A- A+

Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Hanyadhikaranam: Topic 15 (Sutra 26)

The statement that the good and evil deeds of a person go respectively to his friends and enemies is true for texts that mention discarding of such actions by him.

Hanau tupayanasabdaseshatvatkusacchandastutyupaganavattaduktam III.3.26 (385)

But where only the getting rid (of the good and evil) is mentioned (the obtaining of this good and evil by others has to be added) because the statement about acceptance is supplementary (to the statement about the getting rid of) as in the case of the Kusas, metres, praise and hymns or recitations. This (i.e., the reason for this) has been stated (by Jaimini in Purvamimamsa).

Hanau: where only the getting rid (of good and evil) is mentioned; Tu: but; Upayanasabdaseshatvat: on account of the word 'acceptance' being supplementary to the word 'getting rid'; Kusacchandastutyupaganavat: like Kusa-sticks, metres, praises and hymns; Tat: that; Uktam: has been stated (by Jaimini). (Upayana: acceptance; Sabda: on account of the statement of the word; Seshatvat: on account of being supplementary to.)

Here is a discussion on the shaking off of virtues and vices by the released soul at death and their acceptance by his friends and enemies.

Jaimini has said that statements with respect to Kusas, metres, praises and hymns have to be completed from other texts. It is said in the Kaushitaki Sruti that Kusa sticks are to be collected from trees without any specification as to what sort of tree; but in the Satyayana branch it is said that the Kusas are of the Udumbara tree. This latter expression is to be accepted as complementary to the former expression of the Kaushitaki Sruti. The first Sruti will have to be completed in the light of the other.

There is in a Sruti an injunction to say a prayer composed in metre without any specification of the kind of metre, but in another place there is mention of the Deva-metre to be employed in such a case. Therefore the Deva-metre is to be understood in the previous case also.

There is instruction in one Sruti to utter praises for the sacrificial vessel 'Shodasi' without specifying the time as to when it should be performed; but in another Sruti it is taught to be performed when the sun has risen. Here the latter instruction is to be accepted as supplementary to the former.

As regards the hymn it is not definitely stated which of the four priests is to join in the singing of the prayer in a sacrifice; but this doubt has been cleared up by a particular text which says that the Adhvaryu will not join in the singing. Putting the two statements together, the conclusion is that all the priests except the Adhvaryu will join.

This principle is here applied to the effects of the actions of a liberated sage in connection with the Vidyas mentioned in the Upanishads. In the text of the Tandins we find "shakes off all evil as a horse shakes his hair, and shaking off the body as the moon frees herself from the mouth of Rahu, I obtain the uncreated world of Brahman" (Chh. Up. VIII.13). Again in Mundaka Upanishad (III.1.3) we read "Then knowing shaking off good and evil, he reaches the highest oneness, free from passion." These Srutis are silent on the point as to who accepts his good and evil deeds.

In the Satyayana branch of Sruti it is said "His sons obtain his inheritance, his friends the good, his enemies the evil he has done." In the Kaushitaki Upanishad (I.4) we find "He shakes off his good and his bad deeds. His beloved relations obtain the good, his unbeloved relatives the evil he has done."

This Sutra declares that the obtaining of the good and evil by his friends and enemies has to be inserted or necessarily added in the Chhandogya text and Mundaka text according to Jaimini's principle explained above.

The Purvapakshin raises another objection. He argues that the verb 'Dhu' in the text of the Chhandogya and Kaushitaki may be interpreted as 'trembling' and not as 'getting rid of'. It would mean therefore that good and evil still cling to a person who attains Knowledge, although their effects are retarded on account of the Knowledge.

This Sutra declares that such a meaning is incorrect, because the subsequent portion of the text indicates that others obtain the good and evil. This is certainly not possible unless the person who attains Knowledge abandons them.

Good and evil deeds cannot be said to 'tremble' in the literal sense of the word like flags in the wind, as they are not of a substantial nature. Though 'Dhu' in 'Vidhuya' may be said to signify 'shaking' and not 'casting off', yet as others are described as taking the liberated sage's merits and sins, it means 'casting off'.