Chapter Four: Phala Adhyaya – Section 2 (Sutras 497-517)
In the previous Section it was shown that one attains Jivanmukti when the Sanchita Karmas or the accumulated works which have not as yet begun to bear fruits are destroyed, and Videhamukti at death when the Prarabdha Karma is destroyed.
This Section is devoted to the mode of departure of the enlightened and the unenlightened souls at the time of leaving the body. The path of the gods, the Devayana, by which the knower of the Saguna Brahman travels after death, is described. The Sutrakara begins by explaining on the basis of scriptural statements the successive steps by which the soul passes out of the body at death. The departure of the soul is the same in the case of him who possesses the lower knowledge and of him who is destitute of all knowledge.
(Sutras 1-2) At the time of death of the knower of Saguna Brahman, the functions of the organs get merged in mind.
(Sutra 3) At the time of death of the knower of Saguna Brahman, the function of the mind is merged in the Prana.
(Sutras 4-6) At the time of death of the knower of Saguna Brahman, the function of Prana is merged in the individual soul or Jiva.
(Sutra 7) The mode of departure from the body up to the way is common to both a knower of Saguna Brahman and an ordinary man. Both pass through the same stages up to the entrance of the soul together with the subtle elements and so on into the Nadis.
(Sutras 8-11) The merging of fire, etc., of death in the Highest Deity is not absolute merging. A complete absorption of the elements takes place only when final emancipation is attained.
(Sutras 12-14) The Pranas of a knower of the Nirguna Brahman do not depart from the body at death.
(Sutra 15) The organs of the knower of the Nirguna Brahman get merged in It at death.
(Sutra 16) The Kalas of the knower of the Nirguna Brahman attain absolute non-distinction with Brahman at death.
(Sutra 17) The soul of the knower of the Saguna Brahman comes to the heart at the time of death and thence goes out through the Sushumna. The soul of the ignorant man goes out by means of some other Nadi.
(Sutras 18-19) The departing soul of a knower of the Saguna Brahman follows the rays of the sun after death which exist at night as well as during day, and goes to Brahmaloka.
(Sutras 20-21) The soul of the knower of the Saguna Brahman goes to Brahmaloka even if he dies during the outhern course of the sun (Dakshinayana).
Vagadhikaranam: Topic 1 (Sutras 1-2)
At the time of death the functions of the organs are merged in the mind.
Vangmanasi darsanacchabdacca IV.2.1 (497)
Speech is merged in mind, because it is so seen, and there are scriptural statements (to that effect).
Vak: speech; Manasi: in the mind; Darsanat: because it is so seen or observed, because of the scriptural declaration; Sabdat: because of the word of the Vedas, because of the statement of the Smriti; Cha: also, and.
This Sutra says that speech merges in the mind at death.
Till now Jivanmukti or liberation while living is described. Now the attainment of Brahmaloka by going along the path of gods (Devayana) after death is going to be described.
About the process of dying we have the following passage, "When a man departs from here his speech merges in his mind, his mind in Prana, Prana in fire and fire in the Highest Deity" (Chh. Up. VI.6.1).
Now a doubt here arises whether the organ of speech as such gets merged in the mind or only its function.
The Purvapakshin maintains that the organ itself is merged in the mind as there is no mention in the text about the function of speech getting merged.
The present Sutra refutes this view and decides that only the function of the organ of speech is merged in the mind.
The merging is always of the effect in the cause. Speech is not an effect of the mind. Therefore, the organ of speech cannot merge in the mind. But Vrittis (functional manifestations) can merge in something which is not its cause. For instance, heat which is the function of fire originates from fuel and extinguished in water.
We see the manifestation of speech ceasing in a dying man, though his mind is still functioning. None sees the organ of speech being merged in the mind.
So experience also teaches that the function of speech and not the organ itself gets merged in mind.
Ata eva cha sarvanyanu IV.2.2 (498)
And for the same reason all (sense-organs) follow (mind, i.e., get their functions merged in it).
Ata eva: hence; Cha: and, also; Sarvani: all (organs); Anu (Anugacchanti): after (follow).
