Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 1-4-3

Topic 3 - The fivefold five people of Brih. 4. 4. 17 are not the twenty-five Sānkhya’s categories

Sutra 1,4.11

न संख्योपसंग्रहादपि, नानाभावादतिरेकाच्च ॥ ११ ॥

na saṃkhyopasaṃgrahādapi, nānābhāvādatirekācca || 11 ||

na—not; saṃkhyopasaṃgrahādapi—even from the statement of the number; nānābhāvāt—on account of the differences; atirekāt—on account of the excess; ca—and.

11. Even from the statement of the number (fivefold five, i.e. twenty-five categories, by the Śruti, it is) not (to be presumed that the Śruti refers to the Pradhāna) on account of the differences (in the categories) and the excess (over the number of the Sānkhya’s categories).

That in which the five groups of five and the (subtle) ether are placed, that very Ātman” etc. (Brih. 4. 4. 17).

Now five times five makes twenty-five, which is exactly the number of the Sānkhya’s categories. So the Sānkhyas say that here is the scriptural authority for their philosophy.

This Sutra refutes such an assumption.

For the Sānkhya’s categories cannot be divided into groups of five on any basis of similarity, for all the twenty-five categories differ from each other.

Secondly, the mention of the ether in the text as a separate category would make the number twenty-six in all, contrary to the Sānkhya’s theory.

Sutra 1,4.12

प्राणादयो वाक्यशेषात् ॥ १२ ॥

prāṇādayo vākyaśeṣāt || 12 ||

prāṇādayaḥ—The vital force etc.; vākyaśeṣāt—because of the complementary passage.

12. (The five people referred to are) the vital force etc., because (we- find it to be so) from the complementary passage.

They who know the vital force of the vital force, the eye of the eye, the ear of the ear, the food of the food, the mind of the mind,” etc. (Brih. Mādhy. 4. 4. 21).

The ‘five people’ refer to this vital force and the other four of the text, which are cited to describe Brahman.

Sutra 1,4.13

ज्योतिषैकेषामसत्यन्ने ॥ १३ ॥

jyotiṣaikeṣāmasatyanne || 13 ||

jyotiṣā—By light; ekeṣām—of some; asati anne—food not being mentioned.

13. (In the text) of some (the Kānva recension) food not being mentioned (in the complementary passage referred to in the previous Sutra) (the number is made up) by ‘light’ (mentioned in the previous verse).

That immortal Light of lights the gods worship as longevity” (Brih. 4. 4. 16).

Though food is not mentioned in the text cited in the last Sutra according to the Kānva recension of the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, yet the four of that verse, together with ‘light’ mentioned in the text cited above, would make the ‘five people’.