III-4 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 9

Topic 9 - Those who stand midway between two Āśramas are also entitled to Knowledge

 Sutra 3,4.36

अन्तरा चापि तु, तद्दृष्टेः ॥ ३६ ॥

antarā cāpi tu, taddṛṣṭeḥ || 36 ||

antarā—(Persons standing) in between (two Āśramas); ca—and; api tu—also; taddṛṣṭeḥ—such cases being seen.

36. And (persons standing) in between (two Āśramas) are also (entitled to Knowledge), because such cases are seen.

It has been declared that the members of the four āśramas have a claim to the knowledge of Brahman, and that the duties connected with each āśrama promote knowledge. A doubt now arises whether those men also who, on account of poverty and so on, stand outside the āśramas are qualified for the knowledge of Brahman, or not.--They are not, the Pūrvapakshin holds, since such knowledge is to be attained in a way dependent on the special duties of each āśrama; while those who do not belong to an āśrama are not concerned with āśrama duties.--This view the Sūtra rejects. Those also who do not stand within any āśrama are qualified for knowledge, 'because that is seen,' i.e. because the texts declare that men such as Raikva, Bhīshma, Samvarta and others who did not belong to āśrama were well grounded in the knowledge of Brahman. It can by no means be maintained that it is āśrama duties only that promote knowledge; for the text 'by gifts, by penance, by fasting, and so on' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22) distinctly declares that charity also and other practices, which are not confined to the āśramas, are helpful towards knowledge. In the same way as in the case of those bound to chastity--who, as the texts show, may possess the knowledge of Brahman--knowledge is promoted by practices other than the Agnihotra and the like, so--it is concluded--in the case of those also who do not belong to any āśrama knowledge may be promoted by certain practices not exclusively connected with any āśrama, such as prayer, fasting, charity, propitiation of the divinity, and so on.

Sutra 3,4.37

अपि च स्मर्यते ॥ ३७ ॥

api ca smaryate || 37 ||

api ca—Further; smaryate—the Smriti records such cases.

37. The Smriti also records such cases.

Smriti also declares that men not belonging to an āśrama grow in knowledge through prayer and the like. 'Through prayer also a Brāhmaṇa may become perfect. May he perform other works or not, one who befriends all creatures is called a Brāhmaṇa' (Manu Smri. II, 17).

Sutra 3,4.38

विशेषानुग्रहश्च ॥ ३८ ॥

viśeṣānugrahaśca || 38 ||

viśeṣa-anugrahaḥ—Favour due to special works; ca—and.

38. And special works favour (Knowledge).

The above conclusion is founded not only on Reasoning and Smriti; but Scripture even directly states that knowledge is benefited by practices not exclusively prescribed for the āśramas, 'By penance, abstinence, faith, and knowledge he is to seek the Self (Pr. Up. I, 10).

Sutra 3,4.39

अतस्त्वितरज्ज्यायो लिङ्गाच्च ॥ ३९ ॥

atastvitarajjyāyo liṅgācca || 39 ||

ataḥ—Than this; tu—but; itarat—the other; jyāyoḥ—better; liṅgāt—because of the indicatory marks; ca—and.

39. But better than this is the other (state of being in some Āśrama or other), (being maintained by the Śruti and the Smriti) and because of the indicatory marks (in the Śruti and the Smriti).

Better than to be outside the āśramas is the condition of standing within an āśrama. The latter state may be due to misfortune; but he who can should be within an āśrama, which state is the more holy and beneficial one. This follows from inference only, i.e. Smriti; for Smriti says, 'A Brāhmaṇa is to remain outside the āśramas not even for one day.' For one who has passed beyond the stage of Brahmacārya, or whose wife has died, the impossibility to procure a wife constitutes the misfortune (which prevents him from belonging to an āśrama).

--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'widowers.'