RÂMÂNUGA’S SRÎBHÂSHYA-1-extract from translation of George Thibaut..

MAY my mind be filled with devotion towards the highest Brahman, the abode of Lakshmi who is luminously revealed in the Upanishads; who in sport produces, sustains, and reabsorbs the entire Universe; whose only aim is to foster the manifold classes of beings that humbly worship him.

The nectar of the teaching of Parâsara’s son (Vyâsa),–which was brought up from the middle of the milk-ocean of the Upanishads–which restores to life the souls whose vital strength had departed owing to the heat of the fire of transmigratory existence–which was well guarded by the teachers of old–which was obscured by the mutual conflict of manifold opinions,–may intelligent men daily enjoy that as it is now presented to them in my words.

The lengthy explanation (vritti) of the Brahma-sûtras which was composed by the Reverend Bodhâyana has been abridged by former teachers; according to their views the words of the Sûtras will be explained in this present work.

1-1. Then therefore the enquiry into Brahman.

In this Sûtra the word ‘then’ expresses immediate sequence; the word ‘therefore’ intimates that what has taken place (viz. the study of the karmakânda of the Veda) constitutes the reason (of the enquiry into Brahman). For the fact is that the enquiry into (lit.’the desire to know’) Brahman–the fruit of which enquiry is infinite in nature and permanent–follows immediately in the case of him who, having read the Veda together with its auxiliarydisciplines, has reached the knowledge that the fruit of mere works is limited and non-permanent, and hence has conceived the desire of final release.


The root of bondage is the unreal view of plurality which itself has its root in Nescience that conceals the true being of Brahman. Bondage itself thus is unreal, and is on that account cut short, together with its root, by mere knowledge. Such knowledge is originated by texts such as ‘That art thou’; and work is of no help either towards its nature, or its origination, or its fruit (i.e. release). It is on the other hand helpful towards the desire of knowledge, which arises owing to an increase of the element of goodness (sattva) in the soul, due to the destruction of the elements of passion (ragas) and darkness (tamas) which are the root of all moral evil. This use is referred to in the text quoted above, ‘Brâhmanas wish to know him,’ &c. As, therefore, the knowledge of works is of no use towards the knowledge of Brahman, we must acknowledge as the prerequisite of the latter knowledge the four means mentioned above.


The Vâkyakâra then propounds a pûrvapaksha (primâ facie view), ‘Once he is to make the meditation, the matter enjoined by scripture being accomplished thereby, as in the case of the prayâgas and the like’; and then sums up against this in the words ‘but (meditation) is established on account of the term meditation’; that means–knowledge repeated more than once (i.e. meditation) is determined to be the means of Release.–The Vâkyakâra then goes on ‘Meditation is steady remembrance, on the ground of observation and statement.’ That means–this knowledge, of the form of meditation, and repeated more than once, is of the nature of steady remembrance.That the Lord (bhagavân) himself endeavours that this most beloved person should gain the Self, he himself declares in the following words, ‘To those who are constantly devoted and worship with love I give that knowledge by which they reach me’ (Bha. Gî. X, 10),Steady remembrance of this kind is designated by the word ‘devotion’ (bhakti); for this term has the same meaning as upâsanâ (meditation). For this reason scripture and smriti agree in making the following declarations, ‘A man knowing him passes over death’ (Svet. Up. III, 8); ‘Knowing him thus he here becomes immortal’ (Taitt. Âr. III, 12,7); ‘Neither by the Vedas, nor by austerities, nor by gifts, nor by sacrifice can I be so seen as thou hast seen me. But by devotion exclusive I may in this form be known and seen in truth, O Arguna, and also be entered into’ (Bha. Gî. XI, 53, 54)..

