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BL 1010 .S3 v.34

B adar aya na.

The Ved anta-s utras





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Introduction ix


Adhyaya I.

Pada I 3

Pada II 107

Pada III 154

Pada IV 237

Adhyaya II.

Pada I 290

Pada II 363

Transliteration of Oriental Alphabets adopted for the Trans- lations of the Sacred Books of the East .... 445


To the sacred literature of the Brahmans, in the strict sense of the term, i. e. to the Veda, there belongs a certain number of complementary works without whose assistance the student is, according to Hindu notions, unable to do more than commit the sacred texts to memory. In the first place all Vedic texts must, in order to be under- stood, be read together with running commentaries such as Sayawa's commentaries on the Sa7/mitas and Brahmawas, and the Bhashyas ascribed to 5aiikara on the chief Upani- shads. But these commentaries do not by themselves conduce to a full comprehension of the contents of the sacred texts, since they confine themselves to explaining the meaning of each detached passage without investigating its relation to other passages, and the whole of which they form part ; considerations of the latter kind are at any rate introduced occasionally only. The task of taking a com- prehensive view of the contents of the Vedic writings as a whole, of systematising what they present in an unsyste- matical form, of showing the mutual co-ordination or sub- ordination of single passages and sections, and of reconciling contradictions which, according to the view of the orthodox commentators, can be apparent only is allotted to a sepa- rate j-astra or body of doctrine which is termed Mimawsa, i. e. the investigation or enquiry kclt t£oyj]v, viz. the enquiry into the connected meaning of the sacred texts.

Of this Mima//2sa two branches have to be distinguished, the so-called earlier (purva) Mimawsa, and the later (uttara) Mima;;/sa. The former undertakes to systematise the karmakaw^/a, i. e. that entire portion of the Veda which is concerned with action, pre-eminently sacrificial action, and which comprises the Sa7;mitas and the Brahma^as exclusive of the Ara;/yaka portions ; the latter performs the same


service with regard to the so-called ^wanakaw/a, i. e. that part of the Vedic writings which includes the Arawyaka portions of the Brahma/zas, and a number of detached treatises called Upanishads. Its subject is not action but knowledge, viz. the knowledge of Brahman.

At what period these two jastras first assumed a definite form, we are unable to ascertain. Discussions of the nature of those which constitute the subject-matter of the Purva Mimawsa must have arisen at a very early period, and the word Mima/wsa itself together with its derivatives is already employed in the Brahma;/as to denote the doubts and discussions connected with certain contested points of ritual. The want of a body of definite rules prescribing how to act, i. e. how to perform the various sacrifices in full accordance with the teaching of the Veda, was indeed an urgent one, because it was an altogether practical want, continually pressing itself on the adhvaryus engaged in ritualistic duties. And the task of establishing such rules was moreover a comparatively limited and feasible one ; for the members of a certain Vedic jakha or school had to do no more than to digest thoroughly their own brahma;/a and sawhita, without being under any obligation of reconciling with the teaching of their own books the occasionally con- flicting rules implied in the texts of other jakhas. It was assumed that action, as being something which depends on the will and choice of man, admits of alternatives, so that a certain sacrifice may be performed in different ways by members of different Vedic schools, or even by the followers of one and the same jrakha.

The Uttara Mima///sa-.rastra may be supposed to have originated considerably later than the Purva Mimawsa. In the first place, the texts with which it is concerned doubtless constitute the latest branch of Vedic literature. And in the second place, the subject-matter of those texts did not call for a systematical treatment with equal urgency, as it was in no way connected with practice ; the mental attitude of the authors of the Upanishads, who in their lucubrations on Brahman and the soul aim at nothing less than at definite- ncss and coherence, may have perpetuated itself through


many generations without any great inconvenience resulting therefrom.

