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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.

33. (That) grief of him (arose), this is intimated by his (Gânasruti's) resorting to him (Raikva) on hearing a disrespectful speech about himself.

From what the text says about Gânasruti Pautrâyana having been taunted by a flamingo for his want of knowledge of Brahman, and having thereupon resorted to Raikva, who possessed the knowledge of Brahman, it appears that sorrow (suk) had taken possession of him; and it is with a view to this that Raikva addresses him as Sûdra. For the word Sûdra, etymologically considered, means one who grieves or sorrows (sokati). The appellation 'sûdra' therefore refers to his sorrow, not to his being a member of the fourth caste. This clearly appears from a consideration of the whole story. Gânasruti Pautrâyana was a very liberal and pious king. Being much pleased with his virtuous life, and wishing to rouse in him the desire of knowing Brahman, two noble-minded beings, assuming the shape of flamingoes, flew past him at night time, when one of them addressed the other, 'O Bhallâksha. the light of Gânasruti has spread like the sky; do not go

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near that it may not burn thee.' To this praise of Gânasruti the other flamingo replied, 'How can you speak of him, being what he is, as if he were Raikva "sayuktvân"?' i.e. 'how can you speak of Gânasruti, being what he is, as if he were Raikva, who knows Brahman and is endowed with the most eminent qualities? Raikva, who knows Brahman, alone in this world is truly eminent. Ganasruti may be very pious, but as he does not know Brahman what quality of his could produce splendour capable of burning me like the splendour of Raikva?' The former flamingo thereupon asks who that Raikva is, and its companion replies, 'He in whose work and knowledge there are comprised all the works done by good men and all the knowledge belonging to intelligent creatures, that is Raikva.' Gânasruti, having heard this speech of the flamingo--which implied a reproach to himself as being destitute of the knowledge of Brahman, and a glorification of Raikva as possessing that knowledge--at once sends his door-keeper to look for Raikva; and when the door-keeper finds him and brings word, the king himself repairs to him with six hundred cows, a golden necklace, and a carriage yoked with mules, and asks him to teach him the deity on which he meditates, i.e. the highest deity. Raikva, who through the might of his Yoga-knowledge is acquainted with everything that passes in the three worlds, at once perceives that Gânasruti is inwardly grieved at the slighting speech of the flamingo, which had been provoked by the king's want of knowledge of Brahman, and is now making an effort due to the wish of knowing Brahman; and thus recognises that the king is fit for the reception of that knowledge. Reflecting thereupon that a knowledge of Brahman may be firmly established in this pupil even without long attendance on the teacher if only he will be liberal to the teacher to the utmost of his capability, he addresses him: 'Do thou take away (apâhara) (these things), O Sûdra; keep (the chariot) with the cows for thyself.' What he means to say is, 'By so much only in the way of gifts bestowed on me, the knowledge of Brahman cannot be established in thee, who, through the desire for such knowledge, art plunged

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in grief'--the address 'O Sûdra' intimating that Raikva knows Gânasruti to be plunged in grief, and on that account fit to receive instruction about Brahman. Gânasruti thereupon approaches Raikva for a second time, bringing as much wealth as he possibly can, and moreover his own daughter. Raikva again intimates his view of the pupil's fitness for receiving instruction by addressing him a second time as 'Sûdra,' and says, 'You have brought these, O Sûdra; by this mouth only you made me speak,' i.e. 'You now have brought presents to the utmost of your capability; by this means only you will induce me, without lengthy service on your part, to utter speech containing that instruction about Brahman which you desire.'--Having said this he begins to instruct him.--We thus see that the appellation 'sûdra' is meant to intimate the grief of Gânasruti--which grief in its turn indicates the king's fitness for receiving instruction; and is not meant to declare that Gânasruti belongs to the lowest caste.

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