IV-4 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 7

Topic 7 - The released soul which has attained Brahmaloka has all the lordly powers except the power of creation etc.

 Sutra 4,4.17

जगद्व्यापारवर्जम्, प्रकरणात्, असंनिहितत्वाच्च ॥ १७ ॥

jagadvyāpāravarjam, prakaraṇāt, asaṃnihitatvācca || 17 ||

jagadvyāpāravarjam—Except the power of creation etc.; prakaraṇāt—on account of (Iswara being) the subject-matter; asaṃnihitatvāt—on account of (released souls) not being mentioned; ca—and.

17. (The released soul attains all lordly powers) except the power of creation etc., on account of (Īśvara being) the subject-matter (of all texts where creation etc. are described), and (the released souls) not being mentioned (in that connection).

The doubt here presents itself whether the power of the released soul is a universal power such as belongs to the Supreme Person, extending to the creation, sustentation, and so on, of the worlds; or is limited to the intuition of the Supreme Person.--The Pūrvapakshin maintains the former view. For he says Scripture declares that the soul reaches equality with the Supreme Person: 'Free from stain he reaches the highest equality' (Mu. Up. III, 1, 3); and moreover Scripture ascribes to the released soul the power of realising all its thoughts. And these two conditions are not fulfilled unless the soul possess the special powers of the Lord with regard to the government, etc., of the world.--To this the Sūtra replies, 'with the exception of world-energy.' The released soul, freed from all that hides its true nature, possesses the power of intuitively beholding the pure Brahman, but does not possess the power of ruling and guiding the different forms of motion and rest belonging to animate and inanimate nature.--How is this known?--'From subject-matter.' For it is with special reference to the highest Brahman only that the text mentions ruling and controlling power over the entire world. 'That from whence these beings are born, that through which they live when born, that into which they enter at death, endeavour to know that; that is Brahman' (Taitt. Up. III, 1, 1). If such universal ruling and controlling power belonged to the released soul as well, it would not be used--as the text actually uses it--for defining Brahman; for all definition rests on special individual attributes. Analogously many other texts speak of universal ruling and controlling power with exclusive reference to the Supreme Person--'Being only this was in the beginning, etc.--it thought, may I be many' (Kh. Up. VI, 2); 'In the beginning this was Brahman, one only--it created the most excellent Kṣattra,' etc. (Bri. Up. I, 4, 11); 'In the beginning all this was Self, one only--it thought, let me send forth these worlds' (Ait. Ār. II, 4, 1, 1); 'There was Nārāyaṇa alone, not Brahmā, and so on.' 'He who dwelling within the earth,' etc. (Bri. Up. III, 7, 3).-- This also follows 'from non-proximity'; for in all those places which speak of world-controlling power the context in no way suggests the idea of the released soul, and hence there is no reason to ascribe such power to the latter.

Sutra 4,4.18

प्रत्यक्षोपदेशादिति, चेत्, न, आधिकारिकमण्डलस्थोक्तेः ॥ १८ ॥

pratyakṣopadeśāditi, cet, na, ādhikārikamaṇḍalasthokteḥ || 18 ||

pratyakṣa-upadeśāt—On account of direct teaching; iti cet—if it be said; na—not; ādhikārikamaṇḍalastha-ukteḥ—because the scripture declares (that the soul attains Him) who entrusts the sun etc. (with their offices) and resides in those spheres.

18. If it be said (that the released soul attains absolute powers) on account of direct teaching (of the scriptures), (we say) no, for the scriptures declare (that the released soul attains Him) who entrusts the sun etc. (with their offices) and resides in those spheres.

