Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda

  A- A+


Section 4: Jagadvyaparadhikaranam: Topic 7 (Sutras 17-22)

The liberated soul which has attained Brahmaloka has all the lordly powers except the power of creation.

Jagadvyaparavarjam prakaranadasannihitattvaccha IV.4.17 (550)

(The liberated soul attains all lordly powers) except the power of creation, etc., on account of (the Lord being) the subject matter (of all texts where creation, etc., are referred to) and (the liberated souls) not being mentioned (in that connection).

Jagadvyaparavarjam: except the power of creation, etc., Prakaranat: (on account of the Lord being) the subject matter, because of the general topic of the chapter; Asannihitattvat: on account of (liberated souls) not being mentioned on account of non-proximity; Cha: and. (Jagat: world; Vyapara: creation etc.; Varjam: excepted.)

The limitations of the released souls’ power are stated here.

A doubt here presents itself whether those who through meditation on the Saguna Brahman enter Brahmaloka possess unlimited lordly power or power limited to some extent.

The Purvapakshin maintains that their powers must be unlimited, because we meet with texts such as "They can roam at will in all the worlds" (Chh. Up. VII.25.2; VIII.1.6). "He obtains self-lordship" (Tait. Sam. I.6.2). "To him all the gods offer worship" (Tait. Sam. I.5.3). "For him there is freedom in all worlds" (Chh. Up. VIII.1.6).

This Sutra says that the liberated souls attain all lordly powers such as Anima, rendering oneself to atomic size, etc., except the power of creation, etc. Creation, preservation and destruction, on the other hand can belong to the everlastingly perfect Lord only. Why so? Because the Lord is the subject matter of all the texts dealing with creation, etc., while the released souls are not mentioned at all in this connection.

Further, this would lead to many Isvaras. If they have the power of creation of the universe they may not be of one mind. There may be conflict of wills with respect to creation, etc. One may desire to create, and another to destroy. Such conflicts can only be avoided by assuming that the wishes of one should conform to those of another and from this it follows that all other souls depend on the Highest Lord.

Hence the powers of the released souls are not absolute but limited and are dependent on the will of the Lord.

Pratyakshopadesaditi chennadhikarikamandalasthokteh IV.4.18 (551)

If it be said that the liberated soul attains absolute powers on account of direct teaching of the scriptures, we say no; because the scriptures declare that the liberated soul attains Him who entrusts the sun, etc., with their offices and abides in those spheres.

Pratyakshopadesat: on account of direct teaching; Iti: so, thus; Chet: if; (Iti chet: if it be said); Na: not; Adhikarikamandala- sthokteh: because the scripture declares that the soul attains Him who entrusts the sun, etc., with their offices and abodes in those spheres. (Adhikarika: the master of a world, a world-ruler; Mandalastha: existing in spheres, i.e., those abiding in the spheres, of those entrusted with the special functions; Ukteh: as it is clearly stated in Sruti.)

An objection to Sutra 17 is raised and refuted.

This Sutra consists of two parts, namely an objection and its reply. The objection portion is, "Pratyakshopadesat"; the reply portion is "Nadhikarikamandalasthokteh".

"He becomes the Lord of himself – Apnoti svarajyam" (Tait. Up. I.6). From the direct teaching of the Sruti the Purvapakshin maintains that the limited soul attains absolute powers.

This present Sutra refutes this and says that his powers depend on the Lord, because the text cited further on says, "He attains the Lord of the mind, the Lord who dwells in spheres like the sun, etc., and entrusts the sun, etc., with offices."

Therefore, it is quite clear from this latter part of the text that the liberated soul obtains its powers from the Lord and depends on Him. Hence its powers are not unlimited. He attains powers as the gift of the Supreme Lord who is in the sun, etc., and who bestows the function of controlling the orb of the sun, on the sun-god.

Vikaravarti cha tatha hi sthitimaha IV.4.19 (552)

And (there is a form of the Supreme Lord) which is beyond all created things (because, so the scripture declares) (His) existence (in a two-fold form unmanifest and manifest).

