III-3 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 29

Topic 29 - The fires in Agnirahasya of the Brihadāraṇyaka are not part of the sacrificial act, but constitute a separate Vidyā

 Sutra 3,3.44

लिङ्गभूयस्त्वात्, तद्धि बलीयः, तदपि ॥ ४४ ॥

liṅgabhūyastvāt, taddhi balīyaḥ, tadapi || 44 ||

liṅga-bhūyastvāt—On account of the abundance of indicatory marks; tat—it (an indicatory mark); hi—for; balīyaḥ—is stronger; tat—that; api—also.

44. On account of the abundance of indicatory marks (the fires of the mind, speech, etc. in the Agnirahasya of the Vājasaneyins do not form part of the sacrifice), for it (an indicatory mark) is stronger (than the context). That also (has been stated by Jaimini).

The Taittirīya contains another dahāra-vidyā, 'The thousand-headed god, the all-eyed one,' etc. (Mahānār. Up. XI). Here the doubt arises whether this vidyā, as being one with the previously introduced vidyā, states qualities to be included in the meditation enjoined in that vidyā, or qualities to be included in the meditations on the highest Self as enjoined in all the Vedānta-texts.

--The former is the case, the Pūrvapakshin holds, on account of the leading subject-matter. For in the preceding section (X) the meditation on the small ether is introduced as the subject-matter.

'There is the small lotus placed in the middle of the town (of the body), free from all evil, the abode of the Highest; within that there is a small space, free from sorrow--what is within that should be meditated upon' (Mahānār. Up. X, 23). Now, as the lotus of the heart is mentioned only in section X, the 'Nārāyana-section' ('the heart resembling the bud of a lotus, with its point turned downwards,' XI, 6), we conclude that that section also is concerned with the object of meditation to which the daharavidyā refers.--Against this view the Sūtra declares itself, 'on account of the majority of indicatory marks'; i.e. there are in the text several marks proving that that section is meant to declare characteristics of that which constitutes the object of meditation in all meditations on the highest being. For that being which in those meditations is denoted as the Imperishable, Siva, Sambhu. the highest Brahman, the highest light, the highest entity, the highest Self, and so on, is here referred to by the same names, and then declared to be Nārāyana. There are thus several indications to prove that Nārāyana is none other than that which is the object of meditation in all meditations on the Highest, viz. Brahman, which has bliss and the rest for its qualities. By 'linga' (inferential mark) we here understand clauses (vākya) which contain a specific indication; for such clauses have, according to the Pūrva Mimāṁsa, greater proving power than leading subject-matter (prakaraṇa). The argumentation that the clause ' the heart resembling the bud of a lotus flower,' etc., proves that section to stand in a dependent relation to the dahāra-vidyā, is without force; for it being proved by a stronger argument that the section refers to that which is the object of meditation in all meditations, the clause mentioned may also be taken as declaring that in the dahāra-vidyā also the object of meditation is Nārāyana. Nor must it be thought that the accusatives with which the section begins (sahasrasirsham, etc.) are to be connected with the 'meditating' enjoined in the previous section; for the 'meditating' is there enjoined by a gerundive form ('tasmin yad antas tad upāsitavyam'), and with this the subsequent accusatives cannot be construed. Moreover, the subsequent clause ('all this is Nārāyana,' etc., where the nominative case is used) shows that those accusatives are to be taken in the sense of nominatives.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'the plurality of indicatory marks.'

Sutra 3,3.45

पूर्वविकल्पः प्रकरणात्स्यात्क्रिया, मानसवत् ॥ ४५ ॥

pūrvavikalpaḥ prakaraṇātsyātkriyā, mānasavat || 45 ||

pūrva-vikalpaḥ—Alternative forms of the one mentioned first; prakaraṇāt—on account of the context; syāt—ought to be; kriyā—part of the sacrifice; mānasavat—like the imaginary drink.

