[Advaita-l] [advaitin] 'Brahma sūtram' - A unique meaning

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Oct 31 06:01:01 EDT 2017

On Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 12:45 AM, Srinath Vedagarbha via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> If the rationale to interpret the term 'brahmasUtra' in BG as referring to
> other than BS of bAdaryaNa, is due to BS was written later to BG -- then it
> is flawed. It could have been true if author of BG is different from BS.
> But all schools holds both are by Bhagavan Vyasa only. More over Vyasa said
> to be Omniscient, it is easier to reconcile the fact that He might have
> referred to the texts He is going to be writing eventually in the future.

I think this view is not logical: The verse says:
ऋषिभिर्बहुधा गीतं छन्दोभिर्विविधैः पृथक् ।
ब्रह्मसूत्रपदैश्चैव हेतुमद्भिर्विनिश्चितैः ॥ ४ ॥

The word 'geetam' is in the past tense and is applicable to all the
components in the verse: ..sung by rṣis, sung by the veda-s and sung by the
brahmasutra-words endowed with reasoning that leads to certitude of
knowledge. It would be odd for Krishna to be saying about a yet to be
composed work, that the yāthātmya of kshetra and kshetrajna has 'been sung'
by brahmasūtra words. This verse, according to Shankara, is a stuti of the
yāthātmya  that is going to be detailed in the sequel.

> For that mater, we also have the term "vedAntakR^it.h" in Gita 15.15. Since
> vEdAnta has its "basis" in Brahma sUtras, the term "vedAntakR^it.h" as One
> who has written the decisive text on the Vedas i.e., brahmasUtrAs only. So,
> it is suffice to say Gita kAra has already know about what He is going to
> do/write in future.

The term Vedāntakṛt is about Brahman (Krishna) when he says this about
himself. On the other hand, the brahmasūtra text is composed by Veda

> I am not saying Shanakara uses this chronology argument of texts to
> interpret as he does. This argument is more by historians and
> neo-vedantins.
> Looking from the context of events which led to Vyasa writing sUtra-s, it
> is evident that the true purport of Veda is explicitly clarified in
> brahma-sUtras only.
> Madhva quotes skAnda purANa (in introduction to his sUtra bhAshya) about
> definition and the background of creation of sUtra-s. With naration of
> jnAna hAni in dvApara, and upon request by brahmEndra dEvAtas, Bhagavan
> Vyasa in order to settle the purport of these shruti-s conclusively, He
> composed the sUtra-s, those having the qualities of 'alpAxaramasandighamH'
> etc. These sUtra-s are the decisive tool for deciding the meanings of all
> the Vedic literature, and indeed of all text-based pramANa-s. In this
> manner, having established the knowledge for the benefit of all including
> Brahma, Rudra, etc., the Lord Narayana sports, etc.
> Madhva also quotes nArayaNa saMhita (in his AtharvaNa bhAshya) about the
> same topic.

If one were to take the 'event' reported above that 'having established the
knowledge for the benefit of all including
Brahma, Rudra, etc.,' we have contradictions from the Shruti.  There are
several Upanishads where Brahmā and Rudra are Jnani-s. For example the
Mundakopanishat starts thus:

ब्रह्मा देवानां प्रथमः सम्बभूव विश्वस्य कर्ता भुवनस्य गोप्ता ।
स ब्रह्मविद्यां सर्वविद्याप्रतिष्ठामथर्वाय ज्येष्ठपुत्राय प्राह ॥ १ ॥

1 Om. Brahma, the Maker of the universe and the Preserver of the world, was
the first among the devas. He told His eldest son Atharva about the
Knowledge of Brahman, the foundation of all knowledge.

Shankara says about Brahmā the teacher of Brahmavidyā in this Upanishad:

ब्रह्म परिबृढो महान् धर्मज्ञानवैराग्यैश्वर्यैः सर्वानन्यानतिशेत इति ;
देवानां द्योतनवतामिन्द्रादीनां प्रथमः गुणैः प्रधानः सन् , प्रथमः अग्रे वा
सम्बभूव अभिव्यक्तः *सम्यक् स्वातन्त्र्येणेत्यभिप्रायः *।* न तथा यथा
धर्माधर्मवशात्संसारिणोऽन्ये जायन्ते, ‘योऽसावतीन्द्रियोऽग्राह्यः’ (मनु. १ ।
७) इत्यादिस्मृतेः । *विश्वस्य सर्वस्य जगतः कर्ता उत्पादयिता, भुवनस्य उत्पन्नस्य
गोप्ता पालयितेति विशेषणं ब्रह्मणो विद्यास्तुतये ।* सः एवं प्रख्यातमहत्त्वो
ब्रह्मा ब्रह्मविद्यां ब्रह्मणः *परमात्मनो विद्यां ब्रह्मविद्याम् , ‘येनाक्षरं
पुरुषं वेद सत्यम्’ (मु. उ. १ । २ । १३)
विशेषणात् ।

Brahmā has been stated to be the creator of the world and the protector
thereof - with a view to eulogise the vidyā that is going to be taught
here. If he were to be someone who has learnt the Brahmavidya with the help
of Brahmasutras in order to be able to teach it to others, the above
Upanishad/event will have to be deemed to have been composed 'after' the
composition of the Brahmasutra-s.

Same with the 8th chapter of the Chandogya where Prajāpati teaches the
Vidya to Indra. This chapter, if the story cited by you were to be taken
literally, will have to be held to be composed and inserted in the
Chandogya after Prajapati got enlightened after studying the Brahmasutras.

