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  Sankara Bhashya
  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.

22. On account of (Brahman's) abiding (within the individual soul); thus Kâsakritsna (holds).

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We must object likewise to the view set forth in the preceding Sûtra, viz. that Brahman is denoted by terms denoting the individual soul because that soul when departing becomes one with Brahman. For that view cannot stand the test of being submitted to definite alternatives.--Is the soul's not being such, i.e. not being Brahman, previously to its departure from the body, due to its own essential nature or to a limiting adjunct, and is it in the latter case real or unreal? In the first case the soul can never become one with Brahman, for if its separation from Brahman is due to its own essential nature, that separation can never vanish as long as the essential nature persists. And should it be said that its essential nature comes to an end together with its distinction from Brahman, we reply that in that case it perishes utterly and does not therefore become Brahman. The latter view, moreover, precludes itself as in no way beneficial to man, and so on.--If, in the next place, the difference of the soul from Brahman depends on the presence of real limiting adjuncts, the soul is Brahman even before its departure from the body, and we therefore cannot reasonably accept the distinction implied in saying that the soul becomes Brahman only when it departs. For on this view there exists nothing but Brahman and its limiting adjuncts, and as those adjuncts cannot introduce difference into Brahman which is without parts and hence incapable of difference, the difference resides altogether in the adjuncts, and hence the soul is Brahman even before its departure from the body.--If, on the other hand, the difference due to the adjuncts is not real, we ask--what is it then that becomes Brahman on the departure of the soul?--Brahman itself whose true nature had previously been obscured by Nescience, its limiting adjunct!--Not so, we reply. Of Brahman whose true nature consists in eternal, free, self-luminous intelligence, the true nature cannot possibly be hidden by Nescience. For by 'hiding' or 'obscuring' we understand the cessation of the light that belongs to the essential nature of a thing. Where, therefore, light itself and alone constitutes the essential nature of a thing, there

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can either be no obscuration at all, or if there is such it means complete annihilation of the thing. Hence Brahman's essential nature being manifest at all times, there exists no difference on account of which it could be said to become Brahman at the time of the soul's departure; and the distinction introduced in the last Sûtra ('when departing') thus has no meaning. The text on which Audulomi relies, 'Having risen from this body,' &c., does not declare that that which previously was not Brahman becomes such at the time of departure, but rather that the true nature of the soul which had previously existed already becomes manifest at the time of departure. This will be explained under IV, 4, 1.

The theories stated in the two preceding Sûtras thus having been found untenable, the teacher Kâsakritsna states his own view, to the effect that words denoting the gîva are applied to Brahman because Brahman abides as its Self within the individual soul which thus constitutes Brahman's body. This theory rests on a number of well-known texts, 'Entering into them with this living (individual) soul let me evolve names and forms' (Kh. Up. VI, 3, 2); 'He who dwelling within the Self, &c., whose body the Self is,' &c. (Bri. Up. III, 7, 22); 'He who moves within the Imperishable, of whom the Imperishable is the body,' &c; 'Entered within, the ruler of beings, the Self of all.' That the term 'gîva' denotes not only the gîva itself, but extends in its denotation up to the highest Self, we have explained before when discussing the text, 'Let me evolve names and forms.' On this view of the identity of the individual and the highest Self consisting in their being related to each other as body and soul, we can accept in their full and unmutilated meaning all scriptural texts whatever--whether they proclaim the perfection and omniscience of the highest Brahman, or teach how the individual soul steeped in ignorance and misery is to be saved through meditation on Brahman, or describe the origination and reabsorption of the world, or aim at showing how the world is identical with Brahman. For this reason the author of the Sûtras,

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rejecting other views, accepts the theory of Kâsakritsna. Returning to the Maitreyî-brâhmana we proceed to explain the general sense, from the passage previously discussed onwards. Being questioned by Maitreyî as to the means of immortality, Yâavalkya teaches her that this means is given in meditation on the highest Self ('The Self is to be seen,' &c.). He next indicates in a general way the nature of the object of meditation ('When the Self is seen,' &c.), and--availing himself of the similes of the drum, &c.--of the government over the organs, mind, and so on, which are instrumental towards meditation. He then explains in detail that the object of meditation, i.e. the highest Brahman, is the sole cause of the entire world; and the ruler of the aggregate of organs on which there depends all activity with regard to the objects of the senses ('As clouds of smoke proceed,' &c.; 'As the ocean is the home of all the waters'). He, next, in order to stimulate the effort which leads to immortality, shows how the highest Self abiding in the form of the individual Self, is of one uniform character, viz. that of limitless intelligence ('As a lump of salt,' &c.), and how that same Self characterised by homogeneous limitless intelligence connects itself in the Samsâra state with the products of the elements ('a mass of knowledge, it rises from those elements and again vanishes into them'). He then adds, 'When he has departed, there is no more knowledge'; meaning that in the state of Release, where the soul's unlimited essential intelligence is not contracted in any way, there is none of those specific cognitions by which the Self identifying itself with the body, the sense-organs, &c., views itself as a man or a god, and so on. Next--in the passage, 'For where there is duality as it were'--he, holding that the view of a plurality of things not having their Self in Brahman is due to ignorance, shows that for him who has freed himself from the shackles of ignorance and recognises this whole world as animated by Brahman, the view of plurality is dispelled by the recognition of the absence of any existence apart from Brahman. He then proceeds, 'He by whom he knows all this, by what means should

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he know Him?' This means--He, i.e. the highest Self, which abiding within the individual soul as its true Self bestows on it the power of knowledge so that the soul knows all this through the highest Self; by what means should the soul know Him? In other words, there is no such means of knowledge: the highest Self cannot be fully understood by the individual soul. 'That Self,' he continues, 'is to be expressed as--not so, not so!' That means--He, the highest Lord, different in nature from everything else, whether sentient or non-sentient, abides within all beings as their Self, and hence is not touched by the imperfections of what constitutes his body merely. He then concludes, 'Whereby should he know the Knower? Thus, O Maitreyî, thou hast been instructed. Thus far goes Immortality'; the purport of these words being--By what means, apart from the meditation described, should man know Him who is different in nature from all other beings, who is the sole cause of the entire world, who is the Knower of all, Him the Supreme Person? It is meditation on Him only which shows the road to Immortality. It thus appears that the Maitreyî-brâhmana is concerned with the highest Brahman only; and this confirms the conclusion that Brahman only, and with it Prakriti as ruled by Brahman, is the cause of the world.--Here terminates the adhikarana of 'the connexion of sentences.'

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