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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.

12. If it be said that on account of the denial (it is not so); we deny this. From the embodied soul; for (that one is) clear, according to some.

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The contention that the soul of him who knows departs from the body in the same way as other souls do cannot be upheld, since Scripture expressly negatives such departure. For Bri. Up. IV, 4, at first describes the mode of departure on the part of him who does not possess true knowledge ('He taking to himself those elements of light descends into the heart' up to 'after him thus departing the Prâna departs'); then refers to his assuming another body ('he makes to himself another, newer and more beautiful shape'); then concludes the account of him who does not possess true knowledge ('having attained the end of these works whatever he does here, he again returns from that world to this world of action. So much for the man who desires'); and thereupon proceeds explicitly to deny the departure from the body of him who possesses true knowledge, 'But he who does not desire, who is without desire, free from desire, who has obtained his desire, who desires the Self only, of him (tasya) the prânas do not pass forth,--being Brahman only he goes into Brahman.' Similarly a previous section also, viz. the one containing the questions put by Årtabhâga, directly negatives the view of the soul of him who knows passing out of the body. There the clause 'he again conquers death' introduces him who knows as the subject-matter, and after that the text continues: 'Yâavalkya, he said, when that person dies, do the prânas pass out of him (asmât) or not?--No, said Yâavalkya, they are gathered up in him (atraiva), he swells, inflated the dead lies' (Bri. Up. III, 2, 10-11). From these texts it follows that he who knows attains to immortality here (without his soul passing out of the body and moving to another place).--This view the Sûtra rejects. 'Not so; from the embodied soul.' What those texts deny is the moving away of the prânas from the embodied individual soul, not from the body. 'Of him (tasya) the prânas do not pass forth'--here the 'of him' refers to the subject under discussion, i.e. the embodied soul which is introduced by the clause 'he who does not desire,' not to the body which the text had not previously mentioned. The sixth case (tasya) here denotes the embodied soul as

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that which is connected with the prânas ('the prânas belonging to that, i.e. the soul, do not pass out'), not as that from which the passing out takes its start.--But why should the 'tasya ' not denote the body as the point of starting ('the prânas do not pass forth from that (tasya), viz. the body')?--Because, we reply, the soul which is actually mentioned in its relation of connexion with the prânas (as indicated by tasya) suggests itself to the mind more immediately than the body which is not mentioned at all; if therefore the question arises as to the starting-point of the passing forth of the prânas the soul is (on the basis of the text) apprehended as that starting-point also (i.e. the clause 'the prânas of him do not pass forth' implies at the same time 'the prânas do not pass forth from him, i.e. from the soul'). Moreover, as the prânas are well known to be connected with the soul and as hence it would serve no purpose to state that connexion, we conclude that the sixth case which expresses connexion in general is here meant to denote the starting-point in particular. And no dispute on this point is really possible; since 'according to some' it is 'clear' that what the text means to express is the embodied soul as the starting-point of the prânas. The some are the Mâdhyandinas, who in their text of the Brihad-âranyaka read 'na tasmât prâna utkrâmanti'--'the prânas do not pass forth from him' (the 'tasya' thus being the reading of the Kânva Sâkhâ only).--But, an objection is raised, there is no motive for explicitly negativing the passing away of the prânas from the soul; for there is no reason to assume that there should be such a passing away (and the general rule is that a denial is made of that only for which there is a presumption).--Not so, we reply. The Khândogya-text 'For him there is delay only as long as he is not delivered (from the body); then he will be united' declares that the soul becomes united with Brahman at the time of its separation from the body, and this suggests the idea of the soul of him who knows separating itself at that very time (i.e. the time of death) from the prânas also. But this would mean that the soul cannot reach union with Brahman by

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means of proceeding on the path of the gods, and for this reason the Brihad-âranyaka ('of him the prânas do not pass forth') explicitly declares that the prânas do not depart from the soul of him who knows, before that soul proceeding on the path of the gods attains to union with Brahman.

The same line of refutation would have to be applied to the arguments founded by our opponent on the question of Ârtabhâga, if that question be viewed as referring to him who possesses true knowledge. The fact however is that that passage refers to him who does not possess that knowledge; for none of the questions and answers of which the section consists favours the presumption of the knowledge of Brahman being under discussion. The matters touched upon in those questions and answers are the nature of the senses and sense objects viewed as graha and atigraha; water being the food of fire; the non-separation of the prânas from the soul at the time of death; the continuance of the fame--there called name--of the dead man; and the attainment, on the part of the soul of the departed, to conditions of existence corresponding to his good or evil deeds. The passage immediately preceding the one referring to the non-departure of the prânas merely means that death is conquered in so far as it is a fire and fire is the food of water; this has nothing to do with the owner of true knowledge. The statement that the prânas of the ordinary man who does not possess true knowledge do not depart means that at the time of death the prânas do not, like the gross body, abandon the gîva, but cling to it like the subtle body and accompany it.

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