the brahma sutra

The Brahma Sutra HOME PAGE Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18 BG01 BG02 BG03 BG04 BG05 BG06 BG07 BG08 BG09 BG10 BG11 BG12 BG13 BG14 BG15 BG16 BG17 BG18 V.Krishnaraj The following presentation draws from the study of various interpretations of The Brahma Sutra (B.S.). The meaning and definition of Sanskrit words are according to Sanskrit dictionary by Monier Williams. The commentators are many and interpretations vary according to the color of their belief. Sankara's commentary (C.E. 788-820) is the foremost among all. Ramanuja's commentary is also included. Bhadrayana's sutras are mostly dvaita rather than the monistic view of early Upanishads. The author of Brahma Sutra is Bhadrayana who composed it in second century B.C. Some believe that it was composed between C.E. 200 and 450. A sutra is concise and lucid, though it is not intelligible without commentary. Sutra, being a string (of words), and Suture are cognate words. Each word is pregnant with meaning; redundancy is cut to the bone so that it hangs like a skeleton with a delicate thread holding them all together; it needs learned commentators to elucidate its meaning and animate it. The B.S. is the string that runs through the floral essence of Vedanta; it is a garland of aphorisms. It has four chapters (adhyayas); each chapter has four parts (Padas); each part has sections (adhikaranas); each adhikarana has variable number of aphorisms. Each adhikarana deals with Vishaya1, Visaya2,

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Page 1: The Brahma Sutra

The Brahma Sutra


Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18

BG01 BG02 BG03 BG04 BG05 BG06 BG07 BG08  BG09 BG10 BG11 BG12 BG13 BG14 BG15 BG16 BG17 BG18


    The following presentation draws from the study of various interpretations of The Brahma Sutra (B.S.). The meaning and definition of Sanskrit words are according to Sanskrit dictionary by Monier Williams. The commentators are many and interpretations vary according to the color of their belief. Sankara's commentary (C.E. 788-820) is the foremost among all. Ramanuja's commentary is also included.  Bhadrayana's sutras are mostly dvaita rather than the monistic view of early Upanishads.

    The author of Brahma Sutra is Bhadrayana who composed it in second century B.C.  Some believe that it was composed between C.E. 200 and 450. A sutra is concise and lucid, though it is not intelligible without commentary. Sutra, being a string (of words), and Suture are cognate words. Each word is pregnant with meaning; redundancy is cut to the bone so that it hangs like a skeleton with a delicate thread holding them all together; it needs learned commentators to elucidate its meaning and animate it. The B.S. is the string that runs through the floral essence of Vedanta; it is a garland of aphorisms. It has four chapters (adhyayas); each chapter has four parts (Padas); each part has sections (adhikaranas); each adhikarana has variable number of aphorisms. Each adhikarana deals with Vishaya1, Visaya2, Purva Paksha3, Siddhanta4 and Samgati5 (subject matter1; doubt2; prima facie view and first statement of an objection or opponent's view3; established end, final Truth4; coming together of all sections5. If an adhikarana has many sutras, the first is mukhya (chief) and the others are guna (subordinate or secondary element or a strand).

    It talks about Brahman and the individual soul in many contexts, colors, views, interpretations. Upanishads form the basis for his work. The Brahman is the cause and the soul is the effect; thus there is

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commonality and yet a difference between the two. (bheda-abheda = difference and non-difference). The allegory used is the Fire and its sparks. When the soul merges with the Self or Brahman, the difference is lost and unity is established. Sankara is of firm conviction that Upanishads should be interpreted in non-dualistic terms; any dualistic suggestions in Upanishads face objections and counter arguments from Sankara. His views on Brahman, the soul and the world are depicted here as follows: 1. The world is a product of something that is unproduced or a primordial substance which has no beginning. That source is Brahman; if Brahman is not the immediate source, we have to follow the logic of Infinite Regress (Regressus ad infinitum = an-avastha; ana-avastha = unstable condition) and come to the source at an infinite distance backwards. 2. This universe is so complicated and orderly, that it could not have come from a non-intelligent source. 3. Brahman is the proximate source of consciousness also known as eye-witness (SAkshin) of the individual self. The Light of consciousness shines on objects of cognition or Indriyas, through which we perceive the world. Brahman is a non-clinical entity beyond the reach of human intelligence and is the eponym for Parabrahman, Mayabrahman and Avidyabrahman; the last two words are coined by me to show the linearity of the related products. Parabrahman is known simply as Brahman; Mayabrahman as Isvara; Avidyabrahman as the individual soul (you and me). Isvara, a clinical entity, that we commonly call as God, whom we pray, supplicate to, and worship. He uses Maya, the source of the building blocks of the individual body and its soul and the inanimate and insentient world. Isvara or Mayabrahman is the surrogate of Parabrahman, regarded as the material cause (upadana karana), the efficient cause (nimitta karana) and Sahakari karana (auxiliary cause). Brahman, being both, is compared to clay and the potter. There are many kinds of pots and many kinds of jewelry, but only one potter or one jeweler; thus Brahman is one and his manifestations are many; he makes many pots out of his own Maya. He is SatChitAnanda, Being, Consciousness and Bliss. Commentators say that he is the potter, the clay, the instrument and the pot; in this instance the instrument (the potter's wheel) is his Sakti. Potter theme is very common among commentators who explain the creation of the world.

The above theme as expressed by Tirumular.

Tirumular says:

●The potter who mounts the clay on the potter’s wheel makes shapes which fancy his mind. Like the potter, our Lord Nandi shapes the world in every which way he wants.

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Siddhantists say that Maya is the clay (material cause, upadana karana), Sakti is the potter’s wheel (instrumental cause, Sahakari karana), and God (the efficient cause, nimitta karana) is the maker of world and beings.

Saivites say, Siva does not create this universe out of nothing. He is the instrumental or efficient cause (Nimitta Karana); his sakti is the cooperating cause (Sahakari Karana); Maya is the material cause (Upadana Karana). The body and the organs with their functions are evolutes of Maya and its Tattvas.  He is also Akarana, meaning that there is no cause other than Him.

upadana karana = material or proximate cause; Sahakari karana = concurrent, expedient, cooperating cause; Nimitta karana = instrumental or efficient cause.

He is Satyam, Jnanam and Anantam (Truth, Knowledge and Infinity). These are not attributes of Brahman, but the very nature of Brahman.

    Brahman is self-effulgent and a comprehender; all objects wait to be shined on for cognition, lack consciousness and belong to the category of the comprehended. The world is non-self substance (anatma-vastu) and finds its source and purpose in the Self of which it is an object. Disconnected from the Self, the world does not exist. Panchadasi says that Brahman sees his image in the mirror (Pratibimba); that image is the world and beings. Brahman is self-existent; the world of objects exists for Brahman, Isvara and the individual soul. PANCHADASI (ATMAN AND BRAHMAN) Brahman is Real and the world of objects is less real. Sankara compares Brahman and the world to the rope and the snake.  When you see a rope in the dark, you mistake it for a snake. The phenomenal world (the snake) superimposes on the absolute (the rope). Once ignorance dissipates, realization sets in. That is how Maya manipulates the phenomenal world. The snake depends on the rope, as the world depends on Brahman; if there is no rope, there is no snake; if there is no Brahman, there is no phenomenal world. The world is both real and unreal at the same time. The world is Brahman-dependent, as the snake is rope-dependent. The world and the snake by themselves (their intrinsic merit) are not real and non-existent; they are real if considered in the context of primary essential Brahman and primary essential rope. Isvara has control over Maya whose effect is on the mind. Since there is only one Absolute pervading the whole world, there is no second: The Absolute or the Atman and the manifested universe are one giant organism. There is no individuality: Individuality is apparent only because of the mind; if there is no mind, there is no perception of individuality. If you look beyond time and space, the Absolute is One who is real, immutable,

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all-pervasive; that is Advaitism or Monism of Sankara. We are all part of that oneness. Vivekananda says: “I am in everything, in everybody. I am in all lives and I am the universe.”    


                      Section 1:  The desire to know Brahman

1.1.1 Athaato brahma-jijinaasaa.

athaato:  now, then, therefore, afterwards; brahma-jijunaasaa: a want or desire (a compelling need) to know Brahman.

