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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Kamadyadhikaranam: Topic 25 (Sutra 39)

Attributes mentioned in Chh. Up. VIII.1.1 and Bri. Up. IV.4.22 are to be combined on account of several common features in both texts.

Kamaditaratra tatra chayatanadibhyah III.3.39 (398)

(Qualities like true) desire etc., (mentioned in the Chhandogya Upanishad are to be inserted) in the other (i.e., in the Brihadaranyaka) and (those mentioned) in the other (i.e., in the Brihadaranyaka are also to be inserted in the Chhandogya) on account of the abode, etc., (being the same in both).

Kamadi: (Satyasankalpadi) (True) desire etc.; Itaratra: in the other, elsewhere, in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad; Tatra: there, in the Chhandogya Upanishad; Cha: also; Ayatanadibhyah: on account of the abode etc.

Dahara Vidya of the Chhandogya and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishads is now discussed.

In the Chhandogya Upanishad (VIII.1.1) we read, "There is this city of Brahman and in it the palace, the small lotus and in it the small ether; that is the Self." We read in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (IV.4.22) "That great unborn self who consists of Knowledge, who is surrounded by the Pranas lies in the ether that is within the heart."

A doubt here arises whether the two constitute one Vidya and therefore the particulars are to be combined or not.

The present Sutra declares that they form one Vidya and the qualities mentioned in each are to be combined in the other, because many points are common in both.

"Wishes and so on," i.e., "The quality of having true wishes and so on." The word 'Kama' stands for 'Satyakama' just as people occasionally say Datta for Devadatta and Bhama for Satyabhama. This quality and the other qualities which the Chhandogya attributes to the ether within the heart, have to be combined with the Brihadaranyaka passage, and vice versa, i.e., the qualities mentioned in the Brihadaranyaka such as being the ruler of all, have also to be ascribed to the Self free from sin, described in the Chhandogya.

The reason for this is that the two passages exhibit a number of common features. Common to both is the heart regarded as abode. Common again is the Lord as object of knowledge or meditation. Common also is the Lord being regarded as a bank preventing these worlds from being confounded. And there are several other points also.

But an objection is raised. There are also differences. In the Chhandogya the attributes are ascribed to the ether within the heart, while in the Brihadaranyaka they are attributed to Brahman abiding in the ether. This objection has no force. It cannot certainly stand. We have shown under I.3.14 that the term ether in the Chhandogya designates Brahman.

There is, however, one difference between the two texts. The Chhandogya treats of Saguna Brahman while the Brihadaranyaka treats of Nirguna Brahman or the Supreme Brahman destitute of all qualities. Yajnavalkya says to Janaka "For that person is not attached to anything. That Self is to be described by No, No – neti, neti" (Bri. Up. IV.3.14).

But as the qualified Brahman is fundamentally one with the unqualified Brahman we must conclude that the Sutra teaches the combination of the qualities for glorifying Brahman and not for the purpose of devout meditation or Upasana.