This Sutra intimates that the functions of all the organs merge in the mind at the time of death.
For the same reasons (general experience and corroborative statement of Sruti) as stated in Sutra 1, the functions of all the other sense-organs follow, i.e., get merged in the mind. "The fire is verily the Udana, for he whose light has gone out comes to a new birth with his senses merged in the mind" (Pras. Up. III.9).
Like the speech it is observed that the eye and other senses discontinue their functions, while the mind continues to act. Because the organs themselves cannot be absorbed, and because the text admits of that interpretation we conclude that the different organs follow after, i.e., are merged in the mind only as far as their functions are concerned.
Mano’dhikaranam: Topic 2 (Sutra 3)
The function of mind is merged in Prana.
Tanmanah prana uttarat IV.2.3 (499)
That mind (is merged) in Prana (as is seen) from the subsequent clause (of the Sruti cited).
Tat: that; Manah: mind; Prana: in the Prana; Uttarat: from the subsequent clause (of the Sruti).
It has been shown that the passage "speech is merged in mind" means a merging of the function only. A doubt here arises whether the subsequent clause "mind is breath" also means to intimate a merging of the function only or of that to which the function belongs.
The Purvapakshin maintains that here it is mind itself and not its function that gets merged in Prana, as Prana can be said to be the material cause of mind. In support of his statement he quotes the following text: "Mind consists of food, Prana of water" (Chh. Up. VI.6.5); "Water sent forth earth" (VI.2.4). When mind, therefore, is merged in Prana, it is the same thing as earth being merged in water, for mind is food or earth, and Prana is water, causal substance and effect being non-different. Hence the Sruti here speaks not of the function of the mind, but of mind itself getting merged in Prana.
This Sutra refutes this view. For the same reason it is the mental Vrittis (functions) that get merged in Prana, because in deep sleep and in approaching death, we see the mental functions stopping while the Prana (breath) is active. The mind is not derived from Prana, and hence cannot merge in it. Breath or Prana is not the causal substance of mind. The relation of causality by an indirect process does not suffice to show that mind is really merged in Prana. Were it so, then mind would also be merged in earth, earth in water, breath in water. Nor is there on the alternative contemplated any proof of mind having originated from that water which has passed over into breath.
Therefore, mind cannot itself be merged in Prana. The function of the mind only is merged in Prana.
Adhyakshadhikaranam: Topic 3 (Sutras 4-6)
The function of Prana is merged in the Jiva.
So’dhyakshe tadupagamadibhyah IV.2.4 (500)
That (Prana) is merged in the ruler (individual soul or Jiva) on account of the (statements as to the Pranas) coming to it and so on.
Sah: that (Prana); Adhyakshe: in the ruler (the Jiva); Tadupagamadibhyah: on account of the (statements as to the Pranas) coming to it and so on.
"Prana is merged in fire" (Chh. Up. VI.8.6). A doubt arises now whether according to the word of the scripture, the function of Prana is merged in fire or in the individual soul which is the ruler of the body and senses.
According to the Purvapakshin we must conclude that Prana is merged in fire only.
The present Sutra justifies its view because statements about Pranas coming to the Jiva, etc., are found in scriptural passages.
"All the Pranas approach the departing man at the time of death" (Bri. Up. IV.3.38). Another passage again specially declares that the Prana with its five functions follows the individual soul. After him thus departing the Prana departs, and that the other Pranas follow that Prana. "And after the Prana thus departing all the other Pranas depart" (Bri. Up. IV.4.2).
The text cited in Sutra 1, "When the man departs from here, his speech merges in mind, mind in Prana, Prana in fire and fire in the Highest Deity" (Chh. Up. VI.8.6), does not, however, contradict this view, as the following Sutra indicates.
Bhuteshu tacchruteh IV.2.5 (501)
In the (subtle) elements (is merged) (the Jiva with the Pranas) as it is seen from the Sruti.
Bhuteshu: in the elements; Tat sruteh: as that can be understood from Sruti, from the Sruti texts to that effect, there being a Vedic statement about that.
