Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


CHAPTER FOUR: PHALA ADHYAYA

Section 1: Introduction

In the Third Chapter, the Sadhanas or the means of knowledge relating to Para Vidya (higher knowledge) and Apara Vidya (lower knowledge) were discussed. The Fourth Chapter treats of Phala or the Supreme Bliss of attainment of Brahman. Other topics also are dealt with in it. In the beginning, however, a separate discussion concerned with the means of knowledge is dealt with in a few Adhikaranas. The remainder of the previous discussion about Sadhanas is continued in the beginning. As the main topic of this Chapter is that of the results or fruits of Brahma Vidya, it is called Phala Adhyaya.

Synopsis

Adhikarana I:

(Sutras 1-2) The meditation on the Atman enjoined by scripture is not an act to be accomplished once only, but is to be repeated again and again till knowledge is attained.

Adhikarana II:

(Sutra 3) The meditator engaged in meditation on Brahman is to view or comprehend It as identical with his own self.

Adhikarana III:

(Sutra 4) In Pratikopasanas where symbols of Brahman are used for meditation as for instance "Mano Brahmetyupasita", the meditator is not to consider the Pratika or symbol as identical with him.

Adhikarana IV:

(Sutra 5) In the Pratikopasanas, the Pratikas or symbols are to be viewed as Brahman and not in the reverse way.

Adhikarana V:

(Sutra 6) In meditations on the members of sacrificial acts, the idea of divinity is to be superimposed on the members and not vice versa. In the example quoted for instance the Udgitha is to be viewed as Aditya, not Aditya as the Udgitha.

Adhikarana VI:

(Sutras 7-10) One is to carry on his meditations in a sitting posture. Sri Sankara maintains that the rule does not apply to those meditations whose result is Samyag-darsana but the Sutra gives no hint to that effect.

Adhikarana VII:

(Sutra 11) The meditations may be carried on at any time, and in any place, if favourable to concentration of mind.

Adhikarana VIII:

(Sutra 12) The meditations are to be continued until death. Sri Sankara again holds that those meditations which lead to Samyag-darsana are excepted.

Adhikarana IX:

(Sutra 13) Knowledge of Brahman frees one from the effects of all past and future evil deeds.

Adhikarana X:

(Sutra 14) Good deeds likewise cease to affect the knower of Brahman.

Adhikarana XI:

(Sutra 15) Works which have not begun to yield results (Anarabdhakarya) are alone destroyed by knowledge and not those which have already begun to yield fruits (Arabdhakarya).

Adhikarana XII:

(Sutras 16-17) From the rule enunciated in Adhikarana X are excepted such sacrificial performances as are enjoined permanently (Nitya, obligatory works), as for instance the Agnihotra, because they promote the origination of knowledge.

Adhikarana XIII:

(Sutra 18) Sacrificial works not combined with knowledge or meditations also help in the origination of knowledge.

Adhikarana XIV:

(Sutra 19) On the exhaustion of Prarabdha work through enjoyment, the knower of Brahman attains oneness with It. The Bhoga or enjoyment of the Sutra is, according to Sankara, restricted to the present existence of the seeker, since the complete knowledge obtained by him destroys the ignorance which otherwise would lead to future embodiments.