The Mahabharata
  Srimad Bhagavatam

  Rig Veda
  Yajur Veda
  Sama Veda
  Atharva Veda

  Bhagavad Gita
  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

  Brahma Sutra
  Sankara Bhashya I
  Sankara Bhashya II
  Ramanuja SriBhashya


  Agni Purana
  Brahma Purana
  Garuda Purana
  Markandeya Purana
  Varaha Purana
  Matsya Purana
  Vishnu Purana
  Linga Purana
  Narada Purana
  Padma Purana
  Shiva Purana
  Skanda Purana
  Vamana Purana

  Manu Smriti

  Vedanta Deshikar
  Appayya Dikshitar
  Samartha Ramdas

  Bhagavad Gita
  Brahma Sutras

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.

19. On account of the connected meaning of the sentences.

In spite of the conclusion arrived at there may remain a suspicion that here and there in the Upanishads texts are to be met with which aim at setting forth the soul as maintained in Kapila's system, and that hence there is no room for a being different from the individual soul and called Lord. This suspicion the Sûtra undertakes to remove, in connexion with the Maitreyi-brâhmana, in the Brihadaranyaka. There we read 'Verily, a husband is dear, not for the love of the husband, but for the love of the Self a husband is dear, and so on. Everything is dear, not for the love of everything, but for the love of the Self everything is dear. The Self should be seen, should be heard, should be reflected on, should be meditated upon. When the Self has been seen, heard, reflected upon, meditated upon, then all this is known' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 6).--Here the doubt arises whether the Self enjoined in this passage as the object of seeing, &c., be the soul as held by the Sânkhyas, or the Supreme Lord, all-knowing, capable of realising all his purposes, and so on. The Pûrvapakshin upholds the former alternative. For, he says, the beginning no less than the middle and the concluding part of the section conveys the idea of the individual soul only. In the beginning the individual soul only is meant, as appears from the connexion of the Self with husband, wife, children, wealth, cattle, and so on. This is confirmed by the middle part of the section where the Self is said to be connected with origination and destruction, 'a mass of knowledge, he having risen from these elements vanishes again into them. When he has departed there

p. 386

is no more consciousness.' And in the end we have 'whereby should he know the knower'; where we again recognise the knowing subject, i.e. the individual soul, not the Lord. We thus conclude that the whole text is meant to set forth the soul as held by the Sânkhyas.--But in the beginning there is a clause, viz. 'There is no hope of immortality by wealth,' which shows that the whole section is meant to instruct us as to the means of immortality; how then can it be meant to set forth the individual soul only?--You state the very reason proving that the text is concerned with the individual soul only! For according to the Sânkhya-system immortality is obtained through the cognition of the true nature of the soul viewed as free from all erroneous imputation to itself of the attributes of non-sentient matter; and the text therefore makes it its task to set forth, for the purpose of immortality, the essential nature of the soul free from all connexion with Prakriti, 'the Self should be heard,' and so on. And as the souls dissociated from Prakriti are all of a uniform nature, all souls are known through the knowledge of the soul free from Prakriti, and the text therefore rightly says that through the Self being known everything is known. And as the essential nature of the Self is of one and the same kind, viz. knowledge or intelligence, in all beings from gods down to plants, the text rightly asserts the unity of the Self 'that Self is all this'; and denies all otherness from the Self, on the ground of the characteristic attributes of gods and so on really being of the nature of the Not-self, 'he is abandoned by everything,' &c. The clause, 'For where there is duality as it were,' which denies plurality, intimates that the plurality introduced into the homogeneous Self by the different forms--such as of gods, and so on--assumed by Prakriti, is false. And there is also no objection to the teaching that 'the Rig-veda and so on are breathed forth from that great being (i.e. Prakriti); for the origination of the world is caused by the soul in its quality as ruler of Prakriti.--It thus being ascertained that the whole Maitreyî-brâhmana is concerned with the soul in the Sânkhya sense, we, according to the principle of the

p. 387

unity of purport of all Vedânta-texts, conclude that they all treat of the Sânkhya soul only, and that hence the cause of the world is to be found not in a so-called Lord but in Prakriti ruled and guided by the soul.

This primâ facie view is set aside by the Sûtra. The whole text refers to the Supreme Lord only; for on this supposition only a satisfactory connexion of the parts of the text can be made out. On being told by Yâavalkya that there is no hope of immortality through wealth, Maitreyî expresses her slight regard for wealth and all such things as do not help to immortality, and asks to be instructed as to the means of immortality only ('What should I do with that by which I do not become immortal? What my lord knows tell that clearly to me'). Now the Self which Yâavalkya, responding to her requests, points out to her as the proper object of knowledge, can be none other than the highest Self; for other scriptural texts clearly teach that the only means of reaching immortality is to know the Supreme Person--'Having known him thus man passes beyond death'; 'Knowing him thus he becomes immortal here, there is no other path to go' (Svet. Up. III, 8). The knowledge of the true nature of the individual soul which obtains immortality, and is a mere manifestation of the power of the Supreme Person, must be held to be useful towards the cognition of the Supreme Person who brings about Release, but is not in itself instrumental towards such Release; the being the knowledge of which the text declares to be the means of immortality is therefore the highest Self only. Again, the causal power with regard to the entire world which is expressed in the passage, 'from that great Being there were breathed forth the Rig veda,' &c., cannot possibly belong to the mere individual soul which in its state of bondage is under the influence of karman and in the state of release has nothing to do with the world; it can in fact belong to the Supreme Person only. Again, what the text says as to everything being known by the knowledge of one thing ('By the seeing indeed of the Self,' &c.) is possible only in the case of a Supreme Self which constitutes the Self of all. What

