Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-3-7

Topic 7 - Kath. 1.3.10-11 simply aims at teaching that the Self is higher than everything else

Sutra 3,3.14

आध्यानाय प्रयोजनाभावात् ॥ १४ ॥

ādhyānāya prayojanābhāvāt || 14 ||

ādhyānāya—For the sake of meditation; prayojana-abhāvāt—as there is no use.

14. (Kāṭhaka 1. 3. 10-11 tells about the Self only as the highest) for the sake of meditation, (and not about the relative position of the objects etc.) as there is no use of it.

Higher than the senses are the objects, higher than the objects there is the mind . . . higher than the Self there is nothing, this is the limit, the Supreme Goal” (Kath. 1. 3. 10-11).

The opponent holds that these sentences are separate and not one, as referring to the Ātman alone; therefore it is the aim of the Śruti to teach that the objects are superior to the senses, and so on.

This Sutra refutes it and says that it is one sentence and means that the Ātman is superior to all these. This information is given for the sake of meditation on the Ātman, which results in the knowledge of It.

The Ātman alone is to be known, for the knowledge of It gives Freedom. But the knowledge of the fact that objects are superior to the senses and so on, serves no useful purpose, and as such it is not the aim of the Śruti to teach this.

Sutra 3,3.15

आत्मशब्दाच्च ॥ १५ ॥

ātmaśabdācca || 15 ||

ātmaśabdāt—On account of the word ‘Self’; ca—and.

15. And on account of the word ‘Self’.

The view established in the last Sutra is confirmed by the fact that the subject of the discussion is called the Self. “That Self is hidden in all beings and does not shine forth” (Kath. 3. 3. 32), thereby hinting that the other things are non-Self.

But the enumeration of the series is not altogether useless, inasmuch as it helps to turn the mind, which is outgoing, gradually towards the Ātman, which is hard to realize without deep meditation.