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  Rig Veda
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  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

  Brahma Sutra
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  Ramanuja SriBhashya


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Ramanujacharya's Brahma Sutra Bhashya translated By George Thibaut
SriBhashya - Ramanuja's Commentary On Brahma Sutra (Vedanta Sutra)

Sri Bhashya (also spelled as Sri Bhasya) is a commentary of Ramanujacharya on the Brama Sutras (also known as Vedanta Sutras) of Badarayana. In this bhashya, Ramanuja presents the fundamental philosophical principles of Visistadvaita based on his interpretation of the Upanishads, Bhagavad-gita and other smrti texts. In his Sri-bhashya he describes the three categories of reality (tattvas): God, soul and matter, which have been used by the later Vaisnava theologians including Madhva. The principles of bhakti as a means to liberation were also developed.

31. And on account of (meditating on the part of the gods) being in the Light.

'Him the devas meditate upon as the light of lights, as

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immortal time' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 16). This text declares that the meditation of the gods has for its object the Light, i.e. the highest Brahman. Now this express declaration as to the gods being meditating devotees with regard to meditations on Brahman which are common to men and gods, implies a denial of the gods being qualified for meditations on other objects. The conclusion therefore is that the Vasus, and so on, are not qualified for meditations on the Vasus and other classes of deities.

32. But Bâdarâyana (maintains) the existence (of qualification); for there is (possibility of such).

The Reverend Bâdarâyana thinks that the Âdityas, Vasus, and so on, are also qualified for meditations on divinities. For it is in their case also possible that their attainment of Brahman should be viewed as preceded by their attainment of Vasu-hood or Âditya-hood, in so far, namely, as they meditate on Brahman as abiding within themselves. They may be Vasus and Âdityas in the present age of the world, but at the same time be desirous of holding the same position in future ages also. In the Madhuvidyâ we have to distinguish two sections, concerned respectively with Brahman in its causal and its effected state. The former section, extending from the beginning up to 'when from thence he has risen upwards,' enjoins meditation on Brahman in its condition as effect, i.e. as appearing in the form of creatures such as the Vasus, and so on; while the latter section enjoins meditation on the causal Brahman viewed as abiding within the sun as its inner Self. The purport of the whole vidyâ is that he who meditates on Brahman in this its twofold form will in a future age of the world enjoy Vasu-hood, and will finally attain Brahman in its causal aspect, i.e. the very highest Brahman. From the fact that the text, 'And indeed to him who thus knows the Brahma-upanishad. the sun does not rise and does not set; for him there is day once and for all,' calls the whole Madhuvidyâ a 'Brahma'--upanishad, and that the reward declared is the attainment of Vasu-hood, and so on, leading up to the attainment of Brahman, we clearly are entitled to

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infer that the meditations which the text enjoins, viz. on the different parts of the sun viewed as objects of enjoyment for the Vasus, and so on, really are meant as meditations on Brahman as abiding in those different forms. Meditation on the Vasus and similar beings is thus seen to be possible for the Vasus themselves. And as Brahman really constitutes the only object of meditation, we also see the appropriateness of the text discussed above, 'On him the gods meditate as the light of lights.' The Vrittikâra expresses the same opinion, 'For there is possibility with regard to the Madhu-vidyâ, and so on, Brahman only being the object of meditation everywhere.'--Here terminates the adhikarana of 'honey.'

The Sûtras now enter on a discussion of the question whether the Sûdras also are qualified for the knowledge of Brahman.

The Pûrvapakshin maintains that they are so qualified; for qualification, he says, depends on want and capacity, and both these are possible in the case of Sûdras also. The Sûdra is not indeed qualified for any works depending on a knowledge of the sacred fires, for from such knowledge he is debarred; but he possesses qualification for meditation on Brahman, which after all is nothing but a certain mental energy. The only works prerequisite for meditation are those works which are incumbent on a man as a member of a caste or âsrama, and these consist, in the Sûdra's case, in obedience to the higher castes. And when we read 'therefore the Sûdra is not qualified for sacrifices,' the purport of this passage is only to make a confirmatory reference to something already settled by reason, viz. that the Sûdra is not qualified for the performance of sacrifices which cannot be accomplished by one not acquainted with the sacred fires (and not to deny the Sûdra's competence for devout meditation).--But how can meditation on Brahman be undertaken by a man who has not studied the Vedas, inclusive of the Vedânta, and hence knows nothing about the nature of Brahman and the proper modes of meditation?--Those also, we reply, who do not study Veda and Vedânta may acquire the requisite knowledge by

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hearing Itihâsas and Purânas; and there are texts which allow Sûdras to become acquainted with texts of that kind; cp. e.g. 'one is to make the four castes to hear texts, the Brâhmana coming first.' Moreover, those Purânas and Itihâsas make mention of Sûdras, such as Vidura, who had a knowledge of Brahman. And the Upanishads themselves, viz. in the so-called Samvarga-vidyâ, show that a Sûdra is qualified for the knowledge of Brahman; for there the teacher Raikva addresses Gânasruti, who wishes to learn from him, as Sûdra, and thereupon instructs him in the knowledge of Brahman (Kh. Up. IV, 2, 3). All this proves that Sûdras also have a claim to the knowledge of Brahman.

This conclusion we deny, on the ground of the absence of capability. It is impossible that the capability of performing meditations on Brahman should belong to a person not knowing the nature of Brahman and the due modes of meditation, and not qualified by the knowledge of the requisite preliminaries of such meditation, viz. recitation of the Veda, sacrifices, and so on. Mere want or desire does not impart qualification to a person destitute of the required capability. And this absence of capability is due, in the Sûdra's case, to absence of legitimate study of the Veda. The injunctions of sacrificial works naturally connect themselves with the knowledge and the means of knowledge (i.e. religious ceremonies and the like) that belong to the three higher castes, for these castes actually possess the knowledge (required for the sacrifices), owing to their studying the Veda in agreement with the injunction which prescribes such study for the higher castes; the same injunctions do not, on the other hand, connect themselves with the knowledge and means of knowledge belonging to others (than members of the three higher castes). And the same naturally holds good with regard to the injunctions of meditation on Brahman. And as thus only such knowledge as is acquired by study prompted by the Vedic injunction of study supplies a means for meditation on Brahman, it follows that the Sûdra for whom that injunction is not meant is incapable of such meditation. Itihâsas

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and Purânas hold the position of being helpful means towards meditation in so far only as they confirm or support the Veda, not independently of the Veda. And that Sûdras are allowed to hear Itihâsas and Purânas is meant only for the end of destroying their sins, not to prepare them for meditation on Brahman. The case of Vidura and other Sûdras having been 'founded on Brahman,' explains itself as follows:--Owing to the effect of former actions, which had not yet worked themselves out, they were born in a low caste, while at the same time they possessed wisdom owing to the fact that the knowledge acquired by them in former births had not yet quite vanished.

(On these general grounds we object to Sûdras being viewed as qualified for meditation on Brahman.) The Sûtra now refutes that argument, which the Pûrvapakshin derives from the use of the word 'Sûdra' in the Samvarga-vidyâ.

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