III-3 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 16

Topic 16 - The discarding of good and evil by the knower of Brahman takes place at the time of death and not on his way to Brahmaloka

Sutra 3,3.27

सांपराये तर्तव्याभावात्, तथा ह्यन्ये ॥ २७ ॥

sāṃparāye tartavyābhāvāt, tathā hyanye || 27 ||

sāṃparāye—At the time of death; tartavya-abhāvāt—there being nothing to be attained; tathā—so also; hi— for; anye—others.

27. (He who attains Knowledge gets rid of his good and evil works) at the time of death, there being nothing to be obtained (by him on the way to Brahmaloka through works); for other texts also say so.

The further question arises whether the putting off of all good and evil deeds takes place only at the time when the soul leaves the body, or also after it has departed and is on its journey to the world of Brahman. The Pūrvapakshin holds the latter view, for, he says, the texts declare both. The Kaushitaki say that the soul shakes off its good and evil deeds when it crosses the river Virajā in the world of Brahman; while the Tāndins say 'Shaking off all evil, and shaking off the body,' etc., which shows that the deeds are shaken off at the time when the soul leaves the body. And when the Sātyāyanaka says that 'his sons obtain his inheritance, his friends his good deeds,' and so on, this also intimates that the deeds are shaken off at the time when the soul leaves the body. We therefore must conclude that a part of the deeds is left behind at the moment of death, and the remainder on the journey to the world of Brahman.-- This view the Sūtra controverts. All the good and evil deeds of the dying man are left behind, without remainder, at the time when the soul parts from the body. For after the soul of him who knows has departed from the body, 'there is nothing to be reached,' i.e. there are no further pleasures and pains to be enjoyed as the result of good and evil deeds, different from the obtaining of Brahman, which is the fruit of knowledge. Thus others also declare that, subsequently to the soul's departure from the body, there is no enjoyment of any pain or pleasure different from the obtaining of Brahman. 'But when he is free of the body, then neither pleasure nor pain touches him'; 'Thus does that serene being, rising from this body, appear in its own form as soon as it has approached the highest light' (Kh. Up. VIII, 12, 1; 3); 'For him there is delay only so long as he is not freed (from the body); then he will be perfect' (VI, 14, 2).

Sutra 3,3.28

छन्दतः, उभयाविरोधात् ॥ २८ ॥

chandataḥ, ubhayāvirodhāt || 28 ||

chandataḥ—According to his liking; ubhaya-avirodhāt—on account of there being harmony between the two.

28. (The interpretation that the individual soul practising Sādhana) according to his liking (gets rid of good and evil while living, is reasonable) on account of there being harmony (in that case) between the two (i.e. cause and effect as well as between the Chāṇḍogya and another Śruti).

The time when good and evil deeds are left behind thus having been determined on the basis of the reason of the thing, the several words of the passages must be construed as it is desired, i.e. so as not to contradict either, i.e. either the declaration of scripture or the reason of the thing. Thus in the text of the Kaushitaki the later clause, 'he shakes off his good and evil deeds,' must be taken as coming before the earlier passage 'having entered on that path of the gods.'--Here the Pūrvapakshin raises a new objection.