I-2 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 4

Topic 4 - The person within the eye is Brahman

 Sutra 1,2.13

अन्तर उपपत्तेः ॥ १३ ॥

antara upapatteḥ || 13 ||

antaraḥ—Inside (the eye); upapatteḥ—on account of the appropriateness of (attributes).

13. (The person) inside (the eye is Brahman) on account of (the attributes mentioned therein) being appropriate (only to Brahman).

The Chāṇḍogya have the following text: 'The Person that is seen within the eye, that is the Self. This is the immortal, the fearless, this is Brahman' (Kh. Up. IV, 15, 1). The doubt here arises whether the person that is here spoken of as abiding within the eye is the reflected Self, or some divine being presiding over the sense of sight, or the embodied Self, or the highest Self.--It is the reflected Self, the Pūrvapakshin maintains; for the text refers to the person seen as something well known, and the expression, 'is seen,' clearly refers to something directly perceived. Or it may be the individual soul, for that also may be referred to as something well known, as it is in special connexion with the eye: people, by looking into the open eye of a person, determine whether the living soul remains in him or is departing. Or else we may assume that the Person seen within the eye is some particular divine being, on the strength of the scriptural text, Bri. Up. V, 5, 2, 'He (the person seen within the sun) rests with his rays in him (the person within the eye).' Any of these beings may quite suitably be referred to as something well known.-- Of these alternatives the Sūtra disposes by declaring that the Person within the eye is the highest Self. For the text goes on to say about the Person seen within the eye, 'They call him Sanyadvāma, for all blessings go towards him. He is also Vāmani, for he leads all blessings. He is also Bhāmanī, for he shines in all worlds.' And all these attributes can be reconciled with the highest Self only.

 Sutra 1,2.14

स्थानादिव्यपदेशाच्च ॥ १४ ॥

sthānādivyapadeśācca || 14 ||

sthānādivyapadeśāt—Because abode etc. (i.e. name and form) are attributed to it; ca—and.

14. And because abode etc. (i.e. name and form) are attributed to It (Brahman) (by other scriptural texts also, for the sake of contemplation).

Abiding within the eye, ruling the eye, and so on are predicated by scripture of the highest Self only, viz. in Bri. Up. III, 7, 18, 'He who dwells within the eye, who rules the eye within.' We therefore recognise that highest Self in the text, 'That Person which is seen within the eye.' The argument founded on reference to 'something well known' thus suits the highest Self very well; and also the clause which denotes immediate perception ('is seen') appears quite suitable, since the highest Self is directly intuited by persons practising mystic concentration of mind (Yoga).

Sutra 1,2.15

सुखविशिष्टाभिधानादेव च ॥ १५ ॥

sukhaviśiṣṭābhidhānādeva ca || 15 ||

sukhaviśiṣṭa-abhidhānāt—On account of the reference (to Brahman) distinguished by bliss; eva—verily; ca—and.

15. And verily on account of the reference (in the passage to Brahman) distinguished by bliss (mentioned at the beginning of the Prakaraṇa).

The Person abiding within the eye is the highest Person, for the following reason also. The topic of the whole section is Brahman characterised by delight, as indicated in the passage 'Ka(pleasure) is Brahman, Kha (ether) is Brahman' (Kh. Up. IV,10, 5). To that same Brahman the passage under discussion ('The Person that is seen in the eye') refers for the purpose of enjoining first a place with which Brahman is to be connected in meditation, and secondly some special qualities--such as comprising and leading all blessings--to be attributed to Brahman in meditation.--The word 'only' in the Sūtra indicates the independence of the argument set forth.