This Sutra amplifies the previous one.
The soul among with Prana rests in the subtle elements (Bhuta-sukshma). This is clear from the Sruti "Pranastejasi".
The soul united with the Prana takes up its abode within the subtle elements which accompany fire and forms the seed of the future gross body. This we conclude from the clause, "Prana in heat". But this passage intimates that the Prana takes up its abode and not that the soul together with the Prana takes up its abode.
We reply, it does not matter. The preceding Sutra intercalates the soul in the interval between Prana and fire. We may say shortly of a man who first travels from Haridwar to Ayodhya and then from Ayodhya to Benares that he travels from Haridwar to Benares. The passage under discussion, therefore, means that the soul together with the Prana abides in the elements associated with fire. The Prana is first merged in the individual soul and then the soul with the Prana takes its abode in the fine essence of the gross elements, fire etc., the seed of the future body.
But how are you entitled to draw in the other elements also, while the text only speaks of that? To this question the next Sutra gives an answer.
The Prana joining the soul, merged not only in Tejas but at the same time in other elements too. This can be understood from Sruti. It is said to merge only in Tejas, because Tejas (fire), is the predominating factor there. "That soul is united with the essence of the earth, of the water, of the air, of the Akasa, of the fire" (Bri. Up. IV.4.5).
Naikasmin darsayato hi IV.2.6 (502)
(The soul with Prana is merged) not in one element only, for both (the Sruti and Smriti) declare this (or declare so).
Na: not; Ekasmin: in one; Darsayatah: (both the Sruti and Smriti) declare so, both the Sruti and Smriti show; Hi: as, for, because.
When the soul leaves one body at the time of death and goes in from another, it together with the subtle body abides in the subtle essence of all the gross elements and not in fire only, because all the elements are needed for a future body. The new body consists of various elements. This matter is declared in the question and answer about the waters called man (Chh. Up. V.3.3). Vide III.1.2.
When the soul attains another body he does not rest in Prana alone, but goes with the subtle portions of all the elements. The question and answer in the Sruti show his.
A passage in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad declares that the soul’s embodiment is due to Karma, for the abode consisting of Graha (Indriyas or senses) and Atigraha (Vishayas or objects) is the effect of Karma. Here the subtle elements are called the abode because they are the stuff of which the new body is made. These two views or passages do not contradict each other.
Asrityupakramadhikaranam: Topic 4 (Sutra 7)
The mode of departure from the body up to the way is common to both the knower of the Saguna Brahman and an ordinary man.
Samana chasrityupakramadamritatvam chanuposhya IV.2.7 (503)
And common (is the mode of departure at the time of death for both the knower of the Saguna Brahman and the ignorant) up to the beginning of their ways; and the immortality (of the knower of the Saguna Brahman is only relative) without having burnt (ignorance).
Samana: common; Cha: and; Asrityupakramat: up to the beginning of their ways; Amritatvam: immortality; Cha: and; Anuposhya: without burning, without dissolution.
There is no departure for the knower of Nirguna Brahman. His Pranas are absorbed in Brahman.
The Purvapakshin maintains that the mode of departure from the body for the knower of Saguna Brahman and the ignorant or the ordinary man ought to be different, because they attain different abodes after death. The knower of Saguna Brahman goes to Brahmaloka while the ordinary man is reborn in this world.
The present Sutra says that the knower of the Saguna Brahman enters the Sushumna Nadi at death and then goes out of the body and then enters the Devayana or the path of the gods while the ordinary ignorant man enters some other Nadi and goes by another way to have rebirth.
But the mode of departure at death is common to both till they enter on their respective ways.
Chhandogya Upanishad VIII.6.6 and Kathopanishad II.3.16 declare "There are a hundred and more Nadis in the interior of the heart, of which only one leads from the heart to the head; by that, progressing upwards, the departing soul attains immortality, i.e., emancipation; all the other Nadis are for the egress of the ordinary people for undergoing bondage of frequent births and deaths."