But in the long run two causes must have acted with ever-increasing force, to give an impulse to the systematic working up of the teaching of the Upanishads also. The followers of the different Vedic jakhas no doubt recoe- nised already at an early period the truth that, while conflicting statements regarding the details of a sacrifice can be got over by the assumption of a vikalpa, i. e. an optional proceeding, it is not so with regard to such topics as the nature of Brahman, the relation to it of the human soul, the origin of the physical universe, and the like. Concerning them, one opinion only can be the true one, and it therefore becomes absolutely incumbent on those, who look on the whole body of the Upanishads as revealed truth, to demonstrate that their teaching forms a con- sistent whole free from all contradictions. In addition there supervened the external motive that, while the karma- kaw/a of the Veda concerned only the higher castes of brahmanically constituted society, on which it enjoins certain sacrificial performances connected with certain re- wards, the ^vzanakawcfa, as propounding a certain theory of the world, towards which any reflecting person inside or outside the pale of the orthodox community could not but take up a definite position, must soon have become the object of criticism on the part of those who held different views on religious and philosophic things, and hence stood in need of systematic defence.

At present there exists a vast literature connected with the two branches of the Mimawsa. We have, on the one hand, all those works which constitute the Purva Mimawsa-j-astra or as it is often, shortly but not accurately, termed, the Mimawzsa- ^astra and, on the other hand, all those works which are commonly comprised under the name Vedanta-j-astra. At the head of this extensive literature there stand two collec- tions of Sutras (i. e. short aphorisms constituting in their totality a complete body of doctrine upon some subject), whose reputed authors are (S'aimini and Badaraya//a. There can, however, be no doubt that the composition of those two


collections of Sutras was preceded by a long series of pre- paratory literary efforts of which they merely represent the highly condensed outcome. This is rendered probable by the analogy of other .rastras, as well as by the exhaustive thoroughness with which the Sutras perform their task of systematising the teaching of the Veda, and is further proved by the frequent references which the Sutras make to the views of earlier teachers. If we consider merely the preserved monuments of Indian literature, the Sutras (of the two Mima/wsas as well as of other .rastras) mark the begin- ning ; if we, however, take into account what once existed, although it is at present irretrievably lost, we observe that they occupy a strictly central position, summarising, on the one hand, a series of early literary essays extending over many generations, and forming, on the other hand, the head spring of an ever broadening activity of commentators as well as virtually independent writers, which reaches down to our days, and may yet have some future before itself.

The general scope of the two Mimawsa-sutras and their relation to the Veda have been indicated in what precedes. A difference of some importance between the two has, how- ever, to be noted in this connexion. The systematisation of the karmaka/^a of the Veda led to the elaboration of two classes of works, viz. the Kalpa-sutras on the one hand, and the Purva Mimawsa-sutras^on the other hand. The former give nothing but a description as concise as possible of the sacrifices enjoined in the Brahma/ms ; while the latter discuss and establish the general principles which the author of a Kalpa-sutra has to follow, if he wishes to render his rules strictly conformable to the teaching of the Veda. The £-uana.kanda. of the Veda, on the other hand, is system- atised in a single work, viz. the Uttara Mimawsa or Vedanta- sutras, which combine the two tasks of concisely stating the teaching of the Veda, and of argumentatively establishing the special interpretation of the Veda adopted in the Sutras. This difference may be accounted for by two reasons. In the first place, the contents of the karmakaw/a, as being of an entirely practical nature, called for summaries such as the Kalpa-sutras, from which all burdensome discussions of


method are excluded ; while there was no similar reason for the separation of the two topics in the case of the purely theoretical science of Brahman. And, in the second place, the Vedanta-sutras throughout presuppose the Purva Mima7/zsa-sutras, and may therefore dispense with the discussion of general principles and methods already esta- blished in the latter.

The time at which the two Mima;/2sa-sutras were com- posed we are at present unable to fix with any certainty ; a few remarks on the subject will, however, be made later on. Their outward form is that common to all the so- called Sutras which aims at condensing a given body of doctrine in a number of concise aphoristic sentences, and often even mere detached words in lieu of sentences. Besides the Mima///sa-sutras this literary form is common to the fundamental works on the other philosophic systems, on the Vedic sacrifices, on domestic ceremonies, on sacred law, on grammar, and on metres. The two Mimawsa- sutras occupy, however, an altogether exceptional position in point of style. All Sutras aim at conciseness ; that is clearly the reason to which this whole species of literary composition owes its existence. This their aim they reach by the rigid exclusion of all words which can possibly be spared, by the careful avoidance of all unnecessary repeti- tions, and, as in the case of the grammatical Sutras, by the employment of an arbitrarily coined terminology which substitutes single syllables for entire words or combination of words. At the same time the manifest intention of the Sutra writers is to express themselves with as much clear- ness as the conciseness affected by them admits of. The aphorisms are indeed often concise to excess, but not otherwise intrinsically obscure, the manifest care of the writers being to retain what is essential in a given phrase, and to sacrifice only what can be supplied, although perhaps not without difficulty, and an irksome strain of memory and reflection. Hence the possibility of understanding without! a commentary a very considerable portion at any rate of the ordinary Sutras. Altogether different is the case of the two Mimawsa-sutras. There scarcely one single Sutra is