But--an objection is raised--between the Brahman introduced in the passage 'Ka is Brahman, 'etc., and the text under discussion there intervenes the vidyā of the Fires (Kh. Up. IV, 11-13), and hence Brahman does not readily connect itself with our passage. For the text says that after the Fires had taught Upakosala the knowledge of Brahman ('Breath is Brahman, Ka is Brahman,' etc.), they taught him a meditation on themselves ('After that the (Gārhapatya fire taught him,' etc., Kh. Up. IV, 11, 1). And this knowledge of the Fires cannot be considered a mere subordinate part of the knowledge of Brahman, for the text declares that it has special fruits of its own--viz. the attainment of a ripe old age and prosperous descendants, etc.--which are not comprised in the results of the knowledge of Brahman, but rather opposed to them in nature.--To this we make the following reply. As both passages (viz. IV, 10, 5, 'Breath is Brahman,' etc.; and IV, 15, 1, 'this is Brahman') contain the word Brahman, and as from the words of the Fires, 'the teacher will tell you the way,' it follows that the knowledge of Brahman is not complete before that way has been taught, we determine that the knowledge of the Fires which stands between the two sections of the knowledge of Brahman is a mere subordinate member of the latter. This also appears from the fact that the Gārhapatya fire begins to instruct Upakosala only after he has been introduced into the knowledge of Brahman. Upakosala moreover complains that he is full of sorrows (I, 10, 3), and thus shows himself to be conscious of all the sufferings incidental to human life-birth, old age, death, etc.--which result from man being troubled by manifold desires for objects other than the attainment of Brahman; when therefore the Fires conclude their instruction by combining in saying, 'This, O friend, is the knowledge of us and the knowledge of the Self which we impart to thee,' it is evident that the vidyā of the Fires has to be taken as a subordinate member of the knowledge of the Self whose only fruit is Release. And from this it follows that the statement of the results of the Agṇi vidyā has to be taken (not as an injunction of results-phala vidhi--but) merely as an arthavāda (cp. Pū. Mī. Sū. IV, 3, 1). It, moreover, is by no means true that the text mentions such fruits of the Agṇi vidyā as would be opposed to final Release; all the fruits mentioned suit very well the case of a person qualified for Release. 'He destroys sin' (Kh. Up. IV, 11, 2; 12, 2; 13, 2), i.e. he destroys all evil works standing in the way of the attainment of Brahman. 'He obtains the world,' i. e. all impeding evil works having been destroyed he obtains the world of Brahman. 'He reaches his full age,' i.e. he fully reaches that age which is required for the completion of meditation on Brahman. 'He lives long,' i.e. he lives unassailed by afflictions until he reaches Brahman. 'His descendants do not perish,' i.e. his pupils, and their pupils, as well as his sons, grandsons, etc., do not perish; i.e. they are all knowers of Brahman, in agreement with what another text declares to be the reward of knowledge of Brahman--'In his family no one is born ignorant of Brahman' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 9). 'We guard him in this world and the other,' i.e. we Fires guard him from all troubles until he reaches Brahman.--The Agṇi vidyā thus being a member of the Brahmāvidyā, there is no reason why the Brahman introduced in the earlier part of the Brahmāvidyā should not be connected with the latter part--the function of this latter part being to enjoin a place of meditation (Brahman being meditated on as the Person within the eye), and some special qualities of Brahman to be included in the meditation.--But (an objection is raised) as the Fires tell Upakosala 'the teacher will tell you the way,' we conclude that the teacher has to give information as to the way to Brahman only; how then can his teaching refer to the place of meditation and the special qualities of Brahman?--We have to consider, we reply, in what connexion the Fires address those words to Upakosala. His teacher having gone on a journey without having imparted to him the knowledge of Brahman, and Upakosala being dejected on that account, the sacred fires of his teacher, well pleased with the way in which Upakosala had tended them, and wishing to cheer him up, impart to him the general knowledge of the nature of Brahman and the subsidiary knowledge of the Fires. But remembering that, as scripture says, 'the knowledge acquired from a teacher is best,' and hence considering it advisable that the teacher himself should instruct Upakosala as to the attributes of the highest Brahman, the place with which it is to be connected in meditation and the way leading to it, they tell him 'the teacher will tell you the way,' the 'way' connoting everything that remains to be taught by the teacher. In agreement herewith the teacher--having first said, 'I will tell you this; and as water does not cling to a lotus leaf, so no evil clings to one who knows it'--instructs him about Brahman as possessing certain auspicious attributes, and to be meditated upon as abiding within the eye, and about the way leading to Brahman.--It is thus a settled conclusion that the text under discussion refers to that Brahman which was introduced in the passage 'Ka is Brahman,' and that hence the Person abiding within the eye is the highest Self.

But--an objection is raised--how do you know that the passage 'Ka (pleasure) is Brahman, Kha (ether) is Brahman' really refers to the highest Brahman, so as to be able to interpret on that basis the text about the Person within the eye? It is a more obvious interpretation to take the passage about Ka and Kha as enjoining a meditation on Brahman viewed under the form of elemental ether and of ordinary worldly pleasure. This interpretation would, moreover, be in agreement with other similarly worded texts (which are generally understood to enjoin meditation on Brahman in a definite form), such as 'Name is Brahman', 'Mind is Brahman.'

