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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 4-4-7

Topic 7 - The released soul which has attained Brahmaloka has all the lordly powers except the power of creation etc.

 Sutra 4,4.17

जगद्व्यापारवर्जम्, प्रकरणात्, असंनिहितत्वाच्च ॥ १७ ॥

jagadvyāpāravarjam, prakaraṇāt, asaṃnihitatvācca || 17 ||

jagadvyāpāravarjam—Except the power of creation etc.; prakaraṇāt—on account of (Iswara being) the subject-matter; asaṃnihitatvāt—on account of (released souls) not being mentioned; ca—and.

17. (The released soul attains all lordly powers) except the power of creation etc., on account of (Īśvara being) the subject-matter (of all texts where creation etc. are described), and (the released souls) not being mentioned (in that connection).

The question is raised whether those who by worshipping the qualified Brahman attain Brahma-loka and lordly powers, have limited or unlimited powers.

The opponent holds that it should be unlimited, because of the scriptural texts,

They can roam, at will in all the worlds” (Chh. 7. 25. 2, 8. 1. 6);

To him all the gods offer worship” (Taitt. 1. 5).

This Sutra says that the released souls attain lordly powers without the power of creating, preserving, and destroying the universe.

Barring this power they get all other powers. Why?

Because Īśvara is the subject-matter of all the texts dealing with creation etc., while the liberated souls are not mentioned at all in this connection. Moreover, this would lead to many Īśvaras, which may give rise to a conflict of wills with respect to creation etc.

Therefore the powers of the liberated souls are not absolute but limited, and are dependent on the will of Īśvara.

Sutra 4,4.18

प्रत्यक्षोपदेशादिति, चेत्, न, आधिकारिकमण्डलस्थोक्तेः ॥ १८ ॥

pratyakṣopadeśāditi, cet, na, ādhikārikamaṇḍalasthokteḥ || 18 ||

pratyakṣa-upadeśāt—On account of direct teaching; iti cet—if it be said; na—not; ādhikārikamaṇḍalastha-ukteḥ—because the scripture declares (that the soul attains Him) who entrusts the sun etc. (with their offices) and resides in those spheres.

18. If it be said (that the released soul attains absolute powers) on account of direct teaching (of the scriptures), (we say) no, for the scriptures declare (that the released soul attains Him) who entrusts the sun etc. (with their offices) and resides in those spheres.

He becomes the lord of himself” (Taitt. 1.6). From the direct teaching of the Śruti the opponent holds that the released soul attains absolute powers.

The Sutra says that his powers -depend on the Lord, for the text cited further on says, “He attains the Lord of the mind”, the Lord who abides in spheres like the sun etc. and entrusts the sun etc. with offices.

Therefore from this latter part of the text it is clear that the released soul gets its powers from the Lord and depends on Him. Hence its powers are not unlimited.

Sutra 4,4.19

विकारवर्ति च तथा हि स्थितिमाह ॥ १९ ॥

vikāravarti ca tathā hi sthitimāha || 19 ||

vikāra-avarti—Which is beyond all effected things; ca—and; tathā—so; hi—because; sthitim—existence; āha—the scripture declares.

19. And (there is a form of the Supreme Lord) which is beyond all created things, because so the scripture declares (His) existence (in a twofold form).

Such is the greatness of it; greater than it is the Purusha. One foot of His is all beings. His (other) three feet are what is immortal in heaven” (Chh. 3. 12. 6).

 This text declares that the Supreme Lord abides in two forms, the transcendental and the relative.

Now he who worships the Lord in His relative aspect does not attain the transcendental aspect, for the Śruti says, “As one meditates upon That, so one becomes.”

Similarly, since the worshipper is not able to comprehend the relative aspect of the Lord in full, as possessed of infinite attributes and powers, but is able to comprehend Him only partially, he attains only limited powers, and not unlimited powers like the Lord Himself.

Sutra 4,4.20

दर्शयतश्चैवं प्रत्यक्षानुमाने ॥ २० ॥

darśayataścaivaṃ pratyakṣānumāne || 20 ||

darśayataḥ—(The two) show; ca—and; evaṃ—thus; pratyakṣa-anumāne—perception and infcrerce-

20. And thus perception and inference show.

This Sutra says that the transcendental aspect of the Lord is established by both the Śruti and Smriti. That form which the previous Sutra cited merely as an example, this Sutra establishes on the authority of the Śruti and Smriti.

There the sun shines not, nor the moon, nor stars” etc. (Mu. 2. 2. 10);

That the sun illumines not, nor the moon, nor the fire” etc. (Gītā 15. 6).

Sutra 4,4.21

भोगमात्रसाम्यलिङ्गाच्च ॥ २१ ॥

bhogamātrasāmyaliṅgācca || 21 ||

bhogamātra-sāmya-liṅgāt—Because of indications of equality with respect to enjoyment only; ca—and.

21. And because of the indications (in the scriptures) of equality (of the released soul with the Lord) only with respect to enjoyment.

That the powers of the released soul are not unlimited is also known from the indications in the Śruti that the equality of these souls with the Lord is only with respect to enjoyment, and not with respect to creation etc.

As all beings take care of this Deity, so do they take care of him” (Brih. 1. 5. 20);

Through it he attains identity with this Deity, or lives in the same world with it” (Brih. 1. 5. 23).

All these texts describe equality only with respect to enjoyment, and mention nothing as regards creation etc.

Sutra 4,4.22

अनावृत्तिः शब्दात्, अनावृत्तिः शब्दात् ॥ २२ ॥

anāvṛttiḥ śabdāt, anāvṛttiḥ śabdāt || 22 ||

anāvṛttiḥ—Non-return; śabdāt—on account of scriptural declaration.

22. (There is) no return (for these released souls); on account of scriptural declaration (to that effect).

If the powers of the released souls are limited, then like all limited things they too will come to an end, and consequently the released souls will have to come back from Brahmaloka to this mortal world —says the opponent.

The Sutra refutes such a contingency on scriptural authority. Those who go to Brahmaloka by the path of the gods do not return from there.

Going up by that way, one reaches immortality” (Chh. 8. 6. 6.);

They no more return to this world” (Brih. 6. 2. 15).

The repetition of the words “No return” etc. is to show that the book is finished.