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  Sankara Bhashya
  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.

17. But the making of names and forms (belongs) to him who renders tripartite, on account of scriptural teaching.

The Sûtras have shown that the creation of the elements and organs in their collective aspect (samashti) and the activity of the individual souls proceed from the highest Self; and they have also further confirmed the view that the rule which the souls exercise over their organs depends on the highest Self. A question now arises with regard to the creation of the world in its discrete aspect (vyashti), which consists in the differentiation of names and forms (i.e. of individual beings). Is this latter creation the work of Hiranyagarbha only, who represents the collective aggregate of all individual souls; or, fundamentally, the work of the highest Brahman having Hiranyagarbha for its body--just as the creation of water e.g. is the work of the highest Brahman having sire for its body?--The Pûrvapakshin maintains the former alternative. For, he says, the text 'Having entered with this living-soul-self (anena gîvenât-manâ), let me differentiate names and forms' (Kh. Up. VI, 3, 2), declares the gîva-soul to be the agent in differentiation. For the resolve of the highest deity is expressed, not in the form 'let me differentiate names and forms by myself (svena rûpena), but 'by this soul-self,' i.e. by a part of the highest Self, in the form of the individual soul.--But on this interpretation the first person in 'vyâkaravâni' (let me enter), and the grammatical form of 'having entered,' which indicates the agent, could not be taken in their literal, but only in an implied, sense--as is the case in a sentence such as 'Having entered the hostile army by means of a spy, I will estimate its strength' (where the real agent is not the king, who is the speaker, but the spy).--The cases are not analogous, the Pûrvapakshin replies. For the king and the spy are fundamentally separate, and hence the king is agent by implication only. But in the

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case under discussion the soul is a part, and hence contributes to constitute the essential nature of, the highest Self; hence that highest Self itself enters and differentiates in the form of the soul. Nor can it be said that the instrumental case ('with this soul-self') has the implied meaning of association ('together with this soul-self'); for if a case can be taken in its primary sense, it is not proper to understand it in a sense which has to be expressed by means of a preposition. But the third case, gîvena, cannot here be understood even in its primary sense, i.e. that of the instrument of the action; for if Brahman is the agent in the acts of entering and differentiating, the soul is not that which is most suitable to accomplish the end of action (while yet grammar defines the instrumental case--karana--on this basis). Nor can it be said that the activity of the soul comes to an end with the entering, while the differentiation of names and forms is Brahman's work, for the past participle (pravisya) indicates (according to the rules of grammar) that the two actions--of entering and differentiating--belong to the same agent. And although the soul as being a part of the highest Self shares in its nature, yet in order to distinguish it from the highest Self, the text by means of the clause 'with that living Self refers to it as something outward (not of the nature of the Self). The agent in the action of differentiation of names and forms therefore is Hiranyagarbha. Smriti texts also ascribe to him this activity; cp.'he in the beginning made, from the words of the Veda, the names and forms of beings, of the gods and the rest, and of actions.'

Against this view the Sûtra declares itself. The differentiation of names and forms belongs to him who renders tripartite, i.e. the highest Brahman; since it is assigned by Scripture to the latter only. For the text 'That divinity thought, let me, having entered these three beings with this living-soul-self, differentiate names and forms--let me make each of these three tripartite,' shows that all the activities mentioned have one and the same agent. But the rendering tripartite cannot belong to Brahma (Hiranyagarbha), who abides within the Brahma-egg, for that egg

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itself is produced from fire, water, and earth, only after these elements have been rendered tripartite; and Smriti says that Brahmâ himself originated in that egg, 'in that egg there originated Brahmâ, the grandfather of all the worlds.' As thus the action of rendering tripartite can belong to the highest Brahman only, the differentiation of names and forms, which belongs to the same agent, also is Brahman's only.--But how then does the clause 'with that living-soul-self' fit in?--The co-ordination 'with that soul, with the Self,' shows that the term 'soul' here denotes the highest Brahman as having the soul for its body; just as in the clauses 'that fire thought'; 'it sent forth water'; 'water thought,' and so on, what is meant each time is Brahman having fire, water, and so on, for its body. The work of differentiating names and forms thus belongs to the highest Brahman which has for its body Hiranyagarbha, who represents the soul in its aggregate form. On this view the first person (in 'let me differentiate') and the agency (conveyed by the form of 'pravisya') may, without any difficulty, be taken in their primary literal senses; and the common agency, implied in the connexion of pravisya and vyâkaravâni, is accounted for. The view here set forth as to the relation of Brahman and Hiranyagarbha also explains how the accounts of Hiranyagarbha's (Brahmâ's) creative activity can say that he differentiated names and forms.

The whole passus beginning 'that divinity thought,' therefore has the following meaning--'Having entered into those three beings, viz. Fire, Water, and Earth, with my Self which is qualified by the collective soul (as constituting its body), let me differentiate names and forms, i.e. let me produce gods and all the other kinds of individual beings, and give them names; and to that end, since fire, water, and earth have not yet mutually combined, and hence are incapable of giving rise to particular things, let me make each of them tripartite, and thus fit them for creation.'--The settled conclusion then is, that the differentiation of names and forms is the work of the highest Brahman only.

But, an objection is raised, the fact that the differentiation

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of names and forms must be due to the same agent as the rendering tripartite, does not after all prove that the former is due to the highest Self. For the rendering tripartite may itself belong to the individual soul. For the text relates how, after the creation of the cosmic egg, a process of tripartition was going on among the individual living beings created by Brahmâ. 'Learn from me, my friend, how those three beings having reached man become tripartite, each of them. The earth when eaten is disposed of in three ways; its grossest portion becomes feces, its middle portion flesh, its subtlest portion mind,' and so on. Similarly, in the preceding section, it is described how the process of tripartition goes on in the case of fire, sun, moon, and lightning, which all belong to the world created by Brahmâ, 'the red colour of burning fire is the colour of fire,' &c. And the text moreover states the original tripartition to have taken place after the differentiation of names and forms: 'That divinity having entered into these three beings differentiated names and forms. Each of these (beings) it rendered tripartite.'--To this objection the next Sûtra replies.

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