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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 4: Anavishkaradhikarnam: Topic 15 (Sutra 50)

Child-like state means the state of innocence, being free from egoism, lust, anger, etc.

Anavishkurvannanvayat III.4.50 (475)

(The child-like state means) without manifesting himself, according to the context.

Anavishkurvan: without manifesting himself; Ananvayat: according to the context.

This Sutra says that the perversity of a child is not meant by the word 'Balyena' (by the child-like state), in the passage of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad quoted under Sutra 47.

In the passage of the Brihadaranyaka quoted in the Sutra 47, the child-like state is enjoined on an aspirant after knowledge. "Therefore, a Brahmana after he has done with learning should remain like a child." What is exactly meant by this?

Does it mean to be like a child without any idea of purity and impurity, freely attending to the calls of nature without any respect of place, etc., behaving, talking and eating, according to one's liking and doing whatever one likes, or does it mean inward purity, i.e., absence of cunningness, arrogance, sense of egoism, force of the sensual passions and so on as in the case of a child?

The present Sutra says it is the latter and not the former, because that is detrimental to knowledge. It means that one should be free from guile, pride, egoism, etc. He should not manifest the undesirable evil traits. He should not manifest by a display of knowledge, learning and virtuousness. Just as a child whose sensual powers have not yet developed themselves does not attempt to make a display of himself before others, he must not publish and proclaim his learning, wisdom and goodness. Such meaning only is appropriate to the context, purity and innocence being helpful to knowledge.

Then only the passage has a connection with the entire chapter on the ground of cooperating towards the principal matter, namely, the realisation of Brahman. Being free from ostentation is necessary, because only then there will be Anvaya or concordance of doctrine.

The Smriti writers have said, "He whom nobody knows either as noble or ignoble, as ignorant or learned, as well as well-conducted or ill-conducted, he is a Brahmana. Quietly devoted to his duty, let the wise man pass through life unknown, let him step on this earth as if he were blind, unconscious, deaf." Another Smriti passage is "With hidden nature, hidden conduct," and so on.