Samsaravyapadesadhikaranam: Topic 5 (Sutras 8-11)
The dissolution of fire etc., at the time of death in the Supreme Deity is only relative.
Tadapiteh samsaravyapadesat IV.2.8 (504)
That (fine body lasts) up to the attainment of Brahman (through knowledge), because (the scriptures) declare the state of relative existence (till then).
Tat: that, aggregate of the elements, the sum total of the subtle elements; Apiteh: till the attainment of Brahman (through knowledge); Samsaravyapadesat: because (scriptures) declare the state of relative existence.
In the text cited in Sutra 1, we have "And fire is merged in the Highest Deity". The meaning is that the fire of the dying man together with the individual soul, the Prana, the aggregate of the organs and the other elements is merged in Brahman.
We now have to consider of what kind that merging is.
The Purvapakshin holds that it is an absolute absorption of things merged, as it is proved that those things have the Highest Deity for their causal mater. For it has been established that the Deity is the causal substance of all things, that have an origin. Therefore that passing into the state of non-separation is an absolute one. This is the final dissolution. Everyone attains the final emancipation at death.
This Sutra says that this merging is not absolute merging. Although Brahman is the causal substance of those elements, they are at the time of death, as in the case of deep sleep and a Pralaya of the world, merged in it only in such a way as to continue to exist in a seminal condition or seed state. Only the functions of these elements are merged and not the elements themselves.
Those subtle elements, fire and so on, which form the abode of hearing and the other organs persist up to final release from the Samsara, which is caused by perfect knowledge, because the scriptures declare that till then the Jiva or the individual soul is subject to relative existence. "Some souls enter the womb for embodied existence as organic beings; others go into inorganic matter, according to their work and according to their knowledge" (Katha Up. II.5.7).
Otherwise the limiting adjuncts of every soul would at the time of death be absorbed and the soul would enter into absolute union with Brahman. Every dying person will reach Brahman. This would render all scriptural injunction and scriptural doctrine equally useless.
Bondage which is due to wrong knowledge, cannot be dissolved but through perfect knowledge (Samyag Jnana). If the merging at death were absolute, then there could be no rebirth.
Sukshmam pramanatascha tathopalabdheh IV.2.9 (505)
(This fine body) is subtle (by nature) and size, because it is so observed.
Sukshmam: subtle; Pramanatah: as regards size; Cha: and; Tatha: thus, so; Upalabdheh: because it is experienced, it being observed.
The elementary matter of fire and the other elements which form the substratum of the soul, when passing out of this body, must be subtle in its nature and extent. This follows from the scriptural passages, which declare that it passes out by the Nadis and so on.
Its thinness renders it capable of passing out through the thin and subtle Nadi and its transparency is the cause of its not being stopped or obstructed by any gross substance, and not being seen by the by-standers when it passes out at death.
Nopamardenatah IV.2.10 (506)
Therefore, (this subtle body is) not (destroyed) by the destruction (of the gross body).
Na: not; Upamardena: by the destruction; Atah: therefore, because of this reason.
On account of this great subtlety the subtle body is not destroyed by what destroys the gross body, viz., burning and the like.
Asyaiva chopapatteresha ushma IV.2.11 (507)
And to this (subtle body) alone does this (bodily) heat belong, because this (only) is possible.
Asya: of the subtle body; Eva: verily, certainly, alone; Cha: and, also; Upapatteh: it being possible, because of possibility; Esha: this; Ushma: (bodily) heat.
To that same subtle body belongs the warmth which we perceive in the living body, by means of touch. That bodily heat is not felt in the body after death, while such qualities as form, colour and so on, continue to be perceived. The bodily heat is felt as long as there is life. It follows from this that the heat resides in something different from the body, as ordinarily known. The subtle body imparts its own heat to the gross body and keeps it warm as long as it remains alive. Scripture also says, "He is warm if going to live; cold if going to die."
Pratishedhadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutras 12-14)
The Pranas of the knower of Brahman do not depart at the time of death.