intelligible without a commentary. The most essential words are habitually dispensed with ; nothing is, for instance, more common than the simple omission of the subject or predicate of a sentence. And when here and there a Sutra occurs whose words construe without anything having to be supplied, the phraseology is so eminently vague and obscure that without the help derived from a commentary we should be unable to make out to what subject the Sutra refers. When undertaking to translate either of the Mimawsa- sutras we therefore depend altogether on commentaries ; and hence the question arises which of the numerous com- mentaries extant is to be accepted as a guide to their right understanding.

The commentary here selected for translation, together with Badaraya;?aJs Sutras ] (to which we shall henceforth confine our attention to the exclusion of ^aimini's Purva Mimawsa-sutras), is the one composed by the celebrated theologian .Sarikara or, as he is commonly called, .Sarikara- Z'arya. There are obvious reasons for this selection. In the first place, the vSarikara-bhashya represents the so- called orthodox side of Brahmanical theology which strictly upholds the Brahman or highest Self of the Upanishads as something different from, and in fact immensely superior to, the divine beings such as Vish/m or .Siva, which, for many centuries, have been the chief objects of popular worship in India. In the second place, the doctrine advocated by vS'ahkara is, from a purely philosophical point of view and apart from all theological considerations, the most im- portant and interesting one which has arisen on Indian soil ; neither those forms of the Vedanta which diverge from the view represented by .Saiikara nor any of the non-Vedantic systems can be compared with the so-called orthodox Vedanta in boldness, depth, and subtlety of speculation. In the third place, 5ahkara's bhashya is, as far as we know, the oldest of the extant commentaries, and relative antiquity is at any rate one of the circumstances which have to be

1 The Sutras in which the g-uanaka/ii/a of the Veda is systematised go by various names, being called either Vedanta-siitras, or Uttara Mimawsa-sutras, or Brahma-sutras, or 6'ariraka Mima/wsa-sutras.


taken into account, although, it must be admitted, too much weight may easily be attached to it. The vSahkara-bhashya further is the authority most generally deferred to in India as to the right understanding of the Vedanta-sutras, and ever since .Sahkara's time the majority of the best thinkers of India have been men belonging to his school. If in addition to all this we take into consideration the intrinsic merits of 5aiikara's work which, as a piece of philo- sophical argumentation and theological apologetics, un- doubtedly occupies a high rank, the preference here given to it will be easily understood.

But to the European or, generally, modern— translator of the Vedanta-sutras with 5arikara's commentary another question will of course suggest itself at once, viz. whether or not Ankara's explanations faithfully render the intended meaning of the author of the Sutras. To the Indian Y&nd'xt of Ankara's school this question has become an indifferent one, or, to state the case more accurately, he objects to its being raised, as he looks on Sarikara's authority as standing above doubt and dispute. When pressed to make good his position he will, moreover, most probably not enter into any detailed comparison of Sankara's com- ments with the text of Badaraya/za's Sutras, but will rather endeavour to show on speculative grounds that vSahkara's philosophical view is the only true one, whence it of course follows that it accurately represents the meaning of Bada- rayawa, who himself must necessarily be assumed to have taught the true doctrine. But on the modern investigator, who neither can consider himself bound by the authority of a name however great, nor is likely to look to any Indian system of thought for the satisfaction of his speculative wants, it is clearly incumbent not to acquiesce from the out- set in the interpretations given of the Vedanta-sutras and the Upanishads by 6ankara and his school, but to submit them, as far as that can be done, to a critical investigation.

This is a task which would have to be undertaken even if Saftkara's views as to the true meaning of the Sutras and Upanishads had never been called into doubt on Indian soil, although in that case it could perhaps hardly be entered

xvi vedanta-sOtras.

upon with much hope of success ; but it becomes much more urgent, and at the same time more feasible, when we meet in India itself with systems claiming to be Vedantic and based on interpretations of the Sutras and Upanishads more or less differing from those of .Sarikara. The claims of those systems to be in the possession of the right under- standing of the fundamental authorities of the Vedanta must at any rate be examined, even if we should finally be compelled to reject them.

