Chapter Four: Phala Adhyaya – Section 3 (Sutras 518-533)
In the previous Section the departure of a knower of the Saguna Brahman by the path of the gods (Devayana) has been described. Now the present Section treats of the path itself. It describes the journey of the released soul on the way to Brahman and takes up the thread of the story at the point where it was left in the preceding Section.
(Sutra 1) The path connected with deities beginning with that of light is the only path to Brahmaloka.
(Sutra 2) The departing soul reaches the deity of the year and then the deity of the air.
(Sutra 3) After reaching the deity identified with lightning the soul reaches the world of Varuna.
Adhikaranas I, II, III:
(Sutras 1-3) reconcile the different accounts given in the Upanishads as to the stations on the way which leads the Upasaka to Saguna Brahman.
(Sutras 4-6) Light, etc., referred to in the text describing the path of the gods mean deities identified with the light, etc., which lead the soul stage after stage till Brahmaloka is reached.
(Sutras 7-14) The Brahman to which the departed souls go by the path of the gods is the Saguna Brahman. This is the opinion propounded in Sutras 7-11 by Baadarayana. In Sutras 12-14 Jaimini defends the opposite view according to which the soul of the Upasaka goes to the Highest Brahman, not to the Karya Brahman (Saguna Brahman). Jaimini’s view is a mere Purvapaksha, while Baadari’s opinion represents the Siddhanta.
(Sutras 15-16) Only those who have worshipped the Saguna Brahman without a symbol attain Brahmaloka.
Archiradyadhikaranam: Topic 1 (Sutra 1)
The path connected with the deities beginning with that of light is the only path that leads to Brahmaloka.
Archiradina tatprathiteh IV.3.1 (518)
On the path connected with light (the departed soul of the knower of Saguna Brahman travels to Brahmaloka after death), that being well-known (from the Sruti).
Archiradina: by the path of the rays, etc., by the rays of light and so on, on the path connected with deities, beginning with that of light; Tatprathiteh: that being well-known (from the Sruti).
It has been explained that up to the beginning of the way the departure is the same. In the last section it was stated that the knower of the Saguna Brahman travels to Devayana or the path of the gods to Brahmaloka. But different texts make different declarations about the way itself.
One passage describes it as constituted by the junction of the Nadis and rays: "Then he mounts upwards by just those rays" (Chh. Up. VIII.6.5). Another passage describes it as beginning with light. "They go to the light, from light to day" (Chh. Up. V.10.1). Another way is described in Kaushitaki Upanishad I.3: "Having reached the path of the gods, he comes to the world of Agni." Another way is described in Bri. Up. V.10.1: "When the person goes away from this world he comes to the wind." Another way is described in Mun. Up. I.2.11: "Free from passion they depart through the gate of the sun."
A doubt here arises whether these ways are different from each other or whether there is only one path, the path of the gods of which the different texts mention different particulars, or give different descriptions.
The Purvapakshin maintains that these texts refer to different paths to Brahmaloka.
The present Sutra refutes this view and declares that all the texts refer to one path only and give only different particulars of the same path, the path connected with deities beginning with that identified with light. Why so? On account of its being widely known, from the Sruti texts that this is the path for all knowers of Brahman.
The text "Those who know this (Panchagni Vidya) and those who in the forest meditate with faith and austerity reach the deity identified with light" (Chh. Up. V.10.1), expressly states that the path connected with deities beginning with that of the flame belongs to all knowers of Brahman whatever be the Vidya by which they have attained that knowledge.
The goal, viz., Brahmaloka, is the same in all cases. Some part of the path is recognised in all texts. All the following passages declare one and the same result, viz., the attainment of the world of Brahman. "In these worlds of Brahman they dwell for ever and ever" (Bri. Up. VI.2.15). "There he dwells eternal years" (Bri. Up. V.10.1). "Whatever victory, whatever greatness belongs to Brahman, that victory he gains, that greatness he reaches" (Kau. Up. I.2). There is no justification to regard the path as different on account of its being dealt with in different chapters.
Hence we have to conclude that all the texts refer to the same path but give different particulars which have all to be combined for a full description of the path.
