III-2 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 8

Topic 8 - Īśvara the giver of the fruits of actions

Sutra 3,2.38

फलमतः, उपपत्तेः ॥ ३८ ॥

phalamataḥ, upapatteḥ || 38 ||

phalam—Fruits of actions; ataḥ—from Him; upapatteḥ—for that is reasonable.

38. From Him (the Lord) are the fruits of actions; for that is reasonable.

It has been shown, for the purpose of giving rise to a desire for devout meditation, that the soul in all its states is imperfect, while the Supreme Person to be reached by it is free from imperfections, the owner of blessed qualities and higher than everything else. Being about to investigate the nature of meditation, the Sūtrakāra now declares that the meditating devotee receives the reward of meditation, i.e. Release, which consists in attaining to the highest Person, from that highest Person only: and that analogously the rewards for all works prescribed by the Veda--whether to be enjoyed in this or the next world--come from the highest Person only. The Sūtra therefore says generally, 'from thence the reward.'--'Why so?'--'Because that only is possible.' For it is he only--the all-knowing, all-powerful, supremely generous one--who being pleased by sacrifices, gifts, offerings, and the like, as well as by pious meditation, is in a position to bestow the different forms of enjoyment in this and the heavenly world, and Release which consists in attaining to a nature like his own. For action which is non-intelligent and transitory is incapable of bringing about a result connected with a future time.

Sutra 3,2.39

श्रुतत्वाच्च ॥ ३९ ॥

śrutatvācca || 39 ||

śrutatvāt—Because the scripture so teaches; ca—and.

39. And because the scripture so teaches.

That he bestows all rewards--whether in the form of enjoyment or Release--Scripture also declares 'This indeed is the great, the unborn Self, the eater of food, the giver of wealth' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 24); and 'For he alone causes delight' (Taitt. Up. II, 7).--Next a prima facie view is stated.

Sutra 3,2.40

धर्मं जैमिनिः, अत एव ॥ ४० ॥

dharmaṃ jaiminiḥ, ata eva || 40 ||

dharmaṃ—Religious merits; jaiminiḥ—(sage) Jaimini; ata eva—for the same reasons.

40. Jaimini (thinks) for the same reasons (i.e. scriptural authority and reasoning) that religious merit (is what brings about the fruits of actions).

For the same reasons, viz. possibility and scriptural declaration, the teacher Jaimini thinks that religious works, viz. sacrifices, gifts, offerings, and meditation, of themselves bring about their rewards. For we observe that in ordinary life actions such as ploughing and the like, and charitable gifts and so on, bring about their own reward, directly or indirectly. And although Vedic works do not bring about their rewards immediately, they may do so mediately, viz. by means of the so-called apūrva. This follows also from the form of the Vedic injunctions, such as 'He who is desirous of the heavenly world is to sacrifice.' As such injunctions enjoin sacrifices as the means of bringing about the object desired to be realised, viz. the heavenly world and the like, there is no other way left than to assume that the result (which is seen not to spring directly from the sacrifice) is accomplished by the mediation of the apūrva.

Sutra 3,2.41

पूर्वं तु बादरायणः, हेतुव्यपदेशात् ॥ ४१ ॥

pūrvaṃ tu bādarāyaṇaḥ, hetuvyapadeśāt || 41 ||

pūrvam—The former (i.e. the Lord); tu—but; bādarāyaṇaḥ—Bâdarâyana; hetu-vyapadeśāt—on account of His being declared to be the cause (of the actions even).

41. But Bādarāyaṇa (thinks) the former (the Lord, as the bestower of the fruits of actions) on account of His being declared to be the cause (of the actions even).

The reverend Bādarāyaṇa maintains the previously declared awarding of rewards by the Supreme Person since the scriptural texts referring to the different sacrifices declare that the deities only, Agni, Vāyu, and so on, who are propitiated by the sacrifices--which are nothing else but means to propitiate deities--are the cause of the rewards attached to the sacrifices. Compare texts such as 'Let him who is desirous of prosperity offer a white animal to Vāyu. For Vāyu is the swiftest god. The man thus approaches Vāyu with his proper share, and Vāyu leads him to prosperity.' And the whole instruction which the texts give, as to the means by which men desirous of certain results are to effect those results, is required on account of the injunctions only, and hence it cannot be doubted that it has reference to the injunctions. The apparatus of means to bring about the results thus being learnt from the text only, no person acquainted with the force of the means of proof will assent to that apparatus, as stated by the text, being set aside and an apūrva about which the text says nothing being fancifully assumed. And that the imperative verbal forms of the injunctions denote as the thing to be effected by the effort of the sacrificer, only that which on the basis of the usage of language and grammatical science is recognised as the meaning of the root-element of such words as ' yageta,' viz. the sacrifice (Yāga), which consists in the propitiation of a divine being, and not some additional supersensuous thing such as the apūrva, we have already proved above. Texts such as 'Vāyu is the swiftest god' teach that Vāyu and other deities are the bestowers of rewards. And that it is fundamentally the highest Self--as constituting the inner Self of Vāyu and other deities--which is pleased by offerings, and bestows rewards for them is declared by texts such as 'Offerings and pious works, all this he bears who is the nave of the Universe. He is Agni and Vāyu, he is Sun and Moon' (Mahānār. Up. I, 6, 7). Similarly in the Antaryāmin-brāhmaṇa, 'He who dwells in Vāyu, of whom Vāyu is the body'; 'He who dwells in Agni,' etc. Smriti expresses itself similarly, 'Whatsoever devotee wishes to worship with faith whatsoever divine form, of him do I make that faith unshakable. Endued with such faith he endeavours to propitiate him and obtains from him his desires--those indeed being ordained by me' (Bha. Gī. VII, 21-22); 'For I am the enjoyer and the Lord of all sacrifices' (IX, 24)--where Lord means him who bestows the reward for the sacrifices. 'To the gods go the worshippers of the gods, and those devoted to me go to me' (VII, 23). In ordinary life men, by agriculture and the like, acquire wealth in various forms, and by means of this propitiate their king, either directly or through his officials and servants; and the king thereupon is seen to reward them in a manner corresponding to the measure of their services and presents. The Vedānta-texts, on the other hand, give instruction on a subject which transcends the sphere of all the other means of knowledge, viz. the highest Person who is free from all shadow even of imperfection, and a treasure-house as it were of all exalted qualities in their highest state of perfection; on sacrifices, gifts, oblations, which are helpful towards the propitiation of that Person; on praise, worship, and meditation, which directly propitiate him; and on the rewards which he, thus propitiated, bestows, viz. temporal happiness and final Release.

--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'reward.'