Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-4-3

Topic 3 - Scriptural statements as in Chh. 1. 1. 3 which refer to Vidyās are not merely glorification, but enjoin the meditations

 Sutra 3,4.21

स्तुतिमात्रमुपादानादिति चेत्, न, अपूर्वत्वात् ॥ २१ ॥

stutimātramupādānāditi cet, na, apūrvatvāt || 21 ||

stutimātram—Mere praise; upādānāt—because of their reference (to parts of sacrificial acts); iti cet—it be said; na— not so; apūrvatvāt—on account of its newness.

21. If it be said (that references as in Chh. 1.1.3) are mere praise because of their reference (to parts of sacrificial acts), (we say) not so, because here it is mentioned for the first time.

That Udgītha (Om) is the best essence of the essences, the supreme, deserving the highest place, the eighth” (Chh. 1. 1. 3), “This earth is Rich, and fire Sāman” (Chh. 1. 6. 1).

The opponent holds that these are mere praise, and no injunction to meditate on ‘Om’ and so on. These passages are akin to, “The ladle is the earth”, “The tortoise is the sun”, which simply glorify the ladle and so on.

This view of the opponent is refuted in the latter half of the Sutra. The analogy is not correct.

 Glorification to have a purpose, must be in complimentary relation to an injunction. The passages quoted for analogy stand in proximity to injunctive passages, and so they can be taken as praise.

But the passage of the Chāṇḍogya where Udgītha ‘Om’ is described as the essence of essences, is mentioned in the Upanishad, and so cannot be taken along with the injunctions about Udgītha in the Karmakāṇda. As such, on account of the newness it is an injunction and not mere glorification.

Sutra 3,4.22

भावशब्दाच्च ॥ २२ ॥

bhāvaśabdācca || 22 ||

bhāvaśabdāt—There being words expressive of injunction; ca—and.

22. And there being words expressive of injunction.

Let one meditate on ‘Om’ (of) the Udgītha” (Chh. 1. 1. 1).

In this passage we have a clear injunction to meditate on ‘Om’ On the face of this we cannot interpret the text cited in the last Sutra as mere glorification of ‘Om’.