45. (The fires spoken of in the previous Sutra are) alternative forms of the one mentioned first (i.e. the actual sacrificial fire) on account of the context; (they) ought to be part of the sacrifice like the imaginary drink.

In the Vāgasaneyaka, in the Agnirahasya chapter, there are references to certain altars built of mind, 'built of mind, built of speech,' etc. The doubt here arises whether those structures of mind, and so on, which metaphorically are called fire-altars, should be considered as being of the nature of action, on account of their connexion with a performance which itself is of the nature of action; or merely of the nature of meditation, as being connected with an activity of the nature of meditation. The Sūtra maintains the former view. Since those things 'built of mind, and so on,' are, through being built (or piled up), constituted as fire-altars, they demand a performance with which to connect themselves; and as in immediate proximity to them no performance is enjoined, and as the general subject-matter of the section is the fire-altar built of bricks--introduced by means of the clause 'Non-being this was in the beginning'---which is invariably connected with a performance of the nature of outward action, viz. a certain sacrificial performance--we conclude that the altars built of mind, etc., which the text mentions in connexion with the same subject-matter, are themselves of the nature of action, and as such can be used as alternatives for the altar built of bricks. An analogous case is presented by the so-called mental cup. On the tenth, so-called avivākya, day of the Soma sacrifice extending over twelve days, there takes place the mental offering of a Soma cup, all the rites connected with which are rehearsed in imagination only; the offering of that cup is thus really of the nature of thought only, but as it forms an auxiliary element in an actual outward sacrificial performance it itself assumes the character of an action.

Sutra 3,3.46

अतिदेशाच्च ॥ ४६ ॥

atideśācca || 46 ||

atideśāt—On account of the extension (of the attributes of the first to these fires); ca—and.

46. And on account of the extension (of the attributes of the actual fire to these imaginary fires).

That the altar built of thought is an optional substitute for the altar built of bricks, and of the nature of an action, appears therefrom also that the clause 'of these each one is as great as that previous one,' explicitly transfers to the altars of mind, and so on, the powers of the previous altar made of bricks. All those altars thus having equal effects there is choice between them. The altars of mind, and so on, therefore are auxiliary members of the sacrificial performance which they help to accomplish, and hence themselves of the nature of action.--Against this view the next Sūtra declares itself.

Sutra 3,3.47

विद्यैव तु, निर्धारणात् ॥ ४७ ॥

vidyaiva tu, nirdhāraṇāt || 47 ||

vidyā—Vidyā; eva—indeed; tu—but; nirdhāraṇāt—because (the Śruti) asserts it.

47. But (the fires) rather form a Vidyā, because (the Śruti) asserts it.

Sutra 3,3.48

दर्शनाच्च ॥ ४८ ॥

darśanācca || 48 ||

darśanāt—Because (of the indicatory marks) seen; ca—and.

48. And because (of the indicatory marks) seen.

The altars built of mind, and so on, are not of the nature of action, but of meditation only, i.e. they belong to a performance which is of the nature of meditation only. For this is what the text asserts, viz. in the clauses 'they are built of knowledge only,' and 'by knowledge they are built for him who thus knows.' As the energies of mind, speech, sight, and so on, cannot be piled up like bricks, it is indeed a matter of course that the so-called altars constructed of mind, and so on, can be mental constructions only; but the text in addition specially confirms this by declaring that those altars are elements in an activity of purely intellectual character, and hence themselves mere creatures of the intellect. Moreover there is seen in the text a performance consisting of thought only to which those fires stand in a subsidiary relation, 'by the mind they were established on hearths, by the mind they were built up, by the mind the Soma cups were drawn thereat; by the mind they chanted, and by the mind they recited; whatever rite is performed at the sacrifice, whatever sacrificial rite there is, that, as consisting of mind, was performed by the mind only, on those (fire-altars) composed of mind, built up of mind.' From this declaration, that whatever sacrificial rite is actually performed in the case of fire-altars built of bricks is performed mentally only in the case of altars built of mind, it follows that the entire performance is a mental one only, i.e. an act of meditation.-- But, an objection is raised, as the entire passus regarding the altars of mind does not contain any word of injunctive power, and as the text states no special result (from which it appears to follow that the passus does not enjoin a new independent performance), we must, on the strength of the fact that the leading subject-matter is an actual sacrificial performance as suggested by the altars built of brick, give up the idea that the altars built of mind, etc., are mental only because connected with a performance of merely mental nature.--This objection the next Sūtra refutes.

