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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.

33. But the conceptions of the Imperishable are to be comprised (in all meditations). There being equality (of the Brahman to be meditated on) and (those conceptions) existing (in Brahman); as in the case of what belongs to the upasad. This has been explained.

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We read in the Brihad-âranyaka (III, 8, 9),'O Gârgî, the Brâhmanas call that the Akshara. It is neither coarse nor fine,' and so on. And in the Atharvana (Mu. Up. I, 1, 5) we have 'The higher knowledge is that by which the Akshara is apprehended. That which cannot be seen nor seized,' &c. The doubt here arises whether all the qualities there predicated of Brahman--called akshara, i.e. the Imperishable--and constituting something contrary in nature to the apparent world, are to be included in all meditations on Brahman, or only those where the text specially mentions them. The Pûrvapakshin advocates the latter view; for, he says, there is no authority for holding that the qualities which characterise one meditation are characteristic of other meditations also; and such negative attributes as are mentioned in those two texts do not--as positive qualities such as bliss do--contribute to the apprehension of the true nature of Brahman. What those two texts do is merely to deny of Brahman, previously apprehended as having bliss, and so on, for its essential qualities, certain qualities belonging to the empirical world, such as grossness, and so on; for all negation must refer to an established basis.--This view the Sûtra refutes. The ideas of absence of grossness, and so on, which are connected with Brahman viewed as the Akshara, are to be included in all meditations on Brahman. For the imperishable (akshara) Brahman is the same in all meditations, and qualities such as non-grossness enter into the conception of its essential nature. The apprehension of a thing means the apprehension of its specific character. But mere bliss, and so on, does not suggest the specific character of Brahman, since those qualities belong also to the individual soul. What is specifically characteristic of Brahman is bliss, and so on, in so far as fundamentally opposed to all evil and imperfection. The individual soul, on the other hand, although fundamentally free from evil, yet is capable of connexion with evil. Now being fundamentally opposed to evil implies having a character the opposite of grossness and all similar qualities which belong to the empirical world, material and mental. He therefore who thinks of

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[paragraph continues] Brahman must think of it as having for its essential nature bliss, knowledge, and so on, in so far as distinguished by absence of grossness and the like, and those qualities, being no less essential than bliss, and so on, must therefore be included in all meditations on Brahman.--The Sûtra gives an instance illustrating the principle that qualities (secondary matters) follow the principal matter to which they belong. As the mantra 'Agnir vai hotram vetu,' although given in the Sâma-veda, yet has to be recited in the Yagur-veda style, with a subdued voice, because it stands in a subordinate relation to the upasad-offerings prescribed for the four-days 'sacrifice called Gamadagnya; those offerings are the principal matter to which the subordinate matter--the mantra--has to conform. This point is explained in the first section, i.e. in the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ-sûtras III, 3, 9.--But this being admitted, it would follow that as Brahman is the principal matter in all meditations on Brahman, and secondary matters have to follow the principal matter, also such qualities as 'doing all works, enjoying all odours and the like,' which are mentioned in connexion with special meditations only, would indiscriminately have to be included in all meditations.--With reference to this the next Sûtra says.

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