Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-3-3

Topic 3 - Vidyās having really different subject-matter are separate, though in other respects there are similarities

Sutra 3,3.6

अन्यथात्वं शब्दादिति चेत्, न, अविशेषात् ॥ ६ ॥

anyathātvaṃ śabdāditi cet, na, aviśeṣāt || 6 ||

anyathātvaṃ—There is difference; śabdāt—on account of (difference in) texts; iti cet—if it be said; na—not so; aviśeṣāt—on account of non-difference (as regards essentials).

6. If it be said (that the Udgītha Vidyā of the Brihadāraṇyaka and that of the Chāṇḍogya) are different on account of (difference in) texts; (we say) not so, on account of the non-difference (as regards essentials).

This Sutra represents the view of the opponent, who tries to establish that the two Vidyās are one:

Then they said to this vital force in the mouth, ‘Chant the Udgītha for us.’ ‘All right’, said the vital force and chanted for them” (Brih. 1. 3. 7);

Then this vital force that is in the mouth—they meditated on the Udgītha ‘Om’ as that vital force” (Chh. 1. 2. 7).

It may be objected that they cannot be one, because of the difference in texts.

But this is unacceptable, because there is unity as regards a great many points. (For the similarity see texts in both.) So on the grounds given in Sutra 3. 3. 1 , there is unity of Vidyās.

Sutra 3,3.7

न वा, प्रकरणभेदात् परोवरीयस्त्वादिवत् ॥ ७ ॥

na vā, prakaraṇabhedāt parovarīyastvādivat || 7 ||

na vā—Rather not; prakaraṇa-bhedāt—on account of difference in subject-matter; parovarīyastvādivat—even as (the meditation on the Udgītha) as the highest and greatest (Brahman) (is different).

7. Rather (there is) no (unity of Vidyās), on account of the difference in subject-matter, even as (the meditation on the Udgītha) as the highest and greatest (i.e. Brahman) (is different from the meditation on the Udgītha as abiding in the eye etc.).

This Sutra refutes the former view and establishes that the two Vidyās, in spite of similarity in many points, are different on account of difference in subject-matter.

In the Chāṇḍogya only a part of the Udgītha (hymn), the syllable ‘Om’ is meditated upon as Prāṇa: “Let one meditate on the syllable ‘Om’ (of) the Udgītha” (Chh. 1. 1. 1).

But in the Brihadāraṇyaka the whole Udgītha hymn is meditated upon as Prāṇa. Vide Brih. 1. 8. 2.

On account of this difference in the object of meditation the two Vidyās cannot be one.

The case is similar to the Upāsanā on Udgītha enjoined in, “This is indeed the highest and greatest Udgītha” (Chh. 1. 9. 2), which is different from the one enjoined in the Chāṇḍogya 1.6, where the Udgītha is meditated upon as abiding in the eye and the sun.

Sutra 3,3.8

संज्ञातश्चेत्, तदुक्तम्, अस्ति तु तदपि ॥ ८ ॥

saṃjñātaścet, taduktam, asti tu tadapi || 8 ||

saṃjñātaḥ—On account of the name (being same); cet— if; tat—it; uktam—has already been answered; asti—exists; tu—but; tat—that; api—even.

8. If on account of the name (of both Vidyās being the same, it be said that they are one), it has already been answered. But even that (identity of name in Vidyās admitted to be different) exists.

Identity of name is no reason for claiming unity of Vidyās, since the subject-matter differs. This has already been established in the last Sutra.

Moreover, it is borne out by the scriptures. For example, the different sacrifices like Agnihotra, Darsapurnamāsa, etc., which all occur in Kāṭhaka, are known as Kāṭhakas; or even the Udgītha Upāsanās of Chh.1.6 and Chh. 1. 9. 2 are different Vidyās.