I-1 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 4
Topic 4 - Brahman the main purport of all Vedānta texts
तत् तु समन्वयात् ॥ ४ ॥
tat tu samanvayāt || 4 ||
tat—That; tu—but; samanvayāt—because It is the main purport.
4. But that (Brahman is to be known only from the scriptures and not independently by any other means is established) because It is the main purport (of all Vedānta texts).
The word 'but' is meant to rebut the objection raised. That, i.e. the authoritativeness of Scripture with regard to Brahman, is possible, on account of samavāya, i.e. connexion with the highest aim of man-- that is to say because the scriptural texts are connected with, i.e. have for their subject, Brahman, which constitutes the highest aim of man. For such is the connected meaning of the whole aggregate of words which constitutes the Upanishads--'That from whence these beings are born'(Taitt. Up. III, 1, 1). 'Being only this was in the beginning, one, without a second' (Kh. Up. VI, 2), etc. etc. And of aggregates of words which are capable of giving information about accomplished things known through the ordinary means of ascertaining the meaning of words, and which connectedly refer to a Brahman which is the cause of the origination, subsistence, and destruction of the entire world, is antagonistic to all imperfection and so on, we have no right to say that, owing to the absence of a purport in the form of activity or cessation of activity, they really refer to something other than Brahman.
For all instruments of knowledge have their end in determining the knowledge of their own special objects: their action does not adapt itself to a final purpose, but the latter rather adapts itself to the means of knowledge. Nor is it true that where there is no connexion with activity or cessation of activity all aim is absent; for in such cases we observe connexion with what constitutes the general aim, i.e. the benefit of man. Statements of accomplished matter of fact--such as 'a son is born to thee.' 'This is no snake'--evidently have an aim, viz. in so far as they either give rise to joy or remove pain and fear.
Against this view the Pūrvapakshin now argues as follows:
The Vedānta-texts do not impart knowledge of Brahman; for unless related to activity or the cessation of activity, Scripture would be unmeaning, devoid of all purpose. Perception and the other means of knowledge indeed have their aim and end in supplying knowledge of the nature of accomplished things and facts; Scripture, on the other hand, must be supposed to aim at some practical purpose. For neither in ordinary speech nor in the Veda do we ever observe the employment of sentences devoid of a practical purpose: the employment of sentences not having such a purpose is in fact impossible. And what constitutes such purpose is the attainment of a desired, or the avoidance of a non-desired object, to be effected by some action or abstention from action. 'Let a man desirous of wealth attach himself to the court of a prince'; 'a man with a weak digestion must not drink much water'; 'let him who is desirous of the heavenly world offer sacrifices'; and so on. With regard to the assertion that such sentences also as refer to accomplished things--'a son is born to thee' and so on--are connected with certain aims of man, viz. joy or the cessation of fear, we ask whether in such cases the attainment of man's purpose results from the thing or fact itself, as e.g. the birth of a son, or from the knowledge of that thing or fact.--You will reply that as a thing although actually existing is of no use to man as long as it is not known to him, man's purpose is accomplished by
his knowledge of the thing.--It then appears, we reply, that man's purpose is effected through mere knowledge, even if there is no actual thing; and from this it follows that Scripture, although connected with certain aims, is not a means of knowledge for the actual existence of things. In all cases, therefore, sentences have a practical purpose; they determine either some form of activity or cessation from activity, or else some form of knowledge. No sentence, therefore, can have for its purport an accomplished thing, and hence the Vedānta-texts do not convey the knowledge of Brahman as such an accomplished entity.
At this point somebody propounds the following view. The Vedānta-texts are an authoritative means for the cognition of Brahman, because as a matter of fact they also aim at something to be done. What they really mean to teach is that Brahman, which in itself is pure homogeneous knowledge, without a second, not connected with a world, but is, owing to beginningless Nescience, viewed as connected with a world, should be freed from this connexion. And it is through this process of dissolution of the world that Brahman becomes the object of an injunction.--But which texts embody this injunction, according to which Brahman in its pure form is to be realised through the dissolution of this apparent world with its distinction of knowing subjects and objects of knowledge?--Texts such as the following: 'One should not see (i. e. represent to oneself) the seer of seeing, one should not think the thinker of thinking' (Bri. Up. III, 4, 2); for this means that we should realise Brahman in the form of pure Seeing (knowledge), free from the distinction of seeing agents and objects of sight. Brahman is indeed accomplished through itself, but all the same it may constitute an object to be accomplished, viz. in so far as it is being disengaged from the apparent world.
