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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.

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9. And (it is) objectionable on account of the contradictions.

The Sânkhya-system, moreover, labours from many internal contradictions.--The Sânkhyas hold that while Prakriti is for the sake of another and the object of knowledge and fruition, the soul is independent, an enjoying and knowing agent, and conscious of Prakriti; that the soul reaches isolation through the instrumentality of Prakriti only, and that as its nature is pure, permanent, unchanging consciousness, absence of all activity and isolation belong to that nature; that for this reason the accomplishing of the means of bondage and release and of release belong to Prakriti only; and that, owing to Prakriti's proximity to the unchanging non-active soul, Prakriti, by a process of mutual superimposition (adhyâsa), works towards the creation of a world and subserves the purposes of the soul's fruition and emancipation.--'Since the aggregate of things is for the sake of another; since there is an opposite of the three gunas and the rest; since there is superintendence; since there is an experiencing subject; and since there is activity for the sake of isolation; the soul exists' (Sânkhya Kâ. 17); 'And from that contrast the soul is proved to be a witness, isolated, neutral, cognising and inactive' (18).--And after having stated that the activity of the Pradhâna is for the purpose of the release of the Self, the text says, 'therefore no (soul) is either bound or released, nor does it migrate; it is Prakriti which, abiding in various beings, is bound and released and migrates' (62). And 'From this connexion therewith (i.e. with the soul) the non-intelligent appears as intelligent; and although all agency belongs to the gunas, the indifferent (soul) becomes an agent. In order that the soul may know the Pradhâna and become isolated, the connexion of the two takes place like that of the lame and the blind; and thence creation springs' (20, 21).--Now to that which is eternally unchanging, non-active and isolated, the attributes of being a witness and an enjoying and cognising agent can in no way belong. Nor also can such a being be subject to error resting on

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superimposition; for error and superimposition both are of the nature of change. And, on the other hand, they also cannot belong to Prakriti, since they are attributes of intelligent beings. For by superimposition we understand the attribution, on the part of an intelligent being, of the qualities of one thing to another thing; and this is the doing of an intelligent being, and moreover a change. Nor is it possible that superimposition and the like should take place in the soul only if it is in approximation to Prakriti.--They may take place just on account of the non-changing nature of the soul!--Then, we reply, they would take place permanently. And that mere proximity has no effective power we have already shown under II, 1, 4. And if it is maintained that it is Prakriti only that migrates, is bound and released, how then can she be said to benefit the soul, which is eternally released? That she does so the Sânkhyas distinctly assert, 'By manifold means Prakriti, helpful and endowed with the gunas, without any benefit to herself, accomplishes the purpose of the soul, which is thankless and not composed of the gunas' (Sânkhya Kâ. 60).--The Sânkhyas further teach that Prakriti, on being seen by any soul in her true nature, at once retires from that soul--'As a dancer having exhibited herself on the stage withdraws from the soul, so Prakriti withdraws from the soul when she has manifested herself to it' (59); 'My opinion is that there exists nothing more sensitive than Prakriti, who knowing "I have been seen" does not again show itself to the soul' (61). But this doctrine also is inappropriate. For, as the soul is eternally released and above all change, it never sees Prakriti, nor does it attribute to itself her qualities; and Prakriti herself does not see herself since she is of non-intelligent nature; nor can she wrongly impute to herself the soul's seeing of itself as her own seeing of herself, for she herself is non-intelligent and the soul is incapable of that change which consists in seeing or knowing.--Let it then be said that the 'seeing' means nothing more than the proximity of Prakriti to the soul!--But this also does not help you; for, as said above, from that there would follow eternal seeing, since the two are in eternal

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proximity. Moreover, the ever unchanging soul is not capable of an approximation which does not form an element of its unchanging nature.--Moreover, if you define the seeing as mere proximity and declare this to be the cause of Release, we point out that it equally is the cause of bondage--so that bondage and release would both be permanent.--Let it then be said that what causes bondage is wrong seeing--while intuition of the true nature of things is the cause of Release!--But as both these kinds of seeing are nothing but proximity, it would follow that both take place permanently. And if, on the other hand, the proximity of Soul and Prakriti were held not to be permanent, then the cause of such proximity would have to be assigned, and again the cause of that, and so on ad infinitum.--Let us then, to escape from these difficulties, define proximity as nothing more than the true nature of soul and Prakriti!--As the true nature is permanent, we reply, it would follow therefrom that bondage and release would be alike permanent.--On account of all these contradictory views the system of the Sânkhyas is untenable.

We finally remark that the arguments here set forth by us at the same time prove the untenableness of the view of those who teach that there is an eternally unchanging Brahman whose nature is pure, non-differenced intelligence, and which by being conscious of Nescience experiences unreal bondage and release. For those philosophers can show no more than the Sânkhyas do how their Brahman can be conscious of Nescience, can be subject to adhyâsa, and so on. There is, however, the following difference between the two theories. The Sânkhyas, in order to account for the definite individual distribution of birth, death, and so on, assume a plurality of souls. The Vedântins, on the other hand, do not allow even so much, and their doctrine is thus all the more irrational. The assertion that there is a difference (in favour of the Vedântins) between the two doctrines, in so far as the Vedântins hold Prakriti to be something unreal, while the Sânkhyas consider it to be real, is unfounded; for pure, homogeneous intelligence, eternally non-changing, cannot possibly be conscious of anything

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different from itself, whether it be unreal or real. And if that thing is held to be unreal, there arise further difficulties, owing to its having to be viewed as the object of knowledge, of refutation, and so on.

Here terminates the adhikarana of 'the impossibility of construction.'

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