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  Srimad Bhagavatam

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  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

  Brahma Sutra
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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.

3. And because from the independence (of the Pradhâna) there would follow the non-existence of what is different (from creation, i.e. of the pralaya condition).

That the Pradhâna which is not guided by an intelligent principle is not the universal cause is proved also by the fact that, if we ascribe to it a power for change independent of the guidance of a Lord capable of realising all his purposes, it would follow that the pralaya state, which is different from the state of creation, would not exist; while on the other hand the guidance of the Pradhâna by a Lord explains the alternating states of creation and pralaya as the effects of his purposes. Nor can the Sânkhya retort that our view gives rise to similar difficulties in so far, namely, as the Lord, all whose wishes are eternally accomplished, who is free from all imperfection, &c. &c., cannot be the originator of either creation or pralaya, and as the creation of an unequal world would lay him open to the

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charge of mercilessness. For, as explained before, even a being perfect and complete may enter on activity for the sake of sport; and as the reason for a particular creation on the part of an all-knowing Lord may be his recognition of Prakriti having reached a certain special state, it is the deeds of the individual souls which bring about the inequalities in the new creation.--But if this is so, all difference of states is caused exclusively by the good and evil deeds of the individual souls; and what position remains then for a ruling Lord? Prakriti, impressed by the good and evil deeds of the souls, will by herself modify herself on such lines as correspond to the deserts of the individual souls; in the same way as we observe that food and drink, if either vitiated by poison or reinforced by medicinal herbs and juices, enter into new states which render them the causes of either pleasure or pain. Hence all the differences between states of creation and pralaya, as also the inequalities among created beings such as gods, men, and so on. and finally the souls reaching the condition of Release, may be credited to the Pradhâna, possessing as it does the capability of modifying itself into all possible forms!--You do not, we reply, appear to know anything about the nature of good and evil works; for this is a matter to be learned from the Sastra. The Sastra is constituted by the aggregate of words called Veda, which is handed on by an endless unbroken succession of pupils learning from qualified teachers, and raised above all suspicion of imperfections such as spring from mistake and the like. It is the Veda which gives information as to good and evil deeds, the essence of which consists in their pleasing or displeasing the Supreme Person, and as to their results, viz. pleasure and pain, which depend on the grace or wrath of the Lord. In agreement herewith the Dramidâkârya says, 'From the wish of giving rise to fruits they seek to please the Self with works; he being pleased is able to bestow fruits, this is the purport of the Sâstra.' Thus Sruti also says, 'Sacrifices and pious works which are performed in many forms, all that he bears (i.e. he takes to himself); be the navel of the Universe' (Mahânâr. Up. I, 6). And in the same spirit the Lord

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himself declares,'From whom there proceed all beings, by whom all this is pervaded--worshipping him with the proper works man attains to perfection' (Bha. Gî. XVIII, 46); and 'These evil and malign haters, lowest of men, I hurl perpetually into transmigrations and into demoniac wombs' (Bha. Gî. XVI, 19). The divine Supreme Person, all whose wishes are eternally fulfilled, who is all-knowing and the ruler of all, whose every purpose is immediately realised, having engaged in sport befitting his might and greatness and having settled that work is of a twofold nature, such and such works being good and such and such being evil, and having bestowed on all individual souls bodies and sense-organs capacitating them for entering on such work and the power of ruling those bodies and organs; and having himself entered into those souls as their inner Self abides within them, controlling them as an animating and cheering principle. The souls, on their side, endowed with all the powers imparted to them by the Lord and with bodies and organs bestowed by him, and forming abodes in which he dwells, apply themselves on their own part, and in accordance with their own wishes, to works either good or evil. The Lord, then, recognising him who performs good actions as one who obeys his commands, blesses him with piety, riches, worldly pleasures, and final release; while him who transgresses his commands he causes to experience the opposites of all these. There is thus no room whatever for objections founded on deficiency, on the Lord's part, of independence in his dealings with men, and the like. Nor can he be arraigned with being pitiless or merciless. For by pity we understand the inability, on somebody's part, to bear the pain of others, coupled with a disregard of his own advantage. When pity has the effect of bringing about the transgression of law on the part of the pitying person, it is in no way to his credit; it rather implies the charge of unmanliness (weakness), and it is creditable to control and subdue it. For otherwise it would follow that to subdue and chastise one's enemies is something to be blamed. What the Lord himself aims at is ever to increase happiness to the highest degree, and to this end it is instrumental that

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he should reprove and reject the infinite and intolerable mass of sins which accumulates in the course of beginning and endless aeons, and thus check the tendency on the part of individual beings to transgress his laws. For thus he says: 'To them ever devoted, worshipping me in love, I give that means of wisdom by which they attain to me. In mercy only to them, dwelling in their hearts, do I destroy the darkness born of ignorance with the brilliant light of knowledge' (Bha. Gî. X, 10, 11).--It thus remains a settled conclusion that the Pradhâna, which is not guided by an intelligent principle, cannot be the general cause.--Here a further objection is raised. Although Prakriti, as not being ruled by an intelligent principle, is not capable of that kind of activity which springs from effort, she may yet be capable of that kind of activity which consists in mere transformation. For we observe parallel cases; the grass and water e.g. which are consumed by a cow change on their own account into milk. In the same way, then, Prakriti may on her own account transform herself into the world.--To this the next Sûtra replies.

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