Though various Srutis refer to the path by such words as Archis (light), Surya (sun), Vayu (wind), etc., yet they all refer only to different portions of one and the same way, viz., Archiradi-marga or Devayana which leads to Brahmaloka. Each Sruti gives us something indicatory of the path and we have to combine the diverse particulars.
Vayvadhikaranam: Topic 2 (Sutra 2)
The departing soul reaches the deity of the year and then the deity of the air.
Vayumabdadaviseshaviseshabhyam IV.3.2 (519)
(The departed soul) (of a knower of the Saguna Brahman goes) from the deity of the year to the deity of the air on account of the absence and presence of specification.
Vayum: the deity of the air; Abdat: from the deity of the year; Aviseshaviseshabhyam: because of non-specification and specification, because it is stated in general in one Sruti and in detail in another.
The description of the path of the gods is continued.
The Sutra fixes the order of the stages. The Kaushitaki Upanishad describes the path as follows: "The Upasaka or the worshipper, having reached the path of the gods comes to the world of Agni (fire), to the world of Vayu (air), to the world of Varuna, to the world of Indra, to the world of Prajapati, and then to the world of Brahma" (Kau. Up. I.3).
Now the world of Agni means the same as light, as both terms denote burning, and we, therefore, need not with regard to them search for the order in which they are to be combined.
Again the Chhandogya Upanishad (V.10.1) describes the path as follows: "They reach the deity identified with the light, from him to the deity of the day, from him to the deity of the bright half of the month, from him to the deities identified with six months of the northern path of the sun, from them to the deity of the year, from him to the deity of the sun, from him to the deity of the moon, from him to the deity of the lightning". Here Vayu is not mentioned in the path beginning with light. There is absence of specification.
In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Vayu is mentioned before Aditya. "When the person goes away from this world he comes to Vayu. Then Vayu makes room for him like the hole of a wheel, and through it he mounts higher, he comes to Aditya." On account of this specification which shows Vayu to come before Aditya, Vayu must be inserted between the year and Aditya. We should conclude that the soul goes to Vayuloka before going to the sun.
The Brihadaranyaka text (V.10.1) fixes that air comes immediately before the sun, because there is regular order of succession. But as regards air coming after the deity of fire there is no specification but simply a statement "Having reached the path of the gods he comes to the world of Agni, to the world of Vayu."
The Vajasaneyins in their text record "From the deities identified with the six months in which the sun travels northwards he reaches the deity identified with the world of the gods" (Bri. Up. VI.2.15). Here in order to maintain the immediate succession of the deity identified with Vayu (air) and that identified with the sun (Aditya) we must understand that the soul passes from the deity of the world of the gods to the deity of air.
Again in the texts of the Chhandogya and the Brihadaranyaka the deity of the world of the gods is not mentioned in the former and the deity of the year in the latter. Both texts are authoritative. Both have to be included in the full description of the path. As the year is connected with the months, the deity of the year precedes the deity of the world of the gods.
Hence the sequence is Archis (rays), Ahas (day), Suklapaksha (bright half of the month), six months when the sun travels to the north, year, the world of the gods, the world of Vayu, the sun, the moon, the lightning, the world of Varuna, the world of Indra, the world of Prajapati and the world of Brahma.
Tadidadhikaranam: Topic 3 (Sutra 3)
After reaching the deity identified with lightning, the soul reaches the world of Varuna.
Tadito’dhi varunah sambandhat IV.3.3 (520)
After (reaching) the deity of lightning (the soul reaches) Varuna, on account of the connection (between the two).
Taditah adhi: after the deity of lightning; Varunah: (comes) Varuna (rain god); Sambandhat: on account of connection.
The enumeration of the stations of the journey is continued.
In the Chhandogya text we find, "From the sun to the moon, from moon to lightning." In the Kaushitaki Upanishad we find, "From Vayu (wind) to Varuna." Combining the two texts we have to place Varuna after lightning, on account of the connection between the two (lightning and Varuna). The broad lightnings dance forth from the womb of the clouds with the sound of deep thunder and then water falls down. "It lightens, it thunders, it will rain" (Chh. Up. VII.11.1). Varuna is the god of rain and lightning precedes rain. So after lightning comes Varuna.
After Varuna come Indra and Prajapati for there is no other place for them. The Kaushitaki text also puts them there.
