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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-3 12-14

Topic 12 - Attributes of Brahman mentioned in Rānāyaniya-khila are not to be taken into consideration in other Brahma Vidyās e.g. the Śāndilya Vidyā, as the former is an independent Vidyā on account of the difference of Brahman’s abode

Sutra 3,3.23

संभृतिद्युव्याप्त्यपि चातः ॥ २३ ॥

saṃbhṛtidyuvyāptyapi cātaḥ || 23 ||

saṃbhṛtiḥ—Supporting (the universe); dyuvyāptiḥ—pervading the sky; api—also; cātaḥ—and for the same reason (as in the previous Sutra).

23. For the same reason (as in the previous Sutra) the supporting (of the universe) and pervading of the sky (attributed to Brahman in the Rānāyaniya-khila) also (are not to be included in other Upāsanās of Brahman).

In a supplementary text of the Rānāyaniya there occurs the passage,

The powers, which were collected together, were preceded by Brahman; the pre-existent Brahman in the beginning pervaded the whole sky.”

Now these two qualities of Brahman are not to be included in other places treating of Brahma Vidyā for the same reason as is given in the last Sutra, i.e. difference of abode.

Moreover, these qualities and those mentioned in other Vidyās like the Śāndilya Vidyā are of such a nature as to exclude each other, and are not suggestive of each other.

The mere fact of certain Vidyās being connected with Brahman does not constitute their unity. Brahman, though one, is, on account of its plurality of powers, meditated upon in manifold ways.

The conclusion therefore is that the Upāsanā referred to in this Sutra is an independent Vidyā standing by itself.

Topic 13 - The Purusha Vidyā in the Chāṇḍogya and the Taittirīya are not one

Sutra 3,3.24

पुरुषविद्यायामिव चेतरेषामनाम्नानात् ॥ २४ ॥

puruṣavidyāyāmiva cetareṣāmanāmnānāt || 24 ||

puruṣavidyāyām-iva—As in the Purusha Vidyā (of the Chāṇḍogya); ca—and; itareṣām—of the others; anāmnānāt—not being mentioned (in the Taittirīya).

24. And (since the qualities) as (mentioned) in the Purusha Vidyā (of the Chāṇḍogya) are not mentioned (in that) of the others (i.e. in the Taittirīya) (the two Purusha Vidyās are not one).

In the last Sutra the Vidyās were held to be different as there was no recognition of the fundamental attribute of the one Vidyā in the other.

This Sutra cites an example where such a fundamental attribute occurs in both. On this ground the opponent argues that the two Vidyās are one.

In the Chāṇḍogya there is a Vidyā about man in which he is identified with the sacrifice: “Man is the sacrifice.” In the Taittirīya Āraṇyaka (10. 64) also occurs a similar Vidyā where man is so identified: “For him who knows thus, the self of the sacrifice is the sacrificer” etc.

The fundamental attribute referred to is that man is identified with sacrifice in both.

This Sutra says that in spite of this, the two Vidyās are not one, for the details differ.

Moreover, the result of the Vidyā in the Taittirīya is the attainment of the greatness of Brahman, while that of the Chāṇḍogya is long life. Therefore the two Vidyās are separate, and there can be no combination of particulars in the two places.

Topic 14 - Detached Mantras like “Pierce the whole (body of the enemy)” etc. and sacrifices mentioned at the beginning of certain Upanishads do not form part of the Brahma Vidyā inculcated in the Upanishads

Sutra 3,3.25

वेधाद्यर्थभेदात् ॥ २५ ॥

vedhādyarthabhedāt || 25 ||

vedhādi—Piercing etc.; arthabhedātbecause they have a different meaning.

25. (Certain Mantras relating to) piercing etc. (are not part of the Vidyās though mentioned near by) because they have a different meaning.

At the beginning of the Upanishad of the Ātharvanikas we have, “Pierce the whole (body of the enemy), pierce his heart” etc. Similarly at the beginning of other Upanishads of other Śākhās we have Mantras.

The question is, whether these Mantras and the sacrifices referred to in the Brāhmaṇas in close proximity to the Upanishads are to be combined with the Vidyās prescribed by these Upanishads.

The Sutra says that they are not to be combined, for their meaning is different, inasmuch as they indicate acts of a sacrifice and therefore have no connection with the Vidyās.

The piercing, for example, is connected with some ceremony to destroy one’s enemy.