Pratishedhaditi chenna sarirat IV.2.12 (508)
If it be said (that the Pranas of one who knows Brahman do not depart) on account of the denial made by the Sruti, (we say) not so, (because the scripture denies the departure of the Pranas) from the individual soul (and not from the body).
Pratishedhat: on account of the denial; Iti: so; Chet: if (if it be argued); Na: not so, you cannot say so; Sarirat: from the individual soul.
This Sutra consists of two parts, viz., an objection and its reply. The objection portion is ‘Pratishedhaditi chet’. The reply portion is ‘Na sarirat; Spashto hyekesham’.
This Sutra gives the view of the Purvapakshin while the thirteenth and fourteenth Sutras state the Siddhanta or correct doctrine.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad declares, "But as to the man who does not desire, who not desiring, freed from desires, is satisfied in his desires, or desires the Self only, of him, the vital airs (Pranas) do not depart" (Bri. Up. IV.4.6). From this express denial, forming part of the higher knowledge, it follows that the Pranas do not pass out of the body of him who knows Brahman. This Sruti passage refers to one who knows the Nirguna Brahman. It declares that his Pranas do not depart at death.
The Purvapakshin maintains that the passage quoted does not deny the departure of the Pranas from the body but from the individual soul. If the Pranas do not depart from the body there will be no death at all. This is made clear from the Madhyandina recension which says "From him the vital spirits do not depart."
Therefore, the soul of a knower of Brahman passes out of the body with the Pranas.
The next Sutra refutes this view.
Spashto hyekesham IV.2.13 (509)
For (the denial of the soul’s departure) is clear (in the texts) of some schools.
Spashtah: clear; Hi: for; Ekesham: of some Sakhas or schools; the statement of some Srutis.
The Pranas do not depart from the body in the case of a liberated sage. This is made clear from the Sruti texts like: "Yajnavalkya" said Artabhaga, "when the liberated man dies, do his Pranas go up from him or do they not?" "No" replied Yajnavalkya, "they merge in him only" (Bri. Up. III.2.11).
If the Pranas depart with the soul from the body, then the soul will surely take a rebirth. Hence there will be no emancipation.
Therefore, the Pranas do not depart from the body in the case of one who knows Brahman.
Smaryate cha IV.2.14 (510)
And Smriti also says that.
Smaryate: the Smriti says, it is mentioned in the Smritis; Cha: and.
In the Mahabharata also it is said that those who know Brahman do not go or depart. "He who has become the Self of all beings and has a complete intuition of all, at his way the gods themselves are perplexed, seeking for the path of him who has no path" (Mahabharata: XII.270.22).
Vagadilayadhikaranam: Topic 7 (Sutra 15)
The Pranas (organs) and elements of the knower of the Nirguna Brahman get merged in It at death.
Tani pare tatha hyaha IV.2.15 (511)
Those (Pranas, elements) (are merged) in the Supreme Brahman, for thus the (scripture) says.
Tani: those; Pare: in the Supreme Brahman; Tatha: thus, so; Hi: because; Aha: (the Sruti) says.
Those, i.e., sense-organs denoted by the term ‘Prana’ and the elements of him who knows the Supreme Brahman are merged when he dies in the same Supreme Brahman. Why? Because scripture declares that "Thus these sixteen parts of this witness, the Purusha, having their goal in Him are dissolved on reaching Him in Him" (Pras. Up. VI.5).
But another text which refers to him who knows teaches that the parts also are merged in something different from the Highest Self. "The fifteen parts enter into their elements" (Mun. Up. III.2.7). No, we reply. This latter passage is concerned with the ordinary view of the matter. It intimates the end from a relative stand-point, according to which the whole aggregate of the parts of him who knows the Supreme Brahman is merged in Brahman only, just as the illusory snake is merged in the rope.
There is thus no contradiction.
Though ordinarily the senses and the elements merge in their causal substances, yet in the case of the Jnani they merge in Brahman.
Avibhagadhikaranam: Topic 8 (Sutra 16)
The Kalas of the knower of the Nirguna Brahman attain absolute non-distinction with Brahman at death.
