Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 1: Anandamayadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutras 12-19)

Anandamaya is Para Brahman.

Anandamayo'bhyasat I.1.12 (12)

Anandamaya means Para Brahman on account of the repetition (of the word 'bliss' as denoting the Highest Self).

Anandamayah: full of bliss; Abhyasat: because of repetition.

Now the author Badarayana takes up the topic of Samanvaya. He clearly shows that several words of the Srutis which are apparently ambiguous really apply to Brahman. He begins with the word 'Anandamaya' and takes up other words one after another till the end of the chapter.

Taittiriya Upanishad says, "Different from this Vijnanamaya is another inner Self which consists of bliss (Anandamaya). The former is filled by this. Joy (Priya) is its head. Satisfaction (Moda) is its right wing or arm. Great satisfaction (Pramoda) is its left wing or arm. Bliss (Ananda) is its trunk. Brahman is the tail, the support." II-5

Now a doubt arises as to whether this Anandamaya is Jiva (human soul) or Para Brahman. The Purvapakshin or opponent holds that the Self consisting of bliss (Anandamaya) is a secondary self and not the principal Self, which is something different from Brahman, as it forms a link in a series of selfs beginning with the self consisting of food (Annamaya), all of which are not the principal Self. Even though the blissful Self, Anandamaya Purusha, is stated to be the innermost of all it cannot be the primary Self, because it is stated to have joy, etc., for its limits and to be embodied. "It also has the shape of man. Like the human shape of the former is the human shape of the latter". If it were identical with the primary Self, joy, satisfaction, etc., would not affect it; but the text clearly says, 'Joy is its head'. The text also says, 'Of that former one this one is the embodied Self' Tait. Up. II-6. Of that former Self of bliss (Anandamaya) is the embodied Self. That which has a body will be certainly affected by joy and pain. The term Anandamaya signifies a modification. Therefore it cannot refer to Brahman which is changeless. Further five different parts such as head, right arm, left arm, trunk and tail are mentioned of this Anandamaya Self. But Brahman is without parts. Therefore the Anandamaya Self is only Jiva or the individual soul.

Here is the answer of the Siddhantin. This Sutra shows that Brahman is Bliss. By the Anandamaya Self we have to understand the Highest Self, 'on account of repetition'. Abhyasa or repetition means uttering a word again without any qualifications. It is one of the Shad Lingas or six characteristics or marks by which the subject matter of a passage is ascertained.

The word 'Bliss' is repeatedly applied to the highest Self. Taittiriya Upanishad says: 'Raso vai sah. Rasam hyevayam labdhvanandi bhavati' – 'He the Highest Self is Bliss in itself. The individual soul becomes blissful after attaining that Bliss' II-7. 'Who could breathe forth if that Bliss did not exist in the ether of the heart? Because He alone causes Bliss. He attains that Self consisting of Bliss' II-7. "He who knows the Bliss of Brahman fears nothing" II-9. And again "He (Bhrigu, having taken recourse to meditation), realised or understood that Bliss is Brahman – Anandam Brahmeti vyajanat" III-6.

Varuna teaches his son Bhrigu what is Brahman. He first defines Brahman as the cause of the creation, etc., of the universe and then teaches him that all material objects are Brahman. Such as, food is Brahman, Prana is Brahman, mind is Brahman, etc. He says this in order to teach that they are the materials of which the world is made. Finally he concludes his teaching with 'Ananda' declaring that 'Ananda is Brahman'. Here he stops and concludes that 'the doctrine taught by me is based on Brahman, the Supreme' Taitt. Up. III-6-1.

"Knowledge and Bliss is Brahman" Bri. Up. III-9-27. As the word 'Bliss' is repeatedly used with reference to Brahman, we conclude that the Self consisting of bliss is Brahman also.

It is objected that the blissful Self denotes the individual soul as it forms a link in a series of secondary selfs beginning with the Annamaya Self. This cannot stand because the Anandamaya Self is the innermost of all. The Sruti teaches step by step, from the grosser to the subtler, and more and more interior and finer for the sake of easy comprehension by men of small intellect. The first refers to the physical body as the Self, because worldly minded people take this body as the Self. It then proceeds from the body to another self, the Pranamaya self, then again to another one. It represents the non-self as the Self for the purpose of easy understanding. It finally teaches that the innermost Self which consists of bliss is the real Self, just as a man points out at first to another man several stars which are not Arundhati as being Arundhati and finally points out in the end the real Arundhati. Therefore here also the Anandamaya Self is the real Self as it is the innermost or the last.

'Tail' does not mean the limb. It means that Brahman is the support of the individual soul as He is the substratum of the Jiva.

The possession of a body having parts and joy and so on as head, etc., are also attributed to It, on account of the preceding limiting condition viz., the self consisting of understanding, the so-called Vijnanamaya Kosha. They do not really belong to the real Self. The possession of a body is ascribed to the Self of Bliss, only because it is represented as a link in the chain of bodies which begins with the self consisting of food. It is not attributed to it in the same sense in which it is predicated of the individual soul or the secondary self (the Samsarin). Therefore the Self consisting of Bliss is the highest Brahman.

