I-4 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 5

Topic 5 - He who is the maker of the sun, moon, etc., is Brahman and not Prāṇa (the vital force) or the individual soul

 Sutra 1,4.16

जगद्वाचित्वात् ॥ १६ ॥

jagadvācitvāt || 16 ||

jagat-vācitvāt—Because (it) denotes the world.

16. (He of whom all this is the work is Brahman) because (the work) denotes the world.

The Sānkhya comes forward with a further objection. Although the Vedānta-texts teach an intelligent principle to be the cause of the world, they do not present to us as objects of knowledge anything that could be the cause of the world, apart from the Pradhāna and the soul as established by the Sānkhya-system. For the Kaushitaki declare in their text, in the dialogue of Bālāki and Ajātaśatru, that none but the enjoying (individual) soul is to be known as the cause of the world, 'Shall I tell you Brahman? He who is the maker of those persons and of whom this is the work (or "to whom this work belongs") he indeed is to be known' (Kau. Up. IV, 19). Bālāki at the outset proposes Brahman as the object of instruction, and when he is found himself not to know Brahman, Ajātaśatru instructs him about it, 'he indeed is to be known.' But from the relative clause 'to whom this work belongs,' which connects the being to be known with work, we infer that by Brahman we have here to understand the enjoying soul which is the ruler of Prakriti, not any other being. For no other being is connected with work; work, whether meritorious or the contrary, belongs to the individual soul only. Nor must you contest this conclusion on the ground that 'work' is here to be explained as meaning the object of activity, so that the sense of the clause would be 'he of whom this entire world, as presented by perception and the other means of knowledge, is the work.' For in that case the separate statements made in the two clauses, 'who is the maker of those persons' and 'of whom this is the work,' would be devoid of purport(the latter implying the former). Moreover, the generally accepted meaning of the word 'karman,' both in Vedic and worldly speech, is work in the sense of good and evil actions. And as the origination of the world is caused by actions of the various individual souls, the designation of 'maker of those persons' also suits only the individual soul. The meaning of the whole passage therefore is 'He who is the cause of the different persons that have their abode in the disc of the sun, and so on, and are instrumental towards the retributive experiences of the individual souls; and to whom there belongs karman, good and evil, to which there is due his becoming such a cause; he indeed is to be known, his essential nature is to be cognised in distinction from Prakriti.' And also in what follows, 'The two came to a person who was asleep. He pushed him with a stick,' etc., what is said about the sleeping man being pushed, roused, etc., all points only to the individual soul being the topic of instruction. Further on also the text treats of the individual soul only, 'As the master feeds with his people, nay as his people feed on the master, thus does this conscious Self feed with the other Selves.' We must consider also the following passage--which contains the explanation given by Ajātaśatru to Bālāki, who had been unable to say where the soul goes at the time of deep sleep--' There are the arteries called Hitas. In these the person is; when sleeping he sees no dream, then he (or that, i.e. the aggregate of the sense-organs) becomes one with this prāṇa alone. Then speech goes to him with all names, etc., the mind with all thoughts. And when he awakes, then, as from a burning fire sparks proceed in all directions, thus from that Self the prāṇas proceed each towards its place, from the prāṇas the gods, from the gods the worlds.' The individual soul which passes through the states of dream, deep sleep and waking, and is that into which there are merged and from which there proceed speech and all the other organs, is here declared to be the abode of deep sleep 'then it (viz. the aggregate of the organs) becomes one in that prāṇa.' Prāṇa here means the individual soul in so far as supporting life; for the text continues 'when that one awakes' and neither the vital breath nor the Lord (both of whom might be proposed as explanations of prāṇa) can be said to be asleep and to wake. Or else 'asmin prāne' might be explained as 'in the vital breath (which abides) in the individual soul,' the meaning of the clause being 'all the organs, speech and so on, become one in the vital breath which itself abides in this soul.' The word 'prāṇa' would thus be taken in its primary literal sense; yet all the same the soul constitutes the topic of the section, the vital breath being a mere instrument of the soul. The Brahman mentioned at the outset therefore is none other than the individual soul, and there is nothing to prove a lord different from it. And as the attributes which the texts ascribe to the general cause, viz. thought and so on, are attributes of intelligent beings only, we arrive at the conclusion that what constitutes the cause of the world is the non- intelligent Pradhāna guided by the intelligent soul.

