I-1 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 7

Topic 7 - The Person in the Sun and the Eye is Brahman

Sutra 1,1.20

अन्तस्तद्धर्मोपदेशात् ॥ २० ॥

antastaddharmopadeśāt || 20 ||

antaḥ—Within; taddharmopadeśāt—because Its characteristics are mentioned.

20. (The one) within (the sun and the eye is Brahman), because Its characteristics are mentioned (therein).

It is said in the Chāṇḍogya: 'Now that person bright as gold, who is seen within the sun, with beard bright as gold and hair bright as gold, golden altogether to the very tips of his nails, whose eyes are like blue lotus; his name is Ut, for he has risen (udita) above all evil. He also who knows this rises above all evil. Rik and Sāman are his joints.- So much with reference to the devas.--Now with reference to the body.--Now that person who is seen within the eye, he is Rik, he is Sāman, Uktha, Yajus, Brahman. The form of this person (in the eye) is the same as of that person yonder (in the sun), the joints of the one are the joints of the other, the name of the one is the--name of the other' (Kh. Up. I, 7).--Here there arises the doubt whether that person dwelling within the eye and the sun be the individual soul called Āditya, who through accumulation of religious merit possesses lordly power, or the highest Self other than that soul.

That individual soul of high merit, the Pūrvapakshin maintains. For the text states that that person has a body, and connexion with a body belongs to individual souls only, for it is meant to bring the soul into contact with pleasure and pain, according to its deserts. It is for this reason that Scripture describes final Release where there is no connexion with works as a state of disembodiment. 'So long as he is in the body he cannot get free from pleasure and pain. But when he is free from the body, then neither pleasure nor pain touches him' (Kh. Up. VIII, 12, 1). And a soul of transcendent merit may possess surpassing wisdom and power, and thus be capable of being lord of the worlds and the wishes (I, 6, 8). For the same reason such a soul may be the object of devout meditation, bestow rewards, and by being instrumental in destroying evil, be helpful towards final release. Even among men some are seen to be of superior knowledge and power, owing to superior religious merit; and this holds good with regard to the Siddhas and Gandharvas also; then with regard to the devas; then with regard to the divine beings, beginning with Indra. Hence, also, one among the divine beings, beginning with Brahmā, may in each Kalpa reach, through a particularly high degree of merit, vast lordly power and thus effect the creation of the world, and so on. On this supposition the texts about that which constitutes the cause of the world and the inward Self of the world must also be understood to refer to some such soul which, owing to superiority of merit, has become all-knowing and all-powerful. A so-called highest Self, different from the individual souls, does not therefore exist. Where the texts speak of that which is neither coarse nor fine nor short, etc., they only mean to characterise the individual soul; and those texts also which refer to final Release aim only at setting forth the essential nature of the individual soul and the means of attaining that essential nature.

