Chapter Three: Sadhana Adhyaya – Section 1 (Sutras 292-318)
Now in the Third Chapter are being determined those Sadhanas or practices which are the means of attaining the highest Brahman or the Infinite. In the First and Second Padas of this Chapter are being taught two things, viz., a strong yearning or burning desire (Mumukshutva) to realise Brahman or the final emancipation and an equally strong disgust (Vairagya) towards all objects other than Brahman; because these are the two fundamental things among all Sadhanas.
In order to induce Vairagya or dispassion, the Sutras show in the first Pada the imperfections of all mundane existences and this they base on the Panchagnividya or the doctrine of five fires of the Chhandogya Upanishad in which is taught how the soul passes after death from one condition to another.
The first Pada teaches the great doctrine of reincarnation, the departure of the soul from the physical body, its journey to the Chandraloka on the third plane and its coming back to the earth. This is done in order to create Vairagya or indifference to sensual enjoyments herein and hereafter. In the Second Pada are described all the glorious attributes of the Supreme Brahman, His Omniscience, Omnipotence, Loveliness, etc., in order to attract the soul towards Him, so that He may be the sole object of quest.
(Sutras 1-7) teaches that the soul, at the dissolution of the body, departs, accompanied by the subtle material elements (Bhuta Sukshma), as well as by the Indriyas and Pranas. The subtle elements serve as an abode to the Pranas attached to the soul.
Sutra 7: Those who do sacrifice become in Chandraloka the food of the gods which means that they contribute to the enjoyment of the gods by their presence and service to them.
(Sutras 8-11) shows that the souls after enjoying the fruits of their meritorious deeds in the Chandraloka descend to the earth with a remainder (Anusaya) of their works which determines the nature of the new body or the character of the new life.
(Sutras 12-21) discusses the fate after death of those evil doers whom their evil deeds do not entitle to pass to the Chandraloka.
Adhikaranas IV, V, and VI:
(Sutras 22; 23; and 24 to 27) teach that the subtle bodies of the souls descending from the Chandraloka through the ether, air, etc., do not become identical with ether, air, etc., but only live there; that they descend in a short time. On entering into a corn or a plant the soul remains merely in contact with it which is already animated by another soul. The soul after having entered into a corn or a plant, gets connected with him who eats the corn or fruit of the plant and performs the act of copulation. The soul remains with him till he enters into the mother's womb with the seminal fluid injected. The soul ultimately enters the mother's womb and is brought forth as a child.
Tadantarapratipattyadhikaranam: Topic 1 (Sutras 1-7)
The soul at the time of transmigration does take with it subtle parts of the elements.
Tadantarapratipattau ramhati samparishvaktah prasnanirupanabhya III.1.1 (292)
In order to obtain another body (the soul) goes enveloped (by subtle elements) (as appears from) the question and explanation (in the scripture, Chhandogya).
Tadantarapratipattau: for the purpose of obtaining a fresh body (Tat: that, i.e. a body; Antara: different, another; Prati-pattau: in obtaining); Ramhati: goes, departs, Samparishvaktah: enveloped (by subtle elements); Prasna: from question; Nirupanabhyam: aid for explanations.
In the Second Chapter all objections raised against the Vedantic view of Brahman on the ground of Sruti and reasoning have been refuted. It has been shown also that all other views are incorrect and devoid of foundation and the alleged mutual contradictions of Vedic texts do not exist. Further it has been shown that all the entities different from the individual soul such as Prana, etc., spring from Brahman for the enjoyment of the soul.
In this Chapter the manner in which the soul travels after death to the different regions with its adjuncts, the different states of the soul and the nature of Brahman, the separateness or non-separateness of the Vidyas (kinds of Upasana); the question whether the qualities of Brahman have to be cumulated or not, the attainment of the goal by right knowledge (Samyagdarsana), the diversities of the means of right knowledge and the absence of certain rules as to Moksha which is the fruit of perfect knowledge are discussed to create dispassion.
The Jiva (individual soul) along with the Pranas, the mind and the senses leaves his former body and obtains a new body. He takes with himself, Avidya, virtues and vicious actions and the impressions left by his previous births.
Here the question arises whether the soul is enveloped or not by subtle parts of the elements as the seed for the future body in his transmigration. The Purvapakshin or the opponent says – It is not so enveloped, because the subtle parts of the elements are easily available everywhere. This Sutra refutes this view and says that the soul does take with it subtle parts of the elements which are the seeds of the new body. How do we know this? From the question and answer that occurs in the scriptures. The question is "Do you know why in the fifth oblation water is called man?" (Chh. Up. V.3.3). The answer is given in the whole passage which, after explaining how the five oblations in the form of Sraddha, Soma, rain, food and seed are offered in the five fires, viz., the heavenly world, Parjanya (rain God), the earth, man and woman, concludes "For this reason is water, in the fifth oblation, called man". Go through the section Panchagnividya in Chh. Up. V. parts 3-10. Hence we understand that the soul goes enveloped by water. Though the elements are available everywhere, yet the seeds for a future body cannot be easily procured anywhere. The organs, etc., which go with the soul cannot accompany it without a material body.