It appears that already at a very early period the Vedanta-sutras had come to be looked upon as an authori- tative work, not to be neglected by any who wished to affiliate their own doctrines to the Veda. At present, at any rate, there are very few Hindu sects not interested in showing that their distinctive tenets are countenanced by Badaraya;/a's teaching. Owing to this the commentaries on the Sutras have in the course of time become very numerous, and it is at present impossible to give a full and accurate enumeration even of those actually existing, much less of those referred to and quoted. Mr. Fitz-Edward Hall, in his Bibliographical Index, mentions fourteen com- mentaries, copies of which had been inspected by himself. Some among these (as, for instance, Ramanu^a's Vedanta- sara, No. XXXV) are indeed not commentaries in the strict sense of the word, but rather systematic expositions of the doctrine supposed to be propounded in the Sutras; but, on the other hand, there are in existence several true commen- taries which had not been accessible to Fitz-Edward Hall. It would hardly be practical and certainly not feasible in this place to submit all the existing bhashyas to a critical enquiry at once. All we can do here is to single out one or a few of the more important ones, and to compare their interpretations with those given by .Sahkara, and with the text of the Sutras themselves.

The bhashya, which in this connexion is the first to press itself upon our attention, is the one composed by the famous Vaisfwava theologian and philosopher Ramanufa, who is supposed to have lived in the twelfth century. The Rama- mi£-a or, as it is often called, the .Sri-bhashya appears to be


the oldest commentary extant next to Ankara's. It is further to be noted that the sect of the Ramanu^as occupies a pre-eminent position among the Vaishwava sects which themselves, in their totality, may claim to be considered the most important among all Hindu sects. The intrinsic value of the vSri-bhashya moreover is as every student ac- quainted with it will be ready to acknowledge a very high one ; it strikes one throughout as a very solid performance due to a writer of extensive learning and great power of argu- mentation, and in its polemic parts, directed chiefly against the school of .Sarikara, it not unfrequently deserves to be called brilliant even. And in addition to all this it shows evident traces of being not the mere outcome of Ramanu^a's individual views, but of resting on an old and weighty tradition.

This latter point is clearly of the greatest importance. If it could be demonstrated or even rendered probable only that the oldest bhashya which we possess, i. e. the Sa.n- kara-bhashya, represents an uninterrupted and uniform tradition bridging over the interval between Badaraya«a, the reputed author of the Sutras, and 5arikara ; and if, on the other hand, it could be shown that the more modern bhashyas are not supported by old tradition, but are nothing more than bold attempts of clever sectarians to force an old work of generally recognised authority into the service of their individual tenets ; there would certainly be no reason for us to raise the question whether the later bhashyas can help us in making out the true meaning of the Sutras. All we should have to do in that case would be to accept vSahkara's interpretations as they stand, or at the utmost to attempt to make out, if at all possible, by a careful comparison of 6ahkara's bhashya with the text of the Sutras, whether the former in all cases faithfully repre- sents the purport of the latter.

In the most recent book of note which at all enters into the question as to how far we have to accept .Sarikara as a guide to the right understanding of the Sutras (Mr. A. Goughs Philosophy of the Upanishads) the view is maintained (pp. 239 ff.) that 5ahkara is the generally recognised expositor [34] b


of true Vedanta doctrine, that that doctrine was handed down by an unbroken series of teachers intervening between him and the Sutrakara, and that there existed from the beginning only one Vedanta doctrine, agreeing in all essen- tial points with the doctrine known to us from .Sankara's writings. Mr. Gough undertakes to prove this view, firstly, by a comparison of .Sankara's system with the teaching of the Upanishads themselves ; and, secondly, by a comparison of the purport of the Sutras— as far as that can be made out independently of the commentaries with the interpre- tations given of them by vSarikara. To both these points we shall revert later on. Meanwhile, I only wish to remark concerning the former point that, even if we could show with certainty that all the Upanishads propound one and the same doctrine, there yet remains the undeniable fact of our being confronted by a considerable number of essen- tially differing theories, all of which claim to be founded on the Upanishads. And with regard to the latter point I have to say for the present that, as long as we have only vSaiikara's bhashya before us, we are naturally inclined to find in the Sutras which, taken by them- selves, are for the greater part unintelligible the meaning which ^ankara ascribes to them; while a reference to other bhashyas may not impossibly change our views at once.— Meanwhile, we will consider the question as to the unbroken uniformity of Vedantic tradition from another point of view, viz. by enquiring whether or not the Sutras themselves, and the Sankara-bhashya, furnish any indications of there having existed already at an early time essentially different Vedantic systems or lines of Vedantic speculation.

