Brahma Sutras: Text, Word-to-Word Meaning, Translation, and Commentary [ Badarayana, Swami Sivananda] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying . Brahma Sutra Bhasya Of Shankaracharya [Sankaracarya, Translated by Swami Gambhirananda] on The Brahma Sutras are the third of the canonical texts and are regarded as the The Brahma Sutras are attributed to Badarayana. Indian tradition identifies BAdarAyaNa, the author of the Brahma SUtra, with Vyasa, the compiler of the Vedas. Many commentaries have been written on this text.

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An Introduction to The Brahma Sutras. Now therefore the Enquiry into Brahman. VedAnta philosophy acknowledges the PrasthAna Traya as its three authoritative primary sources. While the Upanishads and the Bhagavadgita are authoritative VedAnta texts, it is in the Brahma sUtra that the teachings of VedAnta are set forth in a systematic and logical order.

The Brahma sUtra is known by many names: The Brahma sUtra consists of aphorisms or sUtras, in 4 chapters, each chapter being divided into 4 sections each. The first chapter Samanvaya: The second chapter Avirodha: The third chapter Sadhana: The fourth chapter Phala: Many commentaries have been written on this text, the earliest extant one being the one by Adi ShaMkara.

Among all these, and other commentaries, ShaMkara’s commentary is considered as an exemplary model of how a commentary should be written, and most commentators are influenced by it, even when they disagree with ShaMkara’s interpretations.

As is well-known, there are six schools of classical Indian philosophy, namely: Quite frequently, the plural nature of the collection of sUtra-s is not made explicit, and one refers to the entire text as such-and-such a sUtra, as if it were in fact a single work. Pithy using fewest possible lettersunambiguous, laying out all the essential aspects of each topic, and dealing with all aspects of the question, free of repetitiveness and flaw — those learned in the sUtra-s say that such is a sUtra.

Quite naturally, then, the author of the sUtra -s for each school occupies the highest rank among the scholars of that school, and is regarded as its founder or progenitor, and as the primary guru of all others claiming loyalty to that scholarly tradition. The authors of each school’s sUtraaptly called its sUtrakAra -s, are: Each school has its unique aspects whereby it tries to satisfy the spiritual aspirations of its adherents.

Of these, the vedAnta school concerns itself with the understanding of brahmanthe entity referred to in the veda-s and upanishhad-s, who is variously described as the Creator, the Supersoul, the Supreme Self, etc. The brahma-sUtra is the authoritative exposition of vedAnta, but it is by no means the first, and is designed to provide an objective criticism of views held by others. He also makes references to jaiminithe mImAmsa scholar, accepting the latter’s views in a few instances and modifying them in others.

He also refers to himself by name, apparently implying that he refers to some point he has expounded in another work.

The Vedanta Sutras of Badarayana Index

As such, it is now agreed that the brahma-sUtra was written at a time when the six schools in general, and vedAnta, were already widely known, and discourse among their scholars had already developed to a very great degree. There is a tradition of thought that says that all scholars named by bAdarAyaNa were in fact his own disciples and that he has immortalized them through the medium of his sUtra-s, by referring to their contributions in interpreting difficult propositions, while supporting or modifying their views in his final conclusions.

After bAdarAyaNa, all scholars have accepted his authority suttas the final interpretation of vedAnta. There are three kinds of vedAntic texts, called the prasthAna-traya, dutras are of prime importance: It is possible to date the bhagavadgItA, and the mahAbhArata that it is part of, to a time before the advent of Buddhism.


Considering that there is a specific reference to the brahma-sUtra in the ‘gItA, in verse XIII-5 of the latter work, it is possible to date the brahma-sUtra also to a time before Buddhism. In fact, bodhAyanaa scholar dated to B. In his commentary upon the brahma-sUtra, rAmAnuja refers to a varttika explanatory text by bodhAyana in which the latter sutrws familiarity with both the mImAmsa-sUtra and the brahma-sUtra, and in fact considers them to be two parts of a complete exposition.

Unfortunately, no copies of this varttika survive to the present day, and it is also not quoted from by any other scholar. However, it may be presumed that the dutras did exist in rAmAnuja’s time, and combined with the known familiarity of bodhAyana with the bhagavadgIta, goes to show that the brahma-sUtra was already accepted as a canonical text by his time.

Brahma Sutras

This problem may be resolved if we consider that tradition identifies bAdarAyaNa, the author of the badrayana, with veda-vyAsa, the author of the mahAbhArata of which the bhagavadgItA is a part.

Although there seems to be little evidence apart from the word of tradition to back up this claim, it bavarayana to make sense, since then the apparent paradox can be resolved; the same author could very well have written both works in any order; he could add a reference to an as-yet-unwritten text, knowing that he was going to write it, and knowing what he was going to write in it. It might be argued badarahana at least one text has had spurious insertions made into it to apparently refer to the other, and that it is thus unnecessary to posit that the authors of the two are the same.