Vikaravarti: which is beyond all effected things, becomes incapable of transformation by birth, decay, death, etc.; Cha: and; Tatha: so; Hi: because; Sthitim: status, condition, existence; Aha: (Sruti) declares.

The description of the status of the liberated soul is continued.

According to scripture, there is also an internal form of the Supreme Lord, which does not abide in effects. He is not only the ruling soul of the spheres of the sun and so on which lie within the sphere of what is effected.

The text declares this abiding in a two-fold form as follows: "Such is the greatness of it; greater than that is the Purusha; one foot of Him is all beings; His other three feet are what is immortal in heaven" (Chh. Up. III.12.6).

This text intimates that the Highest Lord abides in two forms, the transcendental and the relative.

He who meditates on the Lord in His relative aspect does not attain the transcendental aspect. He who worships the Lord as having form cannot attain the formless Brahman, because of the law of proportion of fruit to desire. The Sruti declares "As one meditates upon That, so he becomes."

As the meditator on the relative aspects of the Lord is unable to comprehend it fully, he attains only limited powers and not unlimited powers like the Lord Himself.

Darsayataschaivam pratyakshanumane IV.4.20 (553)

And thus perception and inference show.

Darsayatah: they both show; Cha: and; Evam: thus; Pratyaksha-anumane: Pratyaksha and Anumana, perception and inference.

This Sutra declares that the transcendental aspect of the Lord is established by both the Sruti and Smriti. Sruti and Smriti both declare that the highest light does not abide within effected thing, "The sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor these lightnings and much less this fire" (Mun. Up. II.2.10). "The sun does not illumine it, nor the moon, nor fire" (Bhagavad Gita, XV.6).

Bhogamatrasamyalingaccha IV.4.21 (554)

And because of the indications (in the scriptures) of equality (of the liberated soul with the Lord) only with respect to enjoyment.

Bhogamatra: with respect to enjoyment only; Samya: equality; Lingat: from the indication of Sruti; Cha: also, and.

That the powers of the liberated soul are not unlimited is also known from the indication in the Sruti that the equality of these souls with the Lord is only with regard to enjoyment and not with respect to creation, etc.

"As all beings honour that Deity, so do all beings honour him who knows that" (Bri. Up. I.5.20). "Through it he attains identity with the Deity, or lives in the same world with it" (Bri. Up. I.5.23).

All these texts describe equality only with regard to enjoyment. They do not mention anything with reference to creation, etc.

Anavrittih sabdadanavrittih sabdat IV.4.22 (555)

(There is) no return (for these liberated souls), on account of the scriptural statement (to that effect).

Anavrittih: no return; Sabdat: on account of the scriptural statement.

The discussion on the privileges of the liberated soul is concluded here.

The Purvapakshin maintains: If the powers of the liberated souls are limited, then they too will come to an end like all limited mortal beings. Therefore, the liberated souls will have to return to this world from Brahmaloka.

This Sutra refutes this and says that those who go to Brahmaloka by the path of the gods do not return from there. Because scriptural passages teach that they do not so return. "Going up by that way, one reaches immortality" (Chh. Up. VIII.6.6). "Those who proceed on that path do not return to the life of man" (Chh. Up. IV.15.6). "He reaches the world of Brahman and does not return" (Chh. Up. VII.15.1). "They no more return to this world" (Bri. Up. VI.2.15).

The repetition of the words "No return", etc., indicates that the book is finished.

Thus ends the Fourth Pada (Section 4) of the Fourth Chapter (Adhyaya IV) of the Brahma Sutras or the Vedanta Philosophy of Sri Baadarayana or Sri Veda-Vyasa or Sri Krishna-Dvaipayana, the Avatara of Lord Sri Hari. May His blessings be upon you all.


Sri Sadguru Paramatmane Namah
Om Sri Vedavyasaya Namah

Om Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnat Purnamudachyate,
Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnamevavasishyate.

Om Santih Santih Santih!