Avibhago vachanat IV.2.16 (512)
(Absolute) non-distinction (with Brahman of the parts merged takes place) according to the statement (of the scriptures).
Avibhagah: non-distinction; Vachanat: on account of the statement (of the scriptures).
"Thus these sixteen constituents or Kalas, viz., eleven senses and five subtle elements, belonging to the seer, i.e., the liberated sage who attains the Supreme Brahman loses his distinction and disappears in Him. There names and forms are destroyed; and people speak of the Purusha only. Then he becomes partless and deathless" (Pras. Up. VI.5).
The Kalas in the case of the knower of Brahman get absolutely merged in the Highest Brahman. In the case of an ordinary person it is not so. They exist in a fine potential state, the cause of future birth.
When parts or Kalas that are the effects of ignorance are dissolved through knowledge it is not possible that a remainder be left. The parts, therefore, get merged absolutely in Brahman. There is no chance for them for cropping up again.
Tadoko’dhikaranam: Topic 9 (Sutra 17)
The soul of the knower of the Saguna Brahman comes to the heart at the time of death and then goes out through the Sushumna Nadi.
Tadoko’grajvalanam tatprakasitadvaro vidyasamarthyattaccheshagatyanusmritiyogaccha hardanugrihitah satadhikaya IV.2.17 (513)
When the soul of a knower of the Saguna Brahman is about to depart from the body, there takes place) a lighting up of the front of its (soul’s) abode (viz., the heart); the door (of its egress) being illumined thereby; owing to the power of knowledge and the application of meditation to the way which is part of that (knowledge); the soul favoured by Him in the heart (viz., Brahman) (passes upward) by the one that exceeds a hundred (i.e., the hundred and first Nadi).
Tadoko agrajvalanam: the illumining of the top of its (soul’s) abode (the heart); Tatprakasitadvarah: with the passage illumined by this light; Vidyasamarthyat: by the power of his knowledge; Tat seshagatyanusmritiyogat: because of the application of meditation to the way which is part of that knowledge; Cha: and; Hardanugrihitah: being favoured by Him who dwells in the heart; Satadhikaya: by one that exceeds a hundred. (Tat: of that; Okah: abode, the heart; Agrajvalanam: the forepart or the end of the heart being illumined; Tat: by the Lord dwelling in the heart; Prakasita: illumined; Dvarah: door, the root from which the hundred and first Nadi has its origin; Sesha: remainder; Gati: path, the way; Anusmritiyogat: because of the application of the remembrance or constant thought; Harda: the Lord who dwells in the heart; Anugrihitah: being favoured by.)
The discussion about the Para Vidya (Higher Knowledge) is over. The Sutrakara now pursues the discussion of the Apara Vidya, i.e., Upasana (lower knowledge).
It has been already stated in Sutra 7 that up to the beginning of the way the departure of a knower of the Saguna Brahman and an ignorant man is the same. The present Sutra now describes the soul’s entering on the way. The Brihadaranyaka text describes the death of a person "He taking with him those elements of light descends into the heart" (Bri. Up. IV.4.1). Then again it says, "The point of his heart becomes lighted up, and by that light the self departs, either through the eye or through the skull or through other places of the body" (Bri. Up. IV.4.2). The soul together with the organs comes to the heart at the time of death.
The question arises whether the departure is the same for a knower of Saguna Brahman and an ordinary man.
The exit of the ordinary man is different from that of the knower of Saguna Brahman. The former goes out from any part of the body at death (eye, ear, nose, anus, etc.). But the latter goes out only through the Sushumna Nadi and out of the Brahmarandhra in the head. If he goes out by any other way he cannot attain the Supreme Abode.
By virtue of knowledge and owing to the application of constant thought of Brahman the point of the heart which is the abode of the departing soul is illumined and through the grace of the supreme soul resident therein, the door of egress, the mouth of the Nadi leading from the heart to the head as stated in Sutra 7 is thrown open. The soul passes into the Nadi numbered one hundred and one. This Nadi is the gateway of the release. The other one hundred Nadis lead to bondage.