This view (the Mimāmsaka replies) is unfounded. He who maintains that injunction constitutes the meaning of sentences must be able to assign the injunction itself, the qualification of the person to whom the injunction is addressed, the object of the injunction, the means to carry it out, the special mode of the procedure, and the person carrying out the injunction. Among these things the qualification of the person to whom the injunction addresses itself is something not to be enjoined (but existing previously to the injunction), and is of the nature either of cause (nimitta) or a result aimed at (phala). We then have to decide what, in the case under discussion (i.e. the alleged injunction set forth by the antagonist), constitutes the qualification of the person to whom the injunction addresses
itself, and whether it be of the nature of a cause or of a result.--Let it then be said that what constitutes the qualification in our case is the intuition of the true nature of Brahman (on the part of the person to whom the injunction is addressed).--This, we reply, cannot be a cause, as it is not something previously established; while in other cases the nimitta is something so established, as e.g. 'life' is in the case of a person to whom the following injunction is addressed, 'As long as his life lasts he is to make the Agnihotra-oblation.' And if, after all, it were admitted to be a cause, it would follow that, as the intuition
of the true nature of Brahman is something permanent, the object of the injunction would have to be accomplished even subsequently to final release, in the same way as the Agnihotra has to be performed permanently as long as life lasts.--Nor again can the intuition of Brahman's true nature be a result; for then, being the result of an action enjoined, it would be something non-permanent, like the heavenly world.--What, in the next place, would be the 'object to be accomplished' of the injunction? You may not reply 'Brahman'; for as Brahman is something permanent it is not something that can be realised, and moreover it is not denoted by a verbal form (such as denote actions that can be accomplished, as e.g. Yāga, sacrifice).--Let it then be said that what is to be realised is Brahman, in so far as free from the world!--But, we reply, even if this be accepted as a thing to be realised, it is not the object (viṣaya) of the injunction--that it cannot be for the second reason just stated--but its final result (phala). What moreover is, on this last assumption, the thing to be realised--Brahman, or the cessation of the apparent world?--Not Brahman; for Brahman is something accomplished, and from your assumption it would follow that it is not eternal.--Well then, the dissolution of the world!--Not so, we reply; for then it would not be Brahman that is realised.--Let it then be said that the dissolution of the world only is the object of the injunction!--This, too, cannot be, we reply; that dissolution is the result (phala) and cannot therefore be the
object of the injunction. For the dissolution of the world means final release; and that is the result aimed at. Moreover, if the dissolution of the world is taken as the object of the injunction, that dissolution would follow from the injunction, and the injunction would be carried out by the dissolution of the world; and this would be a case of vicious mutual dependence.--We further ask--is the world, which is to be put an end to, false or real?--If it is false, it is put an end to by knowledge alone, and then the injunction is needless. Should you reply to this that the injunction puts an end to the world in so far as it gives rise to knowledge, we reply that knowledge springs of itself from the texts which declare the highest truth: hence there is no need of additional injunctions. As knowledge of the meaning of those texts assimilates the entire false world distinct from Brahman, the injunction itself with all its adjuncts is seen to be something baseless.--If, on the other hand, the world is true, we ask--is the injunction, which puts an end to the world, Brahman itself or something different from Brahman? If the former, the world cannot exist at all: for what terminates it, viz. Brahman, is something eternal; and the injunction thus being eternal itself Cannot be accomplished by means of certain actions.--Let then the latter alternative be accepted!--But in that case, the niyoga being something which is accomplished by a set of performances the function of which it is to put an end to the entire world, the performing person himself perishes (with the rest of the world), and the niyoga thus remains without a substrate. And if everything apart from Brahman is put an end to by a performance the function of which it is to put an end to the world, there remains no result to be effected by the niyoga, consequently there is no release.
Further, the dissolution of the world cannot constitute the instrument (kāraṇa) in the action enjoined, because no mode of procedure (itikartavyatā) can be assigned for the instrument of the niyoga. and unless assisted by a mode of procedure an instrument cannot operate,--But why is there no 'mode of procedure'?--For the following reasons.
A mode of procedure is either of a positive or a negative kind. If positive, it may be of two kinds, viz. either such as to bring about the instrument or to assist it. Now in our case there is no room for either of these alternatives. Not for the former; for there exists in our case nothing analogous to the stroke of the pestle (which has the manifest effect of separating the rice grains from the husks), whereby the visible effect of the dissolution of the whole world could be brought about. Nor, secondly, is there the possibility of anything assisting the instrument, already existing independently, to bring about its effect; for owing to the existence of such an assisting factor the instrument itself, i.e. the cessation of the apparent world, cannot be established. Nor must you say that it is the cognition of the non-duality of Brahman that brings about the means for the dissolution of the world; for, as we have already explained above, this cognition directly brings about final Release, which is the same as the dissolution of the world, and thus there is nothing left to be effected by special means.--And if finally the mode of procedure is something purely negative, it can, owing to this its nature, neither bring about nor in any way assist the instrumental cause. From all this it follows that there is no possibility of injunctions having for their object the realisation of Brahman, in so far as free from the world.
Here another prima facie view of the question is set forth.--It must be admitted that the Vedānta-texts are not means of authoritative knowledge, since they refer to Brahman, which is an accomplished thing (not a thing 'to be accomplished'); nevertheless Brahman itself is established, viz. by means of those passages which enjoin meditation (as something 'to be done'). This is the purport of texts such as the following: 'The Self is to be seen, to be heard, to be reflected on, to be meditated upon' (Bri. Up. II, 4, 5); 'The Self which is free from sin must be searched out' (Kh. Up. VIII, 7, 1); 'Let a man meditate upon him as the Self' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 7); 'Let a man meditate upon the Self as his world' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 15).--These injunctions have meditation for their object, and
meditation again is defined by its own object only, so that the injunctive word immediately suggests an object of meditation; and as such an object there presents itself, the 'Self' mentioned in the same sentence. Now there arises the question, What are the characteristics of that Self? and in reply to it there come in texts such as 'The True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman'; 'Being only this was in the beginning, one without a second.' As these texts give the required special information, they stand in a supplementary relation to the injunctions, and hence are means of right knowledge; and in this way the purport of the Vedānta-texts includes Brahman--as having a definite place in meditation which is the object of injunction. Texts such as 'One only without a second' (Kh. Up. VI, 2, 1); 'That is the true, that is the Self (Kh. Up. VI, 8, 7); 'There is here not any plurality' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 19), teach that there is one Reality only, viz. Brahman, and that everything else is false. And as Perception and the other means of proof, as well as that part of Scripture which refers to action and is based on the view of plurality, convey the notion of plurality, and as there is contradiction between plurality and absolute Unity, we form the conclusion that the idea of plurality arises through beginningless avidyā, while absolute Unity alone is real. And thus it is through the injunction of meditation on Brahman--which has for its result the intuition of Brahman--that man reaches final release, i.e. becomes one with Brahman, which consists of non-dual intelligence free of all the manifold distinctions that spring from Nescience. Nor is this
becoming one with Brahman to be accomplished by the mere cognition of the sense of certain Vedānta- texts; for this is not observed--the fact rather being that the view of plurality persists even after the cognition of the sense of those texts--, and, moreover, if it were so, the injunction by Scripture of hearing, reflecting, etc., would be purposeless.
