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  Sankara Bhashya
  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.

35. Should it be said that (the former reply refers) to that Self to which the aggregate of material things belongs (since) otherwise the difference (of the two replies) could not be accounted for; we say--no; as in the case of instruction

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In the Brihad-aranyaka (III, 4; 5) the same question is asked twice in succession ('Tell me the Brahman which is visible, not invisible, the Self who is within all'), while Yâavalkya gives a different answer to each ('He who breathes in the upbreathing,' &c.; 'He who overcomes hunger and thirst,' &c.). The question here is whether the two meditations, suggested by these sections, are different or not. They are different,since the difference of reply effects a distinction between the two vidyâs. The former reply declares him who is the maker of breathing forth, and so on to be the inner Self of all; the latter describes him as free from hunger, thirst, and so on. It thence appears that the former passage refers to the inner (individual) Self which is different from body, sense-organs, internal organ and vital breath; while the latter refers to that which again differs from the inner Self, viz. the highest Self, free from hunger, thirst, and so on. As the individual soul is inside the aggregate of material things, it may be spoken of as being that inner Self of all. Although this kind of inwardness is indeed only a relative one, we nevertheless must accept it in this place; for if, desirous of taking this 'being the inner Self of all' in its literal sense, we assumed the highest Self to be meant, the difference of the two replies could not be accounted for. The former reply evidently refers to the individual soul, since the highest Self cannot be conceived as breathing forth, and so on; and the latter reply, which declares the Self to be raised above hunger, &c., evidently refers to the highest Self. This is expressed in the earlier part of the Sûtra: 'The former reply refers to the Self to which there belongs the aggregate of material things, i.e. the individual soul as being the inner Self of all; otherwise we could not account for the difference of the two replies.'--The last words of the Sûtra negative this--'not so,' i.e. there is no difference of vidyâs, since both assertions and replies refer to the highest Self. The question says in both places, 'the Brahman which is visible, not invisible, the Self who is within all,' and this clearly refers to the highest Self only. We indeed observe that in some places the term Brahman

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is, in a derived sense, applied to the individual soul also; but the text under discussion, for distinction's sake, adds the qualification 'the Brahman which is manifest' (sâkshât). The quality of ' aparokshatva' (i.e. being that which does not transcend the senses but lies openly revealed) also, which implies being connected with all space and all time, suits Brahman only, which from texts such as 'the True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman' is known to be infinite. In the same way the attribute of being the inner Self of all can belong to the highest Self only, which texts such as 'He who dwelling within the earth,' &c., declare to be the inner ruler of the universe. The replies to the two questions likewise can refer to Brahman only. The unconditional causal agency with regard to breath, declared in the clause 'he who breathes in the upbreathing,' &c., can belong to the highest Self only, not to the individual soul, since the latter possesses no such causal power when in the state of deep sleep. Ushasta thereupon, being not fully enlightened, since causality with regard to breathing may in a sense be attributed to the individual soul also, again asks a question, in reply to which Yâavalkya clearly indicates Brahman, 'Thou mayest not see the seer of sight,' &c., i.e. thou must not think that my previous speech has named as the causal agent of breathing the individual soul, which is the causal agent with regard to those activities which depend on the sense-organs, viz. seeing, hearing, thinking, and knowing; for in the state of deep sleep, swoon, and so on, the soul possesses no such power. And moreover another text also--'Who could breathe if that bliss existed not in the ether?' (Taitt. Up. II, 7)--declares that the highest Self only is the cause of the breathing of all living beings. In the same way the answer to the second question can refer to the highest Self only, which alone can be said to be raised above hunger, thirst, and so on. For this reason also both replies wind up with the same phrase, 'Everything else is of evil.' The iteration of question and reply serves the purpose of showing that the same highest Brahman which is the cause of all breathing is beyond all hunger, thirst, and so on.--The

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[paragraph continues] Sûtra subjoins a parallel instance. 'As in the case of instruction.' As in the vidyâ of that which truly is (Kh. Up. VI, 1 ff.), question and reply are iterated several times, in order to set forth the various greatness and glory of Brahman.--Thus the two sections under discussion are of the same nature, in so far as setting forth that the one Brahman which is the inner Self of all is the cause of all life and raised beyond all imperfections; and hence they constitute one meditation only.--To this a new objection is raised. The two sections may indeed both refer to the highest Brahman; nevertheless there is a difference of meditation, as according to the one Brahman is to be meditated upon as the cause of all life, and according to the other as raised above all defects; this difference of character distinguishes the two meditations. And further there is a difference of interrogators; the first question being asked by Ushasta, the second by Kahola.

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