Beginning with the Sutras, we find that they supply ample evidence to the effect that already at a very early time, viz. the period antecedent to the final composition of the Vedanta-sutras in their present shape, there had arisen amoncr the chief doctors of the Vedanta differences of opinion, bearing not only upon minor points of doctrine, but affecting the most essential parts of the system. In addition to Badaraya^a himself, the reputed author of the


Sutras, the latter quote opinions ascribed to the following teachers : Atreya, A^marathya, AiuAilomi, Kirsrma^ini, Ka^akr/tsna, Gaimini, Badari. Among the passages where diverging views of those teachers are recorded and con- trasted three are of particular importance. Firstly, a passage in the fourth pada of the fourth adhyaya (Sutras 5-7), where the opinions of various teachers concerning the characteristics of the released soul are given, and where the important discrepancy is noted that, according to Aiu/ulomi, its only characteristic is thought (£aitanya), while Gaimini maintains that it possesses a number of exalted qualities, and Badarayaz/a declares himself in favour of a combination of those two views. The second passage occurs in the third pada of the fourth adhyaya (Sutras 7-14), where Gaimini maintains that the soul of him who possesses the lower know- ledge of Brahman goes after death to the highest Brahman, while Badari whose opinion is endorsed by .Sankara teaches that it repairs to the lower Brahman only.— Finally, the third and most important passage is met with in the fourth pada of the first adhyaya (Sutras 20-22), where the question is discussed why in a certain passage of the Brzhadara^yaka Brahman is referred to in terms which are strictly applicable to the individual soul only. In con- nexion therewith the Sutras quote the views of three ancient teachers about the relation in which the individual soul stands to Brahman. According to Ajmarathya (if we accept the interpretation of his view given by vSahkara and vSaiikara's commentators) the soul stands to Brahman in the bhedabheda relation, i.e. it is neither absolutely different nor absolutely non-different from it, as sparks are from fire. Aiu/ulomi, on the other hand, teaches that the soul is alto- gether different from Brahman up to the time when ob- taining final release it is merged in it ; and Ka^akr/tsna finally upholds the doctrine that the soul is absolutely non- different from Brahman, which in some way or other presents itself as the individual soul.

That the ancient teachers, the ripest outcome of whose speculations and discussions is embodied in the Vedanta- sutras, disagreed among themselves on points of vital

b 2


importance is sufficiently proved by the three passages quoted. The one quoted last is specially significant as showing that recognised authorities deemed worthy of being quoted in the Sutras denied that doctrine on which the whole system of ►Saiikara hinges, viz. the doctrine of the absolute identity of the individual soul with Brahman.

Turning next to the .Sankara-bhashya itself, we there also meet with indications that the Vedantins were divided among themselves on important points of dogma. These indications are indeed not numerous : vSarikara does not on the whole impress one as an author particularly anxious to strengthen his own case by appeals to ancient authorities, a peculiarity of his which later writers of hostile tendencies have not failed to remark and criticise. But yet more than once .Sarikara also refers to the opinion of ' another,' viz., commentator of the Sutras, and in several places Sankara's commentators explain that the ' other ' meant is the Vrz'tti- kara (about whom more will be said shortly). Those references as a rule concern minor points of exegesis, and hence throw little or no light on important differences of dogma ; but there are two remarks of ^Sankara's at any rate which are of interest in this connexion. The one is made with reference to Slitras 7-14 of the third pada of the fourth adhyaya ; ' some,' he says there, ' declare those Sutras, which I look upon as setting forth the siddhanta view, to state merely the purvapaksha ; ' a difference of opinion which, as we have seen above, affects the important question as to the ultimate fate of those who have not reached the knowledge of the highest Brahman. And under I, 3, 19 -Sankara, after having explained at length that the individual soul as such cannot claim any reality, but is real only in so far as it is identical with Brahman, adds the following words, 'apare tu vad'ma/i paramarthikam eva gaivam riipam iti manyante asmadiya.? ka. keklt,' i. e. ' other theorisers again, and among them some of ours, are of opinion that the individual soul as such is real.' The term ' ours,' here made use of, can denote only the Aupanishadas or Vedantins, and it thus appears that Sankara himself


was willing to class under the same category himself and philosophers who as in later times the Ramanu^as and others looked upon the individual soul as not due to the fictitious limitations of Maya, but as real in itself ; whatever may be the relation in which they considered it to stand to the highest Self.