To this reasoning the following objection might be raised.--We observe that when a man is told that what he is afraid of is not a snake, but only a rope, his fear comes to an end; and as bondage is as unreal as the snake imagined in the rope it also admits of being assimilated by knowledge, and may therefore, apart from all injunction, be put an end to by the simple comprehension of the sense of certain texts. If final release were to be brought about by injunctions, it would follow that it is not eternal--not any more than the heavenly world and the like; while yet its eternity is admitted by everyone. Acts of religious merit, moreover (such as are prescribed by injunctions), can only be the causes of certain results in so far as they give rise to a body capable of experiencing those results, and thus necessarily produce the so-called samsāra-state(which is opposed to final release, and) which consists in the connexion of the soul with some sort of body, high or low. Release, therefore, is not something to be brought about by acts of religious merit. In agreement herewith Scripture says, 'For the soul as long as it is in the body, there is no release from pleasure and pain; when it is free from the body, then neither pleasure nor pain touch it' (Kh. Up. VIII, 12, 1). This passage declares that in the state of release, when the soul is freed from the body, it is not touched by either pleasure or pain--the effects of acts of religious merit or demerit; and from this it follows that the disembodied state is not to be accomplished by acts of religious merit. Nor may it be said that, as other special results are accomplished by special injunctions, so the disembodied state is to be accomplished by the injunction of meditation; for that state is essentially something not to be effected. Thus scriptural texts say, 'The wise man who knows the Self as bodiless among the bodies, as persisting among non- persisting things, as great and all-pervading; he does not grieve' (Ka. Up. I, 2, 22); 'That person is without breath, without internal organ, pure, without contact' (Mu. Up. II, 1, 2).--Release which is a bodiless state is eternal, and cannot therefore be accomplished through meritorious acts.
In agreement herewith Scripture says, 'That which thou seest apart from merit (dharma) and non-merit, from what is done and not done, from what exists and what has to be accomplished--tell me that' (Ka. Up. I, 2, l4).--Consider what follows also. When we speak of something being accomplished (effected-sādhya) we mean one of four things, viz. its being originated (utpatti), or obtained (prāpti), or modified (Vikṛiti), or in some way or other (often purely ceremonial) made ready or fit (Samkṛiti). Now in neither of these four senses can final Release be said to be accomplished. It cannot be originated, for being Brahman itself it is eternal. It cannot be attained: for Brahman, being the Self, is something eternally attained. It cannot be modified; for that would imply that like sour milk and
similar things (which are capable of change) it is non-eternal. Nor finally can it be made 'ready' or 'fit.' A thing is made ready or fit either by the removal of some imperfection or by the addition of some perfection. Now Brahman cannot be freed from any imperfection, for it is eternally faultless; nor can a perfection be added to it, for it is absolutely perfect. Nor can it be improved in the sense in which we speak of improving a mirror, viz. by polishing it; for as it is absolutely changeless it cannot become the object of any action, either of its own or of an outside agent. And, again, actions affecting the body, such as bathing, do not 'purify' the Self (as might possibly be maintained) but only the organ of Egoity (ahamkartri) which is the product of avidyā, and connected with the body; it is this same ahamkartri also that enjoys the fruits springing from any action upon the body. Nor must it be said that the Self is the ahamkartri; for the Self rather is that which is conscious of the ahamkartri. This is the teaching of the mantras: 'One of them eats the sweet fruit, the other looks on without eating' (Mu. Up. III, 1, 1); 'When he is in union with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise men call him the Enjoyer' (Ka. Up. I, 3,4); 'The one God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the Self within all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the only one, free from qualities' (Svet. Up. VI, 11); 'He encircled all, bright, bodiless, scatheless, without muscles, pure, untouched by evil' (Īsa. Up. 8).--All these texts distinguish from the ahamkartri due to Nescience, the true Self, absolutely perfect and pure, free from all change. Release therefore
--which is the Self--cannot be brought about in any way.--But, if this is so, what then is the use of the comprehension of the texts?--It is of use, we reply, in so far as it puts an end to the obstacles in the way of Release. Thus scriptural texts declare: 'You indeed are our father, you who carry us from our ignorance to the other shore' (Pra. Up. VI, 8); 'I have heard from men like you that he who knows the Self overcomes grief. I am in grief. Do, Sir, help me over this grief of mine' (Kh. Up. VII, 1, 3); 'To him whose faults had thus been rubbed out Sanatkumāra showed the other bank of Darkness' (Kh. Up. VII, 26, 2). This shows that what is effected by the comprehension of the meaning of texts is merely the cessation of impediments in the way of Release. This cessation itself, although something effected, is of the nature of that kind of nonexistence which results from the destruction of something existent, and as such does not pass away.--Texts such as 'He knows Brahman, he becomes Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9); 'Having known him he passes beyond death' (Svet. Up. III,8), declare that Release follows immediately on the cognition of Brahman, and thus negative the intervention of injunctions.--Nor can it be maintained that Brahman is related to action in so far as constituting the object of the action either of knowledge or of meditation; for scriptural texts deny its being an object in either of these senses. Compare 'Different is this from what is known, and from what is unknown' (Ke. Up. II, 4); 'By whom he knows all this, whereby should he know him?' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15); 'That do thou know as Brahman, not that on which they meditate as being this' (Ke. Up. II, 4). Nor does this view imply that the sacred texts have no object at all; for it is their object to put an end to the view of difference springing from avidyā. Scripture does not objectivise Brahman in any definite form, but rather teaches that its true nature is to be non-object, and thereby puts an end to the distinction, fictitiously suggested by Nescience, of knowing subjects, acts of knowledge, and objects of knowledge. Compare the text 'You should not see a seer of seeing, you should not think a thinker of
thought,' etc. (Bri. Up. III, 4, 2).--Nor, again, must it be said that, if knowledge alone puts an end to bondage, the injunctions of hearing and so on are purposeless; for their function is to cause the origination of the comprehension of the texts, in so far as they divert from all other alternatives the student who is naturally inclined to yield to distractions.--Nor, again, can it be maintained that a cessation of bondage through mere knowledge is never observed to take place; for as bondage is something false (unreal) it cannot possibly persist after the rise of knowledge. For the same reason it is a mistake to maintain that the cessation of bondage takes place only after the death of the body. In order that the fear inspired by the imagined snake should come to an end, it is required only that the rope should be recognised as what it is, not that a snake should be destroyed. If the body were something real, its destruction would be necessary; but being apart from Brahman it is unreal. He whose bondage does not come to an end, in him true knowledge has not arisen; this we infer from the effect of such knowledge not being observed in him. Whether the body persist or not, he who has reached true knowledge is released from that very moment.--The general conclusion of all this is that, as Release is not something to be accomplished by injunctions of meditation, Brahman is not proved to be something standing in a supplementary relation to such injunctions; but is rather proved by (non-injunctory) texts, such as 'Thou art that'; 'The True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman'; 'This Self is Brahman.'