Just as a caterpillar takes hold of another object before it leaves its hold of an object, so also the soul has the vision of the body to come before it leaves the present body. Hence the view of the Sankhyas that the Self and the organs are both all-pervading and when obtaining a new body only begin to function in it on account of Karma; the view of the Bauddhas that the soul alone without the organs begins to function in a new body, new senses being formed like the new body; the view of the Vaiseshikas that the mind alone goes to the new body; and the view of the Digambara Jains that the soul only flies away from the old body and alights in the new one just as a parrot flies from one tree to another are not correct and are opposing to the Vedas. The soul goes from the body accompanied by the mind, Prana, the senses and the Sukshmabhutas or subtle elements.
An objection can be raised that water only accompanies the soul and not any other element. How can it be said then that the soul goes enveloped by the subtle parts of all elements. To this objection the next Sutra gives the reply.
Tryatmakatvattu bhuyastvat III.1.2 (293)
On account of water consisting of three (elements) (the soul is enveloped by all these elements and not merely water); but (water alone is mentioned in the text) on account of its preponderance (in the human body).
Tryatmakatvattu: on account of (water) consisting of three elements; Tu: but; Bhuyastvat: on account of the preponderance (of water).
The water which envelops the soul is threefold. It denotes all the other elements by implication. The text specifies water, because it preponderates in the human body. In all animated bodies liquid substances such as juices, blood and the like preponderate.
The word 'tu' (but), removes the objection raised above. Water stands for all the elements because it is really a combination of water, fire and earth according to the tripartite creation of the gross elements. Therefore all the three elements accompany the soul. No body can be formed by water alone. Further liquid matter is predominant in the causal state of the body, i.e., semen and menstrual blood. Moreover fluid portion is predominant in Soma, milk, butter and the like which are necessary for Karma, which is an efficient cause for the building of the future body.
Pranagatescha III.1.3 (294)
And because of the going out of the Pranas (the sense organs) with the soul, the elements also accompany the soul.
Prana: of the Pranas (the sense organs); Gateh: because of the going out; Cha: and.
A further reason is given to show that the subtle essences of the elements accompany the soul at the dissolution of the body. The Sruti has stated that the Pranas and senses depart along with the individual soul at the dissolution of the body. "When he thus departs the chief Prana departs after him, and when the chief Prana thus departs all the other Pranas depart after it" (Bri. Up. IV.4.2). They cannot stay without the basis or substratum or support of the elements. Therefore it follows that the individual soul departs attended by the subtle essences of the elements at the dissolution of the body. The subtle elements form the base for the moving of Pranas. The going of the Pranas is not possible without a base. The Pranas cannot either move or abide anywhere without such a base. This is observed in living beings.
There can be enjoyment only when the Prana goes to another body. When the soul departs the chief Prana also follows. When the chief Prana departs all the other Pranas and organs also follow. The essences of elements are the vehicle of Pranas. Where the elements are, there the organs and Pranas are. They are never separated.
Agnyadigatisruteriti chet na bhaktatvat III.1.4 (295)
If it be said (that the Pranas or the organs do not follow the soul) on account of the scriptural statements as to entering into Agni, etc., (we say) not so, on account of its being so said in a secondary sense (or metaphorical nature of these statements).
Agnyadi: Agni and others; Gati: entering; Sruteh: on account of the scriptures; Iti: as thus; Chet: if; Na: not so (it cannot be accepted); Bhaktatvat: on account of its being said in a secondary sense.
The Purvapakshin or the objector denies that at the time when a new body is obtained the Pranas go with the soul, because the scripture speaks of their going to Agni, etc. This Sutra refutes this view.
The text which says that Pranas on death go to Agni and other gods says so in a figurative and secondary sense just as when it says that the hair goes to the trees. The text means only that the Pranas obtain the grace of Agni and other gods.
The entering of speech, etc., into Agni is metaphorical. Although the text says that the hairs of the body enter into the shrubs and the hairs of the head into the trees. It does not mean that the hairs actually fly away from the body and enter into trees and shrubs.
The scriptural texts clearly say "When the soul departs, the Prana follows. When the Prana departs, all the organs follow" (Bri. Up. IV.4.2.)
Further the soul could not go at all if the Prana could not follow it. The soul could not enter into the new body without Prana. There could be no enjoyment in the new body without the Pranas going to this body.
The passage metaphorically expresses that Agni and other deities who act as guides of the Pranas and the senses and cooperate with them, stop their cooperation at the time of death. The Pranas and the senses consequently lose their respective functions and are supposed to be immersed in the guiding deities. The Pranas and the senses remain at that time quite inoperative, waiting for accompanying the departing soul.
The entering of speech into fire, etc., means only that at the time of death, these senses and Pranas cease to perform their functions and not that they are absolutely lost to the soul. The conclusion, therefore, is that the Pranas and the senses do accompany the soul at the time of death.
