Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-3 35-36

Topic 35 - Meditations yielding special desires may or may not be combined according to liking

 Sutra 3,3.60

काम्यास्तु यथाकामं समुच्चीयेरन्न वा, पूर्वहेत्वभावात् ॥ ६० ॥

kāmyāstu yathākāmaṃ samuccīyeranna vā, pūrvahetvabhāvāt || 60 ||

kāmyāḥ—Vidyās for particular desires; tu—but; yathākāmaṃ—according to one’s desire; samuccīyeran—one may combine; na vāor not; pūrva-hetu-abhāvāton account of the absence of the preceding reason.

60. But Vidyās for particular desires may be combined or not according to one’s desire on account of the absence of the reason (mentioned in the) previous (Sutra).

In the last Sutra it was said that any one of the Vidyās about Brahman should be taken up, and that more than one at a time should not be taken up, because each Vidyā was quite sufficient and more than one would distract the mind.

Now, there are various Vidyās which are practised not for the realization of Brahman, but to yield some particular desire. As, for example, in the Chāṇḍogya 3.15.2; 7.1.5.

The question is whether one is to restrict oneself to only one of these Vidyās, or can practise more than one at a time.

This Sutra says that as the results are different, unlike that of the Brahma Vidyās, one can take up more than one Vidyā or not according to one’s pleasure.

Topic 36 - Meditations connected with members of sacrificial acts may or may not be combined according to liking

 Sutra 3,3.61

अङ्गेषु यथाश्रयभावः ॥ ६१ ॥

aṅgeṣu yathāśrayabhāvaḥ || 61 ||

aṅgeṣu—With regard (to meditations) connected with members (of sacrificial acts); yathā-śraya-bhāvaḥ—it is as with (the members) with which they are connected.

61. With regard (to meditations) connected with members (of sacrificial acts) it is as with (the members) with which they are connected.

Sutras 61-64 give the view of the opponent: Different instructions connected with a sacrifice are mentioned in the different Vedas.

Now the scriptures themselves say that all these members mentioned in the different Vedas are to be combined for the due performance of the main one.

The question now is, what is the rule to be followed with respect to the Upāsanās connected with these members?

This Sutra says that the same rule which applies to the members applies also to the Upāsanās connected with them. In other words, all these Upāsanās are also to be combined.

Sutra 3,3.62

शिष्टेश्च ॥ ६२ ॥

śiṣṭeśca || 62 ||

śiṣṭeḥ—From the injunction of the Śruti; ca—and.

62. And from the injunction of the Śruti.

Even as the members are scattered in the different Vedas, so are also the meditations connected with them. There is no difference as regards the injunction of the Śruti with respect to these meditations.

 Sutra 3,3.63

समाहारात् ॥ ६३ ॥

samāhārāt || 63 ||

63. On account of the rectification.

A further reason is given by the opponent.

Now verily that which is Udgītha is ‘Om’, and that which is ‘Om’ is Udgītha. (If one knows this) then from the seat (i.e. through proper functioning) of the Hotri (he) rectifies all defective singing (of the Udgātri)” (Chh. 1. 5. 5).

Here it is said that the mistakes committed by the Udgātri (chanting priest of the Sāma-Veda) are rectified by the recitation of the Hotri (invoking priest of the Rig-Veda), which shows that the meditations, though they are given in the different Vedas, are yet interlinked.

So all of them have to be observed.

Sutra 3,3.64

गुणसाधारण्यश्रुतेश्च ॥ ६४ ॥

guṇasādhāraṇyaśruteśca || 64 ||

guṇa-sādhāraṇya-śruteḥ—From the Śruti declaring the feature ‘Om’ as being common to all the Vedas; ca—and.

64. And from the Śruti declaring the syllable ‘Om’ which is a common feature (of the Udgītha Vidyā), to be common to all the Vedas.

Through this does the Vedic Vidyā proceed” (Chh. 1. 1. 9). This is said with reference to the syllable ‘Om’, which is common to all the Vedas and all the Upāsanās in them.

This shows that as the abode of all Vidyās is common, so are the Vidyās that abide in it, and therefore all of them are to be observed.

Sutra 3,3.65

न वा, तत्सहभावाश्रुतेः ॥ ६५ ॥

na vā, tatsahabhāvāśruteḥ || 65 ||

na vā—Rather not; tatsahabhāva-aśruteḥ—their correlation not being mentioned by the Śruti.

65. (The meditations connected with members of sacrificial acts are) rather not (to be combined), as the Śruti does not say that they are so correlated.

This and the following Sutra gives the conclusion.

The rule for combining the instructions regarding sacrifices that are scattered in all the Vedas cannot be applied with respect to the Upāsanās connected with them.

In the former case, if the instructions are not combined, the sacrifice itself will fail.

But not so if the Upāsanās are not practised, for Upāsanās only enhance the results of the sacrifice. (Vide 3.3.42). They are not inseparable from the sacrifice. So they may or may not be practised.

Sutra 3,3.66

दर्शनाच्च ॥ ६६ ॥

darśanācca || 66 ||

darśanāt—Because the Śruti says so; ca—and.

66. And because the Śruti says so.

The Brahman (superintending priest) who knows this protects the sacrifice, the sacrificer, and all the other priests” (Chh. 4. 17. 10).

This shows that the scriptures do not intend that all the meditations should go together.

If it were so, then all the priests would know all of them and there is no sense in the Śruti distinguishing the qualified superintending priest from the rest.

The meditations, therefore, may or may not be combined according to one’s taste.