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  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

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  Ramanuja SriBhashya


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  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.

27. Not non-existence, on account of consciousness.

Here now come forward the Yogâkâras, who hold that cognitions(ideas) only are real. There is no reasonable ground, they say, for the view that the manifoldness of ideas is due to the manifoldness of things, since ideas themselves--no less than the things assumed by others--have their distinct forms, and hence are manifold. And this manifold nature of ideas is sufficiently explained by so-called vâsanâ. Vâsanâ means a flow of ideas (states of consciousness--pratyaya) of different character. We observe, e.g., that a cognition which has the form of a jar (i.e. the idea of a jar) gives rise to the cognition of the two halves of a jar, and is itself preceded and produced by the cognition of a jar, and this again by a similar cognition,

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and so on; this is what we call a stream or flow of ideas.--But how, then, is it that internal cognitions have the forms of external things, mustard-grains, mountains, and so on?--Even if real things are admitted, the Yogâkâra replies, their becoming objects of thought and speech depends altogether on the light of knowledge, for otherwise it would follow that there is no difference between the objects known by oneself and those known by others. And that cognitions thus shining forth to consciousness have forms (distinctive characteristics) must needs be admitted; for if they were without form they could not shine forth. Now we are conscious only of one such form, viz. that of the cognition; that this form at the same time appears to us as something external (i.e. as the form of an outward thing) is due to error. From the general law that we are conscious of ideas and things together only, it follows that the thing is not something different from the idea.

As, moreover, the fact of one idea specially representing one particular thing only, whether it be a jar or a piece of cloth or anything else, requires for its explanation an equality in character of the idea and the thing, those also who hold the existence of external things must needs assume that the idea has a form similar to that of the thing; and as this suffices for rendering possible practical thought and intercourse, there is nothing authorising us to assume the existence of things in addition to the ideas. Hence cognitions only constitute reality; external things do not exist.

To this the Sûtra replies, 'Not non-existence, on account of consciousness.' The non-existence of things, apart from ideas, cannot be maintained, because we are conscious of cognitions as what renders the knowing subject capable of thought and intercourse with regard to particular things. For the consciousness of all men taking part in worldly life expresses itself in forms such as 'I know the jar.' Knowledge of this kind, as everybody's consciousness will testify, presents itself directly as belonging to a knowing subject and referring to an object; those therefore who

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attempt to prove, on the basis of this very knowledge, that Reality is constituted by mere knowledge, are fit subjects for general derision. This point has already been set forth in detail in our refutation of those crypto-Bauddhas who take shelter under a pretended Vedic theory.--To maintain, as the Yogâkâras do, that the general rule of idea and thing presenting themselves together proves the non-difference of the thing from the idea, implies a self-contradiction; for 'going together' can only be where there are different things. To hold that it is a general rule that of the idea--the essential nature of which is to make the thing to which it refers capable of entering into common thought and intercourse--we are always conscious together with the thing, and then to prove therefrom that the thing is not different from the idea, is a laughable proceeding indeed. And as, according to you, cognitions perish absolutely, and do not possess any permanently persisting aspect, it is rather difficult to prove that such cognitions form a series in which each member colours or affects the next one (vâsanâ); for how is the earlier cognition, which has absolutely perished, to affect the later one, which has not yet arisen? We conclude therefore that the manifoldness of cognitions is due solely to the manifoldness of things. We are directly conscious of cognitions (ideas) as rendering the things to which they refer capable of being dealt with by ordinary thought and speech, and the specific character of each cognition thus depends on the relation which connects it with a particular thing. This relation is of the nature of conjunction (samyoga), since knowledge(cognition)also is a substance. Just as light (prabhâ), although a substance, stands to the lamp in the relation of an attribute (guna), so knowledge stands in the relation of an attribute to the Self, but, viewed in itself, it is a substance.--From all this it follows that external things are not non-existent.

The next Sûtra refutes the opinion of those who attempt to prove the baselessness of the cognitions of the waking state by comparing them to the cognitions of a dreaming person.

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