The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by Sankaracarya eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 597 pages of information about The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by Sankaracarya.
II, 2, 11, ’That immortal Brahman is before, is behind, Brahman is to the right and left.’  Here, on account of mention being made of an abode and that which abides, and on account of the co-ordination expressed in the passage, ‘Brahman is all’ (Mu.  Up.  II, 2, 11), a suspicion might arise that Brahman is of a manifold variegated nature, just as in the case of a tree consisting of different parts we distinguish branches, stem, and root.  In order to remove this suspicion the text declares (in the passage under discussion), ’Know him alone as the Self.’  The sense of which is:  The Self is not to be known as manifold, qualified by the universe of effects; you are rather to dissolve by true knowledge the universe of effects, which is the mere product of Nescience, and to know that one Self, which is the general abode, as uniform.  Just as when somebody says, ’Bring that on which Devadatta sits,’ the person addressed brings the chair only (the abode of Devadatta), not Devadatta himself; so the passage, ’Know him alone as the Self,’ teaches that the object to be known is the one uniform Self which constitutes the general abode.  Similarly another scriptural passage reproves him who believes in the unreal world of effects, ’From death to death goes he who sees any difference here’ (Ka.  Up.  II, 4, 11).  The statement of co-ordination made in the clause ‘All is Brahman’ aims at dissolving (the wrong conception of the reality of) the world, and not in any way at intimating that Brahman is multiform in nature[166]; for the uniformity (of Brahman’s nature) is expressly stated in other passages such as the following one, ’As a mass of salt has neither inside nor outside, but is altogether a mass of taste, thus indeed has that Self neither inside nor outside, but is altogether a mass of knowledge’ (B/ri/.  Up.  IV, 5, 13).—­For all these reasons the abode of heaven, earth, &c. is the highest Brahman.—­Against the objection that on account of the text speaking of a ‘bridge,’ and a bridge requiring a further bank, we have to understand by the abode of heaven and earth something different from Brahman, we remark that the word ‘bridge’ is meant to intimate only that that which is called a bridge supports, not that it has a further bank.  We need not assume by any means that the bridge meant is like an ordinary bridge made of clay and wood.  For as the word setu (bridge) is derived from the root si, which means ‘to bind,’ the idea of holding together, supporting is rather implied in it than the idea of being connected with something beyond (a further bank).

According to the opinion of another (commentator) the word ‘bridge’ does not glorify the abode of heaven, earth, &c., but rather the knowledge of the Self which is glorified in the preceding clause, ’Know him alone as the Self,’ and the abandonment of speech advised in the clause, ’leave off other words;’ to them, as being the means of obtaining immortality, the expression ‘the bridge of the immortal’ applies[167].  On that account we have to set aside the assertion that, on account of the word ‘bridge,’ something different from Brahman is to be understood by the abode of heaven, earth, and so on.

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