The complete enumeration of the stages of the path of the gods is as follows: first the deity of fire, then the deity of the day, the deity of the bright half of the month, the deities of the six months when the sun travels to the north, the deity of the year, the deity of the world of gods, the deity of the air, the sun, the moon, the deity of lightning, the world of Varuna, the world of Indra, the world of Prajapati, and finally Brahmaloka.
Ativahikadhikaranam: Topic 4 (Sutras 4-6)
Light, etc., referred to in the text describing the path of the gods mean deities identified with light, etc., who conduct the soul stage after stage till Brahmaloka is reached.
Ativahikastallingat IV.3.4 (521)
(These are) deities conducting the soul (on the path of the gods), on account of indicatory marks to that effect.
Ativahikah: conductors, deities conducting the departed soul; Tad-lingat: on account of indicatory marks to that effect.
The description of the path of the gods is continued.
With regard to those beginning with light a doubt arises whether they are marks of the road, or places of enjoyment, or conductors of the travelling souls.
The Purvapakshin says: Light and so on are marks of the road, because the instruction has that character. In ordinary life a man who wishes to go to a village or a town is told "Go from here to that hill, from there to a banyan tree, from that tree to a river, from that to a village, after that you will reach the town." So here also the text says, "From light to day, from day to the waxing half of the month," etc.
Or else light and so on may be viewed as places of enjoyment. Because the text connects Agni and so on with the "world" "He comes to the world of Agni." Now the term "world" denotes places of enjoyment of living beings, as when we say "the world of men", "the world of fathers", "the world of gods".
Therefore, light and the rest are not conductors. Further they cannot be conductors as they are without intelligence. In ordinary life, intelligent men only are appointed by the king to conduct travellers over difficult roads.
The present Sutra refutes this. They must be the conductors. They receive the departed souls and conduct them on their way to Brahmaloka. That conductors are meant here and not marks or places of enjoyment is indicated by the text of the Chhandogya which ends thus, "From the moon to the lightning. Then a being who is not a man leads them to Brahman" (Chh. Up. IV.15.5; V.10.1). This text shows that unlike the previous guides or conductors who were more or less human, this particular guide or conductor is not a human in nature – "Amanava".
Ubhayavyamohat tatsiddheh IV.3.5 (522)
(That deities or divine guides are meant in these texts, they are personal conductors) is established, because both (i.e., the path and the traveller) become unconscious.
Ubhaya: both (the path and the traveller); Vyamohat: because of unconsciousness; Tat-siddheh: that is established.
This Sutra is an argument in support of Sutra 4.
The departed souls are not capable of guiding themselves as their organs are withdrawn in the mind. The light, etc., are without intelligence. Hence they are equally incapable and cannot guide the souls. Hence it follows that the particular intelligent deities identified with the light, etc., guide the souls to Brahmaloka. In ordinary life also drunken or senseless people follow a road as commanded by others.
Again light and the rest cannot be taken for marks of the path or road, because they are not always present.
Further the departed souls cannot enjoy as their organs are withdrawn into the mind. Hence light and the rest cannot be worlds where they enjoy.
Although the wanderers or the departed souls do not enjoy anything, the word "world" may be explained on the ground that those worlds are places of enjoyment for other beings dwelling there.
The conclusion, therefore, is that he who has reached the world of Agni is led on by Agni and he who has reached the world ruled by Vayu is led by Vayu.
Vaidyutenaiva tatastacchruteh IV.3.6 (523)
From thence (the souls are led or guided) by the very same (superhuman) person who comes to lightning, that being known from the Sruti.
Vaidyutena: by the (superhuman) guide connected with lightning, by the superhuman being who takes his charge from the god of lightning; Eva: alone, only, indeed; Tatah: from thence; Tat sruteh: that being known from the Sruti, as Sruti states so, because of the Vedic text.
The discussion on the journey is continued.
"From thence, i.e., after they have come to the lightning they go to the world of Brahman, being led through the worlds of Varuna and the rest by the person, not a man (Amanava-purusha) who follows immediately after the lightning. When they have reached the place of lightning, a person, not a man, leads them to the world of Brahman" (Bri. Up. VI.2.15).
Varuna and the rest only favour the souls either by not obstructing or helping them in some way.