This prima facie view the Sūtra disposes of, by saying 'because (the work) denotes the world.' It is not the insignificant individual soul--which is under the influence of its good and evil works, and by erroneously imputing to itself the attributes of Prakriti becomes the cause of the effects of the latter--that is the topic of our text; but rather the Supreme Person who is free from all shadow of imperfection such as Nescience and the like, who is a treasure of all possible auspicious qualities in their highest degree of perfection, who is the sole cause of this entire world. This is proved by the circumstance that the term 'work' connected with 'this' (in 'of whom this (is) the work') denotes the Universe which is an effect of the Supreme Person. For the word 'this' must, on account of its sense, the general topic of the section and so on, be taken in a non-limited meaning, and hence denotes the entire world, as presented by Perception and the other means of knowledge, with all its sentient and non-sentient beings. That the term 'work' does not here denote good and evil actions, appears from the following consideration of the context. Bālāki at first offers to teach Brahman ('Shall I tell you Brahman?') and thereupon holds forth on various persons abiding in the sun, and so on, as being Brahman. Ajātaśatru however refuses to accept this instruction as not setting forth Brahman, and finally, in order to enlighten Bālāki, addresses him 'He, O Bālāki, who is the maker of those persons,' etc. Now as the different personal souls abiding in the sun, etc., and connected with karman in the form of good and evil actions, are known already by Bālāki, the term 'karman'- met with in the next clause--is clearly meant to throw light on some Person so far not known to Bālāki, and therefore must be taken to mean not good and evil deeds or action in general, but rather the entire Universe in so far as being the outcome of activity. On this interpretation only the passage gives instruction about something not known before. Should it be said that this would be the case also if the subject to which the instruction refers were the true essential nature of the soul, indicated here by its connexion with karman, we reply that this would involve the (objectionable) assumption of so-called implication (lakṣaṇa), in so far namely as what the clause would directly intimate is (not the essential nature of the soul as free from karman but rather) the connexion of the soul with karman. Moreover if the intention of the passage were this, viz. to give instruction as to the soul, the latter being pointed at by means of the reference to karman, the intention would be fully accomplished by saying 'to whom karman belongs, he is to be known;' while in the text as it actually stands 'of whom this is the karman' the 'this' would be unmeaning. The meaning of the two separate clauses 'who is the maker of those persons' and 'of whom this is the work' is as follows. He who is the creator of those persons whom you called Brahman, and of whom those persons are the creatures; he of whom this entire world is the effect, and before whom all things sentient and non-sentient are equal in so far as being produced by him; he, the highest and universal cause, the Supreme Person, is the object to be known. The meaning implied here is--although the origination of the world has for its condition the deeds of individual souls, yet those souls do not independently originate the means for their own retributive experience, but experience only what the Lord has created to that end in agreement with their works. The individual soul, hence, cannot stand in creative relation to those persons.--What the text under discussion inculcates as the object of knowledge therefore is the highest Brahman which is known from all Vedānta-texts as the universal cause.

Sutra 1,4.17

जीवमुख्यप्राणलिङ्गान्नेति चेत्, तद्व्याख्यातम् ॥ १७ ॥

jīvamukhyaprāṇaliṅgānneti cet, tadvyākhyātam || 17 ||

jīva-mukhyaprāṇa-liṅgāt—On account of characteristics of the individual soul and the chief Prāṇa; na—not; iti cet—if it be said; tat—that; vyākhyātam—has already been explained.

17. If it be said that on account of the characteristics of the individual soul and the chief Prāṇa (to be found in the text, Brahman is) not (referred to by the word ‘maker’ in the passage cited), (we reply) that has already been explained.

With reference to the plea urged by the Pūrvapakshin that, owing to inferential marks pointing to the individual soul, and the circumstance of mention being made of the chief vital air, we must decide that the section treats of the enjoying individual soul and not of the highest Self, the Sūtra remarks that this argumentation has already been disposed of, viz. in connexion with the Pratardana vidyā. For there it was shown that when a text is ascertained, on the ground of a comprehensive survey of initial and concluding clauses, to refer to Brahman, all inferential marks which point to other topics must be interpreted so as to fall in with the principal topic. Now in our text Brahman is introduced at the outset 'Shall I tell you Brahman?' it is further mentioned in the middle of the section, for the clause 'of whom this is the work' does not refer to the soul in general but to the highest Person who is the cause of the whole world; and at the end again we hear of a reward which connects itself only with meditations on Brahman, viz. supreme sovereignty preceded by the conquest of all evil. 'Having overcome all evil he obtains pre-eminence among all beings, sovereignty and supremacy--yea, he who knows this.' The section thus being concerned with Brahman, the references to the individual soul and to the chief vital air must also be interpreted so as to fall in with Brahman. In the same way it was shown above that the references to the individual soul and the chief vital air which are met with in the Pratardana vidyā really explain themselves in connexion with a threefold meditation on Brahman. As in the passage 'Then with this prāṇa alone he becomes one' the two words 'this' and 'prāṇa' may be taken as co-ordinated and it hence would be inappropriate to separate them (and to explain 'in the prāṇa which abides in this soul'), and as the word 'prāṇa' is ascertained to mean Brahman also, we must understand the mention of prāṇa to be made with a view to meditation on Brahman in so far as having the prāṇa for its body. But how can the references to the individual soul be put in connexion with Brahman?--This point is taken up by the next Sūtra.