The scripture says in a chapter treating of the knower of Brahman dwelling in the heart: "There are a hundred and one Nadis of the heart; one of them penetrates the crown of the head; going up along that one attains Immortality; the others serve for departure in different directions)" (Chh. Up. VIII.6.5).
Although equality for him who does know and him who does not know, the point of the heart becomes shining and the door of egress thereby is lighted up, yet he who knows departs through the skull only, while the others depart from other places. Why so? On account of the power of knowledge. If also he who knows departs like all others, from any place of the body, he would be unable to reach an exalted sphere and then all knowledge would be meaningless.
"And on account of the application of meditation on the way forming a part of that." In different Vidyas there is enjoined meditation on the soul’s travelling on the way connected with the Nadi that passes through the skull, which way forms part of those Vidyas. Now it is proper to conclude that he who meditates on that way should after death proceed on it.
Therefore, he who knows being favoured by Brahman dwelling in the heart, on which he had meditated and thus becoming like it in nature departs by the Nadi which passes through the skull which is the hundred and first. The souls of other men pass out by other Nadis.
Rasmyadhikaranam: Topic 10 (Sutras 18-19)
The soul of one who knows Saguna Brahman follows the rays of the sun after death and goes to Brahmaloka.
Rasmyanusari IV.2.18 (514)
(The soul of a knower of the Saguna Brahman when he dies) follows the rays (of the sun).
Rasmi: the rays; Anusari: following.
The description of the progress of the released soul is continued.
Chhandogya Upanishad declares "When he thus departs from this body, then he departs upwards by those very rays. By that moving upwards he reaches immortality" (Chh. Up. VIII.6.5).
From this we understand that the soul passing out by the hundred and first Nadi (Sushumna) follows the rays of the sun.
A doubt here arises as to whether the soul of one who dies by night as well as of him who dies by day follows the rays, or the soul of the latter only.
As scripture mentions no difference, the Sutra teaches that the souls follow the rays in both cases.
Nisi neti chenna sambandhasya yavaddehabhavitvaddarsayati cha IV.2.19 (515)
If it be said (that the soul does) not (follow the rays) in the night, we say (not so) because the connection (of Nadis and rays) continues as long as the body lasts; the Sruti also declares (this).
Nisi: at night, in the night; Na: not; Iti: so; Chet: if (if it be objected); Na: not (the objection is not valid); Sambandhasya: of the relation; Yavaddehabhavitvat: as long as the body lasts; Darsayati: the Sruti shows or declares (this); Cha: and, also. (Yavad: as long as; Bhavitvat: because of the existence.)
An objection to Sutra 17 is raised and refuted.
This Sutra consists of two parts, namely an objection and its reply. The objection portion is ‘Nisi neti chet’ and the reply portion is ‘Na sambandhasya yavaddehabhavitvad darsayati cha’.
It might perhaps be said that the Nadis and rays are connected during the day, and so the soul of a person who dies during the day may follow those rays but not the soul of one who dies by night, when the connection of the Nadis and the rays broken.
But this is an erroneous notion, for the connection of rays and Nadis lasts as long as the body exists. Hence it is immaterial whether the soul passes out by day or by night.
Further we observe that the rays of the sun continue to exist in the nights of the summer season, because we feel their warmth and other effects. During the nights of the other seasons they are difficult to perceive, because then few only continue to exist, just as during the cloudy days of the cold season. The Sruti also declares, "Even by night the sun sheds his rays."
We cannot predetermine the movement of death. If such departure to the supreme abode is denied to the person dying in the night, no one will take to Upasana. The result of knowledge cannot be made to depend on the accident of death by day or night.
If again a man dying at night should wait for the dawn to mount upwards, it might happen that, owing to the action of the funeral fire etc., his body would at the time of day-break, not be capable of entering into connection with the rays. The scripture moreover expressly declares that he does not wait. "As quickly as he sends off the mind he goes to the sun" (Chh. Up. VIII.6.5).
For all these reasons the soul follows the rays by night as well as by day.
