III-3 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 6

Topic 6 - In all the meditations on Brahman qualities like ‘Bliss’ etc., which describe Its nature, are to be combined into one meditation, and not others

Sutra 3,3.11

आनन्दादयः प्रधानस्य ॥ ११ ॥

ānandādayaḥ pradhānasya || 11 ||

ānandādayaḥ—Bliss and other attributes; pradhānasya—of the subject (i.e. Brahman).

11. Bliss and other attributes (which depict the true nature) of the subject (i.e. Brahman) (have to be combined from all places in the meditation on Brahman).

The point to be decided here is whether, or not, the essential qualities of Brahman are to be included in all meditations on the highest Brahman.--Since there is no valid reason for including in a meditation those qualities which are not expressly mentioned in the section containing that meditation, only those qualities which are thus expressly mentioned should be included!--This primā facie view is negatived by the Sūtra. The clause, 'on account of non-difference,' has to be carried on from the preceding Sūtra. As the 'subject of the qualities,' i.e. Brahman is the same in all meditations, the qualities which do not exist apart from their subject, viz. bliss, and so on, are to be comprised in all meditations.--But for the same reason then such qualities as 'having joy for its head' (Taitt. Up. II, 5) would also have to be included in all meditations on Brahman!--This the next Sūtra negatives.

Sutra 3,3.12

प्रियशिरस्त्वाद्यप्राप्तिः, उपचयापचयौ हि भेदे ॥ १२ ॥

priyaśirastvādyaprāptiḥ, upacayāpacayau hi bhede || 12 ||

priyaśirastvādi—(Qualities like) joy being Its head etc.; aprāptiḥ—are not to be taken everywhere; upacayāpacayau—increase and decrease; hi—because; bhede—(are possible) in difference.

12. (Qualities like) joy being Its head etc. are not to be taken everywhere, (being subject to increase and decrease and) increase and decrease (are possible only) if there is difference (and not in Brahman in which there is non-difference).

The declaration that the essential qualities of Brahman are established for all meditations, does not imply that such attributes as 'having joy for its head' are equally established. For the latter are not qualities of Brahman, since they are mere elements in a figurative representation of Brahman under the form of an animal body. Otherwise, i.e. if Brahman really possessed different members, such as head, wings, and so on, it would be liable to increase and decrease, and this would be in conflict with texts such as 'the True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman.'--But if this reasoning holds good, then all the infinite qualities belonging to Brahman such as lordly power, generosity, compassion, and so on--all of which are incapable of existing apart from the subject to which they belong-would have to be comprehended in all those meditations on Brahman where they are not expressly mentioned; and this could not possibly be done, as those qualities are infinite in number.--This difficulty the next Sūtra removes.

Sutra 3,3.13

इतरे त्वर्थसामान्यात् ॥ १३ ॥

itare tvarthasāmānyāt || 13 ||

itare—Other attributes; tu—but; arthasāmānyāt—on account of identity of purport.

33. But other attributes (like Bliss etc. are to be combined) on account of identity of purport.

Those other qualities which are 'equal to the thing,' i. e. which are attributes determining the essential character of the thing, and therefore necessarily entering into the idea of the thing, must be included in all meditations, no less than the thing itself. To this class belong qualities such as true being, knowledge, bliss, purity, infinity, and so on. For of Brahman--which by texts such as 'that from which all these beings,' &c. had been suggested as the cause of the world--the essential definition is given in texts such as 'the True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman'; 'bliss is Brahman,' and others; and hence, in order that a true notion may be formed of Brahman as the object of meditation, such qualities as true being, bliss, and so on, have to be included in all meditations on Brahman. Such additional qualities, on the other hand, as e.g. compassion, which indeed cannot exist apart from the subject to which they belong, but are not necessary elements of the idea of Brahman, are to be included in those meditations only where they are specially mentioned. But, an objection is raised, if 'having joy for its head ' and the like are not qualities of Brahman, but merely serve the purpose of a figurative representation of Brahman, for what purpose then is this representation introduced? For if something is represented as something else, there must be some motive for doing so. Where, e.g. the sacred text compares the meditating devotee to a charioteer, its body and organs to a chariot, and so on, it does so for the purpose of assisting the subjection to the Self of the means of meditation, i.e. the body, the senses, and so on. But in the present case no such purpose is to be discerned, and hence it must needs be admitted that having joy for its head, and so on, are real qualities of Brahman.

--The next Sūtra disposes of this difficulty.