This view (the holder of the dhyāna-vidhi theory replies) is untenable; since the cessation of bondage cannot possibly spring from the mere comprehension of the meaning of texts. Even if bondage were something unreal, and therefore capable of assimilation by knowledge, yet being something direct, immediate, it could not be assimilated by the indirect comprehension of the sense of texts. When a man directly conscious of a snake before him is told by a competent bystander that it is not a snake but merely a rope, his fear is not dispelled by a mere cognition contrary to that of a snake, and due to the information received; but the information brings about the cessation of his fear in that way that it rouses him to an activity aiming at the direct perception, by means of his senses, of what the thing before him really is. Having at first started back in fear of the imagined snake, he now proceeds to ascertain by means of ocular perception the true nature of the thing, and having accomplished this is freed from fear. It would not be correct to say that in this case words (viz. of the person informing) produce this perceptional knowledge; for words are not a sense-organ, and among the means of knowledge it is the sense-organs only that give rise to direct knowledge. Nor, again, can it be pleaded that in the special case of Vedic texts sentences may give rise to direct knowledge, owing to the fact that the person concerned has cleansed himself of all imperfection through the performance of actions not aiming at immediate results, and has been withdrawn from all outward objects by hearing, reflection, and meditation; for in other cases also, where special impediments in the way of knowledge are being removed, we never observe that the special means of knowledge, such as the sense-organs and so on, operate outside their proper limited sphere.--Nor, again, can it be maintained that meditation acts as a means helpful towards the comprehension of texts; for this leads to vicious reciprocal dependence-- when the meaning of the texts has been comprehended it becomes the object of meditation; and when
meditation has taken place there arises comprehension of the meaning of the texts!--Nor can it be said that meditation and the comprehension of the meaning of texts have different objects; for if this were so the comprehension of the texts could not be a means helpful towards meditation: meditation on one thing does not give rise to eagerness with regard to another thing!--For meditation which consists in uninterrupted remembrance of a thing cognised, the cognition of the sense of texts, moreover, forms an indispensable prerequisite; for knowledge of Brahman--the object of meditation--cannot originate from any other source.--Nor can it be said that that knowledge on which meditation is based is produced by one set of texts, while that knowledge which puts an end to the world is produced by such texts as 'thou art that,' and the like. For, we ask, has the former knowledge the same object as the latter, or a different one? On the former alternative we are led to the same vicious reciprocal dependence which we noted above; and on the latter alternative it cannot be shown that meditation gives rise to eagerness with regard to the latter kind of knowledge. Moreover, as meditation presupposes plurality comprising an object of meditation, a meditating subject and so on, it really cannot in any perceptible way be helpful towards the origination of the comprehension of the sense of texts, the object of which is the oneness of a Brahman free from all plurality: he, therefore, who maintains that Nescience comes to an end through the mere comprehension of the meaning of texts really implies that the injunctions of hearing, reflection, and meditation are purposeless.
