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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.

8. On the passing away of the works, with a remainder, according to Scripture and Smriti; as it went and not so.

The text declares that those who only perform sacrifices and useful works ascend by the road of the fathers, and again return to the earth when they have fully enjoyed the fruit of their works, 'having dwelt there yâvat sampâtam, they return by the same way' (Kh. Up. V, 10, 5). The question here arises whether the descending soul carries a certain remainder (anusaya) of its works or not.--It does not, since it has enjoyed the fruit of all its works. For by 'anusaya' we have to understand that part of the karman which remains over and above the part retributively enjoyed; but when the fruit of the entire karman has been enjoyed, there is no such remainder. And that this is so we learn from the phrase 'yâvat sampâtam

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ushitvâ,' which means 'having dwelt there as long as the karman lasts' (sampatanty anena svargalokam iti sampâtah). Analogously another text says, 'Having obtained the end of whatever deed he does on earth, he again returns from that world to this world to action' (Bri. Up. V, 4, 6).--Against this primâ facie view the Sûtra declares 'with a remainder he descends, on account of what is seen, i.e. scriptural text, and Smriti.' The scriptural text is the one 'Those whose conduct has been good' (V, 10, 7), which means that among the souls that have returned, those whose karman is good obtain a good birth as Brâhmanas or the like, while those whose karman is bad are born again as low creatures-dogs, pigs, Kândâlas, and the like. This shows that the souls which have descended are still connected with good or evil karman. Smriti also declares this: 'Men of the several castes and orders, who always stand firm in the works prescribed for them, enjoy after death the rewards of their works, and by virtue of a remnant (of their works) they are born again in excellent countries, castes and families, endowed with beauty, long life, learning in the Vedas, wealth, good conduct, happiness and wisdom. Those who act in a contrary manner perish' (Gautama Dha. Sû. XI, 29); 'Afterwards when a man returns to this world he obtains, by virtue of a remainder of works, birth in a good family, beauty of form, beauty of complexion, strength, aptitude for learning, wisdom, wealth, and capacity for fulfilling his duties. Therefore, rolling like a wheel (from the one to the other), in both worlds he dwells in happiness' (Âpast. Dha. Sû. II, 1, 2, 3). The clause 'as long as his works last' (yâvat-sampâtam) refers to that part of his works only which was performed with a view to reward (as promised for those works by the Veda); and the same holds true with regard to the passage 'whatever work man does here on earth' (Bri. Up. V, 4, 6). Nor is it possible that works, the fruit of which has not yet been enjoyed, and those the result of which has not been wiped out by expiatory ceremonies, should be destroyed by the enjoyment of the fruits of other works. Hence those who have gone to that world return with

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a remnant of their works, 'as they went and not so'--i.e. in the same way as they ascended and also in a different way. For the ascent takes place by the following stages--smoke, night, the dark half of the moon, the six months of the sun's southern progress, the world of the fathers, ether, moon. The descent, on the other hand, goes from the place of the moon, through ether, wind, smoke, mist, cloud. The two journeys are alike in so far as they pass through ether, but different in so far as the descent touches wind, and so on, and does not touch the world of the fathers, and other stages of the ascent.

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