III-1 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 4-5

Topic 4 - The soul in its descent from the moon does not become identified with ether etc. but attains similarity of nature

Sutra 3,1.22

तत्साभाव्यापत्तिः, उपपत्तेः ॥ २२ ॥

tatsābhāvyāpattiḥ, upapatteḥ || 22 ||

tat-sābhāvya-āpattiḥ—Attainment of a similarity of nature with them; upapatteḥ—being reasonable.

22. (The soul when descending from Chandraloka) attains similarity of nature with them (i.e. with ether, air, etc.), (that alone) being reasonable.

The text describes the manner in which those who perform sacrifices, and so on, descend from the moon as follows: 'They return again that way as they came, to the ether, from the ether to the air. Then having become air they become smoke, having become smoke they become mist,' etc. The doubt here arises whether the soul when reaching ether, and so on, becomes ether in the same sense as here on earth it becomes a man or other being, or merely becomes similar to ether, and so on.--The former view is the true one; for as the soul in the śraddhā state becomes the moon, so it must likewise be held to become ether, and so on, there being no reason for a difference in the two cases.--This prima facie view the Sūtra sets aside. The descending soul enters into similarity of being with ether, and so on; since there is a reason for this. When the soul becomes a man or becomes the moon, there is a reason for that, since it thereby becomes capacitated for the enjoyment of pain and pleasure. But there is no similar reason for the soul becoming ether, and so on, and hence the statement that the soul becomes ether, and so on, can only mean that, owing to contact with them, it becomes similar to them.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'entering into similarity of being.'

Topic 5 - The entire descent of the soul takes only a short time

Sutra 3,1.23

नातिचिरेण, विशेषात् ॥ २३ ॥

nāticireṇa, viśeṣāt || 23 ||

na—not; aticireṇa—in very long time; viśeṣāt—on account of the special declaration.

23. (The soul’s descent from the moon through the various stages up to the earth takes) not very long time, on account of a special declaration (of the Śrutis with respect to the stages after that as taking time).

Does the soul in its descent through ether, and so on, stay at each stage for a not very long time, or is there nothing to define that time?--It stays at each stage for an indefinite time, there being nothing to define the time.—

Not so, the Sūtra decides. For there is a special statement, i.e. the text says that when the soul has become rice or grain or the like, the passing out of that stage is beset with difficulties. From this we infer that as there is no such statement concerning the earlier stages, the soul stays at each of them for a short time only.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'the not very long time.'