Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-4 15-16

Topic 15 - Childlike state means the state of innocence, being free from anger, passion, etc.

 Sutra 3,4.50

अनाविष्कुर्वन्, अन्वयात् ॥ ५० ॥

anāviṣkurvan, anvayāt || 50 ||

anāviṣkurvan—Without manifesting himself; anvayāt—on account of the context.

50. (The childlike state means) without manifesting himself, on account of the context.

In the passage of the Brihadāraṇyaka quoted in Sutra 47, the childlike state is enjoined on an aspirant after Knowledge. The question is what is exactly meant by this?

Does it mean to be like a child without any idea of purity and impurity and doing whatever one likes, or does it mean to be guileless and without the sense of egoism as a child?

The Sutra says it is the latter and not the former, because that is detrimental to Knowledge.

It means one has not to manifest or give vent to any of the passions and has to be guileless and without the sense of egoism. It refers to the innate innocence of a child.

Such a meaning alone is appropriate to the context, purity and innocence being helpful to Knowledge.

Topic 16 - The time of the origination of Knowledge when the Vidyā is practised

 Sutra 3,4.51

अइहिकमप्यप्रस्तुतप्रतिबन्धे, तद्दर्शनात् ॥ ५१ ॥

aihikamapyaprastutapratibandhe, taddarśanāt || 51 ||

aihikam—In this life; api—even; aprastuta-pratibandhe—if there is no obstruction to it (the means adopted); tat-darśanāt—because it is so seen from the scriptures.

51. (The fruition of Knowledge may take place) even in this life if there be no obstruction to it (the means adopted), because it is so seen from the scriptures.

From Sutra 26 the various means to Knowledge have been discussed. The question now is whether Knowledge resulting from these means comes in this life or in the life to come.

This Sutra says that it may come in this life only if there is no obstruction to its manifestation from extraneous causes.

For it often happens that when the fruition of Knowledge is about to take place it is retarded by the fruit of some other stronger work, which is also about to fructify. In such cases Knowledge comes in the next life.

That is why the scriptures declare that it is difficult to realize the Self: “Even to hear of It is not available to many; many even having heard of It cannot comprehend” etc. (Kath, 1. 2. 7).

The Gītā also says: “There he is united with the intelligence acquired in his former body” etc. (Gītā 6. 43); “The Yogi, striving assiduously, purified of taint, gradually gaining perfection through many births, then reaches the highest goal” (Ibid 6. 45).

Moreover, that Knowledge sometimes fructifies in the next life is known from the life of Vāmadeva who possessed Knowledge even while he was in the womb.

This shows that it must have been the result of his past actions, for he could not have practised any Vidyās in the womb.

Knowledge did not manifest in his previous life owing to obstruction, and this being removed when he was in the womb, Knowledge fructified as a result of his past Sādhana.