    The word atah in this context demands a precondition (antecedent) that augments the desire to know Brahman. 1. ability to discriminate between the eternal and the non-eternal; 2. Indifference to enjoyment of fruits of actions in this life and hereafter; 3. Sama, Dama, titiksa, uparati and sraddha (a level mind, self-restraint, endurance [and patience] of dualities like pain and pleasure, heat and cold, desisting from sensual enjoyment, having faith in Truth); and 4. mumukshutva, desire of liberation or final emancipation. Purporting, meeting and satisfying these conditions are condensed in this word atah.

    It is argued that Karma is full of pain and pleasure; Brahman is above karma, full of Bliss; that is reason enough to know Brahman. Before anyone desires to know Brahman, one has to have moral and spiritual attributes, without which Brahman is not knowable or attainable. Brahman is Grace; knowing him earns benefits. Madhava suggests three paths: Path of enquiry, study of Brahman and Vedas; path of six morals; devotion to Lord and Vairagya.  As science needs validation of principles, religion needs scrutiny of its revealed wisdom. Since Brahman is Pure Consciousness and absolute Intelligence, it takes direct intuition to know Brahman, which is mistaken for a Sarira (body), Indriyas (sense organs), and Manas (mind). In truth, Brahman or Self is different and distinct from the above. Self is subject and the rest is object; Self is self-luminous like the sun and therefore imparts light to other objects. The Jiva (individual soul) is a derivative of Atman or Brahman and thus what is undifferentiated, indifferent and attributeless, becomes differentiated, determinate and limited; the subject Brahman (the Pure Universal Self) emits Jivas which are laden with Upadis. Upadi = limitation; a substitute which has the mere name or appearance. When the indifferent becomes the determinate with the acquisition of body and organs, it (jiva) acquires the ability to act and enjoy. If the Jiva wants salvation or to merge back into the Self, Brahman or Atma, it should be able to discriminate between the Self and the not-self (Atma-anatma-vastu-viveka). Atma-anatma-vastu-

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viveka = Self-not-self-Essence-discrimination. The ability to tell the difference between the Self and the non-self helps in attaining Moksa.

    Ramanuja (R) regards Brahman as Narayana, full of auspicious qualities and free from imperfections. He is the creator, preserver and destroyer. The world is real. Sankara's thoughts rest mostly on Parabrahman, the transcendent entity, while R always talks about Isvara, the manifest entity.  To put it simply, Sankara is a dreamer and Ramanuja is an of advocate of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).  For Sankara, Universe is a dream and the dreamer is Brahman; Sankara and Brahman are one; remember the Universe of Brahman is His own reflection in the mirror.  For Ramanuja, the universe is a palpable breathing reality which is alive and kicking and comes from Brahman.  Brahman and Ramanuja are one and yet the internal complexities of Brahman makes Him stand out from him; it is Oneness with a qualified difference.

                        Section 2: God the Hypostasis of the world

1.1.2   janmaadyasya yatah.

     janmaadi = source; asya = of this; yatah = from which.

    Brahman is the origin of the world.

    Brahman is the creator, maintainer and destroyer of this world. Madhava and others add to the primary three qualities of Brahman other attributes: Niyati (control, destiny, fate), Jnana (knowledge, enlightenment), āvrti (ignorance), bandha (bondage), moksa  (liberation), tirobhavam (obscuration), anugraha (grace). This expanded list covers  Madhava's, Srikantha's  and Saiva Siddhanta's elements. 

    The embodied souls come from Brahman, live by Brahman, die by Brahman, and return to Brahman. The recent tsunami (12/2004) destroyed and impaired the lives and well-being of many lives and nations.  Everybody tried to explain the events. The geologists explain the physical nature of plate tectonics and the creation of tsunami waves. Science and Spirit for the most part have parallel course and very seldom converge. Science has difficulty with things it cannot hold, see, hear, taste and measure. Science is good in explaining how things happen and not the why of it. The purveyors of karma see the resolution of Prarabhda karma on a massive scale where every life or limb follows its destiny. Since karma is self-made, karma puts people in and out of danger. Karma brings death and deprivation on an

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individual, national and international level and scale with precise resolution. The Lord says, I am Time, the great destroyer of the world and the people. The Lord, according to the Hindus, does not for the most part interfere with the resolution of Karma but makes sure its integrity and function are well preserved.

Arjuna sees with shock and awe the destructive power of the Lord in his Universal form.

From Bhagavad Gita

11.23: O Maha-Baho, Mighty-armed One, on seeing your great form with many mouths, eyes, many arms, thighs and legs, many stomachs, many formidable teeth, the worlds shake in fear; and so do I.  11.24: On seeing, You glow in many colors and touch the sky with wide-open mouth and large lustrous eyes, my soul deep inside shakes in fear. I find neither support nor tranquility, O Vishnu.  11.25: On seeing your formidable teeth, your faces, the Time's (all-consuming) fires, I know not my sense of direction and find no refuge. Give me grace, O Lord of Gods and the Refuge of the Universe.  11.26: The sons of Dhrtarastra together with hosts of kings, Bhishma, Drona, Suta Putra (Karna) and chief warriors on our side, (continued)   11.27: are rushing and entering your fearful (mouths) with formidable teeth. Some of them are caught between (your) teeth with heads crushed (to a pulp).   11.28: As many (swift) currents of rivers rush towards (Abhimukhah) the ocean, so are the brave men of this world entering Your flaming mouths.  11.29: Moths enter a blazing fire at full speed for destruction, and similarly, all people enter your mouths at full speed for their destruction.   11.30: As you devour all people from all directions by Your flaming mouths, You are licking. Your terrible radiance filling the whole world is scorching it, O Vishnu.   11.31: Tell me, who are You with a terrible form? Salutations to You, O Supreme God, have mercy. I wish to know You, the primal One, for I do not know your activity.

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 11.32: Sri Bhagavan said: I am Time, the great destroyer of the world and the people. Even without your active engagement or participation, all these warriors in the opposing armies will cease to exist.

    The complexity of natural forces, the relative position and stability of stars, planets and moons of the universe, the expansion and destruction of the far-off  places in the universe are beyond human comprehension and mind; that leads to a Being of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence, whom we call God.

 The Parabrahman is Primary essential Brahman (svarupa laksana--intrinsic essential qualities of a vastu or object--svarupa = own form; Laksana = marks or attributes); Isvara is accidental Brahman or Mayabrahman with Tatastha Laksana.  Tatastha: a property distinct from its nature and yet that by which it is known; spiritual essence; declivity or downward sloping side of anything. For practical purposes Parabrahman is Primary Essential Brahman, while Isvara is secondary (accidental) Brahman, a subsidiary, or a surrogate. Isvara being the clinical entity is the Creator, maintainer and destroyer of the world. Tatastha Laksana's main attribute is possession of Maya.

Tatastha =  is derived from Tatas meaning a slope, a bank, margin. The bank of a river is  land and river; It is covered with water when the river rises, it is dry when the river recedes; thus the bank is both land and water; it belongs to both.  Isvara's Tatastha or marginal transitional Sakti, maintains  a relationship with both the spiritual word and material world.  Likewise, Jiva has one foot in water (spirit) and one foot on land (matter). Brahman's svarupa Lakshana is transcendental and eternal, while Isvara's tatastha Lakshana is accidental.  No one really knows the (svarupa Lakshana) qualities of Parabrahman. Let me give you an example.  Water in liquid state is its intrinsic natural own state in ambient room temperature; that is Svarupa Lakshana (primary essential physical quality of water). When you submit water to cold stress, it becomes ice and stays as ice as long as the cold stress is maintained; that is Tatastha Lakshana (accidental or marginal quality).  Accidental quality is transient; once the cold stress is removed the ice cube comes back to its original liquid state of water.  Likewise Mayabrahman or Isvara reverts back to Parabrahman, when He is not creating, maintaining or destroying the universe.  Jiva also has Tatastha Lakshana because he is part spiritual and part matter. 

Let us take another example. 

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Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus trains people to be clowns. When Mr. XYZ is home with his family, he is his own man and nobody's clown; that is Svarupa Lakshana.  When he is all padded, painted, powdered, dressed and fitted with clownish nose, ears, oversize shoes, he becomes a clown for the duration of his act; that is Tatastha Lakshana.

Tatastha: accidental, subsidiary, incidental, marginal (one foot in the world of spirit and one foot in the world of matter.)

