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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-3 23-24

Topic 23 - The Śruti enjoins reciprocal meditation in Ait. Ar. 2. 2. 4. 6 and not merely one way

Sutra 3,3.37

व्यतिहारः, विशिंषन्ति हीतरवत् ॥ ३७ ॥

vyatihāraḥ, viśiṃṣanti hītaravat || 37 ||

vyatihāraḥ—Reciprocity (of meditations); viśiṃṣanti—(the scriptures) prescribe (this); hi—for; itaravat—as in other cases.

37. (There is) reciprocity (of meditation), for the scriptures prescribe this, as in other cases.

In the Aitareya Āraṇyaka we have, “What I am, that He is; what He is, that am I” (2. 2. 4. 6).

The question here is whether the meditation is to be of a reciprocal nature, i.e. identifying the worshipper with the being in the sun, and then, inversely, identifying the being in the sun with the worshipper; or only in the first named way.

The opponent holds that the meditation is to be one way only and not in the reverse way also. For the first meditation has a meaning, inasmuch as it raises the Jīva to the level of Brahman; but lowering Brahman to the Jīva state is meaningless.

The present Sutra refutes this view and says that the meditation is to be both ways, for otherwise such a statement would be useless.

Śruti expressly prescribes the reverse meditation, even as it prescribes elsewhere that the Lord is to be meditated upon as having true determination (Satya Sankalpa) and so on.

This is not lowering Brahman, since He who has no body can be worshipped even as possessing a form.

Topic 24 - Brihadāraṇyaka 5. 4. 1 and 5. 5. 2 treat of one Vidyā about Satya Brahman

Sutra 3,3.38

सैव हि सत्यादयः ॥ ३८ ॥

saiva hi satyādayaḥ || 38 ||

sa eva—The same (Satya-Vidyā); hi—because; satyādayaḥ—(attributes like) Satya etc.

38. The same (Satya-Vidyā is taught in both places), because (attributes like) Satya etc. (are seen in both places).

In the Brihadāraṇyaka 5.4.1 we have, “He who knows this great, adorable, first born (being) as the Satya Brahman, conquers these worlds.”

Again in 5.5.2 we have, “That which is Satya is that sun— the being who is in that orb and the being who is in the right eye ... he destroys evils.

Are these two Satya-Vidyās one or different?

The Sutra says that they are one, inasmuch as the second text refers to the Satya of the earlier text by saying, “That which is Satya” etc.

But it may be said that the result of these two meditations is different, as is seen from the texts: In the first it is said that such a person conquers these worlds, and in the second, that he destroys evils.

In reality, however, there is only one result in both cases, and the mention of result in the latter case is merely by way of praise of the further instruction given about Satya.