' (VIII, 7, 1) ascribes to that small ether qualities--such as unconditioned Selfhood, freedom from evil, &c.--which clearly show that ether to be the highest Brahman. And this conclusion is confirmed by what other texts say about him who knows the small ether attaining the power of realising his own wishes,'Those who

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depart from hence having come to know the Self and those real wishes, for them there is freedom in all worlds'; and 'whatever object he desires, by his mere will it comes to him; having obtained it he is happy' (Kh, Up. VIII, 1, 6; 2, 9). If moreover the ether within the heart were the elemental ether, the comparison instituted in the passage 'As large as that (elemental) ether is, so large is this ether within the heart' would be wholly inappropriate. Nor must it be said that that comparison rests on the limitation of the ether within the heart (so that the two terms compared would be the limited elemental ether within the heart, and the universal elemental ether); for there still would remain the inappropriate assertion that the ether within the heart is the abode of heaven, earth and all other things.--But, an objection is raised, also on the alternative of the small ether being the highest Brahman, the comparison to the universal elemental ether is unsuitable; for scripture explicitly states that the highest Self is (not as large but) larger than everything else, 'larger than the earth, larger than the sky,' &c. (Kh. Up. III, 14, 3). Not so, we reply; what the text says as to the ether within the heart being as large as the universal ether is meant (not to make a conclusive statement as to its extent but only) to negative that smallness of the ether which is established by its abiding within the heart. Similarly we say 'the sun moves with the speed of an arrow'; the sun indeed moves much faster than an arrow, but what our assertion means is merely that he does not move slowly.--But, a further doubt is started, the passage 'That Self which is free from sin,' &c. does not appear to refer back to the small ether within the heart. For the text makes a distinction between that ether and that within that ether which it declares to be the due object of search and enquiry. This latter object therefore is the topic of discussion, and when the text says later on 'That Self, free from sin, &c. is to be searched out' we must understand it to refer to the same object of search.--This would be so, we reply, if the text did not distinguish the small ether and that which abides within it; but as a matter of fact it

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does distinguish the two. The connexion is as follows. The text at first refers to the body of the devotee as the city of Brahman, the idea being that Brahman is present therein as object of meditation; and then designates an organ of that body, viz. the small lotus-shaped heart as the palace of Brahman. It then further refers to Brahman--the all knowing, all powerful, whose love towards his devotees is boundless like the ocean--as the small ether within the heart, meaning thereby that Brahman who for the benefit of his devotees is present within that palace should be meditated upon as of minute size, and finally--in the clause 'that is to be searched out'--enjoins as the object of meditation that which abides in that Brahman, i.e. on the one hand, its essential freedom from all evil qualities, and on the other the whole treasure of its auspicious qualities, its power of realising its wishes and so on. The 'that' (in 'that is to be searched out') enjoins as objects of search the small ether, i.e. Brahman itself as well as the qualities abiding within it.--But how, it may be asked, do you know that the word 'that' really refers to both, viz. the highest Brahman, there called 'small ether,' and the qualities abiding in it, and that hence the clause enjoins an enquiry into both these entities?--Listen, attentively, we reply, to our explanation! The clause 'As large as this ether is, so large is this ether within the heart' declares the exceeding greatness of the small ether; the clause 'Both heaven and earth are contained within it' up to 'lightning and stars' declares that same small ether to be the abode of the entire world; and the clause 'And whatever there is for him in this world, and whatever there is not, all that is contained within it' declares that whatever objects of enjoyment there are for the devotee in this world, and whatever other objects there are not for him, i.e. are merely wishes but not obtained by him, all those objects are contained within that same small ether. The text next declares that that small ether, although dwelling within the heart which is a part of the body, is not affected by the body's old age and decay, for being extremely minute it is not capable of change; and adds 'that true

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being is the Brahman-city,' i.e. that Reality which is the cause of all is the city called Brahman, i.e. the abode of the entire Universe. The following clause 'in it all desires are contained' again referring to the small ether ('in it') declares that in it all desires, i.e. all desirable qualities are contained. The text next proceeds to set forth that the small ether possesses Selfhood and certain desirable auspicious qualities-this is done in the passage 'It is the Self free from sin' &c. up to 'whose purposes realise themselves.' The following section--'And as here on earth' down to 'for them there is freedom in all the worlds '--declares that those who do not know those eight qualities and the Self, called 'small ether,' which is characterised by them, and who perform actions aiming at objects of enjoyment different from that Self, obtain perishable results only, and do not attain the power of realising their wishes; while those on the other hand who know the Self called 'small ether' and the qualities abiding within it, through the grace of that very same highest Self, obtain all their wishes and the power of realising their purposes. On the ground of this connected consideration of the whole chapter we are able to decide that the text enjoins as the object of search and enquiry both the highest Brahman and the whole body of auspicious qualities abiding within it. This the Vâkyakâra also renders clear in the passage beginning 'In the text "what is within that" there is designation of wishes (i.e. desirable qualities).'--For all these reasons the small ether is the highest Brahman.

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