III-4 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 6

Topic 6 - Nevertheless works prescribed by the scriptures are useful as they are an indirect means to Knowledge

 Sutra 3,4.26

सर्वापेक्षा च यज्ञादिश्रुतेः, अश्ववत् ॥ २६ ॥

sarvāpekṣā ca yajñādiśruteḥ, aśvavat || 26 ||

sarvāpekṣā—There is the necessity of all works; ca—and; yajñādi-śruteḥ—for the scriptures prescribe sacrifices etc. (as means to Knowledge); aśvavat—even as the horse.

26. And there is the necessity of all works, for the scriptures prescribe sacrifices etc. (as means to the attainment of Knowledge, though they are unnecessary for the attainment of its results, i.e. Liberation), even as the horse (is used to draw a chariot and not for ploughing).

If knowledge (meditation), without any reference to sacrifices and the like, is able to bring about immortality, it must be capable of accomplishing this in the case of householders also; and the mention made of sacrifices and the rest in texts such as 'Brāhmaṇas seek to know him by the study of the Veda, by sacrifice, by gifts' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22), does not prove sacrifices and so on to be auxiliary to knowledge, since the stress there lies (not on the sacrifices and so on, but) on the desire of knowledge.-- Of this view the Sūtra disposes. In the case of householders, for whom the Agnihotra and so on are obligatory, knowledge presupposes all those works, since scriptural texts such as the one quoted directly state that sacrifices and the like are auxiliary to knowledge. 'They seek to know by means of sacrifices' can be said only if sacrifices are understood to be a means through which knowledge is brought about; just as one can say 'he desires to slay with a sword,' because the sword is admitted to be an instrument wherewith one can kill. What we have to understand by knowledge in this connexion has been repeatedly explained, viz. a mental energy different in character from the mere cognition of the sense of texts, and more specifically denoted by such terms as dhyāna or upāsanā, i.e. meditation; which is of the nature of remembrance (i.e. representative thought), but in intuitive clearness is not inferior to the clearest presentative thought (pratyakṣa); which by constant daily practice becomes ever more perfect, and being duly continued up to death secures final Release. Such meditation is originated in the mind through the grace of the Supreme Person, who is pleased and conciliated by the different kinds of acts of sacrifice and worship duly performed by the Devotee day after day. This is what the text 'they seek to know through the sacrifice' really means. The conclusion therefore is that in the case of householders knowledge has for its pre-requisite all sacrifices and other works of permanent and occasional obligation. 'As a horse.' As the horse, which is a means of locomotion for man, requires attendants, grooming, &c., so knowledge, although itself the means of Release, demands the co-operation of the different works. Thus the Lord himself says, 'The work of sacrifice, giving, and austerities is not to be relinquished, but is indeed to be performed; for sacrifices, gifts, and austerities are purifying to the thoughtful.' 'He from whom all beings proceed and by whom all this is pervaded- worshipping Him with the proper works man attains to perfection ' (Bha. Gī. XVIII, 5; 46).--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'the need of all.'

Sutra 3,4.27

शमदमाद्युपेतः स्यात्तथा’पि तु, तद्विधेस्तदङ्गतया तेषामवश्यानुष्ठेयत्वात् ॥ २७ ॥

śamadamādyupetaḥ syāttathā’pi tu, tadvidhestadaṅgatayā teṣāmavaśyānuṣṭheyatvāt || 27 ||

śama-damādi-upetaḥ syāt—One must possess calmness, self-control, and the like; tathā api—even if it be so; tu—but; tadvidheḥ—since they are enjoined; tadaṅgatayā—as helps to Knowledge; teṣām-avaśya-anuṣṭheyatvāt—and therefore they have necessarily to be observed.

27. But even if it be so (i.e. even though there is no injunction to do work to attain Knowledge in the text [Brih. 4. 4. 22]) one must possess calmness, self-control, and the like, since these are enjoined as helps to Knowledge, and therefore have necessarily to be observed.

The question is whether the householder also must practise calmness and so on, or not. The Pūrvapakshin says he must not, since the performance of works implies the activity of the outer and inner organs of action, and since calmness and so on are of an exactly opposite nature.--This view the Sūtra sets aside. The householder also, although engaged in outward activity, must, in so far as he possesses knowledge, practise calmness of mind and the rest also; for these qualities or states are by Scripture enjoined as auxiliaries to knowledge, 'Therefore he who knows this, having become calm, subdued, satisfied, patient, and collected, should see the Self in Self (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 23). As calmness of mind and the rest are seen, in so far as implying composure and concentration of mind, to promote the origination of knowledge, they also must necessarily be aimed at and practised. Nor can it be said that between works on the one side and calmness and so on on the other, there is an absolute antagonism; for the two have different spheres of application. Activity of the organs of action is the proper thing in the case of works enjoined; quiescence in the case of works not enjoined and such as have no definite purpose. Nor also can it be objected that in the case of works implying the activity of organs, calmness of mind and so on are impossible, the mind then being necessarily engrossed by the impressions of the present work and its surroundings; for works enjoined by Scripture have the power of pleasing the Supreme Person, and hence, through his grace, to cause the destruction of all mental impressions obstructive of calmness and concentration of mind. Hence calmness of mind and the rest are to be aimed at and practised by householders also.

--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'calmness' and so on.