    Madhava Acharya does not like characterization of Brahman as Tatastha Brahman.  Creation is not an accident but an essential function of Brahman; thus the word tatastha is inappropriate. He cites an example: If the crow sits on a house, its association with the house is an accidental event. Brahman's feature, creation, is an essential element in defining Brahman and not an accidental element.  Creation, maintenance and destruction are the major criteria of Brahman in modern terminology. Among Saiva Siddhantists, the major criteria are five: creation, maintenance, destruction, obscuration, and Grace. He believes that God or Isvara is separate and distinct from the souls and the inanimate objects.

    Is creation of the world and beings an accident? My interpolation: It is like people talking about planned pregnancy and unplanned and accidental pregnancy; God cannot be associated with unplanned anything; accidents are the stuff of man and not of God.


           Section 3: The source of Scripture

1.1.3  saastra yonitvaat

saastra = Sastra; sacred scriptures; yonitvaat = being the source or cause

Purport: Scriptures are the source of knowledge of Brahman.

This sutra gives two possible meanings: 1. (Brahman) the cause of the sacred scripture, 2. Scripture (says that Brahman) is the cause. In the first interpretation, Brahman is the cause or source of revelation of scriptures; in the second, it means that Sacred scriptures say that Brahman is the cause or creator of the world. Both statements say that Brahman is the cause of the world. It is said that Brahman revealed the Sastras, which say that the Brahman created this world. Sastras are the intermediary messengers between Brahman and the world.

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According to Sastras, Brahman was the revealer and not the formulator of Sastras, meaning they existed even before Isvara. No one knows who formulated the Sastras; they are like the natural phenomena like magnetism, gravity and so on and so forth. Sastras came out of Isvara like the exhalation of breath. Isvara brings them out at each Kalpa, as they existed in previous Kalpa.

    Sacred texts are subject to scrutiny as science scrutinizes nature, biology, and the rest. In the modern world there are at least two kinds of people: 1. those who want scientific proof of the existence of God 2. those who are ready to take up arms to punish those who don't believe in (their) god.  Not even Sarasvati, the goddess of speech, has adequate words to describe Brahman; it is like describing the taste of sugarcane juice, dates, jaggery and milk to some one who never tasted any of them.  What is beyond perception by the senses is Brahman and It is described in Vedas.  All means of endeavor to prove the existence of Brahman are futile; scriptural authority is the only evidence of his existence.  You cannot prove the existence of a microbe unless one has the ability to culture, grow and see them under the microscope.  The philosophy of enquiry has six doctrines: Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta (logic, apprehension by differences, Tattvas, Yoking, inquiry, Vedic ritual being the means of salvation. All of them provide indirect evidence or subjective experience of Brahman, which cannot be put in words.

                            Section 4: Concordance of Texts

1.1.4     tat tu samanvayaat

    tat = that; tu = but;  samanvayaat = by virtue of concordance or coordination of different texts.

    samanvayaat = Sam + anv + aya = connection, association, linkage, reconciliation.

Purport: Sacred texts reveal Brahman

    That Brahman is described in the sacred texts in different ways. Where they agree in their characterization of Brahman is what Brahman is. Brahman is subjected like every entity to the following rigorous measurements. 1. Concordance and linkages follow a pattern. There must be concordance between original conception (upakrama) and conclusion (Upasamhara). 2. reduplication, repetition (Abhyasa), 3. Incomparable, not having existed before (apurvata)   4. End result (Phala), 5. Explanation of meaning (Arthavada). 6, connection and

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combination (Yukti). Scientists work in their labs using these criteria which the Sastras advocated eons ago.

Brahman satisfies all six criteria and possibly more that a human hasn't thought of. Criterion 3: He is incomparable; He is second to none. Thus, apprehension of Brahman through rituals and logical earth-bound reasoning is impossible. Different religions seem to compartmentalize man in to several disparate groups. At the time Brahma Sutra was written, there were many disparate doctrines. To bring them all together and finding a common ground is reconciliation (Samanvaya). This is true today as it was eons ago. Brahman here is a generic name for the Force we are trying to understand; some call it God. He is the Centripetal Point, towards which all religions and their people march in search of him. They call Him by different names. God is one, His names are many; many are the paths to reach Him; one is no better than the next one. Different seers, prophets, and messiahs individually take them to God by whatever route he has laid out for his people. Thus, there is no one road, but only one God. That is Samanvaya. People jumping from one road to another road in the act of conversion hoping they will get to the Centripetal Point faster is a questionable notion.

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Hinduism contains in it the de facto basis of all religions; it is the confluence of all religions and yet recognizes the importance of each religion. To be a Hindu is to be a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew....  It encompasses religious principles of all religions. Hinduism is a rainbow of all religions.

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Diversity is built into every aspect of humanity. In olden days, the Seers, the Rishis, the Sadhus, the Prophets and Messiahs thought of the universal nature of God and yet were pressured by local politics. Every one of them thought his was the right path. India was the cauldron of many faiths and beliefs from time immemorial; there was tension among and between groups; they had to find a common ground, tolerant of each other. Accommodation  and absorption of various faiths in to one unifying faith resulted in Sanatana Dharma (eternal order), the proper name for Hinduism. Hinduism became one religion that accommodates and contains all religions and their precepts under one umbrella; thus, Hinduism contains all ennobling features and ideals that other religions advance. And yet some ugly excrescences (to use the words of Gandhi) grew on its body such as caste system, which though outlawed by the constitution is still practiced to this day. It is the merciless upper class suppressing the Dalits for their own advantage in education, jobs, and home and land ownership. Some Hindu religious leaders still maintain the so-called Varnasrama Dharma and want to keep each caste in its own tight compartment, so that the upper class stays on the top and the lower class stays in the bottom. This they call, by an oxymoron, Dharma, meaning justice.  Recently (5/2006) students of higher (medical) education protested against Government's decision to continue to admit lower caste students on a quota basis. No one knows where justice and equality stand in their dispute with the Government.  The lower castes were the neglected bunch until independence; since then, they received preferential treatment for admission into medical colleges on a quota basis.  The protesting higher caste students with

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the backing of parents and medical association question the Government's decision to continue the preferential treatment. The lower castes question the validity of the protest for they were the suppressed class for thousands of years; a few decades of preferential treatment will not set things right, according to their claim.

Sati, the old practice of death of the wife in the funeral pyre of her deceased husband was banned for ever by the British during the the Governor-Generalship of Lord William Bentinck (1825-1835) under the moral influence of Ram Mohan Roy. . Thank you, Brits!  Animal sacrifice still continues, though less than before. Human sacrifices were not unheard of in the ages past. Another blot on the Indian psyche is the bride-burning which the groom and his family perpetrate on the bride for having not brought hoards of riches (dowry). The revival of Hinduism owes its thanks to the Acharyas, Alwars, and Nayanars, who brought the converted Hindus back to their fold from Jainism and Buddhism, which have excellent credentials to stand on their own merit.

            Section 5: Verses 5-11: Pradhana's (Matter) secondary role

1.1.5   iiksater naasabdam

        iiksteh = on account of seeing; na = not; asabdam = not  founded on the scripture.

    Sabdam is sound; asabdam is that not in the sound. Sound here means oral tradition or verbal authority.

    Purport: On account of seeing, creation did not come from Matter as attested in scriptures.

Pradhana and the Self are not the same; they are not equipotent. Seeing induces thought which along with Will and Knowledge induces Action. Upanishads do not mention that Pradhana (matter) is the cause of the universe. Pradhana is not the one that takes the individual soul to salvation. All Upanishads concur on Brahman as the origin of the universe and beings and the source of revealed wisdom.

This is called Iccha, Jnana and Kriya (Will, Knowledge, and Action) by Saiva Siddhantists; Isvara exercises these three faculties for the act of creation. Matter cannot arise on its own, incorporate itself with a soul,

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later embody the soul and lastly give life to the embodied soul. All this is done by a perceiving God.

    This is an argument against Sankhya philosophy, which states the world originates from unconscious Pradhana (matter). Prakrti, Maya and Pradhana are approximate words (synonyms) and stress the material origin of life.  Sankhya philosophy states that non-intelligent matter, Pradhana has three qualities, Sattva, Rajas, Tamas from which the world arises. Scriptures do not support this view. A conscious element with a Will is the origin of the world. It had the Will and Knowledge, both of which indicate thinking and perception (seeing and thinking) on the part of the Witness.  It said, "I see; I want to be many; I want to multiply. " Saiva Siddhanta states that the creator has three qualities: Will, Knowledge and Action; the Will and knowledge translate into action, that is creation. Thus, creation is the result of thought, will, and knowledge, all of which need Supreme Consciousness for their function. Matter is a secondary factor.