The conclusion that, since direct knowledge cannot spring from texts, Nescience is not terminated by the comprehension of the meaning of texts, disposes at the same time of the hypothesis of the so-called 'Release in this life' (Jīvanmukti). For what definition, we ask, can be given of this 'Release in this life'?--'Release of a soul while yet joined to a body'!--You might as well say, we reply, that your mother never had any children! You have yourself proved by scriptural passages that 'bondage' means the being joined to a body, and 'release' being free from a body!--Let us then define Jīvanmukti as the cessation of embodiment, in that sense that a person, while the appearance of embodiment persists, is conscious of the unreality of that appearance.--But, we reply, if the consciousness of the unreality of the body puts an end to embodiment, how can you say that Jīvanmukti means release of a soul while joined to a body? On this explanation there remains no difference whatsoever between 'Release in this life' and Release after death; for the latter also can only be defined as cessation of the false appearance of embodiment.--Let us then say that a person is 'Jīvanmukta' when the appearance
of embodiment, although assimilated by true knowledge, yet persists in the same way as the appearance of the moon being double persists (even after it has been recognised as false).--This too we cannot allow. As the assimilating act of cognition on which Release depends extends to everything with the exception of Brahman, it assimilates the general defect due to causal Nescience, inclusive of the particular erroneous appearance of embodiment: the latter being assimilated in this way cannot persist. In the case of the double moon, on the other hand, the defect of vision on which the erroneous appearance depends is not
the object of the assimilative art of cognition, i.e. the cognition of the oneness of the moon, and it therefore remains non-assimilated; hence the false appearance of a double moon may persist.--Moreover, the text 'For him there is delay only as long as he is not freed from the body; then he will be released' (Kh. Up. VI, 14, 2), teaches that he who takes his stand on the knowledge of the Real requires for his Release the putting off of the body only: the text thus negatives Jīvanmukti. Āpastamba also rejects the view of Jīvanmukti, 'Abandoning the Vedas, this world and the next, he (the Sannyāsin) is to seek the Self. (Some say that) he obtains salvation when he knows (the Self). This opinion is contradicted by the śāstras. (For) if Salvation were obtained when the Self is known, he should not feel any pain even in this world. Hereby that which follows is explained' (Dh. Sū. II, 9, 13-17).--This refutes also the view that Release is obtained through mere knowledge.--The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that Release, which consists in the cessation of all Plurality, cannot take place as long as a man lives. And we therefore adhere to our view that Bondage is to be terminated only by means of the injunctions of meditation, the result of which is direct knowledge of Brahman. Nor must this be objected to on the ground that Release, if brought about by injunctions, must therefore be something non-eternal; for what is effected is not Release itself, but only the cessation of what impedes it. Moreover, the injunction does not directly produce the cessation of Bondage, but only through the mediation of the direct cognition of Brahman as
consisting of pure knowledge, and not connected with a world. It is this knowledge only which the injunction produces.--But how can an injunction cause the origination of knowledge?--How, we ask in return, can, on your view, works not aiming at some immediate result cause the origination of knowledge?--You will perhaps reply 'by means of purifying the mind' (manas); but this reply may be given by me also.--But (the objector resumes) there is a difference. On my view Scripture produces knowledge in the mind purified by works; while on your view we must assume that in the purified mind the means of knowledge are produced by injunction.--The mind itself, we reply, purified by knowledge, constitutes this means.--How do you know this? our opponent questions.--How, we ask in return, do you know that the mind is purified by works, and that, in the mind so purified of a person withdrawn from all other objects by hearing, reflection and meditation, Scripture produces that knowledge which destroys bondage?--Through certain texts such as the following: 'They seek to know him by sacrifice, by gifts, by penance, by fasting' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22); 'He is to be heard, to be reflected on, to be meditated on' (Bri. Up. II, 4, 5); 'He knows Brahman, he becomes Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9).--Well, we reply, in the same way our view--viz. that through the injunction of meditation the mind is cleared, and that a clear mind gives rise to direct knowledge of Brahman--is confirmed by scriptural texts such as 'He is to be heard, to be reflected on, to be meditated on' (Bri. Up. II, 4, 5); 'He who knows Brahman reaches the highest' (Taitt. Up. II, 1, 1); 'He is not apprehended by the eye nor by speech' (Mu. Up. III, 1, 8); 'But by a pure mind' (?); 'He is apprehended by the heart, by wisdom, by the mind' (Ka. Up. II, 6, 9). Nor can it be said that the text 'not that which they meditate upon as this' (Ke. Up. I, 4) negatives meditation; it does not forbid meditation on Brahman, but merely declares that Brahman is different from the world. The mantra is to be explained as follows: 'What men meditate upon as
this world, that is not Brahman; know Brahman to be that which is not uttered by speech, but through which speech is uttered.' On a different explanation the clause 'know that to be Brahman' would be irrational, and the injunctions of meditation on the Self would--be meaningless.--The outcome of all this is that unreal Bondage which appears in the form of a plurality of knowing subjects, objects of knowledge, etc., is put an end to by the injunctions of meditation, the fruit of which is direct intuitive knowledge of Brahman.
Nor can we approve of the doctrine held by some that there is no contradiction between difference and non-difference; for difference and non-difference cannot co-exist in one thing, any more than coldness and heat, or light and darkness.--Let us first hear in detail what the holder of this so-called bhedābheda view has to say. The whole universe of things must be ordered in agreement with our cognitions. Now we are conscious of all things as different and non-different at the same time: they are non-different in their causal and generic aspects, and different in so far as viewed as effects and individuals. There indeed is a contradiction between light and darkness and so on; for these cannot possibly exist together, and they are actually met with in different abodes. Such contradictoriness is not. on the other hand, observed in the case of cause and effect, and genus and individual; on the contrary we here distinctly apprehend one thing as having two aspects--'this jar is clay', 'this cow is short-horned.' The fact is that experience does not show us anything that has one aspect only. Nor can it be said that in these cases there is absence of contradiction because as fire consumes grass so non-difference absorbs difference; for the same thing which exists as clay, or gold, or cow, or horse, etc., at the same time exists as jar or diadem, or short-horned cow or mare. There is no command of the Lord to the effect that one aspect only should belong to each thing, non-difference to what is non-different, and difference to what is different.--But one aspect only belongs to each thing, because it is thus that things are perceived!--On
the contrary, we reply, things have twofold aspects, just because it is thus that they are perceived. No man, however wide he may open his eyes, is able to distinguish in an object--e.g. a jar or a cow--placed before him which part is the clay and which the jar, or which part is the generic character of the cow and which the individual cow. On the contrary, his thought finds its true expression in the following judgments: 'this jar is clay'; 'this cow is short-horned.' Nor can it be maintained that he makes a distinction between the cause and genus as objects of the idea of persistence, and the effect and individual as objects of the idea of discontinuance (difference); for as a matter of fact there is no perception of these two elements in separation. A man may look ever so close at a thing placed before him, he--will not be able to perceive a difference of aspect and to point out 'this is the persisting, general, element in the thing, and that the non-persistent, individual, element.' Just as an effect and an individual give rise to the idea of one thing, so the effect plus cause, and the individual plus generic character, also give rise to the idea of one thing only. This very circumstance makes it possible for us to recognise each individual thing, placed as it is among a multitude of things differing in place, time, and character.--Each thing thus being cognised as endowed with a twofold aspect, the theory of cause and effect, and generic character and individual, being absolutely different, is clearly refuted by perception.
