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  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.

31. Not so, on account of the impossibility in one.

The Bauddhas have been refuted. As now the Gainas also hold the view of the world originating from atoms and similar views, their theory is reviewed next.--The Gainas hold that the world comprises souls (gîva), and non-souls (agîva), and that there is no Lord. The world further comprises six substances (dravya), viz. souls (gîva), merit (dharma), demerit (adharma), bodies (pudgala), time (kâla), and space (âkâsa). The souls are of three different kinds-bound (in the state of bondage), perfected by Yoga (Yogasiddha), and released (mukta). 'Merit' is that particular world-pervading substance which is the cause of the motion of all things moving; 'demerit' is that all-pervading substance which is the cause of stationariness, 'Body' is that substance which possesses colour, smell, taste, and touch. It is of two kinds, atomic or compounded of atoms; to the latter kind belong wind, fire, water, earth, the bodies of living creatures, and so on. 'Time' is a particular atomic substance which is the cause of the current distinction of past, present, and future. 'Space' is one, and of infinite extent. From among these substances those which are not atomic are comprehended under the term 'the five astikâyas (existing bodies)'--the astikâya of souls, the astikâya of merit, the astikâya of demerit, the astikâya of matter, the astikâya of space. This term 'astikâya' is applied to

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substances occupying several parts of space.--They also use another division of categories which subserves the purpose of Release; distinguishing souls, non-souls, influx (âsrava), bondage, nigara, samvara, and Release. Release comprises the means of Release also, viz. perfect knowledge, good conduct, and so on. The soul is that which has knowledge, seeing, pleasure, strength (vîrya) for its qualities. Non-soul is the aggregate of the things enjoyed by the souls. 'Influx' is whatever is instrumental towards the souls having the fruition of objects, viz. the sense-organs, and so on.--Bondage is of eight different kinds, comprising the four ghâtikarman, and the four aghâtikarman. The former term denotes whatever obstructs the essential qualities of the soul, viz. knowledge, intuition, strength, pleasure; the latter whatever causes pleasure, pain, and indifference, which are due to the persistence of the wrong imagination that makes the soul identify itself with its body.--'Decay' means the austerities (tapas), known from the teaching of the Arhat, which are the means of Release.--Samvara is such deep meditation (Samâdhi) as stops the action of the sense-organs.--Release, finally, is the manifestation of the Self in its essential nature, free from all afflictions such as passion, and so on.--The atoms which are the causes of earth and the other compounds, are not, as the Vaiseshikas and others hold, of four different kinds, but have all the same nature; the distinctive qualities of earth, and so on, are due to a modification (parinâma) of the atoms. The Gainas further hold that the whole complex of things is of an ambiguous nature in so far as being existent and non-existent, permanent and non-permanent, separate and non-separate. To prove this they apply their so-called sapta-bhangî-nyâya ('the system of the seven paralogisms')--'May be, it is'; 'May be, it is not'; 'May be, it is and is not'; 'May be, it is not predicable'; 'May be, it is and is not predicable'; 'May be, it is not, and is not predicable'; 'May be, it is and is not, and is not predicable.' With the help of this they prove that all things--which they declare to consist of substance (dravya), and paryâya--to be existing, one and permanent

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in so far as they are substances, and the opposite in so far as they are paryâyas. By paryâya they understand the particular states of substances, and as those are of the nature of Being as well as Non-being, they manage to prove existence, non-existence, and so on.--With regard to this the Sûtra remarks that no such proof is possible,'Not so, on account of the impossibility in one'; i.e. because contradictory attributes such as existence and non-existence cannot at the same time belong to one thing, not any more than light and darkness. As a substance and particular states qualifying it--and (by the Gainas), called paryâya--are different things (padârtha), one substance cannot be connected with opposite attributes. It is thus not possible that a substance qualified by one particular state, such as existence, should at the same time be qualified by the opposite state, i.e. non-existence. The non-permanency, further, of a substance consists in its being the abode of those particular states which are called origination and destruction; how then should permanency, which is of an opposite nature, reside in the substance at the same time? Difference (bhinnatva) again consists in things being the abodes of contradictory attributes; non-difference, which is the opposite of this, cannot hence possibly reside in the same things which are the abode of difference; not any more than the generic character of a horse and that of a buffalo can belong to one animal. We have explained this matter at length, when--under Sûtra I, 1--refuting the bhedâbheda-theory. Time we are conscious of only as an attribute of substances (not as an independent substance), and the question as to its being and non-being, and so on, does not therefore call for a separate discussion. To speak of time as being and non-being in no way differs from generic characteristics (gâti), and so on, being spoken of in the same way; for--as we have explained before--of gâti and the like we are conscious only as attributes of substances.--But (the Gaina may here be supposed to ask the Vedântin), how can you maintain that Brahman, although one only, yet at the same time is the Self of all?--Because, we reply, the whole aggregate of sentient and non-sentient

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beings constitutes the body of the Supreme Person, omniscient, omnipotent, and so on. And that the body and the person embodied and their respective attributes are of totally different nature (so that Brahman is not touched by the defects of his body), we have explained likewise.--Moreover, as your six substances, soul, and so on, are not one substance and one paryâya, their being one substance, and so on, cannot be used to prove their being one and also not one, and so on.--And if it should be said that those six substances are such (viz. one and several, and so on), each owing to its own paryâya and its own nature, we remark that then you cannot avoid contradicting your own theory of everything being of an ambiguous nature. Things which stand to each other in the relation of mutual non-existence cannot after all be identical.--Hence the theory of the (Gainas is not reasonable. Moreover it is liable to the same objections which we have above set forth as applying to all theories of atoms constituting the universal cause, without the guidance of a Lord.

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