    Ramanuja advances the theory of Isvara, Cit and Acit as the triad. Isvara, the clinical Brahman, Saguna Brahman, or Maya Brahman who has as its body Cit (sentient beings) and Acit (the non-sentient beings and matter).  Saivites advance the view that Siva and Sakti, being Brahman, are both players in the creation of the universe and Siva acts through Sakti who employs Maya to produce 36 Tattvas to create souls, beings, and matter.

    Vijnana Bhiksu is of the opinion that Brahman is a person who has the perception and desire, which are not the qualities of unconscious Pradhana. Uphanishads advance the theory that Prakrti or Pradhana is the cause of the world and mention Maya as the power of God.  Sankara is of the view that Brahman's power, Maya, is part of Brahman and under the control of Brahman. Brahman-dependant Maya is the cause of the world, which is real only when considered in relation to Brahman.

1.1.6  gaunas cen naatma sabdaat

            gaunah = secondary, subordinate, unessential. cen: if. na = not.  aatma-sabdaat = because of or on account of the word aatma or Self.

Purport: the word "Seeing" in these Sutras denotes the Self that is the actual Seer; the word "Seeing" is not used in a figurative or secondary sense , when it comes to the Self.

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    Atman (Self) sees and thinks and is the primary seer and thinker. In other passages, phrases like "Fire thinks" and "Water thinks" actually mean that the Atman is the primary seer and thinker. Let us take the phrase: the camera sees. The camera actually does not see; the eye (the cameraman trained his camera on the image) is the actual seer; more specifically, the Conscious Self that owns the eye is the seer. In a similar vein, Prakritic products are the secondary players, seers..., while the Atman is the primary player, Intelligence, Witness, and Consciousness.   Pradhana is secondary and in modern parlance the  alter ego of Atman. Without Atman, Pradhana cannot see and  cannot function. Being the surrogate of Atman, Pradhana thinks, sees, acts as it were.  Thus Sankhya equates Pradhana with Atman, which is a false notion.  If there is no mind  and consciousness (the Self)  the seeing  (anatomically and physiologically functional) eye has no value.

    Gaunah can refer to Saguna Brahman with attributes. It is secondary, while the primary is Parabrahman without attributes.  To be called Saguna Brahman, It has to have Maya (Prakrti) associated with it.  Baladeva asserts that the word "Self" belongs only to Nirguna Brahman (Para Brahman) without Prakrti.

1.1.7  tan-nisthasya moksopadesaat

tan-nisthasya  = to that-of the devoted; moksopadesaat = release, liberation, salvation + because of instruction or advice or prescription = because of instruction of liberation.

Purport: When you concentrate or devote yourself to the Self or Brahman, which is intelligence, release is at hand. That is the instruction for liberation mentioned in the sacred texts.

Devotion or concentration on non-self is cause of all miseries of the world. Sankhya philosophy which advances Pradhana, does not mention that it can obtain release.


1.1.8  heyatvaavacanaac ca

heyatva = worthy of disposal; a-vacana = absence of special assertion or statement; ca = and.

Purport: And Pradhana cannot be addressed as Self just because of absence of special assertion that Sat (Brahman) is

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Self in the scriptures. Since Pradhana has a purpose to serve, it does not deserve to be rejected.

[Brahman is Sat (Being); Pradhana is Asat (non-being);] there is no statement in the scriptures that knowing Pradhana is the preliminary step before apprehending the Real that is Brahman. If such were the case, there would be instructions to cast aside the preliminary definition of Brahman as Pradhana. There is no such statement.

Brahman is Sat or Self. That is not a reason to discard the notion that Self is Sat. Pundits say that they use arundhati nyaya (arundhati axiom or principle) to illustrate a fact by going from general to specific point. Arundhati is a small star; to point out the star, the teacher draws student's attention to a big star first and later to the specific nearby small star. Similarly, student's attention is drawn to Pradhana (non-being) first and later to Self or Sat (Being). Example: Somebody is flying from India to go to Brooklyn. He wants it pointed out on the map. The guide points to New York City first and then to Brooklyn and the specific address: that is Arundhati principle.

    Nimbarka is of the opinion that Pradhana is not Self; Pradhana has a secondary role in relation to Self and so, does not deserve to be discarded. Pradhana does not obtain release from Samsara; yet, Pradhana has a purpose to serve and that is the reason why Pradhana is mentioned in the scriptures.

    By knowing Brahman everything is known. knowledge of Pradhana is incomplete knowledge; Pradhana, the unconscious element, cannot be the source of conscious beings. Knowledge of Pradhana does not lead to knowledge of Brahman; lower knowledge does not lead to the Highest Knowledge.

    1.1.9  svaapayayaat    sva = the Self, atman. apyayaat = on account of entering, merging or vanishing

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    On account of the individual self entering the Great Self (during deep sleep) or on account of self entering into its own Self.

    The individual self is an amsa (fragment) of the Great Self which resides in the spiritual heart. When a person is in deep sleep, his self merges with the Great Self. He is out of touch with the world around him. That is when we are in temporary bliss; in deep sleep, we are not what we are; we are plugged into the grid that is Self; we merged with the primordial substance; at that stage and time, we are not male, female, banker, doctor, thief, politician... The Real is the Great Self and it cannot be Pradhana, mere matter.

    We involute (get absorbed or merge) into our own Self. My own intelligent self cannot involute or merge into an unconscious Pradhana. It is a reversible merger with the Self; we merge in deep sleep and emerge out of merger when we awaken.

    1.1.10  gati-saamaanyaat

   gati saamaanyaat. gati: teaching, view, course, means.   saamaanyaat = on account of uniformity, universality.

    On account of universality of the view (of the scriptures Brahman is regarded as the cause).

    Vedanta texts hold the consensus that the cause of the world is the intelligent Brahman. There is no disputation on that point.

    Taittiriya Upanishad (2.1.1): From the Self (Brahman) arises the ether which is the basic progenitor substance or element for everything in the universe.

    1.1.11   srutatvaac ca

 ca: srutatvaat: because it is said in the Sruti, Vedic Texts. ca = and

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    And because it is stated in Sruti (that the Brahman is the cause of the world).

        Svetasvatara Upanishad (6.9) states that Brahman has no master, mark or ruler. He is the only cause and the Lord of all deities presiding over all sense organs. There is no one who begot him or lords over.

            Section 6 (Verses 12-19): The Supreme, the Bliss Galore

1.1.12  aanandamayo' bhyaasaat

    aanandamaya = Full of Bliss. abhyaasaat = because of repetition.

    Brahman is full of Bliss because repetition (repeated reference to) of Bliss in sacred scriptures refers to the highest Self.


1.1.13  vikaara-sabdaanneti cen na praacuryaat

                 vikaarasabdaat = because of Sabda (word) signifying modification;  na iti cet: if it is assumed that it does not (refer to the Highest Self). na = not so  praacuryaat = because of abundance.

    Bliss cannot be a modification; if it is so it cannot be Brahman because he is immutable and beyond change. He has an abundance of Bliss.

1.1.14 taddheta vyapadesaac ca

     tat: of it (bliss); hetu: cause or reason; vyapadesaat: because (Brahman) is designated; ca: and

Purport: Brahman is Bliss; in order to dole out bliss, he must be full of Bliss.

1.1.15  maanta-varnikam eva ca giiyate

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         maantravarnikam = what is described in Mantra; eva = the same ca = and; giiyate = is sung.

    Purport: And the same (Brahman) referred to in the mantra is sung.

1.1.16  netraro'nupapatteh

        netaro nupapatteh.  netaro = na+itara = not + the other; anupapatteh: failure of proof, inadequately supported.


    Brahman is bliss; the other (individual soul) is not bliss because of failure of proof.

    Isvara possesses three qualities: Iccha (Desire or Will) Jnana (Knowledge) and Kriya (Action). Man, the individual soul, has to possess knowledge before he can employ his will and action. Isvara's functions are at the highest level of Will, a will to create, which an individual soul cannot do. Isvara possess the knowledge to create and thus act on his will.

1.1.17: bheda-vyapadesaac ca

                  bheda = difference; vyapadesa = designation, information., declaration; ca = and


        On account of declaration of the difference (between Brahman and the individual soul, One is the donor and the other is recipient of Bliss).