But, an objection is raised, if on account of grammatical co-ordination and the resulting idea of oneness, the judgment 'this pot is clay' is taken to express the relation of difference, plus non-difference, we shall have analogously to infer from judgments such as 'I am a man', 'I am a divine being' that the Self and the body also stand in the bhedābheda-relation; the theory of the co-existence of difference and non- difference will thus act like a fire which a man has lit on his hearth, and which in the end consumes the entire house!--This, we reply, is the baseless idea of a person who has not duly considered the true nature of co-ordination as establishing the bhedābheda-relation. The correct principle is that all reality is determined by states of consciousness not assimilated by valid means of proof. The imagination, however, of the identity of the Self and the body is assimilated by all the means of proof which apply to the Self: it is in fact no more valid than the imagination of the snake in the rope, and does not therefore prove the non-difference of the two. The co-ordination, on the other hand, which is expressed in the judgment 'the cow is short-horned' is never observed to be refuted in any way, and hence establishes the bhedābheda-relation.
For the same reasons the individual soul (Jīva) is not absolutely different from Brahman, but stands to it in the bhedābheda-relation in so far as it is a part (amśa) of Brahman. Its non-difference from Brahman is essential (Svābhāvika); its difference is due to limiting adjuncts (aupādhika). This we know, in the first place, from those scriptural texts which declare non-difference--such as 'Thou art that' (Kh. Up. VI); 'There is no other seer but he' (Bri. Up. III, 7, 23); 'This Self is Brahman' (Bri. Up. II, 5, 19); and the passage from the Brahma Sūkta in the Samhitopanishad of the Ātharvanas which, after having said that Brahman is Heaven and Earth, continues, 'The fishermen are Brahman, the slaves are Brahman, Brahman are these gamblers; man and woman are born from Brahman; women are Brahman and so are men.' And, in the second place, from those texts which declare difference: 'He who, one, eternal, intelligent, fulfils the desires of many non-eternal intelligent beings' (Ka. Up. II, 5, 13); 'There are two unborn, one knowing, the other not-knowing; one strong, the other weak' (Svet. Up. I, 9); 'Being the cause of their connexion with him, through the qualities of action and the qualities of the Self, he is seen as another' (Svet. Up. V, 12); 'The Lord of nature and the souls, the ruler of the qualities, the cause of the bondage, the existence and the release of the samsāra' (Svet. Up. VI, 16); 'He is the cause, the lord of the lords of the organs' (Svet. Up. VI, 9); 'One of the two eats the sweet fruit, without eating the other looks on' (Svet. Up. IV, 6); 'He who dwelling in the Self (Bri. Up. III, 7, 22);
'Embraced by the intelligent Self he knows nothing that is without, nothing that is within' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 21); 'Mounted by the intelligent Self he goes groaning' (Bri. Up. IV, 3,35); 'Having known him he passes beyond death' (Svet. Up. III, 8).--On the ground of these two sets of passages the individual and the highest Self must needs be assumed to stand in the bhedābheda-relation. And texts such as 'He knows Brahman, he becomes Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9), which teach that in the state of Release the individual soul enters into Brahman itself; and again texts such as 'But when the Self has become all for him, whereby should he see another' (Bri. Up. II, 4, 13), which forbid us to view, in the state of Release, the Lord as something different (from the individual soul), show that non-difference is essential (while difference is merely aupādhika).
But, an objection is raised, the text 'He reaches all desires together in the wise Brahman,' in using the word 'together' shows that even in the state of Release the soul is different from Brahman, and the same view is expressed in two of the Sūtras, viz. IV, 4, 17; 21.--This is not so, we reply; for the text, 'There is no other seer but he' (Bri. Up. III, 7, 23), and many similar texts distinctly negative all plurality in the Self. The Taittirīya-text quoted by you means that man reaches Brahman with all desires, i.e. Brahman comprising within itself all objects of desire; if it were understood differently, it would follow that Brahman holds a subordinate position only. And if the Sūtra IV, 4, 17 meant that the released soul is separate from Brahman it would follow that it is deficient in lordly power; and if this were so the Sūtra would be in conflict with other Sūtras such as IV, 4, 1.--For these reasons, non-difference is the essential condition; while the distinction of the souls from Brahman and from each other is due to their limiting adjuncts, i.e. the internal organ, the sense-organs, and the body. Brahman indeed is without parts and omnipresent; but through its adjuncts it becomes capable of division just as ether is divided by jars and the like. Nor must it be said that this leads to a reprehensible
mutual dependence--Brahman in so far as divided entering into conjunction with its adjuncts, and again the division in Brahman being caused by its conjunction with its adjuncts; for these adjuncts and Brahman's connexion with them are due to action (karman), and the stream of action is without a beginning. The limiting adjuncts to which a soul is joined spring from the soul as connected with previous works, and work again springs from the soul as joined to its adjuncts: and as this connexion with works and adjuncts is without a beginning in time, no fault can be found with our theory.--The non- difference of the souls from each other and Brahman is thus essential, while their difference is due to the Upādhis. These Upādhis, on the other hand, are at the same time essentially non-distinct and essentially distinct from each other and Brahman; for there are no other Upādhis (to account for their distinction if non-essential), and if we admitted such, we should again have to assume further Upādhis, and so on in infinitum. We therefore hold that the Upādhis are produced, in accordance with the actions of the individual souls, as essentially non-different and different from Brahman.