Dakshinayanadhikaranam: Topic 11 (Sutras 20-21)
Even if the knower of the Saguna Brahman dies in Dakshinayana, he still goes to Brahmaloka.
Ataschayane’pi dakshine IV.2.20 (516)
And for the same reason (the departed soul follows the rays) also during the sun’s southern course.
Atah: for this very reason, therefore, for the same reason; Cha: and; Ayane: during the sun’s course; Api: also, even; Dakshine: in the southern.
This Sutra is a corollary drawn from the preceding Sutra.
The Purvapakshin raises an objection and maintains that the soul of the knower of Brahman who passes away during Dakshinayana or the southern course of the sun does not follow the rays to Brahmaloka. The Sruti and the Smriti declare that only one who dies during Uttarayana or the northern course of the sun goes to Brahmaloka.
Further it is also written that Bhishma waited for the northern course of the sun to leave the body.
This Sutra says that for the same reason as mentioned in the previous Sutra, i.e., the unreasonableness of making the result of knowledge depend on the accident of death happening at a particular time, the knower of Saguna Brahman goes to Brahmaloka even if he dies during the southern course of the sun.
For the same reason, viz., because waiting is impossible, and because the fruit of knowledge is not merely eventual one, and because the time of death is not fixed, also he who has true knowledge, and who dies during the southern course of the sun obtains the fruit of his knowledge.
In the text "Those who know thus go by light, from light to day, from day to the bright half of the month, and from that to the six months of the northern course of the sun" (Chh. Up. V.10.1), the points in the northern course of the sun do not refer to any division of time but to deities as will be shown under IV.3.4.
The Devayana path can be trodden by those who die in the Dakshinayana.
Bhishma waited for the Uttarayana, because he wanted to uphold an approved custom and to show that he could die at will owing to his father’s boon.
Yoginah prati cha smaryate smarte chaite IV.2.21 (517)
And (these times or details) are recorded by Smriti with reference to the Yogins and these two (Yoga and Sankhya) and classed as Smritis (only).
Yoginah prati: with respect to the Yogi; Cha: and; Smaryate: the Smriti declares; Smarte: belonging to the class of Smritis; Cha: and; Ete: these two.
The argument in the two preceding Sutras is strengthened here by further exposition.
The Purvapakshin says: We have the following Smriti text, "That time wherein going Yogins return not, and also that wherein going forth they return, that time shall I declare to thee, O Prince of the Bharatas" (Bhagavad Gita VIII. 23-24). This determines specially that to die by day and so on causes the soul not to return. How then can he who dies by night or during the sun’s southern course depart not to return? The decision of the previous Sutra cannot be correct.
This Sutra refutes the objection and says that these details as to time mentioned in the Gita apply only to Yogis who practise Sadhana according to Yoga and Sankhya systems. These two are Smritis, not Srutis. Therefore, the limitations as to the time mentioned in them do not apply to those who meditate on the Saguna Brahman according to the Sruti texts.
Yoga and Sankhya are mere Smritis. They are not of spiritual character. As it has a different sphere of application, and is based on a special kind of authority, the Smriti rule as to the time of dying has no influence on knowledge based on scripture.
But an objection is raised. We have such passages as "Fire, light, the day, the bright half of the month, the six months of the northern path, smoke, night, the dark half of the month, the six months of the southern path" (Bhagavad Gita VIII. 24-25), in which though belonging to Smriti we recognise the path of the fathers as determined by scripture.
Our refutation, we reply, of the claims of Smriti applies only to the contradiction which may arise from the teaching of Smriti regarding the legitimate time of dying, "I will tell you the time," etc. In so far as Smriti also mentions Agni and the other divinities which lead on the departed soul, there is no contradiction whatsoever.
What appears to refer to time in the above passage refers only to the deities presiding over the day-time and the bright half of the month and the Uttarayana and over the night time, and the dark half of the month and the Dakshinayana.
Thus ends the Second Pada (Section 2) of the Fourth Chapter (Adhyaya IV) of the Brahma Sutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.