1.1.18 kaamaac ca naanumaanaapeksa

                         kaamaat: on account of desire; ca = and  na: not; anumaana + apeksa: inference + dependence on.

    Brahman has Desire or Will (to become many). Pradhana does not possess the Will necessary to be the creator of the

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world. Inference made by Sankhya doctrine that Pradhana is the creator of the world is faulty. Will, desire, or volition is possible only for a conscious Being and not for blind matter.

1.1.19  asminn asya ca tad yogam saasti

 asmin: in him asya: his ca: and tad; that yogam: union; saasti= teaches.

    Sacred Text teaches the yoga (union) of the individual soul with THAT (Bliss of Self).

Ananadamaya is Bliss galore, Bliss in abundance, whose support is Brahman.  All lives live on a fragment of this Bliss of Brahman. Sankaracharya presents a view of Bliss in relation to indeterminate (ParaBrahman) and determinate Brahman (Saguna Brahman). He says that  ananadamaya-atma or Bliss galore Self is the determinate Brahman, whom we commonly refer to as God. He asserts that indeterminate Brahman is transcendental and noumenal and therefore cannot be given a temporal label with qualities. Creative aspect of Brahman comes from the determinate temporal Brahman, which means he creates and a fragment of His Bliss lives in all lives.

    When the individual soul obtains Brahma Vidya, it merges with the Self of Bliss. Brahma vidya is not mundane knowledge of the world but spiritual knowledge: you are the self and not the body. This union is Turiya and Turiyatita.   

Turiya is Spiritual Transcendental consciousness. Visva, Taijasa, and Prajna merge and fuse sequentially. Turiya is without any attributes. It is santam, sivam, and advaitam (peace, goodness, and nondual), for didactic purposes. It or He is the Self. Objective consciousness is absent and its seed is absent. Ramana Maharishi calls this “Wakeful Sleep.” Turiya is present and functional in the perfected ones, even when they are awake. In Turiya, there is an irreversible union with Brahman: There is Oneness with Brahman. There is a permanent Metaphysical Unity. There are four progressive Turiya states, one deeper and subtler than the earlier one. The silence that follows the Sound AUM corresponds to this state. (See Below, compared to level one.) The presiding deity is the Supreme Vāsudeva Himself; He is Vāsu and Deva, meaning an indwelling God.

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If an aspirant meditates on Brahman in all his four parts (AUM-Silence) he becomes non-dual with Brahman. 

Ramalinga Swamigal of Madras (1823-1874 C.E.) explains Turiya as follows: 'I became it; It became me.'

The following is from Trumular's Tirumantiram. Yogi goes into the 4th state of consciousness.

(4A) Jiva Turiya: Jiva (individual self) realizes its pristine spiritual nature and its organic relationship with God or Self. Duality still exists: self and Self

(4B) Para Turiya: Jiva realizes Brahman; and union, absorption, or merger takes place; they are still “NOT” united in essence. Duality is still apparent between object and subject, Jiva and Brahman. It is worthwhile to remember that Brahman, the all-knowing subject, can never become an object.

(4C) Brahman Turiya: Jiva unites with Brahman, and is fully absorbed and integrated into One Being.

(4D) Beyond Turiya: Jiva and Brahman become ONE as butter is poured into butter, and water is mixed with water. It is an undifferentiated and homogeneous state of subject-object fusion. 

(Saiva Siddhanta: Siddhantists say that this Turiya state is experiencing of Suddha Vidya of Suddha Tattvas through Samadhi yoga. Turiyatita [the fifth state] is experiencing higher states of Consciousness as follows.)

Saiva Siddhanta points to another state beyond Turiya called Turiyatita, [which is consolidation of Turiya], which has two phases: Un-mesham Consciousness, the opening of the eyes (Isvara Tattva is attained) and Nimesha Consciousness, the closing of the eyelids (Sadasiva Tattva is attained). Un-mesham is opening of the eyes; Nimesha is closing of the eyes. Sadasiva Tattva (Nimesha) experience and Consciousness are deeper and purer than the Isvara Tattva (Un-mesham) Consciousness, and the yogi enjoys equality with Siva, when Siva reveals his Grace to the Yogi, who is in union with the Self of Bliss. For more information on Suddha Tattvas, refer to TATTVAS-36.htm

For more information on Turiya and Turiyatita, go to BG12 commentary on 12.1.

         Section 7 (V 20-21): Brahman in the Sun

and the eye

1.1.20    Antas tad-dharmopadesaat. 

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Antah: within; tad-dharma: that (his) dharma, qualities; upadesaat: because of teaching or instruction. 

    Antah refers to the Supreme Brahman in the sun and the eye. Brahman is the Light of the Sun and the eye.

    The golden person in the sun and the person within the eye are the Supreme Brahman. it is said that the divine resides in the sun and the eye. The divine person in the sun is called Ut and the one in the eye, Saaman or Rk.  Sankara is of the view that the golden person in the sun is the Saguna Brahman, aka God, the object of worship and meditation. Brahman can assume any form to please and grant bliss to his devotees. Srikantha is of the opinion that the golden person inside the sun is Siva and his two eyes are the sun and the moon. His third eye stays closed.

    Bhagavad Gita: 7.8: I am the taste in the water, O Son of Kunti, I am the light in the moon and the sun, the pranava (AUM) in the Vedas, sound in the ether and the virility (manhood) in men.

13.17: He (that) is the light of all lights. It is said that He is beyond Tamas (darkness). He is knowledge; He is the object of knowledge; He is knowledge to be attained; and He is situated in the hearts of all.

(Purusam Mahantam Aditya-varnam Tamasah parastat = The Supreme Person of Sun color is beyond darkness [SvetāsvataraUpanishad 3.8]  )

In praise of the sun.

Gayatri, the sacred mantra of 24 syllables, is recited by Brahmanas in their daily worship.  Vaidika (Sanctioned by Vedas) Gayatri is a seed mantra and the Vedas are ensconced in it. Vaidika Gayatri: Om bhur-bhuvah-svah tatsavitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayāt— Om , earth, atmosphere, and heaven, we meditate on the adorable glory of the radiant sun; may he inspire our intelligence—translation by Dr. Radhakrishnan. Sandya (junctional [transitional time zones] prayers—sunrise, noon and sunset) is performed three times a day.

Brahma Gayatri: “paramesvaraya Vidamahe; Pasa-tattvaya dhīmahi; tan no Brahma Pracodayāt.” Purport: “may we know the Supreme Lord; let us contemplate on the Supreme

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Essence; and may that Brahman direct us – “Introduction to Tantra Sastras” by Sir John Woodroffe.

Coming back to Vaidika Gayatri mantra, Yogi Yajnavalkya explains it as follows. Tat = that; Savitri, derived from Su, “to bring forth.” Savitri (the Sun) is the Bringer-forth of all that exists. The universe begins and ends in the Sun, who is the eye and makes the day. Time is in him. Bharagah is Aditya-devata. Adi = beginning from or source. Devata = god. Aditya-devata also means the dweller in the region of the Sun. Since he is the indweller, he is compared to the soul (atma) that resides in our body. The sun is the light in our eyes, and the light in our soul. He resides in the outer ether and also in the inner ether of our spiritual heart which is located in right chest cavity. He is the smokeless fire. The indweller in the region of the sun is the same indweller in the spiritual heart. Bhargah is derived from Bhrij, “to ripen, mature, destroy, reveal, shine.” The Sun brings forth, transforms, matures, and ripens, and (destroys) all entities on earth. He reveals by his light. He destroys the whole universe by his fire at dissolution (Pralaya). (Some scientific facts: Sun is 743 times the total mass of all planets and 333,000 times the mass of the earth. The central core of the sun is 100 times the density of water. It is a mass of gas; all elements exist as atoms with very few molecules. The temperature at the core is 15 million K and at the photosphere, it is 5,800K. The sun will continue to burn the hydrogen fuel for the next 100 billion years.) Bha = divide, ra = color, ga = go and come. The sun divides all objects, helps reveal their colors and comes and goes (sunrise and sundown). Devasya is the genitive of Deva and goes with Savituh. Deva = the shining one or Radiant Player, in a nonphysical body, living in the astral plane. The Sun is the radiant player involved in creation, maintenance and destruction. Varenyam = adorable. Prachodayat = may He direct, inspire, urge, or impel along the fourfold path of Artha, Dharma, Kama and Moksa (Wealth, Duty, Desire and liberation.) Dhīmahi = Let us meditate upon, we meditate upon, compare to Dhyana = meditation.