Therefore, it is well established that light and so on are the gods who act as conductors or guards.
Karyadhikaranam: Topic 5 (Sutras 7-14)
The departed souls go by the path of gods to Saguna Brahman.
Karyam baadarirasya gatyupapatteh IV.3.7 (524)
To the Karya Brahman or Hiranyagarbha or Saguna Brahman (the departed souls are led); (thus opines) the sage Baadari on account of the possibility of its being the goal (of their journey).
Karyam: the relative Brahman or Hiranyagarbha; Baadarih: the sage Baadari (holds); Asya: his; Gati-upapatteh: on account of the possibility of being the goal.
A discussion is now taken up whether the soul is conducted to the Nirguna Brahman or the Saguna Brahman.
In the previous Sutra the way was discussed.
Now from this Sutra onwards the discussion is about the goal reached.
The Chhandogya text declares, "Then a being who is not a man (Amanava Purusha) leads them to Brahman" (Chh. Up. V.10.1).
A doubt arises whether the Brahman is the Saguna Brahman or the Supreme Nirguna Brahman. The opinion of the teacher Baadari is that the person, who is not a man, leads them to the lower qualified, effected Brahman (Saguna or Karya Brahman); because it is possible to go to that. Because Saguna Brahman which occupies a definite place, which has a special abode and which is finite can be the goal of a journey. But it is not possible with respect to the Nirguna Brahman which is Infinite and all-pervading. With the Highest Nirguna Brahman on the other hand, we cannot connect the ideas of one who goes, or object of going or act of going; because that Brahman is present everywhere and is the inner Self of all.
Viseshitatvaccha IV.3.8 (525)
And on account of the qualification (with respect to this Brahman in another text).
Viseshitatvat: because of being specified in Sruti, on account of the qualification; Cha: and.
An argument in support of Sutra 7 is adduced.
Because the word Brahman is qualified by the word ‘lokam’.
"He leads them to the worlds of Brahman; in these worlds of Brahman they live for ever and ever" (Bri. Up. VI.2.15). The plural number is not possible with respect to the Supreme Infinite Brahman which may abide in different conditions.
Samipyattu tadvyapadesah IV.3.9 (526)
But on account of the nearness (of the Saguna Brahman to the Supreme Brahman it is) designated as that (Supreme Brahman).
Samipyat: because of the nearness or proximity; Tu: but; Tad: that; Vyapadesah: designation.
The argument in support of Sutra 7 is continued.
The word ‘tu’ (but) sets aside any doubt that may arise on account of the word ‘Brahma’ being used for the Saguna Brahman in the Chhandogya text.
This Sutra says that this designation is on account of the proximity of the Saguna Brahman to the supreme Brahman or the Absolute.
The manifested Brahman also can be called Brahman as it is in the closest proximity to the Unmanifested Para Brahman. The Para Brahman assumes absolutely pure limiting adjuncts such as mind, etc., to become an object of devotion and meditation, i.e., the lower Brahman or Karya Brahman or Saguna Brahman.
Karyatyaye tadadhyakshena sahatah paramabhidhanat IV.3.10 (527)
On the dissolution of the Brahmaloka (the souls attain) along with the ruler of that world what is higher than that (i.e., the Supreme Brahman) on account of the declaration of the Sruti.
Karyatyaye: on the dissolution of the Brahmaloka (Karya: of the effect, i.e., the universe, the relative Saguna Brahman); Tad: of that; Adhyakshena: with the ruler-president, i.e., Hiranyagarbha or the four-faced Brahma; Saha: with; Atahparam: higher than that, i.e., the Supreme Brahman; Abhidhanat: on account of the declaration of the Sruti.
The individual soul’s final absorption in the Para Brahman or the Absolute is now stated.
The Purvapakshin says: If the souls who go by the path of the gods reach the Saguna Brahman, then how can statements like, "They who proceed on that path do not return to the life of man" (Chh. Up. IV.15.6); "For them there is no return here" (Bri. Up. VI.2.15); "Moving upwards by that a man reaches immortality" (Chh. Up. VIII.6.5), be made with respect to them, as there is no permanency anywhere apart from the Highest Brahman?