Thus, the Sutra establishes that Anandamaya is Brahman. But the commentator Sankara has a new orientation of outlook in this regard. The Acharya says that Anandamaya cannot be Brahman because Anandamaya is one of the five sheaths or Koshas of the individual, the other four being Annamaya (physical body), Pranamaya (vital body), Manomaya (mental body), and Vijnanamaya (intellectual body). The Anandamaya is actually the causal body which determines the functions of the other sheaths. The individual enters into the Anandamaya sheath in deep sleep and enjoys bliss there, which is the reason why this sheath is called Anandamaya (bliss-filled). A coverage of individuality cannot be regarded as Brahman. Further, if Anandamaya had been Brahman itself, the individual in deep sleep will be united with Brahman in that condition. But this does not happen since one who goes to sleep returns to ordinary waking experience. Hence the Anandamaya is not Brahman.

Vikarasabdanneti chet na prachuryat I.1.13 (13)

If (it be objected that the term Anandamaya consisting of bliss can) not (denote the supreme Self) because of its being a word denoting a modification or transformation or product (we say that the objection is) not (valid) on account of abundance, (which is denoted by the suffix 'maya').

Vikara sabdat: from the word 'Anandamaya' with the suffix 'mayat' denoting modification; Na: is not; Iti: this; thus; Chet: if; Na: not so; Prachuryat: because of abundance.

An objection against Sutra 12 is refuted in this Sutra.

If the objector says that 'maya' means modification, it cannot be. We cannot predicate such a modification with regard to Brahman who is changeless. We reply that 'maya' means fulness or abundance and Anandamaya means not a derivative from Ananda or Bliss but fulness or abundance of bliss.

The word 'Anandamaya' has been certainly applied to denote the Supreme Soul or the Highest Self and not the individual soul. In the Tait. Up. II-8 the Bliss of Brahman is finally declared to be absolutely Supreme. "Maya" therefore denotes abundance or "fulness".

Anandamaya does not mean absence of pain or sorrow. It is a positive attribute of Brahman and not a mere negation of pain. Anandamaya means 'He whose essential nature or Svarupa is Ananda or Bliss'. When we say: 'the sun has abundance of light', it really means, the sun, whose essential nature is light is called Jyotirmaya. Therefore Anandamaya is not Jiva but Brahman. 'Anandamaya', is equal to 'Ananda-svarupa' – He whose essential nature is bliss. 'Maya' has not the force of Vikara or modification here.

The word 'Ananda' or Bliss is used repeatedly in the Srutis only with reference to Brahman. 'Maya' does not mean that Brahman is a modification or effect of Bliss. 'Maya' means pervasion.

The phrase 'The sacrifice is Annamaya' means 'the sacrifice is abounding in food', not 'is some modification or product of food!' Therefore here also Brahman, as abounding in Bliss, is called Anandamaya.

Taddhetuvyapadesaccha I.1.14. (14)

And because he is declared to be the cause of it (i.e. of bliss; therefore 'maya' denotes abundance or fulness).

Tad + Hetu: the cause of that, namely the cause of Ananda; Vyapadesat: because of the statement of declaration; Cha: and.

Another argument in support of Sutra 12 is given.

The Srutis declare that "it is Brahman who is the cause of bliss of all." "Esha hyevanandayati – For he alone causes bliss" Tait. Up. II-7. He who causes bliss must himself abound in bliss, just as a man who enriches others must himself be in possession of abundant wealth. The giver of bliss to all is Bliss itself. As 'Maya' may be understood to denote abundance, the Self consisting of bliss, Anandamaya, is the Supreme Self or Brahman.

The Sruti declares that Brahman is the source of bliss to the individual soul. The donor and the donee cannot be one and the same. Therefore it is understood that 'Anandamaya' as stated in Sutra 12 is Brahman.

Mantravarnikameva cha giyate I.1.15 (15)

Moreover that very Brahman which has been re-referred to in the Mantra portion is sung (i.e. proclaimed in the Brahmana passage as the Anandamaya).

Mantra-varnikam: He who is described in the Mantra portion; Eva: the very same; Cha: and also, moreover; Giyate: is sung.

The argument in support of Sutra 12 is continued. The previous proofs were founded on Lingas. The argument which is now given is based on Prakarana.

The Self consisting of bliss is the highest Brahman for the following reason also. The second chapter of the Taittiriya Upanishad begins, "He who knows Brahman attains the Highest – Brahmavidapnoti Param. Brahman is Truth, Knowledge and Infinity (Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam Brahma)" (Tait. Up. II-1). Then it is said that from Brahman sprang at first the ether and then all other moving and non-moving things. The Brahman entering into the beings stays in the recess, inmost of all. Then the series of the different self are enumerated. Then for easy understanding it is said that different from this is the inner Self. Finally the same Brahman which the Mantra had proclaimed is again proclaimed in the passage under discussion, "different from this is the other inner Self, which consists of bliss". The Brahmanas only explain what the Mantras declare. There cannot be a contradiction between the Mantra and Brahmana portions.

