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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-2-3

Topic 3 - The self-same soul returns from Suṣupti

Sutra 3,2.9

स एव तु, कर्मानुस्मृति-शब्दविधिभ्यः ॥ ९ ॥

sa eva tu, karmānusmṛti-śabdavidhibhyaḥ || 9 ||

sa eva—The self-same soul; tu—but; karma-anusmṛti-śabda-vidhibhyaḥ—on account of Karma, memory, scriptural authority, and precept.

9. But the self-same soul (returns from Brahman after Suṣupti) on account of work, memory, scriptural authority, and precept.

A question is raised here that just as when a drop of water has merged in the ocean it is difficult to pick it out again, so also when the Jīva has merged in Brahman it is difficult to say that the self-same Jīva arises from It after Suṣupti.

So we have to take that some soul arises after Suṣupti from Brahman. There can be no rule that the same soul arises from It.

The Sutra refutes this and says that the self-same soul comes back after Suṣupti for the following reasons:

  1. What has been partly done by a person before going to sleep, we find him finishing after he wakes up. If it were not the same soul, then the latter would have no interest in finishing what has been partly done by another.
  2. From our experience of identity of personality before and after sleep.
  3. From our memory of past events.
  4. From scriptural authority as in texts like, “Whatever these creatures are here, whether a tiger, or a lion, or a wolf, or a boar . . . that they become again” (Chh. 6.9.3), we find that the self-same soul returns from Brahman after Suṣupti.
  5. If the person who goes to sleep and he who rises after it be different, then scriptural precepts either as regards work or knowledge would be meaningless. For if a person can attain identity for ever with Brahman by merely going to sleep, then scriptural instruction would be useless to attain Liberation.

Therefore it is the self-same soul that rises from Brahman after Suṣupti.

The case of the drop of water is not quite analogous, for a drop of water merges in the ocean without any adjuncts and so is lost for ever; but the Jīva merges in Brahman with its adjuncts.

So the identical Jīva rises again from Brahman owing to its Karma and ignorance, which do not allow it to be lost in Brahman irrevocably.