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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-3 25-26

Topic 25 - Attributes mentioned in Chh. 8. 1. 1 and Brih . 4. 4. 22 are to be combined on account of a number of common features in both the texts

Sutra 3,3.39

कामादीतरत्र तत्र च, आयतनादिभ्यः ॥ ३९ ॥

kāmādītaratra tatra ca, āyatanādibhyaḥ || 39 ||

kāmādi—(True) desire etc.; itaratra—in the other; tatra—(those mentioned) in the other; ca—and; āyatanādibhyaḥ—on account of the abode etc.

39. (Qualities like true) desire etc. (mentioned in the Chāṇḍogya are to be inserted) in the other (i.e. in the Brihadāraṇyaka) and (those mentioned) in the other (i.e. in the Brihadāraṇyaka are also to be inserted in the Chāṇḍogya), on account of the abode etc. (being the same in both).

In the Chāṇḍogya 8.1.1 we have, “There is the city of Brahman and in it the palace-like lotus and in that the small ether . . . That is the Self” etc.

Again in the Brihadāraṇyaka 4.4.22 we have, “That great birthless Self which is identified with the intellect . . . lies in the ether that is within the heart.”

The question is whether the two constitute one Vidyā and hence the particulars are to be combined, or not.

The Sutra says that they form one Vidyā, and the qualities mentioned in each are to be combined in the other, for many points are common to both.

There is the same abode, the same Lord is the object of meditation, and so on.

There is, however, one difference between the two texts. The Chāṇḍogya treats of the Saguṇā Brahman while the Brihadāraṇyaka treats of the Nirguna Brahman.

But then as the Saguṇā Brahman is in reality one with the Nirguna, this Sutra prescribes combination of qualities for glorifying Brahman, and not for the purpose of Upāsanā.

Topic 26 - Prāṇāgnihotra need not be observed on days of fast

Sutra 3,3.40

आदरादलोपः ॥ ४० ॥

ādarādalopaḥ || 40 ||

ādarāt—On account of the respect shown; alopaḥ—there can be no omission.

40. On account of the respect shown (to the Prāṇāgnihotra by the Śruti) there can be no omission (of this act).

This Sutra gives the view of the opponent.

In the Vaiśvānara Vidyā of the Chāṇḍogya the Upāsaka, before he takes his meals is asked first to offer food to each of the Prāṇas, saying, “To Prāṇa I offer this.”

The Śruti attaches such importance to this Prāṇāgnihotra that it enjoins food to be offered to the Prāṇas even before entertaining guests, whom all Hindus are supposed to attend before they take any food. The question is whether this Prāṇāgnihotra is to be observed even on days of fasting.

This Sutra says that there should be no omission of it, and so it must be observed even on fast days by sipping at least a few drops of water, since the Śruti attaches such importance to it.

Sutra 3,3.41

उपस्थितेऽतः, तद्वचनात् ॥ ४१ ॥

upasthite’taḥ, tadvacanāt || 41 ||

upasthite—When food is served; ataḥ—from that; tat-vacanāt—so (the Śruti) declares.

41. When food is served, from that (the Prāṇāgnihotra is to be performed), for so (the Śruti) declares.

This refutes the view expressed in the last Sutra and says that the Prāṇāgnihotra need not be performed on fasting days, for the Śruti says,

Therefore the first food which comes is meant for Homa. And he who offers that first oblation should offer it to Prāṇa, saying Svāhā” (Chh. 5. 19. 1).

The importance given by the Śruti is only to the effect that the first portion of the food, on those days when it is taken, should be offered to the Prāṇas, and not that it should be observed even on fasting days.