Sutra 3,3.49

श्रुत्यादिबलीयस्त्वाच्च न बाधः ॥ ४९ ॥

śrutyādibalīyastvācca na bādhaḥ || 49 ||

śrutyādi-balīyastvāt—Because of the greater force of the Śruti etc. (i.e. indicatory mark and syntactical connection); ca—and; na bādhaḥ—cannot be refuted.

49. And because of the greater force of the Śruti etc. (i.e. indicatory mark and syntactical connection), (the view that the fires constitute a Vidyā) cannot be refuted.

The weaker means of proof, constituted by so-called leading subject-matter, cannot refute what is established by three stronger means of proof--direct statement, inferential mark, and syntactical connexion--viz. that there is an independent purely mental performance, and that the altars made of mind are parts of the latter. The direct statement is contained in the following passage, 'Those fire-altars indeed are built of knowledge,'--which is further explained in the subsequent passage, 'by knowledge alone these altars are built for him who knows this'--the sense of which is: the structures of mind, and so on, are built in connexion with a performance which consists of knowledge (i.e. meditation).--The inferential mark is contained in the passage, 'For him all beings at all times build them, even while he is asleep.' And the syntactical connexion (vākya) consists in the connexion of the two words evamvide  (for him who knows this), and kinvanti (they build)--the sense being: for him who accomplishes the performance consisting of knowledge all beings at all times build those altars. The proving power of the passage above referred to as containing an indicatory mark (linga) lies therein that a construction mentally performed at all times by all beings cannot possibly connect itself with a sacrificial performance through the brick-altar, which is constructed by certain definite agents and on certain definite occasions only, and must therefore be an element in a mental performance, i.e. a meditation.--The next Sūtra disposes of the objection that the text cannot possibly mean to enjoin a new mental performance, apart from the actual performance, because it contains no word of injunctive force and does not mention a special result.

Sutra 3,3.50

अनुबन्धादिभ्यः प्रज्ञान्तरपृथक्त्ववत्, दृष्टश्च, तदुक्तम् ॥ ५० ॥

anubandhādibhyaḥ prajñāntarapṛthaktvavat, dṛṣṭaśca, taduktam || 50 ||

anubandhādibhyaḥ—From the connection and soon (extension etc.); prajñāntara-pṛthaktvavat—even as other Vidyās are separate; dṛṣṭaḥ—(it is) seen; ca—and; tat-uktam—this has been said (by Jaimini).

50. From the connection and so on (extension etc.) (the fires constitute a separate Vidyā), even as other Vidyās (like the Śāndilya Vidyā) are separate. And (it is) seen (that in spite of the context a sacrifice is treated as independent). This has been said (by Jaimini in Pūrva Mīmāṃsā-Sutras).

That the text enjoins a meditative performance different from the actual performance of which the brick- altar is a constituent element, follows from the reasons proving separation, viz. the connexions. i.e. the things connected with the sacrifice, such as the Soma cups, the hymns, the recitations, and so on. What is meant is that the special mention of the cups, and so on, made in the passage 'by the mind the Soma cups were drawn thereat,' proves the difference of the performance.--The 'and the rest' of the Sūtra comprises the previously stated arguments, viz. direct statement, and so on. 'As other meditations,' i.e. the case is analogous to that of other meditations such as the meditation on the small ether within the heart, which are likewise proved by textual statement, and so on, to be different and separate from actual outward sacrificial performances.--The existence of a separate meditative act having thus been ascertained, the requisite injunction has to be construed on the basis of the text as it stands. Such construction of injunctions on the basis of texts of arthavāda character is seen in other places also; the matter is discussed in Pū. Mī. Sūtras III, 5, 21.--The result of the meditative performance follows from the passage 'of these (altars made of mind, and so on) each is as great as that former one (i.e. the altar built of bricks)'--for this implies that the same result which the brick-altar accomplishes through the sacrifice of which it forms an element is also attained through the altars made of mind, and so on, through the meditations of which they form parts.--The next Sūtra disposes of the argumentation that, as this formal transfer of the result of the brick-altar to the altars built of mind, and so on, shows the latter to possess the same virtues as the former, we are bound to conclude that they also form constituent elements of an actual (not merely meditative) performance.

