III-3 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 1


Topic 1 - The Vidyās with identical or similar form met with in the scriptures, or in different recensions of the scriptures are one Vidyā

Sutra 3,3.1

सर्ववेदान्तप्रत्ययम्, चोदनाद्यविशेषात् ॥ १ ॥

sarvavedāntapratyayam, codanādyaviśeṣāt || 1 ||

sarva-vedānta-pratyayam—Described in the various Vedānta texts; codanādi-aviśeṣāt—on account of non-difference as regards injunction etc. (i.e. connection, form and name).

1 (The Upāsanās) described in the various Vedānta texts (are not different), on account of the non-difference as regards injunction etc. (i.e. connection, form, and name).

The Sūtras have stated whatever has to be stated to the end of rousing the desire of meditation- concluding with the fact that Brahman bestows rewards.

Next the question is introduced whether the vidyās (i.e. the different forms of meditation on Brahman which the Vedānta-texts enjoin) are different or non-different, on the decision of which question it will depend whether the qualities attributed to Brahman in those vidyās are to be comprised in one act of meditation or not.--The first subordinate question arising here is whether one and the same meditation--as e.g. the vidyā of Vaiśvānara--which is met with in the text of several śākhās, constitutes one vidyā or several.--The vidyās are separate, the Pūrvapakshin maintains; for the fact that the same matter is, without difference, imparted for a second time, and moreover stands under a different heading--both which circumstances necessarily attend the text's being met with in different śākhās--proves the difference of the two meditations. It is for this reason only that a restrictive injunction, such as the one conveyed in the text, 'Let a man tell this science of Brahman to those only who have performed the rite of carrying fire on their head' (Mu. Up. III, 2, 10)--which restricts the imparting of knowledge to the Ātharvanikas, to whom that rite is peculiar--has any sense; for if the vidyās were one, then the rite mentioned, which is a part of the vidyā, would be valid for the members of other śākhās also, and then the restriction enjoined by the text would have no meaning.--This view is set aside by the Sūtra, 'What is understood from all the Vedānta-texts' is one and the same meditation, 'because there is non-difference of injunction and the rest.' By injunction is meant the injunction of special activities denoted by different verbal roots--such as upāsīta 'he should meditate,' vidyāt 'he should know.' The and the rest' of the Sūtra is meant to comprise as additional reasons the circumstances mentioned in the Pūrva Mimāṁsa-sūtras (II, 4, 9). Owing to all these circumstances, non- difference of injunction and the rest, the same vidyā is recognised in other śākhās also. In the Chāṇḍogya (V, 12, 2) as well as in the Vājasaneyi we meet with one and the same injunction (viz. 'He should meditate on Vaiśvānara'). The form (character, rūpa) of the meditations also is the same, for the form of a cognition solely depends on its object; and the object is in both cases the same, viz. Vaiśvānara. The name of the two vidyās also is the same, viz. the knowledge of Vaiśvānara. And both vidyās are declared to have the same result, viz. attaining to Brahman. All these reasons establish the identity of vidyās even in different śākhās.--The next Sūtra refers to the reasons set forth for his view by the Pūrvapakshin and refutes them.

Sutra 3,3.2

भेदान्नेति चेत्, न, एकस्यामपि ॥ २ ॥

bhedānneti cet, na, ekasyāmapi || 2 ||

bhedāt—On account of difference na—not; iti cet—if it be said; na—not so; ekasyāmapi—even in the same (Vidyā).

2. If it be said (that the Vidyās are) not (one) on account of difference (in minor points), (we reply) not so, since even in the same Vidyā (there might be such minor differences).

If it be said that there is no oneness of vidyā, because the fact of the same matter being stated again without difference, and being met with in a different chapter, proves the object of injunction to be different; we reply that even in one and the same vidyā some matter may be repeated without any change, and under a new heading (in a different chapter); if, namely, there is difference of cognising subjects. Where the cognising person is one only, repetition of the same matter under a new heading can only be explained as meaning difference of object enjoined, and hence separation of the two vidyās. But where the cognising persons are different (and this of course is eminently so in the case of different śākhās), the double statement of one and the same matter explains itself as subserving the cognition of those different persons, and hence does not imply difference of matter enjoined.--The next Sūtra refutes the argument founded on a rite enjoined in the Muṇḍaka.

Sutra 3,3.3

स्वाध्यायस्य तथात्वेन हि समाचारेऽधिकाराच्च सववच्च तन्नियमः ॥ ३ ॥

svādhyāyasya tathātvena hi samācāre’dhikārācca savavacca tanniyamaḥ || 3 ||

svādhyāyasya—Of the study of the Vedas; tathātvena—as being such; iti—because; samācāre—in the Samāchāra (a book of that name); adhikārāt—on account of the qualification; ca—and; savavat—like that of the (seven) oblations (i.e. Sūrya etc.); ca—and; tanniyamaḥ—that rule.

3. (The rite of carrying fire on the head is connected) with the study of the Vedas, because in the Samāchāra (it is described) as being such.

And (this also follows) from its being a qualification (for the students of the Atharva Veda), as is the case with the (seven) oblations (i.e. Sūrya etc.).

What the text says as to a restriction connected with the 'vow of the head,' does not intimate a difference of vidyās. For that vow does not form part of the vidyā. The restriction refers only to a peculiarity of the study of the Veda on the part of the Ātharvanikas, being meant to establish that they should possess that special qualification which the rite produces; but it does not affect the vidyā itself. This is proved by the subsequent clause, 'a man who has not performed that rite may not read the text,' which directly connects the rite with the studying of the text. And it is further proved by the fact that in the book of the Ātharvanikas, called 'sāmākara, 'that rite is referred to as a rite connected with the Veda (not with the special vidyā set forth in the Muṇḍaka), viz. in the passage, 'this is explained already by the Veda- observance' (which extends the details of the Śirovrata, there called veda-vrata, to other observances). By the knowledge of Brahman (referred to in the Muṇḍaka-text 'let a man tell this science of Brahman to those only,' &c.), we have therefore to understand knowledge of the Veda in general. And that restriction is 'like that of the libations'--i.e. it is analogous to the restriction under which the sava-libations, beginning with the Sapta-sūrya-libation, and terminating with the Sataudana-libation, are offered in the one fire which is used by the followers of the Atharvan, and not in the ordinary three fires.

Sutra 3,3.4

दर्शयति च ॥ ४ ॥

darśayati ca || 4 ||

darśayati—Instructs; ca—also.

4. (The scripture) also instructs thus.

Scripture also shows that (identical) meditation is what all the Vedānta-texts intimate. The Chāṇḍogya (VIII, 1, 1 ff.) declares that that which is within the small space in the heart is to be enquired into, and then in reply to the question what the thing to be enquired into is, says that it is the highest Self possessing the eight attributes, freedom from all evil and the rest, which is to be meditated upon within the heart. And then the Taittirīya-text, referring to this declaration in the Chāṇḍogya, says, 'Therein is a small space, free from all grief; what is within that is to be meditated upon' (Mahānār. Up. X, 23), and thus likewise enjoins meditation on the highest Self possessing the eight qualities. And this is possible only if, owing to unity of vidyā, the qualities mentioned in the first text are included also in the meditation enjoined in the second text.--Having thus established the unity of meditations, the Sūtras proceed to state the practical effect of such unity.