From what precedes it follows that the Vedantins of the school to which 5ankara himself belonged acknowledged the existence of Vedantic teaching of a type essentially different from their own. We must now proceed to enquire whether the Ramanu^a system, which likewise claims to be Vedanta, and to be founded on the Vedanta-sutras, has any title to be considered an ancient system and the heir of a respectable tradition.

It appears that Ramanu^a claims and by Hindu writers is generally admitted to follow in his bhashya the autho- rity of Bodhayana, who had composed a vr/tti on the Sutras. Thus we read in the beginning of the .Sri-bhashya (Pandit, New Series, VII, p. 163), ' Bhagavad-bodhayana- krztam vistirwam brahmasutra-vrzttiw purvaMrya/z samki- kshipus tanmatanusare//a siitrakshara/a vyakhyasyante.' Whether the Bodhayana to whom that vrz'tti is ascribed is to be identified with the author of the Kalpa-sutra, and other works, cannot at present be decided. But that an ancient vWtti on the Sutras connected with Bodhayana's name actually existed, there is not any reason to doubt. Short quotations from it are met with in a few places of the wSri-bhashya, and, as we have seen above, 5aiikara's commentators state that their author's polemical remarks are directed against the W/ttikara. In addition to Bodhayana, Ramanu^a appeals to quite a series of ancient teachers purvaZ'aryas who carried on the true tradition as to the teaching of the Vedanta and the meaning of the Sutras. In the Vedarthasahgraha a work composed by Ramanu^a himself we meet in one place with the enumeration of the following authorities : Bodhayana, 7ahka, Drami^a, Guhadeva, Kapardin, Bharu^i, and quotations from the writings of some of these are not unfrequent in the Vedarthasahgraha, as well as the .Sri-


bhashya. The author most frequently quoted is Drami^a 1, who compose4 the Drami<^a-bhashya ; he is sometimes referred to as the bhashyakara. Another writer repeatedly quoted as the vakyakara is, I am told 2, to be identified with the 7anka mentioned above. I refrain from inserting in this place the information concerning the relative age of these writers which may be derived from the oral tradition of the Ramanu^-a sect. From another source, however, we receive an intimation that Drami^aMrya or Dravie/a£arya preceded vSankara in point of time. In his /ika on vSaii- kara's bhashya to the AV/andogya Upanishad III, 10, 4, Anandagiri remarks that the attempt made by his author to reconcile the cosmological views of the Upanishad with the teaching of Smr/ti on the same point is a reproduction of the analogous attempt made by the Dravi^aMrya.

It thus appears that that special interpretation of the Vedanta-sutras with which the vSri-bhashya makes us acquainted is not due to innovating views on the part of Ramanu^a, but had authoritative representatives already at a period anterior to that of vSankara. This latter point, moreover, receives additional confirmation from the relation in which the so-called Ramanii^a sect stands to earlier sects. What the exact position of Ramanu^a was, and of what nature were the reforms that rendered him so pro- minent as to give his name to a new sect, is not exactly known at present ; at the same time it is generally acknow- ledged that the Ramanu^as are closely connected with the so-called Bhagavatas or Pa/X^aratras, who are known to have existed already at a very early time. This latter point is proved by evidence of various kinds ; for our present purpose it suffices to point to the fact that, according to the interpre- tation of the most authoritative commentators, the last

1 The name of this writer is sometimes given as Dramu/a, sometimes as Dravn/a. In the opinion of PaWit Rama Mi^ra Gastrin of the Benares College himself a Ramann^a and thoroughly conversant with the books and traditions of his sect the form ' Dramit/a' is the correct one.