However, it is not found that the various recensions of the brahma-sUtra are different, with some not having the questionable references; badarxyana copies of the brahma-sUtra as obtained from a variety of sources carry them. Moreover, considering the flow of the discourse in the bhagavadgItA and the brahma-sUtra, it seems very unlikely that the references are spurious insertions; they fit in well with the general background of the discussion, and do not stand out baearayana later insertions presumably would.

Thus, the hypothesis that the author of the brahma-sUtra is also the author of the bhagavadgItA stands brahna. Commentaries upon the brahma-sUtra. Owing to its importance, the brahma-sUtra has spawned a rather substantial number of bhAshhya -s commentaries which seek to amplify bAdarAyaNa’s very terse writing.

Each of these scholars has given his own interpretation of what bAdarAyaNa really means to say. Since the two entities jIva, or the individual self, and brahman, can either be i identical; ii identical with specialty; iii non-identical; iv identical and non-identical, one has four basic schools of thought within vedAnta upholding these views.

AnandatIrthathe bhAshhyakAra of the dvaita school, is a thorough dualist who claims a complete and eternally-unchanging difference between the individual self, and brahman, which is due to their own immutable natures; brahman is identified with vishhNu, and release from the cycle of repeated births and deaths in the world is obtained by service to vishhNu, who alone is the Giver of mukti liberation. There is a tradition that says that the brahma-sUtra must be written with an OM at the beginning and end of each sUtra.

The justification for this is said to be that since each sUtra is itself a complete discourse rather than a mere statement in a work, it must have a shAnti-pATha at the beginning and at the end, just as with complete works like the bhagavadgItA or the upanishhad-s.


However, the OM-s are not considered to be part of the sUtra-s themselves, and are usually omitted from commentaries. However, they are to be retained in uncommented texts, and are also to be included when the text is recited. Though much of the differences arise due to their clubbing some sUtra-s together or splitting them in diverse ways, in some cases there are different readings altogether as each tries to obtain a total and coherent philosophical position by his own interpretation.

According to AnandatIrtha and the other commentators, bAdarAyaNa condensed and classified the veda-s which were limitless in extent and difficult to understand by persons of severely limited intellectual capacities, into small divisions and sub-divisions, so that everyone could study one part; and he composed the brahma-sUtra-s for their correct interpretation.

The very first two chapters samanvaya integration of the diverse texts into a homogeneous total picture and avirodha removing all possible objections and internal contradictions as accepted by all commentaries show this objective clearly. He then gives his own decision as to the conclusion to be reached, in one or two words, followed by the reasoning behind the conclusion. Usually, the sUtra-s are stating the conclusion without elaborating the pUrvapaksha the extant proposition or hypothesis which is examined and rejected.

The aptness of the commentary must be judged by the correct identification of the vishhaya vAkya the original Vedic statement referred toconsistency with the chapter, section and subject discussed previously, avoidance of wasteful or repetitive points, coherence with the system being propounded, the logical structure indicated by the sUtrakAra being shown correctly, etc.

Some commentators have rather arbitrarily assigned certain sUtra-s as pUrvapaksha, although there is no indication in the sUtra-s themselves to that effect, and although this strongly militates against the notion that each sUtra is a complete exposition upon a certain subject.

AnandatIrtha holds that all sUtra-s are themselves siddhAnta or conclusions, and that there are none that are not so. As a result, a significant part of the debate among various schools of vedAnta is about what is not said in the brahma-sUtra but is implied and left unstated.

Each school tries to show why its own postulation of the background is correct, and tries to refute other schools’ assumptions to the contrary. Such an act, which strongly militates against the very concept and approach of an explanatory work, attracts the charge by his opponents of his having foisted his own opinions upon the author of the brahma-sUtra, under the pretext of explaining the latter. Even a biography of shaMkara written long after him seems to symbolize and recognize the difficulty with his approach, by stating that he had argued with bAdarAyaNa and defeated him.


Considering that the two are seen in the mImAmsa-sUtra and the brahma-sUtra to have apparently conflicting opinions in some cases, jaimini may have been an independent mImAmsaka scholar before meeting bAdarAyaNa; he presumably lost to the latter in debate and became his student, as was the widespread practice of the day.

Upavarsa the Vrttikara seems to have commented upon them in this combined form. Introduction As is well-known, there are six schools of classical Indian philosophy, namely: Commentaries upon the brahma-sUtra Owing to its importance, the brahma-sUtra has spawned a rather substantial number of bhAshhya -s commentaries which seek to amplify bAdarAyaNa’s very terse writing.