To this bhedābheda view the Pūrvapakshin now objects on the following grounds:--The whole aggregate of Vedānta-texts aims at enjoining meditation on a non-dual Brahman whose essence is reality, intelligence, and bliss, and thus sets forth the view of non-difference; while on the other hand the karma- section of the Veda, and likewise perception and the other means of knowledge, intimate the view of the difference of things. Now, as difference and non-difference are contradictory, and as the view of difference may be accounted for as resting on beginningless Nescience, we conclude that universal non- difference is what is real.--The tenet that difference and non-difference are not contradictory because both are proved by our consciousness, cannot be upheld. If one thing has different characteristics from another there is distinction (bheda) of the two; the contrary condition of things constitutes non- distinction (abheda); who in his senses then would maintain that these two-suchness and non-suchness-- can
be found together? You have maintained that non-difference belongs to a thing viewed as cause and genus, and difference to the same viewed as effect and individual; and that, owing to this twofold aspect of things, non-difference and difference are not irreconcilable. But that this view also is untenable, a presentation of the question in definite alternatives will show. Do you mean to say that the difference lies in one aspect of the thing and the non-difference in the other? or that difference and non-difference belong to the thing possessing two aspects?--On the former alternative the difference belongs to the individual and the non-difference to the genus; and this implies that there is no one thing with a double aspect. And should you say that the genus and individual together constitute one thing only, you abandon the view that it is difference of aspect which takes away the contradictoriness of difference and non-difference. We have moreover remarked already that difference in characteristics and its opposite are absolutely contradictory.--On the second alternative we have two aspects of different kind and an unknown thing supposed to be the substrate of those aspects; but this assumption of a triad of entities proves only their mutual difference of character, not their non-difference. Should you say that the non- contradictoriness of two aspects constitutes simultaneous difference and non-difference in the thing which is their substrate, we ask in return--How can two aspects which have a thing for their substrate, and thus are different from the thing, introduce into that thing a combination of two contradictory attributes (viz. difference and non-difference)? And much less even are they able to do so if they are viewed as non-different from the thing which is their substrate. If, moreover, the two aspects on the one hand, and the thing in which they inhere on the other, be admitted to be distinct entities, there will be required a further factor to bring about their difference and non-difference, and we shall thus be led into a regressus in infinitum.--Nor is it a fact that the idea of a thing inclusive of its generic character bears the character of unity, in the same way as
the admittedly uniform idea of an individual; for wherever a state of consciousness expresses itself in the form 'this is such and such' it implies the distinction of an attribute or mode, and that to which the attribute or mode belongs. In the case under discussion the genus constitutes the mode, and the individual that to which the mode belongs: the idea does not therefore possess the character of unity.
For these very reasons the individual soul cannot stand to Brahman in the bhedābheda-relation. And as the view of non-difference is founded on Scripture, we assume that the view of difference rests on beginningless Nescience.--But on this view want of knowledge and all the imperfections springing therefrom, such as birth, death, etc., would cling to Brahman itself, and this would contradict scriptural texts such as 'He who is all-knowing' (Mu. Up. I, 1, 9); 'That Self free from all evil' (Kh. Up. VIII, 1, 5). Not so, we reply. For all those imperfections we consider to be unreal. On your view on the other hand, which admits nothing but Brahman and its limiting adjuncts, all the imperfections which spring from contact with those adjuncts must really belong to Brahman. For as Brahman is without parts, indivisible, the upādhis cannot divide or split it so as to connect themselves with a part only; but necessarily connect themselves with Brahman itself and produce their effects on it.--Here the following explanation may
possibly be attempted. Brahman determined by an upādhi constitutes the individual soul. This soul is of atomic size since what determines it, viz. the internal organ, is itself of atomic size; and the limitation itself is without beginning. All the imperfections therefore connect themselves only with that special place that is determined by the upādhi, and do not affect the highest Brahman which is not limited by the upādhi.--In reply to this we ask--Do you mean to say that what constitutes the atomic individual soul is a part of Brahman which is limited and cut off by the limiting adjunct; or some particular part of Brahman which, without being thereby divided off, is connected with an atomic upādhi; or Brahman in its totality as connected with an upādhi; or some other intelligent
being connected with an upādhi, or finally the upādhi itself?--The first alternative is not possible, because Brahman cannot be divided; it would moreover imply that the individual soul has a beginning, for division means the making of one thing into two.--On the second alternative it would follow that, as a part of Brahman would be connected with the upādhi, all the imperfections due to the upādhis would adhere to that part. And further, if the upādhi would not possess the power of attracting to itself the particular part of Brahman with which it is connected, it would follow that when the upādhi moves the part with, which it is connected would constantly change; in other words, bondage and release would take place at every moment. If, on the contrary, the upādhi possessed the power of attraction, the whole Brahman--as not being capable of division--would be attracted and move with the upādhi. And should it be said that what is all-pervading and without parts cannot be attracted and move, well then the upādhi only moves, and we are again met by the difficulties stated above. Moreover, if all the upādhis were connected with the parts of Brahman viewed as one and undivided, all individual souls, being nothing but parts of Brahman, would be considered as non-distinct. And should it be said that they are not thus cognised as one because they are constituted by different parts of Brahman, it would follow that as soon as the upādhi of one individual soul is moving, the identity of that soul would be lost (for it would, in successive moments, be constituted by different parts of Brahman).--On the third alternative (the whole of) Brahman itself being connected with the upādhi enters into the condition of individual soul, and there remains no non-conditioned Brahman. And, moreover, the soul in all bodies will then be one only.--On the fourth alternative the individual soul is something altogether different from Brahman, and the difference of the soul from Brahman thus ceases to depend on the upādhis of Brahman.--And the fifth alternative means the embracing of the view of the Cārvāka (who makes no distinction between soul and matter).--The conclusion from all this is that on the
strength of the texts declaring non-difference we must admit that all difference is based on Nescience only. Hence, Scripture being an authoritative instrument of knowledge in so far only as it has for its end action and the cessation of action, the Vedānta-texts must be allowed to be a valid means of knowledge with regard to Brahman's nature, in so far as they stand in a supplementary relation to the injunctions of meditation.