We have the Shvetāśvataropaniṣat teaching:

अजात इत्येवं कश्चिद्भीरुः प्रपद्यते ।
रुद्र यत्ते दक्षिणं मुखं तेन मां पाहि नित्यम् ॥ २१ ॥

In his helplessness an aspirant looks to God for help and protection,
seeing that He is unborn, i.e. the only being that is not subject to
samsāra and therefore capable of helping individual souls out of it. He
submits to Rudra: With your benevolent face protect me forever.

एको हि रुद्रो न द्वितीयाय तस्थु -
र्य इमांल्लोकानीशत ईशनीभिः ।
प्रत्यङ् जनास्तिष्ठति सञ्चुकोचान्तकाले
संसृज्य विश्वा भुवनानि गोपाः ॥ ॥ 3.2

यो देवानां प्रभवश्चोद्भवश्च
विश्वाधिपो रुद्रो महर्षिः ।
हिरण्यगर्भं जनयामास पूर्वं
स नो बुद्ध्या शुभया संयुनक्तु ॥ ॥ 3.4

One will have to hold that the Shvetashvataropanishat has been composed
after Rudra became enlightened by the use of Brahmasutras of Bādarāyana.

Similar situation will have to be admitted with regard to the Atharvaśikhā,
Atharvaśirā, Kaivalyopanishat, etc. where the Para Brahman, the
Jagatkāraṇam, is Rudra.

On the other hand, Shankara, as sampled in the Mundaka bhashya cited above,
in all places where there is a background story/event/conversation between
individuals, says that it is a stuti for the Vidya that is taught.

> With these explicit background in skAnda and nArayaNa saMhita, Shankara's
> claim of the term brahmasUtra in BG referring to authoritative (monistic)
> statements in the Upanishads, renders weak.

On the other hand, going by the above facts and the consequences listed,
the skānda and the nārāyaṇa samhitā episodes are rendered weak in the face
of the Shruti prabala pramāṇa. These episodes are at best arthavāda-s,
stuti-s, as Shankara has pointed out. A stuti, as per purva mimamsa, finds
place in the sannidhi of a vidhi. The vidhi here is the teaching and
securing the brahmavidya for moksha.


> /sv
> On Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 10:39 PM, kuntimaddi sadananda via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> > Subbuji - PraNAms
> > I have heard that the Bhagavad Geeta is believed to be before
> > Brahmasutra of Badarayana came into the scene.  There were supposed to
> > be many attempts made to develop sammanvayam similar to Brahmasutras.
> > Badarayana's Brahma sutra got firmly established as many later aacharyas
> > started bashyas on it. Badarayana is same as Vyaasa was established by
> many
> > bhashya kaaras.
> > Hence the reference to Brahma sutra in Geeta sloka may not apply to the
> > Badarayana sutras.
> > Hari Om!Sada
> >
> >    On Saturday, October 28, 2017, 9:38:24 PM GMT+5:30, V Subrahmanian
> > v.subrahmanian at gmail.com [advaitin] <advaitin at yahoogroups.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > 'Brahma sūtram' - A unique meaning
> >
> >
> > In the BGB 13. 4  the verse contains the term 'brahma sutra':
> > ऋषिभिर्बहुधा गीतं छन्दोभिर्विविधैः पृथक् ।
> > ब्रह्मसूत्रपदैश्चैव हेतुमद्भिर्विनिश्चितैः ॥ ४ ॥
> > (The true meaning of the kshetra and the kshetrajna) has been clearly
> > determined by the Veda-s and the 'brahma sūtras' with reason.
> > ऋषिभिः वसिष्ठादिभिः बहुधा बहुप्रकारं गीतं कथितम् । छन्दोभिः छन्दांसि
> > ऋगादीनि तैः छन्दोभिः विविधैः नानाभावैः नानाप्रकारैः पृथक् विवेकतः गीतम् ।
> > किञ्च, ब्रह्मसूत्रपदैश्च एव ब्रह्मणः सूचकानि वाक्यानि ब्रह्मसूत्राणि तैः
> > पद्यते गम्यते ज्ञायते इति तानि पदानि उच्यन्ते तैरेव च
> > क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयाथात्म्यम् ‘गीतम्’ इति अनुवर्तते । ‘आत्मेत्येवोपासीत’
> > (बृ. उ. १ । ४ । ७) इत्येवमादिभिः ब्रह्मसूत्रपदैः आत्मा ज्ञायते,
> > हेतुमद्भिः युक्तियुक्तैः विनिश्चितैः निःसंशयरूपैः निश्चितप्रत्ययोत्पादकैः
> > इत्यर्थः ॥ ४ ॥
> > In the Bhashya, Shankara gives the meaning of the term 'brahma sutra' as:
> > those sentences that contain words that indicate Brahman', with
> reasoning,
> > with the help of which Brahman is understood/realized with certainty.
> > Shankara does not make a reference to the popular Bādarāyaṇa Brahma
> > sūtra-s here, while others have done that.
> >
> > This term that Shankara uses in the above bhāṣya is present in the
> > Āruṇyupaniṣad: खल्वहं ब्रह्मसूचनात्सूत्रं ब्रह्मसूत्रमहमेव
> > [Indeed I am the sūtra, being the indicator of Brahman, I alone am
> 'brahma
> > sūtra.'] While this Upaniṣad uses the explanation/hetu 'sūchanāt' for the
> > Self, Shankara uses it for the Upaniṣadic sentences.
> > In the Taittirīyopaniṣat Dīpikā (Sāyaṇa bhāṣya), Vidyaranya has cited
> from
> > the Āruṇyupaniṣad by naming it: सन्धिं समाधावात्मन्याचरेत् ।  [one has to
> > be intent on the contemplation of the identity between the Atman and
> > Brahman].
> > regardssubrahmanian.v
> >
> >   __._,_.___     Posted by: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
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