p. 388

the Pûrvapakshin said as to everything being known through the cognition of the one individual soul, since all individual souls are of the same type--this also cannot be upheld; for as long as there is a knowledge of the soul only and not also of the world of non-sentient things, there is no knowledge of everything. And when the text enumerates different things ('this Brahman class, this Kshatra class,' &c.), and then concludes 'all this is that Self--where the 'this' denotes the entire Universe of animate and inanimate beings as known through Perception, Inference, and so on--universal unity such as declared here is possible only through a highest Self which is the Self of all. It is not, on the other hand, possible that what the word 'this' denotes, i.e. the whole world of intelligent and non-intelligent creatures, should be one with the personal soul as long as it remains what it is, whether connected with or disassociated from non-sentient matter. In the same spirit the passage, 'All things abandon him who views all things elsewhere than in the Self,' finds fault with him who views anything apart from the universal Self. The qualities also which in the earlier Maitreyî-brâhmana (II, 4, 12) are predicated of the being under discussion, viz. greatness, endlessness, unlimitedness, cannot belong to any one else but the highest Self. That Self therefore is the topic of the Brâhmana.

We further demur to our antagonist's maintaining that the entire Brâhmana treats of the individual soul because that soul is at the outset represented as the object of enquiry, this being inferred from its connexion with husband, wife, wealth, &c. For if the clause 'for the love (literally, for the desire) of the Self refers to the individual Self, we cannot help connecting (as, in fact, we must do in any case) that Self with the Self referred to in the subsequent clause, 'the Self indeed is to be seen,' &c.; the connexion having to be conceived in that way that the information given in the former clause somehow subserves the cognition of the Self enjoined in the latter clause. 'For the desire of the Self would then mean 'for the attainment of the objects desired by the Self.' But if it

p. 389

is first said that husband, wife, &c., are dear because they fulfil the wishes of the individual Self, it could hardly be said further on that the nature of that Self must be enquired into; for what, in the circumstances of the case, naturally is to be enquired into and searched for are the dear objects but not the true nature of him to whom those objects are dear, apart from the objects themselves. It would certainly be somewhat senseless to declare that since husband, wife, &c., are dear because they fulfil the desires of the individual soul, therefore, setting aside those dear objects, we must enquire into the true nature of that soul apart from all the objects of its desire. On the contrary, it having been declared that husband, wife, &c., are dear not on account of husband, wife, &c., but on account of the Self, they should not be dropped, but included in the further investigation, just because they subserve the Self. And should our opponent (in order to avoid the difficulty of establishing a satisfactory connexion between the different clauses) maintain that the clause, 'but everything is dear for the love of the Self,' is not connected with the following clause, 'the Self is to be seen,' &c., we point out that this would break the whole connexion of the Brahmâna. And if we allowed such a break, we should then be unable to point out what is the use of the earlier part of the Brahmâna. We must therefore attempt to explain the connexion in such a way as to make it clear why all search for dear objects--husband, wife, children, wealth, &c.--should be abandoned and the Self only should be searched for. This explanation is as follows. After having stated that wealth, and so on, are no means to obtain immortality which consists in permanent absolute bliss, the text declares that the pleasant experiences which we derive from wealth, husband, wife, &c.. and which are not of a permanent nature and always alloyed with a great deal of pain, are caused not by wealth, husband, wife, &c., themselves, but rather by the highest Self whose nature is absolute bliss. He therefore who being himself of the nature of perfect bliss causes other beings and things also to be the abodes of partial bliss, he--the highest Self--is to be constituted

p. 390

the object of knowledge. The clauses, 'not for the wish of the husband a husband is dear,' &c., therefore must be understood as follows--a husband, a wife, a son, &c., are not dear to us in consequence of a wish or purpose on their part, 'may I, for my own end or advantage be dear to him,' but they are dear to us for the wish of the Self, i.e. to the end that there may be accomplished the desire of the highest Self--which desire aims at the devotee obtaining what is dear to him. For the highest Self pleased with the works of his devotees imparts to different things such dearness, i.e. joy-giving quality as corresponds to those works, that 'dearness' being bound in each case to a definite place, time, nature and degree. This is in accordance with the scriptural text, 'For he alone bestows bliss' (Taitt. Up. II, 7). Things are not dear, or the contrary, to us by themselves, but only in so far as the highest Self makes them such. Compare the text, 'The same thing which erst gave us delight later on becomes the source of grief; and what was the cause of wrath afterwards tends to peace. Hence there is nothing that in itself is of the nature either of pleasure or of pain.'

But, another view of the meaning of the text is proposed, even if the Self in the clause 'for the desire of the Self' were accepted as denoting the individual Self, yet the clause 'the Self must be seen' would refer to the highest Self only. For in that case also the sense would be as follows--because the possession of husband, wife, and other so-called dear things is aimed at by a person to whom they are dear, not with a view of bringing about what is desired by them (viz. husband, wife, &c.), but rather to the end of bringing about what is desired by himself; therefore that being which is, to the individual soul, absolutely and unlimitedly dear, viz. the highest Self, must be constituted the sole object of cognition, not such objects as husband, wife, wealth, &c., the nature of which depends on various external circumstances and the possession of which gives rise either to limited pleasure alloyed with pain or to mere pain.--But against this we remark that as, in the section under discussion, the words designating the

p. 391

individual Self denote the highest Self also, 1, the term 'Self' in both clauses, 'For the desire of the Self' and 'The Self is to be seen,' really refers to one and the same being (viz. the highest Self), and the interpretation thus agrees with the one given above.--In order to prove the tenet that words denoting the individual soul at the same time denote the highest Self, by means of arguments made use of by other teachers also, the Sûtrakâra sets forth the two following Sûtras.

home      contact us