This view is finally combated by the Mimāmsaka. Even if, he says, we allow the Vedānta-texts to have a purport in so far as they are supplementary to injunctions of meditation, they cannot be viewed as valid means of knowledge with regard to Brahman. Do the texts referring to Brahman, we ask, occupy the position of valid means of knowledge in so far as they form a syntactic whole with the injunctions of meditation, or as independent sentences? In the former case the purport of the syntactic whole is simply to enjoin meditation, and it cannot therefore aim at giving instruction about Brahman. If, on the other hand, the texts about Brahman are separate independent sentences, they cannot have the purport of prompting to action and are therefore devoid of instructive power. Nor must it be said that meditation is a kind of continued remembrance, and as such requires to be defined by the object remembered; and that the demand of the injunction of meditation for something to be remembered is satisfied by texts such as 'All this is that Self', 'the True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman,' etc., which set forth the nature and attributes of Brahman and--forming a syntactic whole with the injunctions--are a valid means of knowledge with regard to the existence of the matter they convey. For the fact is that the demand on the part of an injunction of meditation for an object to be remembered may be satisfied even by something unreal (not true), as in the case of injunctions such as 'Let him meditate upon mind as Brahman' (Kh. Up. III, 18, 1): the real existence of the object of meditation is therefore not demanded.--The final conclusion arrived at in this Pūrva Pakṣa is therefore as follows. As the Vedānta-texts do not aim at prompting to action or the cessation of action; as, even on the supposition
of their being supplementary to injunctions of meditation, the only thing they effect is to set forth the nature of the object of meditation; and as, even if they are viewed as independent sentences, they accomplish the end of man (i.e. please, gratify) by knowledge merely--being thus comparable to tales with which we soothe children or sick persons; it does not lie within their province to establish the reality of an accomplished thing, and hence Scripture cannot be viewed as a valid means for the cognition of Brahman.
To this prima facie view the Sūtrakāra replies, 'But this on account of connexion.' 'Connexion' is here to be taken in an eminent sense, as 'connexion with the end of man.' That Brahman, which is measureless bliss and therefore constitutes the highest end of man, is connected with the texts as the topic set forth by them, proves Scripture to be a valid means for the cognition of Brahman. To maintain that the whole body of Vedānta-texts-which teach us that Brahman is the highest object to be attained, since it consists of supreme bliss free of all blemish whatsoever--is devoid of all use and purpose merely because it does not aim at action or the cessation of action; is no better than to say that a youth of royal descent is of no use because he does not belong to a community of low wretches living on the flesh of dogs!
The relation of the different texts is as follows. There are individual souls of numberless kinds-gods, Asuras, Gandharvas, Siddhas, Vidyādharas, Kinnaras, Kimpuruṣas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Piśāchas, men, beasts, birds, creeping animals, trees, bushes, creepers, grasses and so on--distinguished as male, female, or sexless, and having different sources of nourishment and support and different objects of enjoyment. Now all these souls are deficient in insight into the true nature of the highest reality, their understandings being obscured by Nescience operating in the form of beginningless karman; and hence those texts only are fully useful to them which teach that there exists a highest Brahman--which the souls in the state of release may cognise as non-different from themselves, and which
then, through its own essential nature, qualities, power and energies, imparts to those souls bliss infinite and unsurpassable. When now the question arises--as it must arise--, as to how this Brahman is to be attained, there step in certain other Vedānta-texts--such as He who knows Brahman reaches the highest' (Bri. Up. II, 1, 1), and 'Let a man meditate on the Self as his world' (Bri. Up. 1, 4, 15)--and, by means of terms denoting 'knowing' and so on, enjoin meditation as the means of attaining Brahman. (We may illustrate this relation existing between the texts setting forth the nature of Brahman and those enjoining meditation by two comparisons.) The case is like that of a man who has been told 'There is a treasure hidden in your house'. He learns through this sentence the existence of the treasure, is satisfied, and then takes active steps to find it and make it his own.--Or take the case of a young prince who, intent on some boyish play, leaves his father's palace and, losing his way, does not return. The king thinks his son is lost; the boy himself is received by some good Brahman who brings him up and teaches him without knowing who the boy's father is. When the boy has reached his sixteenth year and is accomplished in every way, some fully trustworthy person tells him, 'Your father is the ruler of all these lands, famous for the possession of all noble qualities, wisdom, generosity, kindness, courage, valour and so on, and he stays in his capital, longing to see you, his lost child. Hearing that his father is alive and a man so high and noble, the boy's heart is filled with supreme joy; and the king also, understanding that his son is alive, in good health, handsome and well instructed, considers himself to have attained all a man can wish for. He then takes steps to recover his son, and finally the two are reunited.
The assertion again that a statement referring to some accomplished thing gratifies men merely by imparting a knowledge of the thing, without being a means of knowledge with regard to its real existence--so that it would be comparable to the tales we tell to children and sick people--, can in no way be upheld. When it is ascertained that a thing has no real existence, the mere knowledge or idea of the thing does not gratify. The pleasure which stories give to children and sick people is due to the fact that they erroneously believe them to be true; if they were to find out that the matter present to their thought is untrue their pleasure would come to an end that very moment. And thus in the case of the texts of the Upanishads also. If we thought that these texts do not mean to intimate the real existence of Brahman, the mere idea of Brahman to which they give rise would not satisfy us in any way.
The conclusion therefore is that texts such as 'That from whence these beings are born' etc. do convey valid instruction as to the existence of Brahman, i.e. that being which is the sole cause of the world, is free from all shadow of imperfection, comprises within itself all auspicious qualities, such as omniscience and so on, and is of the nature of supreme bliss.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'connexion'.