2 Viz. by Paz/rflt Rama Mijra Gastrin. As the Pa;^/it intends himself to publish all the traditional information he possesses concerning the history of the Bhagavatas and Ramanu§as, I limit myself in the text to stating the most relevant results of my study of the -Sri-bhashya and the Vedarthasahgraha.


Sutras of the second pada of the second adhyaya (Vedanta- sutras) refer to a distinctive tenet of the Bhagavatas which tenet forms part of the Ramanu^a system also viz. that the highest being manifests itself in a fourfold form (vyuha) as Vasudeva, Sarikarsha//a, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, those four forms being identical with the highest Self, the indi- vidual soul, the internal organ (manas), and the principle of egoity (ahankara). Whether those Sutras embody an approval of the tenet referred to, as Ramanu^a maintains, or are meant to impugn it, as .Sankara thinks ; so much is certain that in the opinion of the best commentators the Bhagavatas, the direct forerunners of the Ramanu^as, are mentioned in the Sutras themselves, and hence must not only have existed, but even reached a considerable degree of importance at the time when the Sutras were composed. And considering the general agreement of the systems of the earlier Bhagavatas and the later Ramanu^-as, we have a full right to suppose that the two sects were at one also in their mode of interpreting the Vedanta-sutras.

The preceding considerations suffice, I am inclined to think, to show that it will by no means be wasted labour to enquire how Ramanu^a interprets the Sutras, and wherein he differs from Sankara. This in fact seems clearly to be the first step we have to take, if we wish to make an attempt at least of advancing beyond the interpretations of scho- liasts to the meaning of the Sutras themselves. A full and exhaustive comparison of the views of the two com- mentators would indeed far exceed the limits of the space which can here be devoted to that task, and will, moreover, be made with greater ease and advantage when the complete Sanskrit text of the vSri-bhashya has been printed, and thus made available for general reference. But meanwhile it is possible, and- as said before even urged upon a translator of the Sutras to compare the interpretations, given by the two bhashyakaras, of those Sutras, which, more than others, touch on the essential points of the Vedanta system 1. This

1 Owing to the importance of the 6'ahkara-bhashya as the fundamental work of the most influential Hindu school of philosophy, the number of topics which might be discussed in the introduction to its translation is considerable. But'


will best be done in connexion with a succinct but full review of the topics discussed in the adhikara//as of the Vedanta-sutras, according to .Sahkara ; a review which apart from the side-glances at Ramanu^a's comments will be useful as a guide through the Sutras and the vSahkara-bhashya. Before, however, entering on that task, I think it advisable to insert short sketches of the philosophical systems of ^Sankara as well as of Ramanu^a. which may be referred to when, later on, discrepancies between the two commentators will be noted. In these sketches I shall confine myself to the leading features, and not enter into any details. Of 5ankara's system we possess as it is more than one trustworthy exposition ; it may suffice to refer to Deussen's System of the Vedanta, in which the details of the entire system, as far as they can be learned from the Sutra-bhashya, are represented fully and faithfully, and to Gough's Philosophy of the Upanishads which, principally in its second chapter, gives a lucid sketch of the vSahkara Vedanta, founded on the Sutra- bhashya, the Upanishad bhashyas, and some later writers belonging to Saiikara's school. With regard to Ramanu^a's philosophy our chief source was, hitherto, the Ramanu^a chapter in the Sarvadarja/zasawgraha ; the short sketch about to be given is founded altogether on the 5ri- bhashya itself.

What in Ankara's opinion the Upanishads teach, is shortly as follows. Whatever is, is in reality one ; there truly exists only one universal being called Brahman or Paramatman, the highest Self. This being is of an abso- lutely homogeneous nature ; it is pure ' Being,' or, which ! comes to the same, pure intelligence or thought (£aitanya,

the limitation of the space at our disposal necessitates a selection, and it can hardly be doubted that, among the possible tasks of a translator, that of ascertaining how far the teaching of -Sahkara agrees with that of Badarayawa, and, further, how far either of them represents the true doctrine of the Upanishads, is the one first to be taken in hand. Some other topics, such as a detailed account of .Sahkara's teaching according to the bhashya, an enquiry as to the books and authors quoted by .Sahkara, &c, have, moreover, been treated not long ago in a very thorough fashion by Dr. Deussen in his ' System des Vedanta.'


