IV-4 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 3

Topic 3 - Characteristics of the soul that has attained the Nirguna Brahman

 Sutra 4,4.5

ब्राह्मेण जैमिनिः, उपन्यासादिभ्यः ॥ ५ ॥

brāhmeṇa jaiminiḥ, upanyāsādibhyaḥ || 5 ||

brāhmeṇa—As possessed of the attributes of Brahman; jaiminiḥ—(so says) Jaimini; upanyāsādibhyaḥ—on account of the reference etc.

5. (The liberated soul exists) as possessed of the attributes of Brahman; (so says) Jaimini, on account of the reference etc.

Owing to the fact that different texts give different accounts, the question now arises of what character that essential nature of the Self is in which it manifests itself on reaching Brahman. Is that nature constituted by freedom from evil and sin and the rest (i.e. the attributes enumerated Kh. Up. VIII, 7, 1); or by mere intelligence (vigñāna); or by both, there being no opposition between intelligence and those other attributes?--The teacher Jaimini holds that the soul manifests itself in its Brahman character, i.e. in a character constituted by freedom from sin, and so on. These latter attributes are, in the text of the 'small lotus,' mentioned as belonging to Brahman (Kh. Up. VIII, 1, 5), and may hence be referred to as the 'Brahman' character. And that this Brahman character is the character of the released soul also follows from 'suggestion and the rest.' For freedom from all evil and the rest are, in the teaching of Prajāpati, referred to as attributes of the soul (VIII, 7, 1). The 'and the rest' of the Sūtra refers to the activities of the released soul--laughing, playing, rejoicing, and so on (mentioned in VIII, 12, 3)--which depend on the power belonging to the soul in that state to realise all its ideas and wishes. It is for these reasons that Jaimini holds that mere intelligence does not constitute the true nature of the released soul.

Sutra 4,4.6

चितितन्मात्रेण तदात्मकत्वादित्यौडुलोमिः ॥ ६ ॥

cititanmātreṇa tadātmakatvādityauḍulomiḥ || 6 ||

citi-tanmātreṇa—Solely as Pure Intelligence; tat-ātmakatvāt—that being its true nature; iti—thus; auḍulomiḥ—Auḍulomi (thinks).

6. (The liberated soul exists) solely as Pure Intelligence, that being its true nature; thus Auḍulomi (thinks).

Intelligence (consciousness; caitanya) alone is the true nature of the soul, and hence it is in that character only that the released soul manifests itself; this is the view of the teacher Auḍulomi. That intelligence only constitutes the true being of the soul, we learn from the express statement 'As a lump of salt has neither inside nor outside, but is altogether a mass of taste; so this Self has neither inside nor outside, but is altogether a mass of knowledge' (Bri. Up. IV, 5, 13). When, therefore, the text attributes to the soul freedom from evil and the rest, it does not mean to predicate of it further positive qualities, but only to exclude all the qualities depending on avidyā--change, pleasure, pain, and so on--For these reasons Auḍulomi holds that the released soul manifests itself as mere intelligence.--Next the teacher Bādarāyaṇa determines the question by propounding his own view.

Sutra 4,4.7

एवमप्युपन्यासात् पूर्वभावादविरोधं बादरायणः ॥ ७ ॥

evamapyupanyāsāt pūrvabhāvādavirodhaṃ bādarāyaṇaḥ || 7 ||

evam—Thus; api—even; upanyāsāt—on account of reference; pūrvabhāvāt—the former qualities existing; avirodhaṃ—there is no contradiction; bādarāyaṇaḥ—(so says) Bâdarâyana.

7. Even if it be so (i.e. if the liberated soul exists as Pure Intelligence), on account of former qualities existing owing to reference (we can accept them from the relative standpoint, for) there is no contradiction (between the two); (so thinks) Bādarāyaṇa.

The teacher Bādarāyaṇa is of opinion that even thus, i.e. although the text declares the soul to have mere intelligence for its essential nature, all the same the previously stated attributes, viz. freedom from all sin, and so on, are not to be excluded. For the authority of a definite statement in the Upanishads proves them to exist ('That Self which is free from sin,' etc.); and of authorities of equal strength one cannot refute the other. Nor must you say that the case is one of essential contradiction, and that hence we necessarily must conclude that freedom from sin, and so on (do not belong to the true nature of the soul, but) are the mere figments of Nescience (from which the released soul is free). For as there is equal authority for both sides, why should the contrary view not be held? (viz. that the soul is essentially free from sin, etc., and that the caitanya is non-essential.) For the principle is that where two statements rest on equal authority, that only which suffers from an intrinsic impossibility is to be interpreted in a different way (i.e. different from what it means on the face of it), so as not to conflict with the other. But while admitting this we deny that the text which describes the Self as a mass of mere knowledge implies that the nature of the Self comprises nothing whatever but knowledge.--But what then is the purport of that text?--The meaning is clear, we reply; the text teaches that the entire Self, different from all that is non-sentient, is self-illumined, i.e. not even a small part of it depends for its illumination on something else. The fact, vouched for in this text, of the soul in its entirety being a mere mass of knowledge in no way conflicts with the fact, vouched for by other texts, of its possessing qualities such as freedom from sin and so on, which inhere in it as the subject of those qualities; not any more than the fact of the lump of salt being taste through and through--which fact is known through the sense of taste--conflicts with the fact of its possessing such other qualities as colour, hardness, and so on, which are known through the eye and the other sense-organs. The meaning of the entire text is as follows--just as the lump of salt has throughout one and the same taste, while other sapid things such as mangoes and other fruit have different tastes in their different parts, rind and so on; so the soul is throughout of the nature of knowledge or self-illumination.

--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'that which is like Brahman.'