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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Yathasrayabhavadhikaranam: Topic 36 (Sutras 61-66)

Meditations connected with members of sacrificial acts may or may not be combined according to one's liking.

Angeshu yathasrayabhavah III.3.61 (420)

With regard (to meditations) connected with members (of sacrificial acts) it is as with (the members) with which they are connected.

Angeshu: with regard (to meditations) connected with members (of sacrificial acts); Yathasrayabhavah: it is as with (members) with which they are connected.

Of the six Sutras which are contained in this Adhikarana, the first four Sutras are Purvapaksha Sutras and the last two Sutras are Siddhanta Sutras.

Different instructions connected with a sacrifice are stated in the different Vedas. The scriptures say that all these members mentioned in the different Vedas are to be combined for the due performance of the principal one.

The question now is, which is the rule to be followed with regard to the meditations or Upasanas connected with these members.

The present Sutra declares that the same rule which applies to the members applies also to the Upasanas connected with them. It is according to the abodes. As the abiding places of those meditations, viz., the Stotra and so on are combined for the performance of the sacrifice, so those meditations or Upasanas also; for a meditation is subject to what it rests on. All these Upasanas are to be combined.

Just as the Stotras, etc., are combined when performing Karmas, so also the Upasanas which are Angas of Karma (Angavabaddha Upasana) should be combined.

Sishtescha III.3.62 (421)

And from the injunction of the Sruti.

Sishteh: from the injunction of the Sruti; Cha: and.

An argument in support of the objection raised in Sutra 61 is adduced.

That is because the Upasanas depend on the Stotras.

As the Stotra and the other members of the sacrifice on which the meditations under discussion rest are taught in the three Vedas, so also are the meditations resting on them. Just as the members are scattered in the different Vedas, so also are the meditations connected with them. There is no difference as regards the injunction of the Sruti with reference to these meditations.

There is no difference between the members of a sacrificial act and the meditations referring to them.

Samaharat III.3.63 (422)

On account of the rectification.

Samaharat: on account of the rectification.

A further reason is given by the opponent. Another argument in support of Sutra 61 is adduced.

There is also indication in the Sruti about such combination. Such combination is seen when the Udgatri performs the Hautra Karma described in another Veda for removing the effects of error in the discharge of his function.

Chhandogya Upanishad declares "What is Udgitha is OM or Pranava and what is OM is Udgitha. This meditation on the oneness of the Udgitha and OM mends the Udgitha defiled by any mistake committed even on the part of the Hotri, the hymn-reciting priest in recitation of the Udgitha" (Chh. Up. I.5.5).

Here it is said that the mistakes committed by the Udgatri or chanting priest of the Sama Veda are rectified by the recitation of the Hotri or invoking priest of the Rigveda. This indicates that though the meditations are given in the different Vedas they are yet interlinked. Hence all of them have to be observed.

The passage "From the seat of the Hotri, he sets right any mistake committed in the Udgitha" (Chh. Up. I.5.5), declares that owing to the force of the meditation on the unity of Pranava and Udgitha, the Hotri rectifies any mistake he may commit in his work, by means of the work of the Hotri.

Now, as a meditation mentioned in one Veda is connected with what is mentioned in another Veda, in the same manner as a thing mentioned in another Veda, the above passage suggests the conclusion that all meditations on members of sacrificial acts, in whatever Veda they may be mentioned – have to be combined.

A thing belonging to the Rigveda, viz., Pranava is, according to the Chhandogya text, connected with the Sama Veda meditation on the Udgitha. Hence meditations also which belong to different Vedas may be combined; because there is no difference between them and things as far as connection is concerned.

Gunasadharanyasrutescha III.3.64 (423)

And from the Sruti declaring 'OM' which is a common feature (of the Udgitha Vidya) to be common to all the Vedas.

Gunasadharanyasruteh: from the Sruti declaring the feature of 'OM' as being common to all the Vedas; Cha: and.

Another argument in support of Sutra 61 is adduced.

Further Pranava (Omkara) is common to all the Upasanas and links them up.

It is found in Sruti that OM is the common property of all the Vedas. Therefore, it is an inseparable concomitant of the sacrificial rites, prescribed in the Vedas. Hence the Vidyas also, being dependent on OM, are concomitants of the sacrificial rites. Chhandogya Upanishad declares "Through this ('OM') the Vedic Vidya proceeds. With OM the Adhvaryu gives orders, with OM the Hotri recites, with OM the Udgatri sings" (Chh. Up. I.1.9). This is stated with reference to OM, which is common to all the Vedas and all the Upasanas in them. This indicates that as the abode of all Vidyas, viz., OM, is common, so the Vidyas that rest in it are common also. Therefore, all of them are to be observed.

Na va tatsahabhavasruteh III.3.65 (424)

(The meditations connected with members of the sacrificial acts are) rather not (to be combined) as the Sruti does not state their going together.

Na: not; Va: rather; Tatsahabhavasruteh: their correlation not being mentioned by the Sruti. (Tat: their; Sahabhava: about being together; Asruteh: because there is no such injunction in Sruti).

The words 'Na va' 'rather not' discard the Purvapaksha. This Sutra refutes the contention raised in Sutras 61-64.

This and the following Sutra give the conclusion.

There is no Sruti commanding such combination of the Karmanga Upasanas. No Sruti refers to such compulsory combination of the Upasanas. So they can be done singly or in combination as we like.

There is no binding rule that the Vidyas, depending on the Pranava or on any part of a sacrificial rite, is a necessary concomitant of the sacrifice. It may be dispensed with or retained at the option of the performer. But there is this difference. If Vidyas be associated with the rites greater good will accrue.

Though the utterance of the Pranava or the Udgitha hymn has been enjoined by the Sruti to be necessary for the sacrificial performance, yet Sruti does not insist that the Vidya (meditation) portion of the performance is a necessary adjunct to the mind. It is not absolutely necessary for the fulfilment of external sacrifices. A sacrifice may be performed even without the Vidya (meditation) merely by utterance of Mantras, singing of the Udgitha hymns, pouring of the clarified butter into the sacred fire and the like external rites, in order to attain particular desired objects, but the Vidya or meditation on Brahman leads to realisation of Brahman.

The rule for combining the instructions regarding sacrifices that are scattered in all the Vedas cannot be applied with regard to the meditations (Upasanas) connected with them. If the instructions regarding the sacrifices are not combined, the sacrifice will itself fail. But it is not the case if the Upasanas are not practised, because Upasanas only increase the fruits of the sacrifice (Vide III.3.42). Upasanas are not inseparable from the sacrifice.

Therefore, Upasanas (Vidyas, meditations) may or may not be practised.

Darsanaccha III.3.66 (425)

And because the Sruti (scripture) says so (shows it).

Darsanat: because the Sruti says so, shows it from Sruti; Cha: and, also.

This Sutra is adduced in support of Sutra 65.

This may also be inferred from Sruti.

Chhandogya Upanishad declares "The Brahmana (superintending chief priest) who possesses such knowledge saves the sacrifice, the sacrificer and all the priests, just as the horse saves the horseman" (Chh. Up. IV.17.10).

This shows that the scriptures do not intend that all the meditations should go together. For, if all meditations were to be combined, all priests would know them all and the text could not specially announce that the Brahmana, chief superintending priest, possessing a certain knowledge thereby saves the others.

The meditations, therefore, according to one's liking may or may not be combined.

Thus ends the Third Pada (Section 3) of the Third Adhyaya (Chapter III) of the Brahma Sutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.