The Mahabharata
  Srimad Bhagavatam

  Rig Veda
  Yajur Veda
  Sama Veda
  Atharva Veda

  Bhagavad Gita
  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

  Brahma Sutra
  Sankara Bhashya I
  Sankara Bhashya II
  Ramanuja SriBhashya


  Agni Purana
  Brahma Purana
  Garuda Purana
  Markandeya Purana
  Varaha Purana
  Matsya Purana
  Vishnu Purana
  Linga Purana
  Narada Purana
  Padma Purana
  Shiva Purana
  Skanda Purana
  Vamana Purana

  Manu Smriti

  Vedanta Deshikar
  Appayya Dikshitar
  Samartha Ramdas

  Bhagavad Gita
  Brahma Sutras

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.

42. (The soul is) a part, on account of the declarations of difference and otherwise; some also record

p. 559

[paragraph continues] (that Brahman is of) the nature of slaves, fishermen, and so on.

The Sûtras have declared that the individual soul is an agent, and as such dependent on the highest Person. The following question now arises--Is the individual soul absolutely different from Brahman? or is it nothing else than Brahman itself in so far as under the influence of error? or is it Brahman in so far as determined by a limiting adjunct (upâdhi)? or is it a part (amsa) of Brahman?--The doubt on this point is due to the disagreement of the scriptural texts.--But this whole matter has already been decided under Sû. II, 1, 22.--True. But as a difficulty presents itself on the ground of the conflicting nature of the texts--some asserting the difference and some the unity of the individual soul and Brahman--the matter is here more specially decided by its being proved that the soul is a part of Brahman. As long as this decision remains unsettled, the conclusions arrived at under the two Sûtras referred to, viz. that the soul is non-different from Brahman and that Brahman is 'additional' to the soul, are without a proper basis.

Let it then first be said that the soul is absolutely different from Brahman, since texts such as 'There are two, the one knowing, the other not knowing, both unborn, the one strong, the other weak' (Svet. Up. I, 9) declare their difference. Texts which maintain the non-difference of a being which is knowing and another which is not knowing, if taken literally, convey a contradiction--as if one were to say, 'Water the ground with fire'!-and must therefore be understood in some secondary metaphorical sense. To hold that the individual soul is a part of Brahman does not explain matters; for by a 'part' we understand that which constitutes part of the extension of something. If, then, the soul occupied part of the extension of Brahman, all its imperfections would belong to Brahman. Nor can the soul be a part of Brahman if we take 'part' to mean a piece (khanda); for Brahman does not admit of being divided into pieces, and moreover, the difficulties

p. 560

connected with the former interpretation would present themselves here also. That something absolutely different from something else should yet be a part of the latter cannot in fact be proved.

Or else let it be said that the soul is Brahman affected by error (bhrama). For this is the teaching of texts such as 'Thou art that'; 'this Self is Brahman.' Those texts, on the other hand, which declare the difference of the two merely restate what is already established by perception and the other means of knowledge, and therefore are shown, by those texts the purport of which it is to teach non-duality not established by other means, to lie--like perception and the other means of knowledge themselves--within the sphere of Nescience.

Or let it be assumed, in the third place, that the individual soul is Brahman as determined by a beginningless limiting adjunct (upâdhi). For it is on this ground that Scripture teaches the Self to be Brahman. And that upâdhi must not be said to be a mere erroneous imagination, for on that view the distinction of bondage, release, and so on, would be impossible.

Against all these views the Sûtra declares that the soul is a part of Brahman; since there are declarations of difference and also 'otherwise,' i.e. declarations of unity. To the former class belong all those texts which dwell on the distinction of the creator and the creature, the ruler and the ruled, the all-knowing and the ignorant, the independent and the dependent, the pure and the impure, that which is endowed with holy qualities and that which possesses qualities of an opposite kind, the lord and the dependent. To the latter class belong such texts as 'Thou art that' and 'this Self is Brahman.' Some persons even record that Brahman is of the nature of slaves, fishermen, and so on. The Âtharvanikas, that is to say, have the following text,' Brahman are the slaves. Brahman are these fishers,' and so on; and as Brahman there is said to comprise within itself all individual souls, the passage teaches general non-difference of the Self. In order, then, that texts of both these classes may be taken in their

p. 561

primary, literal sense, we must admit that the individual soul is a part of Brahman. Nor is it a fact that the declarations of difference refer to matters settled by other means of knowledge, such as perception and so on, and on that account are mere reiterations of something established otherwise (in consequence of which they would have no original proving force of their own, and would be sublated by the texts declaring non-duality). For the fact that the soul is created by Brahman, is ruled by it, constitutes its body, is subordinate to it, abides in it, is preserved by it, is absorbed by it, stands to it in the relation of a meditating devotee, and through its grace attains the different ends of man, viz. religious duty, wealth, pleasure and final release--all this and what is effected thereby, viz. the distinction of the soul and Brahman, does not fall within the cognisance of perception and the other means of proof, and hence is not established by something else. It is therefore not true that the texts declaring the creation of the world, and so on, are mere reiterations of differences established by other means of authoritative knowledge, and hence have for their purport to teach things that are false.--[Nor will it do to say that the texts declaring duality teach what indeed is not established by other means of knowledge but is erroneous.] 'Brahman conceives the thought of differentiating itself, forms the resolution of becoming many, and accordingly creates the ether and the other elements, enters into them as individual soul, evolves all the different forms and names, takes upon himself all the pleasures and pains which spring from experiencing the infinite multitude of objects thus constituted, abides within and inwardly rules all beings, recognises itself in its gîva-condition to be one with the universal causal Brahman, and finally accomplishes its release from the samsâra and the body of sacred doctrine by which this release is effected'--all this the Veda indeed declares, but its real purport is that ail this is only true of a Brahman under the influence of an illusion,and therefore is unreal!--while at the same time Brahman is defined as that the essential nature of which is absolutely pure intelligence! Truly, if such were the purport of the Veda, what

p. 562

more would the Veda be than the idle talk of a person out of his mind!

Nor finally is there any good in the theory of the soul being Brahman in so far as determined by a limiting adjunct. For this view also is in conflict with the texts which distinguish Brahman as the ruling and the soul as the ruled principle, and so on. One and the same Devadatta does not become double as it were--a ruler on the one hand and a ruled subject on the other--because he is determined by the house in which he is, or by something else.

In order to be able to account for the twofold designations of the soul, we must therefore admit that the soul is a part of Brahman.

home      contact us