Sutra 3,3.51

न सामान्यादपि, उपलब्धेः, मृत्युवत्, नहि लोकापत्तिः ॥ ५१ ॥

na sāmānyādapi, upalabdheḥ, mṛtyuvat, nahi lokāpattiḥ || 51 ||

na—Not; sāmānyāt-api—in spite of the resemblance; upalabdheḥ—for it is seen; mṛtyuvat—as in the case of death; na hi lokāpattiḥ—for the world does not become (fire because of certain resemblances).

51. In spite of the resemblance (of the fires to the imaginary drink, they do) not (form part of the sacrificial act), for it is seen (from the reasons adduced that they constitute an independent Vidyā); (the mental affair here is) as in the case of death, for the world does not become (fire because of certain resemblances).

From a transfer or assimilation of this kind it does not necessarily follow that things of different operation are equal, and that hence those altars of mind, and so on, must connect themselves with an actual outward performance. For it is observed that such assimilation rests sometimes on a special point of resemblance only; so in the text, 'The person in yonder orb is Death indeed,'--where the feature of resemblance is the destroying power of the two; for the person within yonder orb does certainly not occupy the same worlds, i.e. the same place as Death. Analogously, in the case under discussion, the fact that the altars made of mind are treated as, in a certain respect, equivalent to the altar built of bricks, does not authorise us to connect those altars with the sacrificial performance to which the altar of bricks belongs. When the text says that the altar made of mind is as great as the altar of bricks, this only means that the same result which is attained through the brick-altar in connexion with its own sacrificial performance is also attained through the altar of mind in connexion with the meditational performance into which it enters.

Sutra 3,3.52

परेण च शब्दस्य ताद्विध्यम्, भूयस्त्वात्त्वनुबन्धः ॥ ५२ ॥

pareṇa ca śabdasya tādvidhyam, bhūyastvāttvanubandhaḥ || 52 ||

pareṇa—From the- subsequent (Brāhmaṇa); ca—and; śabdasya—of the text; tādvidhyam—the fact of being such; bhūyastvāt—on account of the abundance; tu—but; anubandhaḥ—connection

52. And from the subsequent (Brāhmaṇa) the fact of the text (discussed) being such (i.e. enjoining a separate Vidyā) (is known).

The subsequent Brāhmaṇa (Sat. Br. X, 5, 4) also proves that the text treating of the altars made of mind, and so on, enjoins a meditation only. For that Brāhmaṇa (which begins 'This brick-built fire-altar is this world; the waters are its enclosing-stones,' etc.) declares further on 'whosoever knows this thus comes to be that whole Agni who is the space-filler,' and from this it appears that what is enjoined there is a meditation with a special result of its own. And further on (X, 6) there is another meditation enjoined, viz. one on Vaiśvānara. All this shows that the Agnirahasya book (Sat. Br. X) is not solely concerned with the injunction of outward sacrificial acts.--But what then is the reason that such matters as the mental (meditative) construction of fire-altars which ought to be included in the Brihad-Āraṇyaka are included in the Agnirahasya?--'That connexion is on account of plurality,' i.e. the altars made of mind, and so on, are, in the sacred text, dealt with in proximity to the real altar made of bricks, because so many details of the latter are mentally to be accomplished in the meditation.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'option with the previous one.'