III-3 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 30

Topic 30 - The Self is a separate entity from the body

 Sutra 3,3.53

एक आत्मनः शरीरे भावात् ॥ ५३ ॥

eka ātmanaḥ śarīre bhāvāt || 53 ||

eka—Some (deny); ātmanaḥ—(the existence) of an Ātman (besides the body); śarīre (suti) bhāvāt—(for It) exists (only) when there is a body.

53. Some (deny) (the existence) of an Ātman (separate from the body), (for It) exists (only) when there is a body.

In all meditations on the highest Self the nature of the meditating subject has to be ascertained no less than the nature of the object of meditation and of the mode of meditation. The question then arises whether the meditating Self is to be viewed as the knowing, doing, and enjoying Self, subject to transmigration; or as that Self which Prajāpati describes (Kh. Up. VIII, 1), viz. a Self free from all sin and imperfection.--Some hold the former view, on the ground that the meditating Self is within a body. For as long as the Self dwells within a body, it is a knower, doer, enjoyer, and so on, and it can bring about the result of its meditation only as viewed under that aspect. A person who, desirous of the heavenly world or a similar result, enters on some sacrificial action may, after he has reached that result, possess characteristics different from those of a knowing, doing, and enjoying subject, but those characteristics cannot be attributed to him as long as he is in the state of having to bring about the means of accomplishing those ends; in the latter state he must be viewed as an ordinary agent, and there it would be of no use to view him as something different. And the same holds equally good with regard to a person engaged in meditation.--But, an objection is raised, the text 'as the thought of a man is in this world, so he will be when he has departed this life' (Kh. Up. III, 14, 1) does declare a difference (between the agent engaged in sacrificial action, and the meditating subject), and from this it follows that the meditating Self is to be conceived as having a nature free from all evil, and so on.--Not so, the Pūrvapakshin replies; for the clause, 'howsoever they meditate on him,' proves that that text refers to the equality of the object meditated upon (not of the meditating subject).--To this the next Sūtra replies.

Sutra 3,3.54

व्यतिरेकः, तद्भावाभावित्वात्, न तु, उपलब्धिवत् ॥ ५४ ॥

vyatirekaḥ, tadbhāvābhāvitvāt, na tu, upalabdhivat || 54 ||

vyatirekaḥ—Separateness; tadbhāva-abhāvitvātfor (consciousness) does not exist even when there is the body; na—not (so); tu—but; upalabdhivat—as in the case of cognition.

54. But not (so); (a Self) separate (from the body does exist), for (consciousness) does not exist even when there is the body (after death); as in the case of cognition.

It is not true that the meditating subject must be conceived as having the ordinary characteristics of knowing, acting, etc.; it rather possesses those characteristic properties--freedom from evil, and so on-- which distinguish the state of Release from the Samsāra state. At the time of meditation the Self of the devotee is of exactly the same nature as the released Self. 'For it is of the being of that,' i.e. it attains the nature of that--as proved by the texts, 'as the thought of a man is in this world, so he will be when he has departed,' and 'howsoever he meditate on him, such he becomes himself.' Nor can it be maintained that these texts refer only to meditation on the highest Self (without declaring anything as to the personal Self of the devotee); for the personal Self constitutes the body of Brahman which is the object of meditation, and hence itself falls under the category of object of meditation. The character of such meditation, therefore, is that it is a meditation on the highest Self as having for its body the individual Self, distinguished by freedom from evil and the other qualities mentioned in the teaching of Prajāpati. And hence the individual Self is, in such meditation, to be conceived (not as the ordinary Self, but) under that form which it has to attain (i.e. the pure form which belongs to it in the state of Release). 'As in the case of intuition'--i.e. as in the case of intuition of Brahman. As the intuition of Brahman has for its object the essential nature of Brahman, so the intuition of the individual soul also has for its object its permanent essential nature. In the case of sacrificial works the conception of the true nature of the Self forms an auxiliary factor. An injunction such as 'Let him who is desirous of the heavenly world sacrifice,' enjoins the performance of the sacrifice to the end of a certain result being reached; while the conception of the Self as possessing characteristics such as being a knowing subject, and so on--which are separate from the body--has the function of proving its qualification for works meant to effect results which will come about at some future time. So much only (i.e. the mere cognition of the Self as something different from the body) is required for works (as distinguished from meditations).

--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'being in the body.'