Sutra 1,2.16

अत एव च स ब्रह्म ॥

ata eva ca sa brahma || 16 ||

16. For that very reason that (ether) is Brahman. 

Because the clause 'What is Ka the same is Kha' speaks of ether as characterised by pleasure, the ether which is denoted by 'Kha' is no other than the highest Brahman. To explain. On the Fires declaring 'Breath is Brahman, Ka is Brahman, Kha is Brahman,' Upakosala says, 'I understand that breath is Brahman, but I do not understand Ka and Kha.' The meaning of this is as follows. The Fires cannot speak of meditation on Brahman under the form of breath and so on, because they are engaged in giving instruction to me, who am afraid of birth, old age, death, etc., and desirous of final Release. What they declare to me therefore is meditation on Brahman itself. Now here Brahman is exhibited in co-ordination with certain well-known things, breath and so on. That Brahman should be qualified by co-ordination with breath is suitable, either from the point of view of Brahman having the attribute of supporting the world, or on account of Brahman being the ruler of breath, which stands to it in the relation of a body. Hence Upakosala says, 'I understand that breath is Brahman.' With regard to pleasure and ether, on the other hand, there arises the question whether they are exhibited in the relation of qualifying attributes of Brahman on the ground of their forming the body of Brahman, and hence being ruled by it, or whether the two terms are meant to determine each other, and thus to convey a notion of the true nature of Brahman being constituted by supreme delight. On the former alternative the declaration of the Fires would only state that Brahman is the ruler of the elemental ether and of all delight depending on the sense-organs, and this would give no notion of Brahman's true nature; on the latter alternative the Fires would declare that unlimited delight constitutes Brahman's true nature. In order to ascertain which of the two meanings has to be taken, Upakosala therefore says, 'I do not understand Ka and Kha.' The Fires, comprehending what is in his mind, thereupon reply, 'What is Ka the same is Kha, what is Kha the same is Ka,' which means that the bliss which constitutes Brahman's nature is unlimited. The same Brahman therefore which has breath for its attribute because breath constitutes its body, is of the nature of unlimited bliss; the text therefore adds, 'They taught him that (viz. Brahman) as breath and as ether.' What the text, 'Ka is Brahman, Kha is Brahman,' teaches thus is Brahman as consisting of unlimited bliss, and this Brahman is resumed in the subsequent text about the Person seen within the eye. That Person therefore is the highest Self.

Sutra 1,2.16

श्रुतोपनिषत्कगत्यभिधानाच्च ॥ १६ ॥

śrutopaniṣatkagatyabhidhānācca || 16 ||

śruta-upaniṣatka-gati—The way of those who have realized the Truth of the Upanishads; abhidhānāt—on account of the statement; ca—also;

16. Also on account of the statement of the way (after death) of those who have known the Truth of the Upanishads (i.e. knowers of Brahman) (with reference to the knower of the person in the eye).

Other scriptural texts give an account of the way--the first station of which is light--that leads up to the highest Person, without any subsequent return, the soul of him who has read the Upanishads, and has thus acquired a knowledge of the true nature of the highest Self. Now this same way is described by the teacher to Upakosala in connexion with the instruction as to the Person in the eye, 'They go to light, from light to day,' etc. This also proves that the Person within the eye is the highest Self.

Sutra 1,2.17

अनवस्थितेरसंभवाच्च नेतरः ॥ १७ ॥

anavasthiterasaṃbhavācca netaraḥ || 17 ||

anavasthiteḥ—Not existing always; asaṃbhavāt—on account of the impossibility; ca—and; na—not; itaraḥ—any other.

17. (The person in the eye is the Supreme Self) and not any other (i.e. individual soul etc.) as these do not exist always; and on account of the impossibility (of the qualities of the person in the eye being attributed to any of these).

As the reflected Self and the other Selves mentioned by the Pūrvapakshin do not necessarily abide within the eye, and as conditionless immortality and the other qualities (ascribed in the text to the Person within the eye) cannot possibly belong to them, the Person within the eye cannot be any Self other than the highest Self. Of the reflected Self it cannot be said that it permanently abides within the eye, for its presence there depends on the nearness to the eye of another person. The embodied Self again has its seat within the heart, which is the root of all sense-organs, so as to assist thereby the activities of the different senses; it cannot therefore abide within the eye. And with regard to the divinity the text says that 'he rests with his rays in him, i.e. the eye': this implies that the divine being may preside over the organ of sight although itself abiding in another place; it does not therefore abide in the eye. Moreover, non-conditioned immortality and similar qualities cannot belong to any of these three Selves. The Person seen within the eye therefore is the highest Self.

We have, under Sū. I, 2, 14, assumed as proved that the abiding within the eye and ruling the eye, which is referred to in Bri. Up. III, 7, 18 ('He who dwells in the eye,' etc.), can belong to the highest Self only, and have on that basis proved that the Self within the eye is the highest Self.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of that 'within.'--The next Sūtra now proceeds to prove that assumption.