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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-3 31-32

Topic 31 - Upāsanās connected with sacrificial acts, e.g. the Udgītha Upāsanā, are valid for all Śākhās

 Sutra 3,3.55

अङ्गावबद्धास्तु न शाखासु हि प्रतिवेदम् ॥ ५५ ॥

aṅgāvabaddhāstu na śākhāsu hi prativedam || 55 ||

aṅgāvabaddhāḥ—(Upāsanās) connected with parts (of sacrificial acts); tu—but; na—not; śākhāsu—to (particular) Śākhās; hi—because; prativedam—in each Veda.

55. But (the Upāsanās) connected with parts (of sacrificial acts are) not (restricted) to (particular) Śākhās only of each Veda (but to all its Śākhās), because (the same Upāsanā is described in all).

There are certain Upāsanās mentioned in connection with sacrificial acts, as, for example, the meditation on ‘Om’ which is connected with the Udgītha as Prāṇa, or the meditation on the Udgītha as the earth and so on.

The question is whether these meditations are enjoined with reference to the Udgītha and so on as belonging to a certain Śākhā of a Veda or as belonging to all its Śākhās.

The doubt arises because the Udgītha and so on are chanted differently in different Śākhās, and as such they may be considered different.

This Sutra refutes the view that they are so restricted, because the text speaks of these Upāsanās in general, and so they are one in all the branches.

Sutra 3,3.56

मन्त्रादिवद्वाऽविरोधः ॥ ५६ ॥

mantrādivadvā’virodhaḥ || 56 ||

mantrādivat—Like Mantras etc.; —or else; avirodhaḥ—is no contradiction.

56. Or else like Mantras etc. there is no contradiction (here).

Just as Mantras etc. mentioned in only one Śākhā are used in another Śākhā with respect to that particular rite, so also the Upāsanās connected with particular rites in one Śākhā of the Veda can be applied to the other Śākhās.

Topic 32 - Vaiśvānara Upāsanā is one entire Upāsanā

 Sutra 3,3.57

भूम्नः क्रतुवज्ज्यायस्त्वं, तथा हि दर्शयति ॥ ५७ ॥

bhūmnaḥ kratuvajjyāyastvaṃ, tathā hi darśayati || 57 ||

bhūmnaḥ—On the entire form; kratuvat—as in the case of sacrifice; jyāyastvaṃ—importance; tathā—so; hi—for; darśayati—(the Śruti) shows.

57. Importance (is given to the meditation) on the entire form (of Vaiśvānara) as in the case of sacrifice; for so (the Śruti) shows.

In the Chāṇḍogya Upanishad 5.11-18 we have the Vaiśvānara Vidyā, the meditation on the cosmic form of the Lord, where we are asked to imagine that His head is the heavens, His eye the sun, and so on.

In those sections we find different results mentioned for each part of the Upāsanā. For example, the result of meditating on His head as the heavens is: “He eats food, sees his dear ones, and has Vedic glory in his house” (Chh. 5. 12. 2).

Now the question is whether the Śruti here speaks only of one Upāsanā on the whole cosmic form, or also piecemeal Upāsanās.

This Sutra says that it is the former. The separate results mentioned for detached Upāsanās are to be combined into one aggregate with the principal meditation.

That the Śruti intends only the entire Upāsanā is moreover known from the fact that it discourages part Upāsanā in such expressions as “Your head would have fallen if you had not come to me” (Chh. 5. 12. 2).

The case is similar to certain sacrifices which include several minor sacrifices, the combined result of which completes that of the main sacrifices.

That only one entire Upāsanā is intended is also inferred from the fact that the section begins thus: “Which is our Self, which is the Brahman” (Chh. 5. 11. 1)—which shows that the entire Brahman is sought as the object of meditation.

It ends also thus: “Of that Vaiśvānara Self Sutejā is the head” etc. (Chh. 5. 18. 2).