This primā facie view is set aside by the Sūtra. The person who is perceived within the sun and within the eye, is something different from the individual soul, viz. the highest Self; because there are declared qualities belonging to that. The text ascribes to him the quality of having risen above, i.e. being free from all evil, and this can belong to the highest Self only, not to the individual soul. For to be free from all evil means to be free from all influence of karman, and this quality can belong to the highest Self only, differing from all individual souls which, as is shown by their experience of pleasure and pain, are in the bonds of karman. Those essential qualities also which presuppose freedom from all evil (and which are mentioned in other Vedic passages), such as mastery over all worlds and wishes, capability of realising one's purposes, being the inner Self of all, etc., belong to the highest Self alone. Compare passages such as 'It is the Self free from evil, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, whose wishes come true, whose purposes come true' (Kh. Up. VIII, 1, 5); and 'He is the inner Self of all, free from evil, the divine one, the one god Nārāyaṇa' (Subā. Up.). Attributes such as the attribute of being the creator of the whole universe--which presupposes the power of realising one's wishes--(cp. the passage 'it desired, may I be many'); the attribute of being the cause of fear and fearlessness; the attribute of enjoying transcending bliss not limited by the capabilities of thought and speech and the like, are essential characteristics of that only which is not touched by karman, and they cannot therefore belong to the individual soul.--Nor is there any truth in the contention that the person within the sun, etc., cannot be a being different from individual souls because it possesses a body. For since a being which possesses the power of realising all its desires can assume a body through its mere wish, it is not generally true that embodiment proves dependence on karman.--But, it may be said, by a body we understand a certain combination of matter which springs from the primal substance (Prākriti) with its three constituents. Now connexion with such a body cannot possibly be brought about by the wish of such souls even as are free from all evil and capable of realising their desires; for such connexion would not be to the soul's benefit. In the case, on the other hand, of a soul subject to karman and not knowing its own essential nature, such connexion with a body necessarily takes place in order that the soul may enjoy the fruit of its actions--quite apart from the soul's desire.--Your objection would be well founded, we reply, if the body of the highest Self were an effect of Prakriti with its three constituents; but it is not so, it rather is a body suitable to the nature and intentions of that Self. The highest Brahman, whose nature is fundamentally antagonistic to all evil and essentially composed of infinite knowledge and bliss--whereby it differs from all other souls--possesses an infinite number of qualities of unimaginable excellence, and, analogously, a divine form suitable to its nature and intentions, i.e. adorned with infinite, supremely excellent and wonderful qualities--splendour, beauty, fragrance, tenderness, loveliness, youthfulness, and so on. And in order to gratify his devotees he individualises that form so as to render it suitable to their apprehension--he who is a boundless ocean as it were of compassion, kindness and lordly power, whom no shadow of evil may touch---he who is the highest Self, the highest Brahman, the supreme soul, Nārāyana!--Certain texts tell us that the highest Brahman is the sole cause of the entire world: 'From which these beings originate' (Taitt. Up.); 'Being only was this in the beginning' (Kh. Up. VI, 2, 1); 'The Self only was this in the beginning' (Ai. Up. I, 1); 'Nārāyana alone existed, not Brahmā nor Siva.' Other texts define his nature: 'The True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. II, 1, 1); 'Knowledge, bliss is Brahman' (Bri. Up. III. 9. 28); and others again deny of Brahman all connexion with evil qualities and inferior bodies sprung from Prakriti, and all dependence on karman, and proclaim his glorious qualities and glorious forms: 'Free from qualities' (?); 'Free from taint' (Svet. Up. VI, 19); 'Free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, realising his wishes and purposes' (Kh. Up. VIII, 1, 5); 'There is no effect and no cause known of him, no one is seen like to him or superior: his high power is revealed as manifold, as inherent action of force and knowledge' (Svet. Up. VI, 8); 'That highest great lord of lords, the highest deity of deities' (Svet. Up. VI, 7); 'He is the cause, the lord of the lords of the organs, and there is of him neither parent nor lord' (Svet. Up. VI, 9); 'Having created all forms and given names to them the wise one goes on calling them by those names' (Taitt. Ār. III, 12, 7); 'I know that great Person of sunlike lustre beyond the darkness' (Svet. Up. III, 8); 'All moments originated from the Person shining like lightning' (Mahānār. Up. I, 6).--This essential form of his the most compassionate Lord by his mere will individualises as a shape human or divine or otherwise, so as to render it suitable to the apprehension of the devotee and thus satisfy him. This the following scriptural passage declares, 'Unborn he is born in many ways' (Gau. Kā. III, 24); and likewise Smriti. 'Though unborn I, the imperishable Self, the Lord of the beings, presiding over my Nature, manifest myself by my Māyā for the protection of the Good and the destruction of the evil doers '(Bha. Gī. IV, 6. 8). The 'Good' here are the Devotees; and by 'Māyā' is meant the purpose, the knowledge of the Divine Being--; in agreement with the Naighantukas who register 'Māyā' as a synonym of jñāna (knowledge). In the Mahābhārata also the form assumed by the highest Person in his avatāras is said not to consist of Prakriti, 'the body of the highest Self does not consist of a combination of material elements.'--For these reasons the Person within the Sun and the eye is the highest Self which is different from the individual soul of the Sun, etc.

Sutra 1,1.21

भेदव्यपदेशाच्चान्यः ॥ २१ ॥

bhedavyapadeśāccānyaḥ || 21 ||

bhedavyapadeśāt—On account of a distinction being made; ca—also; anyaḥ—is different.

21. Also on account of a distinction being made (in another text between the two, i.e. the person in the sun and the individual soul animating the sun) (the Lord) is different (from the latter).

There are texts which clearly state that the highest Self is different from Āditya and the other individual souls: 'He who, dwelling within Āditya (the sun), is different from Āditya, whom Āditya does not know, of whom Āditya is the body, who rules Āditya from within; who dwelling within the Self is different from the Self,' etc. (Bri. Up. III, 7, 9 ff.); 'Of whom the Imperishable is the body, whom the Imperishable does not know; who moves within Death, of whom Death is the body, whom Death does not know; he is the inner self of all beings, free from evil, divine, the one God Nārāyaṇa' (Sub. Up.VII). These texts declare all individual souls to be the body of the sinless highest Self which is said to be the inward principle of all of them.--It is thereby completely proved that the highest Self is something different from all individual souls such as Āditya, and so on.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of the 'one within.'

The text, 'That from which these beings are born,' teaches that Brahman is the cause of the world; to the question thence arising of what nature that cause of the world is, certain other texts give a reply in general terms (' Being only this was in the beginning'; 'It sent forth fire'; 'The Self only this was in the beginning,' etc.); and thereupon it is shown on the basis of the special nature of that cause as proved by the attributes of 'thought' and 'bliss,' that Brahman is different from the pradhāna and the individual souls. The remaining part of this Pāda now is devoted to the task of proving that where such special terms as Ether and the like are used in sections setting forth the creation and government of the world, they designate not the thing-sentient or non-sentient--which is known from ordinary experience, but Brahman as proved so far.