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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 2: Antaradhikaranam: Topic 4 (Sutras 13-17)

The person within the eye is Brahman.

Antara upapatteh I.2.13 (44)

The person within (the eye) (is Brahman) on account of (the attributes mentioned therein) being appropriate (only to Brahman).

Antara: inside (the eye), the being within the eye; Upapatteh: on account of the appropriateness of (attributes).

The being within the eye is Brahman, because it is reasonable to construe the passage as applying to the Supreme Self than to anything else.

The form of worship in another part of Chhandogya Upanishad (IV-15-1), taking the being within the eyes as the Supreme Self, is taken up as the subject for discussion.

In Chhandogya Upanishad IV-15-1 we read, "This person that is seen in the eye is the Self. This is Immortal and fearless, this is Brahman". The doubt here arises whether this passage refers to the reflected self which resides in the eye, or to the individual soul or to the self of some deity which presides over the organ of sight or to the Supreme Self.

The Sutra says that the person in the eye is Brahman only, because the attributes 'Immortal', 'fearless', etc., mentioned here accord with the nature of the Supreme Self only.

The attributes 'being untouched by sin', being 'Samyadvama' etc., are applicable to the Supreme Self only. The attributes of being 'Vamani' or the leader of all and 'Bhamani', the All-effulgent, applied to the person in the eye are appropriate in the case of Brahman also.

Therefore, on account of agreement, the person within the eye is the Supreme Self or Brahman only.

Sthanadivyapadesaccha I.2.14 (46)

And on account of the statement of place and so on.

Sthanadi: the place and the rest; Vyapadesat: on account of the statement; Cha: and.

An argument in support of Sutra 13 is given.

In other Srutis location etc., i.e., abode, name and form are attributed to Brahman Himself to facilitate meditation. But how can the all-pervading Brahman be in a limited space like the eye? Definite abode like the cavity of the heart, the eye, the earth, disc of the sun etc., is given to the all-pervading Brahman for the purpose of meditation (Upasana), just as Saligrama is prescribed for meditation on Vishnu. This is not contrary to reason.

The phrase 'and so on' which forms part of the Sutra shows that not only abode is assigned to Brahman but also such things as name and form not appropriate to Brahman which is devoid of name and form, are ascribed to It for the sake of meditation, as Brahman without qualities cannot be an object of meditation. Vide Chh. Up. 1.6.6-7. "His name is 'Ut'. He with the golden beard."

Sukhavisishtabhidhanadeva cha I.2.15 (46)

And on account of the passage referring to that which is distinguished by bliss (i.e. Brahman).

Sukha: bliss; Visishta: qualified by; Abhidhanat: because of the description; Eva: alone; Cha: and.

The argument in support of Sutra 13 is continued.

Because the text refers to the Supreme Self only and not to Jiva who is miserable.

The same Brahman which is spoken of as characterised by bliss in the beginning of the chapter in the clauses "Breath is Brahman," "Ka is Brahman" "Kha is Brahman" we must suppose It to be referred to in the present passage also, as it is proper to stick to the subject matter under discussion.

The fires taught to Upakosala about Brahman "Breath is Brahman, bliss is Brahman, the ether is Brahman" Chh. Up. IV-10-5. This same Brahman is further elucidated by his teacher as "the being in the eye".

On hearing the speech of the fires viz., "Breath is Brahman, Ka is Brahman, Kha is Brahman", Upakosala says "I understand that breath is Brahman, but I do not understand that Ka or Kha is Brahman". Therefore the fires reply "What is Ka is Kha. What is Kha is Ka".

The word Ka in ordinary language denotes sensual pleasure. If the word Kha were not used to qualify the sense of Ka one would think that ordinary worldly pleasure was meant. But as the two words Ka and Kha occur together and qualify each other, they indicate Brahman whose Self is Bliss. Therefore the reference is to Supreme Bliss and such a description can apply only to Brahman.

If the word Brahman in the clause "Ka is Brahman" were not added and if the sentence would run "Ka, Kha is Brahman", the word Ka would be only an adjective and thus pleasure being a mere quality cannot be a subject of meditation. To prevent this, both words Ka as well as Kha are joined with the word Brahman. "Ka is Brahman. Kha is Brahman". Qualities as well as persons having those qualities could be objects of meditation.

Srutopanishatkagatyabhidhanaccha I.2.16 (47)

And on account of the statement of the way of him who has known the Truth of the Upanishads.

Sruto: heard; Upanishatka: Upanishads; Gati: way; Abhidhanat: because of the statement; Cha: and.

The argument in support of Sutra 13 is continued.

The person in the eye is the Supreme Self for the following reason also. From Sruti we know of the way of the knower of Brahman. He travels after death through the Devayana path or the path of the Gods. That way is described in Prasna Up. 1-10. "Those who have sought the Self by penance, abstinence, faith and knowledge attain the Sun by the Northern Path or the path of Devayana. From thence they do not return. This is the immortal abode, free from fear, and the highest."

The knower of the "person in the eye" also goes by this path after death. From this description of the way which is known to be the way of him who knows Brahman it is quite clear that the person within the eye is Brahman.

The following Sutra shows that it is not possible for the above text to mean either the reflected Self or the Jiva or the deity in the Sun.

Anavasthiterasamhhavaccha netarah I.2.17 (48)

(The person within the eye is the Supreme Self) and not any other (i.e. the individual soul etc.) as these do not exist always; and on account of the impossibility (of the qualities of the person in the being ascribed to any of these).

Anavasthiteh: not existing always; Asambhavat: on account of the impossibility; Cha: and; Na: not; Itarah: any other.

The argument in support of Sutra 13 is continued.

The reflected self does not permanently abide in the eye. When some person comes near the eye the reflection of that person is seen in the eye. When he moves away the reflection disappears.

Surely you do not propose to have some one near the eye at the time of meditation so that you may meditate on the image in the eye. Such a fleeting image cannot be the object of meditation. The individual soul is not meant by the passage, because he is subject to ignorance, desire and action, he has no perfection. Hence he cannot be the object of meditation. The qualities like immortality, fearlessness, immanence, eternity, perfection etc., cannot be appropriately attributed to the reflected self or the individual soul or the deity in the sun. Therefore no other self save the Supreme Self is here spoken of as the person in the eye. The person in the eye (Akshi Purusha) must be viewed as the Supreme Self only.