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  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.

8. On account of such consequences in reabsorption (the Vedânta-texts would be) inappropriate.

The term 'reabsorption' here stands as an instance of all the states of Brahman, reabsorption, creation, and so on--among which it is the first as appears from the texts giving instruction about those several states 'Being only was this in the beginning'; 'The Self only was this in the beginning.' If we accept the doctrine of the oneness of substance of cause and effect, then, absorption, creation, &c. of the world all being in Brahman, the different states of the world would connect themselves with Brahman, and the latter would thus be affected by all the imperfections of its effect; in the same way as all the attributes of the bracelet are present in the gold also. And the undesirable consequence of this would be that contradictory attributes as predicated in different Vedânta-texts would have to be attributed to one and the same substance; cp. 'He who is all-knowing' (Mu. Up. I, 1, 9); 'Free from sin, free from old age and death' (Kh. Up. VIII, 1, 5); 'Of him there is known neither cause nor effect' (Svet. Up. VI, 8); 'Of these two one eats the sweet fruit' (Svet. Up. IV, 6); 'The Self that is not a Lord is bound because he has to enjoy' (Svet. Up. I, 8); 'On account of his impotence he laments, bewildered' (Svet. Up. IV, 7).--Nor can we accept the explanation that, as Brahman in its causal as well as its effected state has all sentient and non-sentient beings for its body; and as all imperfections inhere in that body only, they do not touch Brahman in either its causal or effected state. For it is not possible that the world and Brahman should stand to each other in the relation of effect and cause, and if it were possible, the imperfections due to connexion with a body would necessarily cling to Brahman. It is not, we say, possible that the intelligent and non-ntelligent beings together should constitute the body of Brahman. For a body is a particular aggregate of earth

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and the other elements, depending for its subsistence on vital breath with its five modifications, and serving as an abode to the sense-organs which mediate the experiences of pleasure and pain retributive of former works: such is in Vedic and worldly speech the sense connected with the term 'body.' But numerous Vedic texts--'Free from sin, from old age and death' (Kh. Up. VIII, 1); 'Without eating the other one looks on' (Svet. Up. IV, 6); 'Grasping without hands, hasting without feet, he sees without eyes, he hears without ears' (Svet. Up. III, 19); 'Without breath, without mind' (Mu. Up. II, 1, 2)--declare that the highest Self is free from karman and the enjoyment of its fruits, is not capable of enjoyment dependent on sense-organs, and has no life dependent on breath: whence it follows that he cannot have a body constituted by all the non-sentient and sentient beings. Nor can either non-sentient beings in their individual forms such as grass, trees, &c., or the aggregate of all the elements in their subtle state be viewed as the abode of sense-activity (without which they cannot constitute a body); nor are the elements in their subtle state combined into earth and the other gross elements (which again would be required for a body). And sentient beings which consist of mere intelligence are of course incapable of all this, and hence even less fit to constitute a body. Nor may it be said that to have a body merely means to be the abode of fruition, and that Brahman may possess a body in this latter sense; for there are abodes of fruition, such as palaces and the like, which are not considered to be bodies. Nor will it avail, narrowing the last definition, to say that that only is an abode of enjoyment directly abiding in which a being enjoys pain and pleasure; for if a soul enters a body other than its own, that body is indeed the abode in which it enjoys the pains and pleasures due to such entering, but is not admitted to be in the proper sense of the word the body of the soul thus entered. In the case of the Lord, on the other hand, who is in the enjoyment of self-established supreme bliss, it can in no way be maintained that he must be joined to a body, consisting of all sentient and non-sentient

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beings, for the purpose of enjoyment.--That view also according to which a 'body' means no more than a means of enjoyment is refuted hereby.

You will now possibly try another definition, viz. that the body of a being is constituted by that, the nature, subsistence and activity of which depend on the will of that being, and that hence a body may be ascribed to the Lord in so far as the essential nature, subsistence, and activity of all depend on him.--But this also is objectionable; since in the first place it is not a fact that the nature of a body depends on the will of the intelligent soul joined with it; since, further, an injured body does not obey in its movements the will of its possessor; and since the persistence of a dead body does not depend on the soul that tenanted it. Dancing puppets and the like, on the other hand, are things the nature, subsistence, and motions of which depend on the will of intelligent beings, but we do not on that account consider them to be the bodies of those beings. As, moreover, the nature of an eternal intelligent soul does not depend on the will of the Lord, it cannot be its body under the present definition.--Nor again can it be said that the body of a being is constituted by that which is exclusively ruled and supported by that being and stands towards it in an exclusive subservient relation (sesha); for this definition would include actions also. And finally it is a fact that several texts definitely declare that the Lord is without a body, 'Without hands and feet he grasps and hastens' &c.

As thus the relation of embodied being and body cannot subsist between Brahman and the world, and as if it did subsist, all the imperfections of the world would cling to Brahman; the Vedânta--texts are wrong in teaching that Brahman is the material cause of the world.

To this primâ facie view the next Sûtra replies.

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