III-4 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 2

Topic 2 - Sannyāsa is prescribed by the scriptures

 Sutra 3,4.18

परामर्शं जैमिनिरचोदना च, अपवदति हि ॥ १८ ॥

parāmarśaṃ jaiminiracodanā ca, apavadati hi || 18 ||

parāmarśaṃ—Mere reference; jaiminiḥ—Jaimini; acodanā—there is no injunction; ca—and; apavadati hi—because (the scripture) condemns (it).

18. Jaimini (thinks that in the texts referred to in the last Sutra there is) a mere reference (to Sannyāsa), and not injunction, because (other texts) condemn (Sannyāsa).

The argument for the three stages of life, founded on their mention in Vedic texts, has no force, since all those references are only of the nature of anuvāda. For none of those texts contain injunctive forms. The text 'There are three branches of sacred observance,' &c. (Kh. Up. II, 23, 1), is meant to glorify the previous meditation on Brahman under the form of the Praṇava, as appears from the concluding clause 'he who is firmly grounded in Brahman obtains immortality'; it therefore cannot mean to enjoin the three conditions of life as valid states. In the same way the text 'And those who in the forest practise penance and faith' refers to the statements previously made as to the path of the gods, and cannot therefore be meant to make an original declaration as to another condition of life. Scripture moreover expressly forbids that other condition, 'a murderer of men is he who removes the fire,' &c. There are therefore no conditions of life in which men are bound to observe chastity. This is the opinion of the teacher Jaimini.

Sutra 3,4.19

अनुष्ठेयं बादरायणः, साम्यश्रुतेः हि ॥ १९ ॥

anuṣṭheyaṃ bādarāyaṇaḥ, sāmyaśruteḥ || 19 ||

anuṣṭheyam—Ought to be gone through; bādarāyaṇaḥ—Bādarāyaṇa; sāmyaśruteḥ—for the scriptural text refers equally to all the four Āśramas.

19. Bādarāyaṇa (thinks that Sannyāsa or monastic life) also must be gone through, for the scriptural text (cited) refers equally; to all the four Āśramas (stages of life).

Bādarāyaṇa is of opinion that, in the same way as the condition of householdership, those other conditions of life also are obligatory; since in the section beginning 'there are three branches of sacred duty' all the three conditions of life are equally referred to, with a view to glorifying him who is firmly grounded in Brahman. The reference there made to the condition of the householder necessarily presupposes that condition to be already established and obligatory, and the same reasoning then holds good with regard to the other conditions mentioned. Nor must it be said that the special duties mentioned at the beginning of the section--sacrifice, study, charity, austerity, Brahmacārya--all of them belong to the state of the householder (in which case the text would contain no reference to the other conditions of life); for on that supposition the definite reference to a threefold division of duties, 'Sacrifice, &c. are the first, austerity the second, Brahmacārya the third,' would be unmeaning. The proper explanation is to take the words ' sacrifice, study, and charity' as descriptive of the condition of the householder; the word 'austerity' as descriptive of the duties of the Vaikhānasa and the wandering mendicant, who both practise mortification; and the word 'Brahmacārya' as referring to the duties of the Brahmachārin. The term 'Brahmasamstha' finally, in the concluding clause, refers to all the three conditions of life, as men belonging to all those conditions may be founded on Brahman. Those, the text means to say, who are destitute of this foundation on Brahman and only perform the special duties of their condition of life, obtain the worlds of the blessed; while he only who at the same time founds himself on Brahman attains to immortality.--In the text 'and those who in the forest,' &c. the mention made of the forest shows that the statement as to the path of the gods has for its presupposition the fact that that stage of life which is especially connected with the forest is one generally recognised.--So far it has been shown that the other stages of life are no less obligatory than that of the householder, whether we take the text under discussion as containing merely a reference to those stages (as established by independent means of proof) or as directly enjoining them. The next Sūtra is meant to show that the latter view is after all the right one.

Sutra 3,4.20

विधिर्वा धारणवत् ॥ २० ॥

vidhirvā dhāraṇavat || 20 ||

vidhiḥ—Injunction; —or rather; dhāraṇavat—as in the case of the carrying (of the sacrificial fuel).

20. Or rather (there is an) injunction (in this text), as in the case of the carrying (of the sacrificial fuel).

As the second part of the text 'Let him approach carrying the firewood below the ladle; for above he carries it for the gods' (which refers to a certain form of the Agnihotra), although having the form of an anuvāda, yet must be interpreted as an injunction, since the carrying of firewood above is not established by any other injunction; so the text under discussion also must be taken as an injunction of the different stages of life (which are not formally enjoined elsewhere). No account being taken of the text of the Jābālas, 'Having completed his studentship he is to become a householder,' &c., it is thus a settled conclusion that the texts discussed, although primarily concerned with other topics, must at the same time be viewed as proving the validity of the several conditions of life. From this it follows that the text enjoining the performance of the Agnihotra up to the end of life, and similar texts, are not universally binding, but concern those only who do not retire from worldly life.--The final conclusion therefore is that as the knowledge of Brahman is enjoined on those who lead a life of austerity (which does not require the performance of sacrifices and the like), it is not subordinate to works, but is in itself beneficial to man.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'benefit to man.'