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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 4: Sahakaryantaravidhyadhikaranam: Topic 14 (Sutras 47-49)

In Bri. Up. III.5.1 meditation is enjoined besides the child-like state and scholarship.

Sahakaryantaravidhih pakshena tritiyam tadvato vidhyadivat III.4.47 (472)

There is the injunction of something else, i.e., meditation, cooperation (towards knowledge) (which is) a third thing (with regard to Balya or state of a child and Panditya or scholarship), (which injunction is given) for the case (of perfect knowledge not yet having arisen) to him who is such (i.e., the Sannyasin possessing knowledge); as in the case of injunctions, and the like.

Sahakaryantaravidhih: a separate auxiliary injunction; Pakshena: as an alternative; Tritiyam: the third; Tadvatah: for one who possesses it, (i.e., knowledge); Vidhyadivat: just as in the case of injunctions and the like.

This Sutra examines a passage of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and concludes that continuous meditation is also to be considered as enjoined by Sruti for the realisation of Brahman. This and the following two Sutras show that the scripture enjoins the four orders of life.

Mauna (Nididhyasa or meditation) is enjoined as an aid. The third, i.e., Mauna is enjoined for a Sannyasi in case his sense of cosmic diversity is persistent, just as Yajnas are enjoined for one desirous of heaven.

"Therefore, a knower of Brahman, having done with scholarship, should remain like a child (free from passion, anger, etc.); and after having finished with this state and with erudition he becomes meditative (Muni)" (Bri. Up. III.5.1).

A doubt arises now whether the meditative state is enjoined or not.

The Purvapakshin maintains that it is not enjoined, as there is no word indicating an injunction. Though the imperative mood occurs in regard to Balya or child-like state, there is no such indication in regard to the Muni. The text merely says that he becomes a Muni or meditative whereas it expressly enjoins "One should remain" etc., with respect to the state of child and scholarship.

Further scholarship refers to knowledge. Therefore, it includes Muniship which also refers to knowledge. As there is no newness (Apurva) with respect to Muniship in the text it has no injunctive value.

This Sutra refutes this view and declares that Muniship or meditativeness is enjoined in the text as a third requisite besides child-like state and scholarship.

"Muni" means a person who constantly meditates on Brahman. So constant meditation is the third auxiliary observance for one who is already possessed of Panditya (erudition) and Balya (child-like state); and as such constant meditation is enjoined to be observed like the injunctions about sacrifice and control of the senses and so on.

This Sutra refers to a passage of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, where in reply to a question by one Kahola, the sage Yajnavalkya enjoins first, scholarly attainments, the child-like simplicity, and then thirdly, continuous meditation cooperating with the two previous conditions, with a view to realisation of Brahman. Though there is no verb of imperative or injunctive force in the case of this third state, there is to be inferred an injunction to be understood like the injunctions in the other cases.

Muniship is continuous contemplation on Brahman. Therefore, it is different from scholarship. It is a new thing (Apurva). It has not been referred to before. Hence the text has injunctive value. Incessant meditation is highly beneficial for a Sannyasin who has not yet attained oneness or unity of Self and who experiences plurality on account of past expressions or the prevailing force of the erroneous idea of multiplicity.

Munihood is enjoined as something helpful to knowledge.

Kritsnabhavattu grihinopasamharah III.4.48 (473)

On account of his being all, however, there is winding up with the householder.

Kritsnabhavat: on account of the householder's life including all; Tu: verily; Grihina: by a householder, with the householder; Upasamharah: the conclusion, the goal, salvation, (the Chapter) ends. (Kritsna: of all (duties); Bhavat: owing to the existence; Grihinopasamharah: conclusion with the case of the householder.)

The Sruti winds up with the householder as he has all the duties. He has to do difficult sacrifices and has also to observe Ahimsa, self-control, etc. As the householder's life includes duties of all the other stages of life, the Chapter ends with the enumeration of the duties of the householder.

The Chhandogya Upanishad concludes with the householder's stage, because of the fact that this stage includes all the others. "He, the householder, conducting his life in this way, concentrating all his senses upon the self, and abstaining from injury to any living being throughout his life, attains the world of Brahma and has not to return again to this world" (Chh. Up. VIII.15.1).

The word 'tu' is meant to lay stress on the householder being everything. He has to do many duties belonging to his own Ashrama which involve a great trouble. At the same time the duties of the other Ashramas such as tenderness for all living creatures, restraint of the senses and study of scriptures, and so on are incumbent on him also as far as circumstances allow. Therefore, there is nothing contradictory in the Chhandogya winding up with the householder.

The householder's life is very important. Grihasthasrama includes more or less the duties of all Ashramas. The Sruti enumerates the duties of the Brahmacharin and then those of the householder and there it ends without referring to Sannyasa in order to lay stress on the life of the householder, to show its importance, and not because it is not one of the prescribed Ashramas.

Maunavaditareshamapyupadesat III.4.49 (474)

Because the scripture enjoins the other (stages of life, viz., Brahmacharya and Vanaprastha), just as it enjoins the state of a Muni (Sannyasi).

Maunavat: just as silence, like constant meditation, like the state of a Muni (Sannyasi); Itaresham: of the others, of the other orders of life; Api: even, also; Upadesat: because of scriptural injunction.

This Sutra states that the scripture enjoins the observance of the duties of all the orders of life.

Just as the Sruti enjoins Sannyasa and householder's life, so also it enjoins the life of a Vanaprastha (hermit) and that of a student (Brahmacharin). For we have already pointed above to passages such as "Austerity is the second, and to dwell as a student in the house of a teacher is the third." As thus the four Ashramas are equally taught by the scripture, they are to be gone through in sequence or alternately.

That the Sutra uses a plural form (of the 'others') when speaking of two orders only, is due to its having regard either to the different sub-classes of those two or to their difficult duties.