        1.1.21  bheda-vyapadesaac caanyah

    bheda: difference; vyapadesaat: because of declaration; ca: and anyah: other than....; another.

    Based on the declaration of difference, there is another (entity different from the individual souls abiding in the sun.

    He dwells in the sun and is inside the sun and yet the sun knows him not; He is the body of the sun, controlling him (the

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sun) from inside. He is your Self, the immortal and the inner controller. Brhd-aranyaka Upanishad III.7.9.

The indwelling Great Self that resides, rules, and controls every being is different from the individual soul, the body of the sun and all beings. end.

                  Section 8 (V22) Ether or Akasa as Brahman

1.1.22 akaasas tallingaat

         aakaasah: space; tat: that; lingaat: because of distinguishing mark

        The word Akasa (ether) is Brahman because of the distinguishing mark (of Brahman).

        Akasa is the totipotent stem substance (Supplement, go to 1: The Stem Substance) in this universe, equated to Brahman, the source of every being and the universe. It is not the element ether. Akasa, Vyoman, Kha and Brahman are synonyms.

        Udgatha as Akasa and Brahman.

    Chandogya Upanishad (I.9.1-2) says the following about Udgatha, identified with Akasa. All creatures take their origin from space (Akasa). They come from Akasa and they subside in Akasa, which is the final goal.  This Udgatha is the best and the highest and he who meditates on Udgatha gets the best and the highest.

            Section 9 (V23) Breath is Brahman

1.1.23   ata eva praanah               ata eva praanah  ata eva: for the same reason; praanah: breath (life is Brahman.)

        Breath is life; breath is Brahman; that is the conclusion of Chandogya Upanishad.


        Section 10 (V24-27) Light is Brahman

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1.1.24  jyotis caranaabhidhaanaat

    jyotih: Light; carana:  feet;   abhidhaanaat: on account of the mention.

    Brahman is Light of lights; he is the light in the sun, moon, stars, any light-emitting object, the eye and the self in the spiritual heart.

    Chandogya Upanishad (III.13.6) mentions that Brahman (Purusa) is greater than Gayatri Mantra, because he has four feet. One foot represents all beings and the other three represent the immortals in the sky.

1.1.25  chando'bhidhaanaan neti cen na, tathaa ceto'rpananigadaat tathaa hi darsanam

chandah: meter (Gayatri); abhidhaanaat: spoken of; na: not; iti: so; cet: if; na: no; tathaa: this;  cetah: mind; arpana: offering, fixing; nigadaat: having been declared tathaa: this; hi:also; darsanam: being looked at.

    Purport: Chanting of Gayatri meter does not preclude the mention of Brahman. Fixing the mind on Brahman through the meter has been approved or declared; this notion is seen (expressed) in texts elsewhere.

    Gayatri and Brahman have four feet or quarters.  To fix the mind on Brahman, the meter is used. 

1.1.26 bhuutaadi-paada-vyapadesopapattes caivam

  bhuutaadi: beings; paada: feet; vyapadesa: representation, designation upapatteh: demonstration of proof; ca: and; evam: thus. 

    Purport: Brahman is the topic of discussion; it is reasonable to assume that beings are one foot of the four feet of Brahman. Three feet of Brahman are immortal in heaven.

    Reference and explanation:

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    Chandogya Upanishad (III.18.2-6) says, Brahman has four feet or quarters. Speech, breath, eye, and ear make four feet or four quarters. Now let us go to the divinities. Fire, air, the sun, and the directions make four quarters or feet.

    Explanation: Brahman's body consists of speech, breath, eye and ear and the corresponding divinities are the Fire, the Air, the Sun and the Ear. Agni, Vayu, Aditya and Quarters are their proper names.  Speech does not exist without the mind and the voice box; mind is more important here. Speech, Fire and Agni are corollaries; the same rule applies to the rest.

A story from Chāndayoga Upanishad, fourth Khanda is in order here: Once upon a time, there was a boy, by name Satyakāma, interested in the study of Vedas. Those days an aspiring student had to know his lineage before a guru accepted him for studies. His mother Gabālā said that she was not sure about his lineage, since she was pregnant with him, while she was waiting on the guests in her father's house. The boy went to a Guru by name Gautama Hāridrumata and gave him the details of his birth history. The Guru, impressed by his honesty, accepted him as a student saying that only a Brahmana boy would speak such truth. He initiated him with offerings in a fire ceremony and sent him out to tend four hundred lean emaciated and weak cows. The boy said to himself that he would return to the Guru with one thousand cows. (Note humility and reverence in accepting such a menial task. What is the connection between tending cows and learning about Brahman?) When the herd became one thousand, a bull alerted him and over a few days during the fire ceremony in the evenings, the bull, and the fire, the hamsa (swan or flamingo), and the diver bird taught him all about Brahman: "You should meditate on the four feet of the Brahman." The bull said, "Brahman is found wherever you see." As he worshipped fire, a voice came over from the fire and said, "Brahman is the earth, the ocean, the sky, and the heavens." Hamsa bird flying by, the next evening said, "The fire you worship is Brahman; the sun, the moon and the lightning are Brahman." Next evening the diver-bird said, "The breath, the eye, the ear, and the mind are Brahman." When the Satyakāma reached the teacher, the teacher noticed a glow on his face and inquired who his teacher was. He replied that he learned from nature and animals and that he would like to take lessons from an Acharya to know the Real Goodness (the Supreme). The Acharya or Guru imparted him the same knowledge. The student met all the qualifications to become a fit student; he sought a wise man; he was humble, reverent, and inquiring; he was of service to his Guru. The glow on his face and the light in his eyes are external signs of inner glow of the Soul in his heart. The voices he heard were his own and he

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gained jnāna and Vijnāna (knowledge and wisdom) while thinking, and tending cows.

    Brahma Upanishad says that Brahman shines in four quarters: navel, (Nabhi), heart (Hrdya), throat (Kantha), and head (Murdha). These centers correspond to the (four) lotuses (Kundalini Yoga) at Manipura (navel), Anahata (heart), Visuddhi (throat), Sahasrara (head).

            Taittiriya Upanishad (3.1.1) records a conversation between Varuna and his son Bhrgu Muni. Varuna, upon questioning from Bhrgu Muni who Brahman is, answers that Brahman is annam (food), pranam (life-breath), caksus (observation), srotram, (sense perception), mano (mind), and vacam (speech). Annam is matter, observation is sight, and srotram is hearing. That, from which these come, by which they live, into which they enter upon death, and which you want to know, is Brahman.

1.1.27   upadesa-bhedaanneti cen nobhayasminn apy anirodhaat.

        upadesa: teaching;  bhedaat: because of difference; na: not; iti: so; cet: if;  na: not;        ubhayasmin: in both; api: even; anirodhaat: for lack of contradiction.

    Purport: The apparent differences in teaching noted in the two texts do not  contradict each other.

    Text one: Three feet of Brahman are immortal in heaven

    Text two: Light shines above the heaven.

    Explanation: Apparent contradiction: 1. Brahman, the Highest, is in heaven. 2. The Light shines above the heaven. The abode of Brahman is heaven, meaning that there cannot be anything above the Brahman's abode; but there is Light above the heaven. How do you reconcile the Highest being Brahman and the Light being above it? Which is Superior or Higher? Brahman and the Light are the same. Sankaracharya gives the following explanation. The falcon sitting on the top of the tree (heaven) can sit there or fly higher than the tree. This explanation reconciles the textual differences.

Section  11 (V28-31) Life as Brahman

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    1.1.28  pranaas tathaanugamaat 

pranaah: breath, life tathaa: as said before, thus; anugamaat: on account of coherent (textual) connection.

    Purport: Prana is Brahman; thus life is Brahman because that is the understanding from the sacred texts.

    Here, Indra, in the name Brahman, claims as the breathing spirit (Prana), Intelligent Self, and Life itself. Indra says he is immortal and indestructible. (Indra equates himself to Brahman.)

    Indra says the following in Kaustiki-Brahmana Upanishad III.1,2,8.