A further inner Self different from the Self consisting of bliss is not mentioned. On the same i.e. the Self consisting of bliss is founded. "This same knowledge of Bhrigu and Varuna, he understood that bliss is Brahman" Tait. Up. III-6. Therefore the Self consisting of Bliss is the Supreme Self.

"Brahmavidapnoti Param" – The knower of Brahman obtains the Highest. This shows that the worshipper Jiva obtains the worshipped Brahman. Therefore Brahman who is the object attained must be considered as different from the Jiva who obtains, because the obtained and the obtainer cannot be one and the same. Hence the Anandamaya is not Jiva. The Brahman which is described in the Mantras (Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma) is described later on in the Brahmanas as Anandamaya. It is our duty to realise the identity of the teaching in the Mantras and the Brahmanas which form the Vedas.

Netaro'nupapatteh I.1.16 (16)

(Brahman and) not the other (i.e. the individual soul is meant here) on account of the impossibility (of the latter assumption).

Na: not; Itarah: the other i.e. the Jiva; Anupapatteh: because of the impossibility, non-reasonableness.

The argument in support of Sutra 12 is continued.

The Jiva is not the being referred to in the Mantra "Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma" because of the impossibility of such a construction.

The individual soul cannot be denoted by the term "the one consisting of bliss." Why? On account of the impossibility. Because the scripture says with reference to the Self consisting of bliss, "He wished 'May I be many, may I grow forth.' He reflected. After he had thus reflected, he sent forth whatever there is".

He who is referred to in the passage, "The Self consisting of bliss etc." is said to be creator of everything. "He projected all this whatever is" Tait. Up. II-6. The Jiva or the individual soul cannot certainly do this. Therefore he is not referred to in the passage "The Self consisting of bliss" etc.

Bhedavyapadesaccha I.1.17 (17)

And on account of the declaration of the difference (between the two i.e. the one referred to in the passage 'The Self consisting of bliss' etc. and the individual soul, the latter cannot be the one referred to in the passage).

Bheda: difference; Vyapadesat: because of the declaration; Cha: and.

The argument in support of Sutra 12 is continued.

The Sruti makes a distinction between the two. It describes that one is the giver of bliss and the other as the receiver of bliss. The Jiva or the individual soul, who is the receiver, cannot be the Anandamaya, who is the giver of bliss.

"The Self consisting of bliss is of the essence of flavour attaining which the individual soul is blissful: Raso vai sah (Brahma) Rasam hyeva'yam (Jiva) labdhva'nandi bhavati." Tait. Up. II-7.

That which is attained and the attainer cannot be the same.

Hence the individual soul is not referred to in the passage which is under discussion.

Kamachcha Nanumanapeksha I.1.18 (18)

Because of wishing or willing in the scriptural passage we cannot say even inferentially that Anandamaya means Pradhana.

Kamat: because of desire or willing; Cha: and; Na: not; Anumana: the inferred one, i. e. the Pradhana; Apeksha: necessity.

The argument in support of Sutra 12 is continued.

The word 'Akamyata' (willed) in the scriptural text shows that the Anandamaya cannot be Pradhana (primordial matter), because will cannot be ascribed to non-sentient (Jada) matter. Prakriti is non-sentient and can have no Kamana or wish. Therefore the Anandamaya with regard to which the word Kama is used cannot be Prakriti or Pradhana. That which is inferred i.e. the non-intelligent Pradhana assumed by the Sankhyas cannot be regarded as being the Self of bliss (Anandamaya) and the cause of the world.

Asminnasya cha tadyogam sasti I.1.19 (19)

And moreover it, i e., the scripture, teaches the joining of this, i.e., the individual soul, with that, i.e., consisting of bliss (Anandamaya) when knowledge is attained.

Asmin: in him; in the person called Anandamaya; Asya: his, of the Jiva; Cha: and, also; Tat: that; Yogam: union; Sasti: (Sruti) teaches.

The argument in support of Sutra 12 is concluded in this Sutra.

Scripture teaches that the Jiva or the individual soul obtains the final emancipation when he attains knowledge, when he is joined or identified with the Self of bliss under discussion. The Sruti declares, "When he finds freedom from fear, and rest in that which is invisible, bodiless, indefinable and supportless, then he has attained the fearless (Brahman). If he has the smallest distinction in it there is fear (of Samsara) for him" Tait. Up. 11-7.

Perfect rest is possible only when we understand by the Self consisting of bliss, the Supreme Self and not either the Pradhana or the individual soul. Therefore it is proved that the Self consisting of bliss (Anandamaya) is the Supreme Self or Para Brahman.