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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-4-7

Topic 7 - Restrictions as regards food may be waived only when life is at stake

 Sutra 3,4.28

सर्वान्नानुमतिश्च प्राणात्यये, तद्दर्शनात् ॥ २८ ॥

sarvānnānumatiśca prāṇātyaye, taddarśanāt || 28 ||

sarva-anna-anumatiḥ—Permission to take all sorts of food; (ca—and;) prāṇātyaye—when life is jeopardized; tat-darśanāt—because the Śruti declares that.

28. (Only) when life is jeopardized (there is) permission to take food indiscriminately, because the Śruti declares that.

For one who knows this, there is nothing that is not food” (Chh. 5. 2. 1).

The opponent holds that on account of the newness of the statement it is enjoined on one who meditates on Prāṇa. Such a statement being found nowhere else, it has an injunctive value.

This Sutra refutes it and says that it is not an injunction, but only a statement of fact, and where the idea of an injunction does not arise, we are not justified in assuming one.

Prohibited food may be eaten only when life is in danger, as was done by the sage Cākrāyaṇa when he was dying for want of food. This fact we get from the Śruti.

Sutra 3,4.29

अबाधाच्च ॥ २९ ॥

abādhācca || 29 ||

abādhāc—Because of a non-contradiction (thus); ca—and.

29. And because (thus) (the scriptural statements with respect to food) are not contradicted.

When the food is pure the mind becomes pure” (Chh. 7. 20. 2).

This statement will not be contradicted only if the explanation given is taken, and not otherwise.

Sutra 3,4.30

अपि च स्मर्यते ॥ ३० ॥

api ca smaryate || 30 ||

api ca—Moreover; smaryatethe—Smṛti say so.

30. Moreover the Smṛti (also) say so.

The Smṛti also say that both those who have Knowledge and those who have not can take any food when life is in danger; then it is not sinful. But they prohibit various kinds of food as objectionable.

Sutra 3,4.31

शब्दश्चातोऽकामकारे ॥ ३१ ॥

śabdaścāto’kāmakāre || 31 ||

śabdaḥ—The scriptural text; ca—and; ataḥ—hence; kāmakāre—prohibiting license.

31. And hence the scriptural text prohibiting license.

There are scriptural passages prohibiting one from doing everything just as one pleases.

License freedom from all discipline, cannot help us to attain Knowledge. “Therefore a Brāhmaṇa must not drink liquor” (Kāṭhaka Sam.). Such Śruti texts are meant for this discipline.

Therefore it is established that the Śruti does not enjoin on one who meditates on Prāṇa to take all kinds of food indiscriminately.