III-3 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 26

Topic 26 - Prāṇāgnihotra need not be observed on days of fast

Sutra 3,3.40

आदरादलोपः ॥ ४० ॥

ādarādalopaḥ || 40 ||

ādarāt—On account of the respect shown; alopaḥ—there can be no omission.

40. On account of the respect shown (to the Prāṇāgnihotra by the Śruti) there can be no omission (of this act).

Attributes, such as having the power of immediately realising one's purposes, and so on, which are not by other means known to constitute attributes of Brahman, and are in the two texts under discussion, as well as in other texts, emphatically declared to be attributes of Brahman, as constituting the object of meditations undertaken with a view to final release, cannot be omitted from those meditations, but must be comprised within them. In the Chāṇḍogya. the passage, 'Those who depart from hence, after having cognised the Self and those self-realising desires, move about at will in all those worlds,' enjoins the knowledge of Brahman as distinguished by the power of realising its desires and similar qualities, while the text, 'Those who depart from here not having cognised the Self, etc., do not move about at will,' etc., finds fault with the absence of such knowledge, and in this way emphasises the importance of the possession of it. In the same way the repeated declarations as to Brahman's ruling power ('the lord of all, the king of all beings,' etc.) show that stress is to be laid upon the quality indicated. It truly cannot be held that Scripture, which in tender regard to man's welfare is superior to a thousand of parents, should, deceitfully, give emphatic instruction as to certain qualities--not known through any other means of knowledge--which fundamentally would be unreal and hence utterly to be disregarded, and thus throw men desirous of release, who as it is are utterly confused by the revolutions of the wheel of Samsāra, into even deeper confusion and distress. That the text, 'there is not any diversity here; as one only is to be seen that eternal being,' teaches a unitary view of the world in so far as everything is an effect of Brahman and thus has Brahman for its Self, and negatives the view of plurality--established antecedent to Vedic teaching--as excluding Brahman's being the universal Self, we have explained before. In the clause 'not so, not so' the so refers back to the world as established by other means of proof, and the clause thus declares that Brahman who is the Self of all is different in nature from the world. This is confirmed by the subsequent passage, 'He is incomprehensible, for he is not comprehended, he is undecaying,' etc.; which means--as he is different in nature from what is comprehended by the other means of proof he is not grasped by those means; as he is different from what suffers decay he does not decay, and so on. And analogously, in the Chāṇḍogya, the text 'by the old age of the body he does not age' etc. first establishes Brahman's being different in nature from everything else, and then declares it to be Satyakāma, and so on.--But, an objection is raised, the text, 'Those who depart from hence, having cognised the Self and those true desires, move about at will in all worlds. Thus he who desires the world of the fathers,' etc., really declares that the knowledge of Brahman as possessing the power of immediately realising its wishes has for its fruit something lying within the sphere of transmigratory existence, and from this we infer that for him who is desirous of release and of reaching Brahman the object of meditation is not to be found in Brahman in so far as possessing qualities. The fruit of the highest knowledge is rather indicated in the passage, 'Having approached the highest light it manifests itself in its own form'; and hence the power of realising its wishes and the rest are not to be included in the meditation of him who wishes to attain to Brahman.--To this objection the next Sūtra replies.

Sutra 3,3.41

उपस्थितेऽतः, तद्वचनात् ॥ ४१ ॥

upasthite’taḥ, tadvacanāt || 41 ||

upasthite—When food is served; ataḥ—from that; tat-vacanāt—so (the Śruti) declares.

41. When food is served, from that (the Prāṇāgnihotra is to be performed), for so (the Śruti) declares.

When the soul, released from all bonds and manifesting itself in its true nature, has approached, i.e. attained to Brahman; then just on that account, i.e. on account of such approach, the text declares it to possess the power of moving about at will in all worlds. 'Having approached the highest light he manifests himself in his true form. He is the highest Person. He moves about there laughing, playing,' etc. This point will be proved in greater detail in the fourth adhyāya. Meanwhile the conclusion is that such qualities as satyakāmatva have to be included in the meditation of him also who is desirous of release; for the possession of those qualities forms part of the experience of the released soul itself.

--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'wishes and the rest'