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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Lingabhuyastvadhikaranam: Topic 29 (Sutras 44-52)

The fires in Agnirahasya of the Brihadaranyaka are not part of the sacrificial act, but form an independent Vidya.

Lingabhuyastvat taddhi baliyastadapi III.3.44 (403)

On account of the majority of indicatory marks (the fires of the mind, speech, etc., in the Agnirahasya of the Vajasaneyins do not form part of the sacrifice), for it (the indicatory mark) is stronger (than the context or the general subject matter). This also (has been explained in the Purvamimamsa Sutras by Jaimini).

Lingabhuyastvat: because of an abundance of distinguishing marks; Tat: that, the distinguishing mark; Hi: because; Baliyah: is stronger; Tat: that; Api: also.

In the Agnirahasya of the Vajasaneyins (Satapatha Brahmana) certain fires named after mind, speech, eyes, etc., are mentioned.

A doubt arises whether these form part of the sacrifice mentioned therein or form an independent Vidya.

The present Sutra declares that in spite of the prima facie view which arises from the context, these form a separate Vidya because there are many indicatory marks to show that these fires form an independent Vidya.

The indicatory marks are of greater force than the context or the leading subject matter (Prakarana). This has been explained in the Purvamimamsa (III.3.14).

The reference in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad takes a man's age to be one hundred years, i.e., 36,000 days and describes each day's mentality as an Agnichayana or fire sacrifice. The passage occurs in a portion relating to Karma or ceremonial action. If you say that such a meditation is an Anga or element in the ceremonial because it occurs in a passage relating to Karma, we say that the majority of indicatory marks is otherwise, e.g., the Sruti says that such Chayana goes on even in sleep. A specific reason given in a passage has a greater weight or force than mere context.

Purvavikalpah prakaranat syat kriyamanasavat III.3.45 (404)

(The fires spoken of in the previous Sutra are) alternative forms of the one mentioned first, (i.e., the actual sacrificial fire) on account of the context; (they) ought to be part of the sacrifice like the imaginary drink or the Manasa-cup.

Purvavikalpah: an alternative form of the already mentioned first; Prakaranat: on account of the context, as can be understood from the subject matter of the chapter; Syat: there may be, ought to be; Kriyamanasavat: ceremonial act, like the act of meditation, like the imaginary drink, as in the case of mental operation in the soma-sacrifice.

An objection is raised to the preceding Sutra.

The Purvapakshin raises a fresh objection. On the tenth day of the Soma sacrifice a Soma drink is offered to Prajapati wherein the earth is regarded as the cup and the sea as the Soma. This is a mental act only, and yet it forms a part of the sacrifice.

The same then holds good with regard to the quasi-agnis made of mind and so on though these fires are mental, i.e., imaginary, yet they form part of the sacrifice and not an independent Vidya, because of the context. They are an alternate form of the actual fire mentioned first.

You may say that it is only Arthavada and that a mere Arthavada cannot override the context and that such meditation is part of the Karma as is the case in the Dasaratra Karma.

Atidesascha III.3.46 (405)

And on account of the extension (of the attributes of the actual fire to these imaginary fires).

Atidesat: on account of the extension (of the attributes of' the first to these fires); Cha: and.

Objection to Sutra 44 is continued by presenting another argument in support of Sutra 45.

The Purvapakshin gives another reason to support his view. The Sruti in that passage ascribes all the attributes of the actual fire to these imaginary fires. Therefore, they are part of the sacrifice.

Vidyaiva tu nirdharanat III.3.47 (406)

But (the fires) rather constitute the Vidya, because (the Sruti) asserts it.

Vidya: Vidya, form of meditation or worship, Knowledge; Eva: alone, indeed; Tu: verily, undoubtedly, but; Nirdharanat: because the Sruti asserts it.

Objections raised in Sutras 45 and 46 are now refuted.

The word 'Tu' (but) sets aside the Purvapaksha. It refutes the opponent.

The present Sutra declares that the fires form an independent Vidya, because the text asserts that "They are built of knowledge (Vidya) only", and that "By knowledge they are built for him who thus knows".

Darsanaccha III.3 48 (407)

And because (in the text indicatory marks of that are) seen.

Darsanat: it being seen in the scriptures, because it is clearly stated in Sruti, because (of the indicatory marks) seen; Cha: and.

The indicatory marks are those referred to in Sutra 44. In fact the internal indications show that it is a Vidya and not a Karmanga.

Srutyadibaliyastvaccha na badhah III.3.49 (408)

(The view that the Agnis or fires constitute an independent Vidya) cannot be refuted, owing to the greater force of the Sruti etc.

Srutyadibaliyastvat: on account of the greater force of the Sruti etc.; Cha: and; Na: no, cannot; Badhah: refutation.

Objections raised in Sutras 45 and 46 are further refuted.

There is no negation of this view on the basis of the context, because of the greater strength of Sruti, etc.

Our opponent has no right to determine on the ground of Prakarana that the Agnis are subordinate to the sacrificial action and so to set aside our view according to which they are independent. For we know from the Purvamimamsa that direct enunciation (Sruti), indicatory mark (Linga) and syntactical connection (Vakya) are of greater force than leading subject matter (Prakarana) and all those three means of proof are seen to confirm our view of the Agnis being independent.

Mere context is of no force against express Sruti, Linga, etc. The Sruti used the word 'Eva' where there is an imperative tense, etc., used, a mere Upadesa can be treated as an Arthavada, because there is also an express command. Where there is no such indication, an Upadesa must be treated as a Vidhi. Therefore what we have here is an independent Vidya and not a Karmanga.