    The speaker; the smeller; the seer; the hearer; the taster; the doer; the discerner of pleasure and pain; discerner of bliss, delight, and procreation; the mover; the minder (thinker): these are the ten elements of an Intelligent Self. Without them there is no existence. One should know the performer of these action more than the objects.  (There are four parts in this equation: the enjoyer, the sensory organ, the object of the organ or enjoyment, the sense enjoyed. Indra is the enjoyer; eye is the sense organ; flower is the object of enjoyment; visual delight experienced by the brain is the sense.) The elements of the Intelligent Self is compared to a felly, spokes and the hub. The spokes radiate from the hub to the felly. Existence is the felly; the spokes are the elements of intelligence and the hub is the breathing spirit or Prana, which is, truly, the Intelligent Self and Bliss, ageless and immortal. "I am that Intelligent Self; I am the hub." He (Indra) speaks in third person singular as follows.  He is the Mover who leads people to good action or bad action. He is the Protector, the sovereign, and the Lord of the world; He is Myself; this all must know. This is the Universal Self, whose microcosmic version is man. Thus, Isvara is the origin of man and matter.

    Indra and his cohorts according to Rg Veda and other texts

    Indra is the Indo-Aryan god. Indha, meaning the kindler of thoughts and deeds, is the root word for Indra. Indra also means the holder of power or strength. Vajra (thunderbolt and lightning) is his weapon by which he strikes a blow to drought and sends showers. Vajra strikes the enemies of Aryans: Vrta, the drought demon. Thus he has many epithets; Vajrapani, the weilder of the Vajra, Vrtrahan, the destroyer of Vrtra. His virility is so powerful that he is likened to a stallion or bull. He is the purveyor-god of Aryans, providing them with cattle and riches. Aryans in return offer Soma libations to sustain and augment

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Indra's power and virility, which in turn sustains the Aryans.  Priests, who offer libations of Soma to Indra, without which he would not survive, demand that he punish the debtors who fail to make adequate compensation for their services and also the dark-skinned dasyus in order to prevent miscegenation of Aryans and Dasyus.  Gradually Indra morphed into a benevolent god, not bent on destroying atmospheric demons and dasyus. He turned a new page in his life and punished the evil doers who broke the covenants of Varuna, Aryaman and Mitra.

    The covenant

    The Indo-Iranians believed in Rta, the Cosmic Law of Nature. It included ethical, moral, societal, governmental conduct. Truth, honesty, loyalty, courage and respect for the holiness of the inherited world formed the covenant between man and god. The oath is called Varuna and the covenant, Mitra and the enforcer is Indra. The violators of the solemn oath were subjected to an ordeal of immersion under water and or running in the narrow lane between two columns of fire. Survivors were declared innocent. Mitra and Varuna were later deified as Fire and Water. They were a disciplined duo holding the universe by law. Aryaman is an Aditya, one of the sons of Aditi.  He is the sun god in the Vedic and Puranic texts.  Varuna and Mitra help keep his path clear. He carries a club, two lotuses and a prayer wheel. He is a benign ruler and forgives his worshippers leading them in safe, easy and virtuous paths. He is said to sit in judgment of men after their death. His chariot is drawn by white horses across the firmament without casting a shadow. The Trio, Mitra, Varuna, and Savitr (Aryaman, the sun god) was so connected that they became one. Staring at an object with the "eye of Mitra" dissolves all enmity and evil in the object. Avestan Mithra was a sun-god and upholder of faithfulness; his Greco-Iranian name Mithras was the object of worship in the Roman Empire in the early Christian period. The duo loved Soma, juice expressed from the Soma plant.

    The trio are among the 12 metronymic Adityas: Dhata, Aryaman, Mitra, okra, Varuna, Amsa, Bhaga, Vivasvan, Pusa, Savita,'Tvasti and Visnu. They are brothers. A different source says they are brothers of Dva-dasa-adityas (2+10 Adityas): Visnu, Sakra, Aryaman, Dhata, Tvasta, Pusa Vivasvan, Savita, Mitra, Varuna, Amsu and Bhaga.

    Coming back to the covenant, oath and enforcement, Varuna the oldest of the Vedic gods upholds heaven and earth and possessed wisdom called Maayaa (maya). He sends messengers and spies with noose looking for transgressors. He inflicts diseases like dropsy on the violators of the covenant. Varuna is usually invoked with Indra, Agni, Yama, the god of death, and Vishnu.  As time went on, all Vedic gods

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took a back seat and Vishnu and Siva came to the forefront, according to the western students.

    Varuna later became the god of waters in the atmosphere and firmament, oceans, and rivers, thus earning the epithet Sindhupati, the Lord of River Sindhu.  He is regarded as the son of Kardama and the father of Pushkara,  Naga, an Asura and regent of the western quarters. (lokpala).

    Mitra, meaning a friend, became the god of Dawn, he "who awakens men at daybreak and stirs them to labor."  He is a benign god, who never hurts animate or inanimate objects; thus, he earned worship with butter and unbroken rice.


1.1.29    na vaktur aatmopadesaad iti ced adhyaatma-sambhanda-bhuumaa hy asmin

    na: not;  vaktuh: of the speaker;  aatmopadesaat: on account of reference to himself; iti: so; cet: if;   adhyaatma: inner self; sambhanda: relationship; bhuumaa: many; hy: because asmin: in this (chapter).

    Purport: If it be said that Brahman does not receive a direct denotement because the speaker makes reference to himself, we say that it is no so and there is plenty of reference to the inner self in this chapter.

    This verse refers to Indra's talk about himself in praise in the previous verse, all the time meaning to attribute all his qualities to Brahman.


       Saastra drystyA tUpadeso vAmadevavat

Saastra drystyA = through the insight of Sastras or sacred texts;  tu = but;  upadesa =  teaching, instructing; Vamadeva vat = vamadeva-like.

VAmadeva = An ancient Rishi in this context. Also means pleasant beautiful god, Siva.

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Indra has intuitive knowledge meaning that his spiritual knowledge is a continuum from previous existence.  By that intuitive knowledge Indra knows that he is one with the Self or identical  with the Self.  Knowing Self or Brahman means being Brahman. So Indra is Brahman. The same intuitive knowledge is within the domain of Rishi or Sage Vamadeva, who declared, "I was Manu and Surya."  That is a declaration he is Brahman.  Intuitive spiritual knowledge passes from one birth to the next birth in a cumulative fashion until the aspirant becomes fully mature in Brahman Knowledge.  Declaring, I was Manu and Surya is a declaration that I the Brahman is also Manu and Surya, the body of Brahman. Manu and Surya are pervaded by the omnipresent all-pervading Brahman. Whatever is pervaded by Brahman is Brahman.


Brahman is the Antaryamin, Antaratman and Paramatman (Inner dweller, Inner Soul, Supreme Soul) abiding in all, animate, inanimate, Cit and Acit; thus Brahman has its body in all objects it pervades.

Let me tell you a humorous story to illustrate this point.  There once was a professor and his driver who always went together to all lectures. This went on many times and the driver was always in the audience. When the professor became ill, he asked his driver to deliver the lecture. The audience didn't know the switch because they knew not the appearance of both. The driver delivered the lecture with ease and aplomb. The driver (Indra or the soul) had the knowledge and thus became the professor (Brahman) by his sheer knowledge.


JIva mukhya prAna LingAn neti

cen nopAsAt traividhyAd aasritavAd iha


Jiva = individual soul; Mukhya Prana = first, best or chief breath, breath coming from the mouth, nose or face. Lingat = know by its sign or marks.  neti = not so. cet = if.  upasat = because of meditation. traividhyat = because of three-fold nature. asritatvat = because of acceptance. iha = in this world.  tadyogat = that connection.

Purport: Individual soul has special marks and chief breath.  If it is said that Brahman is not alluded to by the same qualities of the soul, we

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object to that interpretation, which demands performance of threefold worship.  Brahman, according to sacred texts, is Breath.

Breath alone is not Brahman; individual soul alone is not Brahman. There is something more that He only has: His unique Nature.  He is the Creator, Owner and Enjoyer in a Supreme sense.  He created us and the universe; He owns us, thus making us His body; he has the means and desire to enjoy us and the universe. His threefold nature makes Him supremely qualified for our worship.  By and large this reflects Ramanuja's understanding of Isvara.

