II-4 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 8

Topic 8 - The organs are independent principles and not modes of the chief Prāṇa

Sutra 2,4.17

त इन्द्रियाणि, तद्व्यपदेशादन्यत्र श्रेष्ठात् ॥ १७ ॥

ta indriyāṇi, tadvyapadeśādanyatra śreṣṭhāt || 17 ||

te—They; indriyāṇi—organs; tadvyapadeśāt—being so designated; śreṣṭhāt anyatra—except the chief.

17. They (the other Prāṇas) except the chief (Prāṇa) are organs (and so different from the chief Prāṇa), on account of (their) being so designated (by the scriptures).

Are all principles called prāṇas to be considered as 'organs' (indriyāṇi), or is the 'best,' i.e. the chief prāṇa, to be excepted?--All of them, without exception, are organs; for they all are called prāṇas equally, and they all are instruments of the soul.--Not so, the Sūtra replies. The 'best' one is to be excepted, since only the prāṇas other than the best are designated as organs. Texts such as 'the organs are ten and one' (Bha. Gī. XIII, 5) apply the term 'organ' only to the senses of sight and the rest, and the internal organ.

Sutra 2,4.18

भेदश्रुतेः ॥ १८ ॥

bhedaśruteḥ || 18 ||

18. On account of differentiating scriptural texts.

Sutra 2,4.19

वैलक्षण्याच्च || १९ ||

vailakṣaṇyācca || 19 ||

vailakṣaṇyat - on account of difference of characteristics; ca - and.

19. And on account of the difference of characteristics.

Texts such as 'from him is born prāṇa, and the internal organ, and all organs' (Mu. Up. II, 1, 3) mention the vital breath separately from the organs, and this shows that the breath is not one of the organs. The passage indeed mentions the internal organ (manas) also as something separate; but in other passages the manas is formally included in the organs, 'the (five) organs with mind as the sixth' (Bha. Gī. XV, 7). That the vital breath differs in nature from the organ of sight and the rest, is a matter of observation. For in the state of deep sleep the function of breath is seen to continue, while those of the eye, and so on, are not perceived. The work of the organs, inclusive of the manas, is to act as instruments of cognition and action, while the work of breath is to maintain the body and the organs. It is for the reason that the subsistence of the organs depends on breath, that the organs themselves are called prāṇas. Thus Scripture says, 'they all became the form of that (breath), and therefore they are called after him prāṇas' (Bri. Up. I, 5, 21). 'They became its form' means--they became its body, their activity depended on it.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of the organs.'