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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Sushuptyutkrantyadhikaranam: Topic 13 (Sutras 42-43)

The Self consisting of knowledge is Brahman.

Sushuptyutkrantyorbhedena I.3.42 (105)

Because of the Highest Self being shown as different (from the individual soul) in the states of deep sleep and death.

Sushupti utkrantyoh: In deep sleep and death; Bhedena: by the difference, as different; (Sushupti: deep sleep; Utkranti: departing at the time of death).

An expression from the sixth chapter of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is now taken up for discussion.

In the sixth Prapathaka or chapter of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, in reply to the question – "Who is that Self?" (IV-3-7), a lengthy exposition of the nature of the Self is given. "He who is within the heart, among the Pranas, the person of light, consisting of knowledge".

Here a doubt arises whether the Self is the Highest Self or the individual soul.

The Sutra declares that it is the Highest Self. Why? Because it is shown to be different from the individual soul in the state of deep sleep and at the time of death. "This person embraced by the Highest intelligent Self knows nothing that is without or within" Bri. Up. IV-3-21. This clearly indicates that in deep sleep the 'person' or the individual soul is different from the Highest intelligent Self or Brahman.

Here the term "the person" must mean the Jiva or the embodied soul, because the absence of the knowledge of what is within and without in deep sleep can be predicated only of the individual soul. The Supreme intelligent Self is Brahman because such intelligence can be predicated of Brahman only. Brahman is never dissociated from all-embracing knowledge. Similarly the passage that treats of departure i.e. death (this bodily Self mounted by the intelligent self moves along groaning) refers to the Supreme Lord as different from the individual soul. The Jiva who casts off this mortal body is different from Supreme Self or Brahman. The Jiva alone passes through the stages of sound-sleep and death. Brahman has neither sleep nor death. He is wide awake always.

Therefore Brahman is the chief topic in this Section. The Chapter exclusively aims at describing the nature of Brahman. The lengthy discourse on the individual soul in this Section is to show that he is in essence identical with Brahman.

Patyadisabdebhyah I.3.43 (106)

(The Being referred to in Sutra 42 is Brahman) because of the words 'Lord' etc., being applied to Him. "He is the controller, the Ruler, the Lord of all." Bri. Up. IV-4-22.

Patyadi sabdebhyah: On account of words like 'Lord' etc., (the self in the text under discussion is the Superme Self).

The argument in support of Sutra 42 is given.

These epithets are apt only in the case of Brahman, because these epithets intimate that the thing spoken of is absolutely free. Hence the word Self denotes the Highest Self or Brahman and not the Jiva or the embodied soul, from all of which we conclude that the Chapter refers to the Supreme Brahman.

Here ends the Third Pada of the First Adhyaya of the Brahma Sutras and of Sariraka Bhashya of Sri Sankaracharya.