But, an objection is raised, certain texts directly declare that the released soul also possesses 'world- energy.' Compare 'He becomes a self-ruler; he moves in all worlds according to his wishes ' (Kh. Up. VII, 25, 2); 'He moves through these worlds, enjoying any food he wishes, and assuming any shape he wishes' (Taitt. Up. III, 10, 5). We cannot therefore accept the restriction laid down in the last Sūtra.--Not so, the latter half of the present Sūtra declares, 'on account of the texts declaring that which abides in the spheres of those entrusted with special functions.' The meaning of the texts quoted is that the released soul participates in the enjoyments connected with the spheres of Hiraṇyagarbha and other beings which are entrusted with special functions. The soul whose knowledge is no longer obstructed by Karman freely enjoys all the different worlds in which the power of Brahman manifests itself and thus is fully satisfied.--But if the released soul, no less than the soul implicated in the Samsāra, experiences enjoyments belonging to the sphere of change, it follows that the sum of its enjoyments is finite and limited, and that hence the released soul is no better off than the soul in the state of bondage!--Of this doubt the next Sūtra disposes.

Sutra 4,4.19

विकारवर्ति च तथा हि स्थितिमाह ॥ १९ ॥

vikāravarti ca tathā hi sthitimāha || 19 ||

vikāra-avarti—Which is beyond all effected things; ca—and; tathā—so; hi—because; sthitim—existence; āha—the scripture declares.

19. And (there is a form of the Supreme Lord) which is beyond all created things, because so the scripture declares (His) existence (in a twofold form).

That which is not within change, i.e. the highest Brahman which is free from all change and of an absolutely perfect and blessed nature--this, together with the manifestations of its glory, is what forms the object of consciousness for the released soul. The worlds which are subject to change thus form objects for that soul's experience, in so far as they form part of Brahman's manifestation. For Scripture declares that the released soul thus abides within, i.e. is conscious of the changeless highest Brahman, 'when he finds freedom from fear and an abode in that which is invisible, incorporeal, undefined, unsupported, then he obtains the fearless' (Taitt. Up. II, 7). And that the world is contained within Brahman as its manifestation is declared in the text, 'In that all the worlds abide, and no one goes beyond' (Ka. Up. II, 5, 8). The meaning of the text stating that the Released freely move in all worlds, and similar texts, therefore is only that the released soul while conscious of Brahman with its manifestations experiences also the enjoyments, lying within the sphere of change, which abide in the world of Hiraṇyagarbha and similar beings; not that it possesses the world-energies--creative, ruling, and so on--which are the distinctive attribute of the highest Lord.

Sutra 4,4.20

दर्शयतश्चैवं प्रत्यक्षानुमाने ॥ २० ॥

darśayataścaivaṃ pratyakṣānumāne || 20 ||

darśayataḥ—(The two) show; ca—and; evaṃ—thus; pratyakṣa-anumāne—perception and infcrerce-

20. And thus perception and inference show.

That the energies connected with the rule of the entire world are exclusive attributes of the highest Person, Scripture and Smriti alike declare. Compare scriptural texts such as 'From fear of him the wind blows,' etc. (Taitt. Up. II, 8, 1); 'By the command of that Imperishable one sun and moon stand, held apart' (Bri. Up. III, 9); 'He is the lord of all, the king of all beings, the protector of all beings' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 22). And Smriti texts such as 'With me as Supervisor, Prakriti brings forth the Universe of the movable and the immovable, and for this reason the world ever moves round'; 'Pervading this entire Universe by a portion of mine I do abide' (Bha. Gī. IX, 10; X, 42). Scripture and Smriti likewise declare that of the bliss which is enjoyed by the released soul the highest Person alone is the cause--'For he alone causes blessedness' (Taitt. Up. II, 7); 'He who serves me with unswerving devotion, surpasses these qualities and is fitted for becoming one with Brahman. For I am the abode of Brahman, of infinite immortality, of everlasting virtue, and of absolute bliss' (Bha. Gī. XIV, 26-27). The exalted qualities of the soul--freedom from evil and sin and so on--which manifest themselves in the state of Release no doubt belong to the soul's essential nature; but that the soul is of such a nature fundamentally depends on the Supreme Person, and on him also depends the permanency of those qualities; they are permanent in so far as the Lord himself on whom they depend is permanent. It is in the same way that all the things which constitute the means of enjoyment and sport on the part of the Lord are permanent in so far as the Lord himself is permanent. It thus appears that the equality to the Lord which the released soul may claim does not extend to the world-ruling energies.