The Sruti directly says, "All these fires are kindled with knowledge alone. The indicatory mark is this." All beings kindle these fires for him, even when he is asleep. This continuity of the fire shows that they are mental ones. An actual sacrifice is not continued during sleep. The syntactical connections "Through meditation alone these fires of the worshipper are kindled." These three are more forcible than mere context.

Anubandhadibhyah prajnantaraprithaktvavat drishtascha taduktam III.3.50 (409)

On account of the connection and so on (the fires built of mind, etc., form an independent Vidya), in the same way as other Vidyas (like Sandilya Vidya) are separate; and it is seen (that in spite of the context a sacrifice is treated as independent). This has been explained (in the Purvamimamsa Sutras by Jaimini).

Anubandhadibhyah: from the connection and so on; Prajnantaraprithaktvavat: even as the other Vidyas are separate; Drishtah: (it is) seen; Cha: and; Tat: that; Uktam: is stated (in the Purvamimamsa by Jaimini).

The argument in refutation of Sutras 45 and 46 is continued.

This Sutra gives additional reasons in support of the view set forth in Sutra 47.

Independence has, against the general subject matter, to be assumed for the fire-altars built of mind and so on, because the text connects the constituent members of the sacrificial action with activities of the mind. The text connects for the purpose of Sampad Upasana (meditations based on resemblance) parts of a sacrifice with mental activities, e.g., "These fires are started mentally, the altars are set up mentally, the cups are taken mentally, the Udgatris are praised mentally, the Hotris are recited mentally, everything connected with this sacrifice is done mentally." This is possible only if there is a sharp difference between things which resemble each other.

The Sruti mentions in regard to such mental worship all the greatness of a Karmanga. Therefore Atidesa (similarity) applies even on the footing of the context referring to an independent Vidya which is separate from a Karmanga.

The fires constitute an independent Vidya, just as the Sandilya Vidya, Dahara Vidya, form separate Vidyas, although mentioned along with sacrificial acts.

A similar thing is seen in Aveshti being done as an independent ceremony in the Rajasuya sacrifice. It is observed in the sacrificial portion of the Vedas, that though the sacrifice Aveshti is mentioned along with the Rajasuya sacrifice, it is yet considered as an independent sacrifice by Jaimini in the Purvamimamsa Sutras.

Na samanyadapyupalabdhermrityuvanna hi lokapattih III.3.51 (410)

In spite of the resemblance (of the fires to the imaginary drink, they do) not (constitute part of the sacrificial act) because it is seen (from the reasons given, and on the ground of Sruti that they form an independent Vidya) as in the case of death; for the world does not become (fire, because it resembles fire in some points).

Na: not; Samanyadapi: in spite of the resemblance, because of commonness, on the ground of their resemblance to sacrificial fire; Upalabdheh: for it is seen; Mrityuvat: just as in the case of death; Na hi lokapattih: for the world does not become (fire on account of certain resemblances).

The argument in refutation of Sutras 45 and 46 is continued.

Though being a mental act, there is an element of similarity, it is not a Karmanga because it is stated to have a separate fruit. This is clear from the illustrations relating to Mrityu and describing the earth as fire.

The resemblance cited by the Purvapakshin has no force. It cannot certainly stand because on account of the reasons already given, viz., the Sruti, indicatory mark, etc., the fires in question subserve the purpose of man only, and not the purpose of some sacrificial action.

Mere resemblance can hardly justify the contrary view. Anything indeed may resemble anything in some point or other; but in spite of that there remains the individual dissimilarity of each thing from all other things.

The case is analogous to that of 'death'. The resemblance cited is like the common epithet 'death' applied to fire and the being in the sun. "The being in that orb is death indeed" (Sat. Br. X.5.2.3). "Fire indeed is death" (Tait. Samh. V.1.10.3). This resemblance cannot make fire and the being in the same one.

Again we have "This world is a fire indeed, O Gautama, the sun is its fuel" etc., (Chh. Up. V.4.1). Here it does not follow from the similarity of fuel and so on that the world does not actually become fire.

Thus also in our case. Hence from the fact that the Manaschita Agni (fire) is a mental act like the Manasagraha which is a Karmanga, you cannot on that ground of such similarity alone argue that it also is a Karmanga.

Parena cha sabdasya tadvidhyam bhuyastvattvanubandhah III.3.52 (411)

And from the subsequent (Brahmana) the fact of the text (under discussion) being such (i.e., enjoining an independent Vidya) (is known). But the connection (of the fanciful Agnis or imaginary fires with the actual fire is) on account of the abundance (of the attributes of the latter that are imagined in these fires).

Parena: from the subsequent (Brahmana), by the subsequent expression, by the statements immediately following; Cha: and; Sabdasya: of Sruti, of the text, of the word; Tadvidhyam: the fact of being such; Bhuyastvat: because of abundance; Tu: but; Anubandhah: connection.

In a subsequent Brahmana we have "By knowledge they ascend there where all wishes are attained. Those skilled in words do not go there, nor those who destitute of knowledge do penance". This verse depreciates mere works and praises Vidya or knowledge. A former Brahmana also viz., the one beginning "Where that orb leads" (Sat. Br. X.5.2.23) concludes with a statement of the fruit of knowledge "Immortal becomes he whose self is death" and thereby shows that works are not the chief thing. Hence we conclude that the injunction of the Sruti is that the fires constitute an independent Vidya.

The connection of the fires with the actual fire is not because they constitute part of the sacrifice but because many of the attributes of the real fire are imagined in the fires of the Vidya, in the Agnis built of mind. The statement of the fires built of mind along with the ordinary sacrificial fire is due to an abundance of common matters with the latter.

All this establishes the conclusion that the fire-altars built of mind and so on constitute an independent Vidya.