The Vâkyakâra also declares that steady remembrance results only from abstention, and so on; his words being ‘This (viz. steady remembrance= meditation) is obtained through abstention (viveka), freeness of mind (vimoka), repetition (abhyâsa), works (kriyâ), virtuous conduct (kalyâna), freedom from dejection (anavasâda), absence of exultation (anuddharsha); according to feasibility and scriptural statement.’The Vâkyakâra also gives definitions of all these terms. Abstention (viveka) means keeping the body clean from all food, impure either owing to species (such as the flesh of certain animals), or abode (such as food belonging to a Kândâla or the like), or accidental cause (such as food into which a hair or the like has fallen). The scriptural passage authorising this point is Kh. Up. VII, 26, ‘The food being pure, the mind becomes pure; the mind being pure, there results steady remembrance.’ Freeness of mind (vimoka) means absence of attachment to desires. The authoritative passage here is ‘Let him meditate with a calm mind’ (Kh. Up. III, 14, 1). Repetition means continued practice. For this point the Bhâshya-kâra quotes an authoritative text from Smriti, viz.: ‘Having constantly been absorbed in the thought of that being’ (sadâ tadbhâvabhâvitah; Bha. Gî.VIII, 6).–By ‘works’ (kriyâ) is understood the performance, according to one’s ability, of the five great sacrifices. The authoritative passages here are ‘This person who performs works is the best of those who know Brahman’ (Mu. Up. III, 1, 4); and ‘Him Brâhmanas seek to know by recitation of the Veda, by sacrifice, by gifts, by penance, by fasting’ (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22).–By virtuous conduct (kalyânâni) are meant truthfulness, honesty, kindness, liberality, gentleness, absence of covetousness. Confirmatory texts are ‘By truth he is to be obtained’ (Mu. Up. III, 1, 5) and ‘to them belongs that pure Brahman-world’ (Pr. Up. I, 16).–That lowness of spirit or want of cheerfulness which results from unfavourable conditions of place or time and the remembrance of causes of sorrow, is denoted by the term ‘dejection’; the contrary of this is ‘freedom from dejection.’ The relevant scriptural passage is ‘This Self cannot be obtained by one lacking in strength’ (Mu. Up. III, 2, 4).’Exultation’ is that satisfaction of mind which springs from circumstances opposite to those just mentioned; the contrary is ‘absence of exultation.’ Overgreat satisfaction also stands in the way (of meditation). The scriptural passage for this is ‘Calm, subdued,’ &c. (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 23).–What the Vâkyakâra means to say is therefore that knowledge is realised only through the performance of the duly prescribed works, on the part of a person fulfilling all the enumerated conditions.


THE ONLY REALITY IS BRAHMAN.The following passages from the Bhagavad-Gîtâ: ‘I am the Self dwelling within all beings’ (X, 20); ‘Know me to be the soul within all bodies’ (XIII, 2); ‘Being there is none, movable or immovable, which is without me’ (X, 39).–All these and other texts, the purport of which clearly is instruction as to the essential nature of things, declare that Brahman only, i.e. non-differenced pure intelligence is real, while everything else is false.

The appearance of plurality is due to avidyâ.

Avidyâ is put an end to by true Knowledge.

Scripture is of greater force than Perception

The texts which represent Brahman as devoid of qualities have greater force

Perception reveals to us non-differenced substance only

Difference–bheda–does not admit of logical definition

Being and consciousness are one. Consciousness is svayamprakâsa

.Consciousness is eternal and incapable of change

The apparent difference between Consciousness and the conscious subject is due to the unreal ahamkâra..

As the outcome of all this, we sum up our view as follows.–Eternal, absolutely non-changing consciousness, whose nature is pure non-differenced intelligence, free from all distinction whatever, owing to error illusorily manifests itself (vivarttate) as broken up into manifold distinctions–knowing subjects, objects of knowledge, acts of knowledge.


This entire theory rests on a fictitious foundation of altogether hollow and vicious arguments, incapable of being stated in definite logical alternatives, and devised by men who are destitute of those particular qualities which cause individuals to be chosen by the Supreme Person revealed in the Upanishads; whose intellects are darkened by the impression of beginningless evil; and who thus have no insight into the nature of words and sentences, into the real purport conveyed by them, and into the procedure of sound argumentation, with all its methods depending on perception and the other instruments of right knowledge. The theory therefore must needs be rejected by all those who, through texts, perception and the other means of knowledge–assisted by sound reasoning–have an insight into the true nature of things.

There is no proof of non-differenced substance.Sabda proves difference

Pratyaksha–even of the nirvikalpaka kind–proves difference.The bhedâbheda view is untenableInference also teaches differencePerception does not reveal mere being

Plurality is not unreal.

Being and consciousness are not one.

Hence mere Being does not alone constitute reality. And as the distinction between consciousness and its objects–which rests just on this relation of object and that for which the object is–is proved by perception, the assertion that only consciousness has real existence is also disposed of.

ஸ்ரீ ஸ்ருதி பிரகாசர் திருவடிகளே சரணம்
பெரிய பெருமாள் பெரிய பிராட்டியார் ஆண்டாள் ஆழ்வார் எம்பெருமானார் ஜீயர் திருவடிகளே சரணம்


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