The Sutra declares that at the dissolution of Brahmaloka the souls, which by that time have attained knowledge, along with the Saguna Brahman attain what is higher than the Saguna Brahman, i.e., Para Brahman or the pure highest place of Vishnu. This is called Kramamukti or successive (progressive) liberation or release by successive steps. So the Sruti texts declare.
Smritescha IV.3.11 (528)
And on account of the Smriti (texts supporting this view).
Smriteh: on account of the statement of the Smriti, as Smriti agrees with the view, according to the Smriti; Cha: and.
An argument in support of Sutra 10 is adduced.
The view expressed in the preceding Sutra is corroborated by Smriti also, "When the Pralaya has come and when the first person (Hiranyagarbha) comes to His end, then they all, together with Brahman, with purified minds enter the highest place."
The above are the Siddhanta Sutras. The final conclusion (Siddhanta), therefore is that the going of the souls of which scripture speaks, has for its goal the Karya Brahman or Saguna Brahman.
The Purvapaksha is stated in Sutras 12-14.
Param jaiminirmukhyatvat IV.3.12 (529)
To the highest (Brahman) (the souls are led); Jaimini opines, on account of that being the primary meaning (of the word ‘Brahman’).
Param: the Supreme (Brahman); Jaiminih: the sage Jaimini (opines or holds); Mukhyatvat: on account of that being the primary meaning (of the word ‘Brahman’).
Sutras 12-14 give a prima facie view of the matter. An objection to Sutra 7 is adduced by presenting an opposite view.
Jaimini is of opinion that the word ‘Brahman’ in the Chhandogya text "He leads them to Brahman" refers to the Highest Brahman, as that is the primary meaning of the word.
Darsanaccha IV.3.13 (530)
And because the Sruti declares that.
Darsanat: on account of the Sruti texts; Cha: and, also.
An argument in support of Jaimini is adduced.
The text "Going upwards by that he reaches immortality" (Chh. Up. VIII.6.6) (Katha Up. II.6.16) declares that immortality is attained by going. But immortality is possible only in the Supreme Brahman, not in the Saguna Brahman, because the latter is transitory. So scripture says, "Where one sees something else, that is little, that is mortal" (Chh. Up. VIII.24.1).
According to the text of the Kathopanishad also the going of the soul is towards the supreme Brahman. The soul which passes out of the body by the Sushumna Nadi reaches immortality. This can be attained only in the Supreme Brahman.
Na cha karye pratipattyabhisandhih IV.3.14 (531)
And the desire to attain Brahman cannot be with respect to the Saguna Brahman.
Na: not; Cha: and; Karye: in the Saguna Brahman; Pratipatti: realisation of Brahman; Abhisandhih: desire. (Pratipatti-abhisandhih: the desire to attain or realise Brahman.)
The argument in support of Sutra 12 is continued.
"I enter the hall of Prajapati, the house" (Chh. Up. VIII.14.1), cannot have the lower or Saguna Brahman for its object. This desire to enter the ‘hall’ or the ‘house’ cannot be with respect to the Saguna Brahman. It is appropriate with regard to the Highest Brahman (Para Brahman). Because the immediately preceding passage intimates "And that within which these (names and forms) are contained is Brahman." The passage "I am the glory of the Brahmanas" represents "the soul as the self of all". ‘Glory’ is the name of the supreme Brahman. "There is no likeness of him whose name is great glory" (Vajasaneya Samhita: XXXII.3). Here the Supreme Brahman is referred to.
Sutras 12-14 give the view of the Purvapakshin against what has been said in Sutras 7-11. The arguments of Sutras 12-14 are refuted thus:
The Brahman attained by those who go by the path of the gods (Devayana) cannot be the Supreme Brahman (Nirguna Brahman). They attain only the Saguna Brahman. Para Brahman is all-pervading. He is the Inner Self of all. He cannot be attained as He is the Innermost Self of everyone.
We do not go to what is already reached. Ordinary experience rather tells us that a person goes to something different from him. Journey or attainment is possible only where there is difference, where the attainer is different from the attained.
The Supreme Brahman cannot be assumed to possess any differences depending on time, or space or anything else and cannot, therefore, become the object of going.
In the realisation of the Supreme Brahman the veil of ignorance is removed and the seeker knows his essential divine nature. He realises his identity with the Supreme Brahman. When the ignorance is removed Brahman manifests itself. That is all. There is no going or attaining in such a realisation.