gndna). Intelligence or thought is not to be predicated of Brahman as its attribute, but constitutes its substance ; Brahman is not a thinking being, but thought itself. It is absolutely destitute of qualities ; whatever qualities or attributes are conceivable, can only be denied of it. But, if nothing exists but one absolutely simple being, whence the appearance of the world by which we see ourselves surrounded, and in which we ourselves exist as individual beings ? Brahman, the answer runs, is associated with a certain power called Maya or avidya to which the appearance of this entire world is due. This power cannot be called ' being ' (sat), for ' being ' is only Brahman ; nor can it be called ' non-being' (asat) in the strict sense, for it at any rate produces the appearance of this world. It is in fact a prin- ciple of illusion ; the undefinable cause owing to which there seems to exist a material world comprehending distinct individual existences. Being associated with this principle of illusion, Brahman is enabled to project the appearance of the world, in the same way as a magician is enabled by his incomprehensible magical power to produce illusory ap- pearances of animate and inanimate beings. Maya thus constitutes the upadana, the material cause of the world ; or if we wish to call attention to the circumstance that Maya, belongs to Brahman as a jakti we may say that the material cause of the world is Brahman in so far as it is associated with Maya. In this latter quality Brahman is more properly called Ijvara, the Lord.

Maya, under the guidance of the Lord, modifies itself by a progressive evolution into all the individual existences (bheda), distinguished by special names and forms, of which the world consists ; from it there spring in due succession the different material elements and the whole bodily apparatus belonging to sentient beings. In all those apparently individual forms of existence the one indivisible Brahman is present, but, owing to the particular adjuncts into which Maya has specialised itself, it appears to be broken up it is broken up, as it were into a multi- plicity of intellectual or sentient principles, the so-called ^ivas (individual or personal souls). What is real in each


giva is only the universal Brahman itself; the whole aggregate of individualising bodily organs and mental functions, which in our ordinary experience separate and distinguish one ^"iva from another, is the offspring of Maya, and as such unreal.

The phenomenal world or world of ordinary experience (vyavahara) thus consists of a number of individual souls engaged in specific cognitions, volitions, and so on, and of the external material objects with which those cognitions and volitions are concerned. Neither the specific cognitions nor their objects are real in the true sense of the word, for both are altogether due to Maya. But at the same time we have to reject the idealistic doctrine of certain Bauddha schools according to which nothing whatever truly exists, but certain trains of cognitional acts or ideas to which no external objects correspond ; for external things, although not real in the strict sense of the word, enjoy at any rate as much reality as the specific cognitional acts whose objects they are.

The non-enlightened soul is unable to look through and beyond Maya, which, like a veil, hides from it its true nature. Instead of recognising itself to be Brahman, it blindly identifies itself with its adjuncts (upadhi), the fictitious offspring of Maya, and thus looks for its true Self in the body, the sense organs, and the internal organ (manas), i. e. the organ of specific cognition. The soul, which in reality is pure intelligence, non-active, infinite, thus becomes limited in extent, as it were, limited in knowledge and power, an agent and enjoyer. Through its actions it burdens itself with merit and demerit, the consequences of which it has to bear or enjoy in series of future embodied existences, the Lord— as a retributor and dispenser allotting to each soul that form of embodiment to which it is entitled by its previous actions. At the end of each of the great world periods called kalpas the Lord retracts the whole world, i.e. the whole material world is dissolved and merged into non-distinct Maya, while the individual souls, free for the time from actual connexion with upadhis, lie in deep slumber as it were. But as the


consequences of their former deeds are not yet exhausted, they have again to enter on embodied existence as soon as the Lord sends forth a new material world, and the old round of birth, action, death begins anew to last to all eternity as it has lasted from all eternity.

The means of escaping from this endless sawsara, the way out of which can never be found by the non-enlightened soul, are furnished by the Veda. The karmakaw/a indeed, whose purport it is to enjoin certain actions, cannot lead to final release ; for even the most meritorious works necessarily lead to new forms of embodied existence. And in the ^vyanakaz/da of the Veda also two different parts have to be distinguished, viz., firstly, those chapters and passages which treat of Brahman in so far as related to the world, and hence characterised by various attributes, i.e. of lj-vara or the lower Brahman ; and, secondly, those texts \ which set forth the nature of the highest Brahman tran- ] scending all qualities, and the fundamental identity of the! individual soul with that highest Brahman. Devout medi-; tation on Brahman as suggested by passages of the former; kind does not directly