Brahman is worshipped as LIFE, INTELLIGENT SELF and  ITS OWN SELF, of which the individual soul has the first two, though not in the same measure and quality; the third special quality of Brahman is lacking in the soul.  Ramanuja says that Brahman is the object of meditation 1) because of his own special exclusive Nature, creation 2) because all souls make His body, and 3) because Brahman is an enjoyer of the souls and the universe.  The same view is expressed by Srikantha by three words: Svarupena, Bhoktr-Sarirena and Bhogya rupena (His own nature, enjoyer of the individual souls as His body and Brahman is of the form of enjoyer of all because he owns the objects of enjoyment and has the will and the means for such an enjoyment. Simply put,  Brahman is the creator and owner-enjoyer of souls, means  and objects.

Section 1 (1-8)

1.2.1.    sarvatra prasiddhopadesaat

Sarvatra = everywhere;  Prasiddha = well known; upadesat = because of teaching.

According to sacred texts, I am well known and all-pervasive.

This Sutra refers to ChAndogya Upanishad III.14.  The text is as follows:

All this is Brahman, who is the beginning, the middle and the end. One should worship Him with tranquillity. Purpose makes a man. Purpose stays with him on his departure from this world.  (Man is thought, word and deed, which determine his after-life and next life.) Brahman is mind; His body is life-breath; He is Light-form; He is Truth; His Atma is space; He contains all desires, all odors, and all tastes; He is all this--the world; He is without speech, concern, torment or pain.

This is Brahman talking: I remain in the heart, smaller than a grain of rice, a barley corn, a mustard seed, a grain of millet, and a kernel of

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the grain of millet. This is Myself in the heart, greater than (jyAyAs) than the earth, the atmosphere, the sky and all these worlds.

The individual soul says: I encompass all acts, all desires, all odors, all tastes, and all worlds without speech, care or concern; my self abides in the heart. That is Brahman, with whom I merge on leaving hence.

Thus said Sandilya, who pronounces that the individual soul and Brahman are one. SAndilya says beings and matter come from Brahman, by whom the beings live and into whom they repose. What happens in our next life depends on karma of this life.  The Great Soul (Atman) is immanent and transcendent.  The end of man's journey is merger with the Self.

1.2.2.   vivaksita-gunopapattes ca

Vivaksita: desired;  guna: modes or qualities; upapatteh: suitable, fitting; ca: and

Brahman is the repository of desirable qualities and thus worthy of meditation. He is the creator, sustainer and destroyer. 

Chaandogya Upanishad (VIII.7.1) says, " The atma is free from paapam (demerit), old age, death, grief, hunger, thirst... His desire and thought are real. He is worthy of seeking and knowing.  Such seeker understands the self, and enjoys all worlds and desires.

Svetaasvatara Upanishad (IV.2) states, "That is Fire, that is Sun, that is the Wind, that is the Moon, that is purity, that is Brahma, that is Waters, that is the Lord of creation." By the extrinsic power of Maya, the Supreme Lord manifested all the elements and objects and pervaded them; because of his pervasion He is called by such names.  All the elements are Vedic gods and yet the Supreme commands them.

Bhagavad Gita13.16: He is undivided and yet He appears divided in all beings. He is the supporter of the world, also the object of knowledge, swallowing and creating also (of beings).

gras-ana-ishnu: accustomed to swallow, dissolution of the universe.

The Greater Self is present in the spiritual heart of every living being. Therefore, it appears divided, but not actually divided. It is like the luminous sun and its many reflections in the water; it is like one space with many jars of space. Similarly, One Brahman appears as many in all beings and as One in each being. The Brahman is like the sun and each one of us is like a little mirror reflecting the image of the sun:

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Brahman is One and undivided, but appears divided. God, Brahman, or Self is like the oil in the sesamum seeds, water in the dry riverbeds, latent fire in the friction sticks and wood, fragrance in the flower, and gold in the reef of gold.

1.2.3. anupapattes tu na saariirah

An-upapatteh: absence or failure of proof; to: but; na: not; saariirah: emobodied individual soul.

The embodied individual soul fails to meet the criteria and thus is not Brahman.  Mind (manomaya) and such are applicable only to Brahman.

We are the individual souls. We do not have the qualities of Brahman and thus fail to level up to Brahman.  The all-pervasive Supreme soul lives in us; but the individual souls are only His body and do not have the quality of all-pervasive ether. we are delimited while he is all-pervasive.  Sat Kaama (virtuous or True desires) and Sat Sankalpa (True Resolves) are the stuff of Brahman and not of the individual soul. The supersupreme supernal Brahman is Siva for Saivites and Narayana for Vaishnavites.  Brahman is one and His names are many.  We should understand that Brahman is not finite when He has no attributes and is finite when He (Isvara) has attributes

1.2.4. karma-kartr-vyapadesaac ca

karma= action, activity; kartr= doer, agent;  vyapadesaat= having been declared, mentioned or referred to; ca= and.

It has been declared that activity and agent are separate.

Chaandogya Upanishad (III.14.4) says, "I (Brahman) abide in the heart of the embodied individual. I contain all desires, odors, tastes, and this whole world without any speech and concern. I, the individual soul enter into Him upon my departure from this earth."

Ramanuja says, "there is a difference between Brahman and the individual soul, the Sought and the seeker respectively. The sought-after Brahman has qualities that the seeker does not have.  Brahman is the object of pursuit and seeking, while the seeker is the individual soul. That Brahman is Narayana."

Srikantha is of the opinion that the seeker is Narayana and the object of worship is Siva.  Srikantha seems to suggest that Siva is the object of worship of Narayana, lesser gods, and men.  it is the exact opposite of the view of Ramanuja.

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1.2.5. sabda-visesaat

Sabda = sound, word, scriptural authority; Visesaat: because of  or on account of difference, distinction

There is a difference in ascription by words between Brahman and the individual soul.  Brahman is the golden Antaratman, the Inner Soul of the individual soul. Who controls who? It is Brahman that controls the individual soul.  He is the seed of seeds, the germ without which no seed germinates. He is the seed, that golden person in the self.

Nimbarka cites Chaandogya Upanishad (III.14.3-4) to back his opinion. See Verse 1.2.1.

1.2.6. smrtes ca

And on account of Smrti (remembrance; what is remembered by teachers,  and handed down to pupils by oral tradition (sacred texts).

Sruti: Hearing; what is revealed to Rishis (revealed wisdom).

Sankara is of the opinion that Brahman is vast like the space, unlimited in its scope. We the individual souls are like jars with a limitation of space. When (we die or) the jar breaks, that limited space becomes part of the big space.  We are born with limitations, while Brahman is unlimited; we part of the unlimited space.

In Bhagavadgita 18.61 (part of the Smrti texts), Bhagavan declares the following: The Supreme Lord resides within the hearts of all living beings, O Arjuna. By His māyā power, Isvara causes all beings to spin as if they are mounted on a machine (carousel or upright wheel).  

Hrt-dese: within the hearts. Brahman resides in the hearts of all individuals. According to Chāndogya Upanishad 8.1- 6, in the city of Brahman, there is an abode called a small lotus flower (heart). There is a small space within that heart. The question arises in the mind: What is there to seek or what is there to understand? In that space, there is heaven and earth, fire and air, sun and moon, lightning and stars. Whatever there is of Him in this world and beyond is contained within the heart. What is left behind in the space of the heart (hrd-ākāsa), when death strikes? It is the Self that remains, free from sin, old age, death, sorrow, hunger, and thirst. Desire and thought of the Self is after the Real. Once merits and demerits have resolved upon death, liberation is obtained only when the desire of Self is realized. Sankara interprets the vision and the goal of the self: Seeing the Self in all and all in the Self, the self becomes autonomous and liberated.

The Māyā power, owned by the Lord, has three dissimilar sons: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. It is Rajas who spins the wheel of creation, it is Sattva that sustains it, and it is Tamas who brings it to dissolution. This Maya power works at Cosmic level.

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Here wheel allegorizes the sheaths of the body, according to Panchadasi (6.173-176). Spinning denotes good and bad deeds by the individual. At individual level, Maya power works with the Intellectual sheath and prompts Jiva to act. This does not preclude self-motivation of an individual.

 Ramanuja is of the opinion that Lord Vasudeva rules us and lives in our (spiritual)

heart, the origin of all secular and spiritual activities. He uses His Maya power, and mounts us on the Prakrti machine in the form of body, organs, and senses created  by Him, which act according to Sattva, Rajas and Tamas (virtue, passion and darkness). Everything proceeds from Me. I am the potter, the clay, the machine, and the tools. The individual soul and body are the clay mounted on the machine. I provide the memory, the knowledge and its removal.