Sutra 4,4.21

भोगमात्रसाम्यलिङ्गाच्च ॥ २१ ॥

bhogamātrasāmyaliṅgācca || 21 ||

bhogamātra-sāmya-liṅgāt—Because of indications of equality with respect to enjoyment only; ca—and.

21. And because of the indications (in the scriptures) of equality (of the released soul with the Lord) only with respect to enjoyment.

The previous conclusion is confirmed by the further fact that the text directly teaches the released soul to be equal to Brahman in so far only as enjoying direct insight into the true nature of Brahman. 'He reaches all objects of desire, together with the all-knowing Brahman' (Taitt. Up. II, 1, 1).--The conclusion thus is that we have to shape our ideas as to the powers of the released soul in accordance with what the texts say as to the Lord only possessing the power of ruling and controlling the entire world, and that hence the latter power cannot be attributed to the soul.--But if the powers of the released soul altogether depend on the Lord, it may happen that He, being independent in all his doings, may will the released soul to return into the Saṁsāra.--Of this doubt the next Sūtra disposes.

Sutra 4,4.22

अनावृत्तिः शब्दात्, अनावृत्तिः शब्दात् ॥ २२ ॥

anāvṛttiḥ śabdāt, anāvṛttiḥ śabdāt || 22 ||

anāvṛttiḥ—Non-return; śabdāt—on account of scriptural declaration.

22. (There is) no return (for these released souls); on account of scriptural declaration (to that effect).

We know from Scripture that there is a Supreme Person whose nature is absolute bliss and goodness; who is fundamentally antagonistic to all evil; who is the cause of the origination, sustentation, and dissolution of the world; who differs in nature from all other beings, who is all-knowing, who by his mere thought and will accomplishes all his purposes; who is an ocean of kindness as it were for all who depend on him; who is all-merciful; who is immeasurably raised above all possibility of any one being equal or superior to him; whose name is the highest Brahman. And with equal certainty we know from Scripture that this Supreme Lord, when pleased by the faithful worship of his Devotees--which worship consists in daily repeated meditation on Him, assisted by the performance of all the practices prescribed for each caste and āśrama--frees them from the influence of Nescience which consists of karman accumulated in the infinite progress of time and hence hard to overcome; allows them to attain to that supreme bliss which consists in the direct intuition of His own true nature: and after that does not turn them back into the miseries of Samsāra. The text distinctly teaching this is 'He who behaves thus all his life through reaches the world of Brahman and does not return' (Kh. Up. VIII, 15). And the Lord himself declares 'Having obtained me great-souled men do not come into rebirth, the fleeting abode of misery; for they have reached the highest perfection. Up to the world of Brahma the worlds return again, O Arjuṇa; but having attained to me, O son of Kunti, there is no rebirth' (Bha. Gi. VIII, 1, 5-16). As, moreover, the released soul has freed itself from the bondage of karman, has its powers of knowledge fully developed, and has all its being in the supremely blissful intuition of the highest Brahman, it evidently cannot desire anything else nor enter on any other form of activity, and the idea of its returning into the Samsāra therefore is altogether excluded. Nor indeed need we fear that the Supreme Lord when once having taken to himself the Devotee whom he greatly loves will turn him back into the Samsāra. For He himself has said, 'To the wise man I am very dear, and dear he is to me. Noble indeed are all these, but the wise man I regard as my very Self. For he, with soul devoted, seeks me only as his highest goal. At the end of many births the wise man goes to me, thinking all is Vāsudeva. Such great-souled men are rarely met with' (Bha. Gī. VII, 17-19).--The repetition of the words of the Sūtra indicates the conclusion of this body of doctrine. Thus everything is settled to satisfaction.

--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'with the exception of the world-energies.'

Here terminates the fourth pāda of the fourth adhyāya of the commentary on the Śarīraka Mimāṁsa, composed by the reverend teacher Rāmānuja.

This completes the fourth adhyāya, and the whole work; and the entire body of doctrine is thus brought to a conclusion.