But the attainment of Brahman spoken of in the texts connected with the path of the gods is not merely the removal of ignorance but actual.
The passage "I enter the hall of Prajapati, the house", can be separated from what precedes and be connected with the Saguna Brahman.
The fact that Chh. Up. VIII.14.1 says "I am the glory of the Brahmanas, of the kings" cannot make it refer to the Nirguna Brahman, because the Saguna Brahman can also be said to be the self of all, as we find in texts like "He, to whom all works, all desires belong" (Chh. Up. III.14.2).
The reference to the journey to Brahman which belongs to the realm of relative or qualified knowledge in a chapter which deals with the Highest Knowledge is only by way of glorification of the latter.
For all these reasons the view of Baadari as set forth in Sutras 7-11 is the correct one.
Apratikalambanadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutras 15-16)
Only those who have taken recourse to the worship of Brahman without a symbol attain Brahmaloka.
Apratikalambanannayatiti baadarayana ubhayathadoshattatkratuscha IV.3.15 (532)
Baadarayana holds that (the superhuman being) leads (to Brahmaloka only) those who do not take recourse to a symbol of Brahman in their meditation; there being no fault in the twofold relation (resulting from this opinion) and (it being construed on the doctrine) as is the meditation on that (i.e., Brahman) so does one become.
Apratikalambanat: those who do not have recourse to the symbols for the meditation of Brahman; Nayati: (the superhuman being) leads or takes; Iti Baadarayanah: so says Baadarayana; Ubhayatha: both ways; Adoshat: there being no defects; Tat-kratuh: as is the meditation on that, (so does one become); Cha: and.
The discussion commenced is Sutra 6, whether the soul is taken to the Supreme Brahman or the Saguna Brahman is concluded in this and the following Sutra.
A doubt here arises whether all worshippers of the Saguna Brahman go to Brahmaloka being led by the superhuman being mentioned in Chh. Up. IV.15.5 or only some of them?
The Purvapakshin maintains that all go to Brahmaloka whatever may be their Upasana.
This Sutra declares that only those worshippers of the Saguna Brahman who do not take recourse to any symbol in their meditation on Brahman go there. This is the opinion of the teacher Baadarayana. This, however, does not contradict what is said in III.3.31 if we understand that by ‘all’ is meant all those worshippers who do not take recourse to any symbol in their meditation on Brahman.
Only Brahma Upasakas are taken by the Amanava Purusha to the Brahmaloka. The form of meditation governs the result. In the case of symbols like the Salagrama stone, there is no feeling that it itself is Brahman. No doubt in the case of Panchagni-Vidya, the Sruti says that the worshipper is led to Brahmaloka. But we cannot extend the result to the worshippers of external symbols where there is no direct scriptural statement, we have to understand that only those who meditate on Brahman go to Brahmaloka, not others.
He whose meditation is fixed on Brahman reaches Brahmaloka. This view is supported by Sruti and Smriti. "In whatever form they meditate on Him, that they become themselves." In the case of symbols on the other hand, the meditation is not fixed on Brahman, the symbol being the chief element in the meditation. Hence the worshipper does not attain Brahmaloka.
Visesham cha darsayati IV.3.16 (533)
And the scripture declares a difference (in the case of meditation on symbols).
Visesham: difference; Cha: and; Darsayati: the scripture declares.
An argument in support of the conclusion arrived at by Baadarayana, is adduced here.
With reference to meditations on symbols such as name and so on, that occur in Chhandogya Upanishadic texts, the Sruti speaks of different results according to difference in the symbols. "One who meditates upon name as Brahman becomes independent so far as name reaches" (Chh. Up. VII.1.5). "One who meditates upon speech as Brahman becomes independent so far as speech reaches" (Chh. Up. VII.2.2).
Now the distinction of rewards is possible because the meditations depend on symbols, while there could be no such difference in results, if they depend on the one non-different Brahman.
Hence it is quite clear that those who use symbols for their meditation cannot have the same reward as others. They cannot go to Brahmaloka like those who meditate on the Saguna Brahman.
Thus ends the Third Pada (Section 3) of the Fourth Chapter (Adhyaya IV) of the Brahma Sutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.