Sutra 1,4.18

अन्यार्थं तु जैमिनिः प्रश्नव्याख्यानाभ्यामपि चैवमेके ॥ १८ ॥

anyārthaṃ tu jaiminiḥ praśnavyākhyānābhyāmapi caivameke || 18 ||

anyārthaṃ—For another purpose; tu—but; jaiminiḥ—Jaimini; praśnavyākhyānābhyām—because of the question and elucidation; api ca—moreover; evam—thus; eke—some.

18. But (the sage) Jaimini (thinks that the reference to the individual soul in the text) has another purpose because of the question and answer; moreover thus some (the Vājasaneyi) (read in their recension).

The 'but' is meant to preclude the idea that the mention made of the individual soul enables us to understand the whole section as concerned with that soul.--The teacher Jaimini is of opinion that the mention made of the individual soul has another meaning, i.e. aims at conveying the idea of what is different from the individual soul, i.e. the nature of the highest Brahman. 'On account of question and answer.' According to the story told in the Upanishad, Ajātaśatru leads Bālāki to where a sleeping man is resting, and convinces him that the soul is different from breath, by addressing the sleeping person, in whom breath only is awake, with names belonging to prāṇa 1 without the sleeper being awaked thereby, and after that rousing him by a push of his staff. Then, with a view to teaching Bālāki the difference of Brahman from the individual soul, he asks him the following questions: 'Where, O Bālāki, did this person here sleep? Where was he? Whence did he thus come back?' To these questions he thereupon himself replies, 'When sleeping he sees no dream, then he becomes one in that prāṇa alone.--From that Self the organs proceed each towards its place, from the organs the gods, from the gods the worlds.' Now this reply, no less than the questions, clearly refers to the highest Self as something different from the individual Self. For that entering into which the soul, in the state of deep sleep, attains its true nature and enjoys complete serenity, being free from the disturbing experiences of pleasure and pain that accompany the states of waking and of dream; and that from which it again returns to the fruition of pleasure and pain; that is nothing else but the highest Self. For, as other scriptural texts testify ('Then he becomes united with the True,' Ch. Up. VI, 8, 1; 'Embraced by the intelligent Self he knows nothing that is without, nothing that is within,' Bri, Up. IV, 3, 21), the abode of deep sleep is the intelligent Self which is different from the individual Self, i.e. the highest Self. We thus conclude that the reference, in question and answer, to the individual soul subserves the end of instruction being given about what is different from that soul, i.e. the highest Self. We hence also reject the Pūrvapakshin’s contention that question and answer refer to the individual soul, that the veins called hita are the abode of deep sleep, and that the well-known clause as to the prāṇa must be taken to mean that the aggregate of the organs becomes one in the individual soul called prāṇa. For the veins are the abode, not of deep sleep, but of dream, and, as we have shown above, Brahman only is the abode of deep sleep; and the text declares that the individual soul, together with all its ministering organs, becomes one with, and again proceeds from, Brahman only--which the text designates as Prāṇa.-- Moreover some, viz. the Vājasaneyins in this same colloquy of Bālāki and Ajātaśatru as recorded in their text, clearly distinguish from the vijñāna-maya, i.e. the individual soul in the state of deep sleep, the highest Self which then is the abode of the individual soul. 'Where was then the person, consisting of intelligence, and from whence did he thus come back?--When he was thus asleep, then the intelligent person, having through the intelligence of the senses absorbed within himself all intelligence, lies in the ether that is within the heart.' Now the word 'ether' is known to denote the highest Self; cf. the text 'there is within that the small ether'(Kh. Up. VIII, 1, 1). This shows us that the individual soul is mentioned in the Vājasaneyī passage to the end of setting forth what is different from it, viz. the prājña Self, i.e. the highest Brahman. The general conclusion therefore is that the Kaushitaki-text under discussion proposes as the object of knowledge something that is different from the individual soul, viz. the highest Brahman which is the cause of the whole world, and that hence the Vedānta-texts nowhere intimate that general causality belongs either to the individual soul or to the Pradhāna under the soul's guidance. Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'denotation of the world.'