Prathame'sravanaditi chet na ta eva hi upapatteh III.1.5 (296)
If it be objected on the ground of water not being mentioned in the first of the oblations, we say not so, because that (water) only is verily meant by the word "Sraddha" because that is the most appropriate meaning of the word in that passage.
Prathame: in the first of the five oblations described in the Chhandogya Sruti; Asravanat: on account of not being mentioned; Iti: thus; Chet: if; Na: not; Ta eva: that only, i.e., water; Hi: because; Upapatteh: because of fitness.
The Purvapakshin raises an objection: How can it be ascertained that 'in the fifth oblation water is called man' as there is no meaning of water in the first oblation? On that altar the gods offer Sraddha as oblation (Chh. Up. V.4.2).
The Siddhantin gives his answer: In the case of the first fire the word Sraddha is to be taken in the sense of 'water'. Why? Because of appropriateness. Then only there is harmony in the beginning, middle and end of the passage and the synthetical unity of the whole passage is not disturbed. Otherwise the question and answer would not agree and so the unity of the whole passage would be destroyed.
Faith by itself cannot be physically taken out and offered as an oblation. Therefore the word Sraddha must be taken to mean 'water'. Water is called Sraddha in the Sruti texts. "Sraddha va apaha – Sraddha indeed is water" (Tait. Sam. I.6.8.1). Further it is the Sraddha (faith) which leads to sacrifice which leads to rain.
It is the other four offerings Soma, rain, food and seed that are described to be the effects of Sraddha. It is Sraddha which modifies itself into these four. Therefore it must be a substance belonging to the same category as these four, because the cause cannot be different from its effect. An effect is only a modification of the cause. Therefore it is reasonable to interpret Sraddha to mean water here.
Asrutatvaditi chet na ishtadikarinam pratiteh III.1.6 (297)
If it be said that on account of (the soul) not being stated in the Sruti (the soul does not depart enveloped by water, etc.) (we say) not so, because it is understood (from the scriptures) that the Jivas who perform sacrifices and other good works (alone go to heaven).
Asrutatvat: on account of this not being stated in the Sruti; Iti: this; Chet: if; Na: not; Ishtadikarinam: in reference to those who perform sacrifices; Pratiteh: on account of being understood.
An objection is raised that in the Chhandogya Upanishad (V.3.3) there is mention of water only but no reference to the soul (Jiva). This objection cannot stand. The passage refers to the persons performing sacrifices, i.e., the performers of Ishta (sacrifice) and Purta (digging tanks, building temples, etc.) and Dana (charity), going by the path of smoke (Dhumamarga or Dakshinayana Path to the world of moon) Chh. Up. V.10.3.
To those persons who have performed Ishtis, etc., water is supplied in the form of materials used in the Agnihotra, the Darsapurnamasa and other sacrifices, viz., sour milk, milk, curd, etc. The materials like milk, curds, etc., that are offered as oblations in sacrifices assume a subtle form called Apurva and attach themselves to the sacrificer. The Jivas thus go enveloped by water which is supplied by the materials that are offered as oblations in sacrifices. The water forming the oblations assumes the subtle form of Apurva, envelops the souls and leads them to the heaven to receive their reward.
Another objection is raised now by the Purvapakshin. He says "that is the food of the gods. The gods do eat it" (Chh. Up. V.10.4.) "Having reached the moon they become food and then the Devas feed on them there" (Bri. Up. VI.2.16). If they are eaten by gods as by tigers, how could they enjoy the fruit of their actions? The following Sutra gives a suitable answer. The performers of sacrifices obtain the name of 'Somaraja' when they reach Chandraloka. This technical name 'Somaraja' is applied here to the soul.
Bhaktam vanatmavittvat tatha hi darsayati III.1.7 (298)
But (the souls' being the food of the gods in heaven is used) in a secondary or metaphorical sense, on account of their not knowing the Self because the Sruti declares like that.
Bhaktam: Metaphorical; Va: but, or; Anatmavittvat: on account of their not knowing the Self; Tatha: so; Hi: because; Darsayati: (Sruti) declares, shows.
"The soul becomes the food of gods" has to be understood in a metaphorical or secondary sense and not literally. Otherwise the statement of scriptures such as "He who is desirous of heaven must perform sacrifice" is meaningless. If the Devas were to eat the souls why should men then exert themselves to go there and why should they perform sacrifices like Jyotistoma and the rest? Food is the cause of enjoyment. 'Eating' is the rejoicing of the gods with the performers of sacrifices. The sacrifices are objects of enjoyment to the gods just as wives, children and cattle are to men. It is not actual eating like the chewing and swallowing of sweetmeats. The gods do not eat in the ordinary way. The scripture says "The gods do not eat or drink. They are satisfied by seeing the nectar."
Those who perform sacrifices rejoice like servants of a king, although they are subordinate to the gods. They give enjoyment to the gods and rejoice with them. Those who do not know the Self are objects of enjoyment for the gods. This is known from texts like "Now, if a man worships another deity, thinking the deity is one and he is another, he does not know. He is like a beast for the Devas" (Bri. Up. I.4.10). That means he in this life propitiates the gods by means of oblations and other works, serves them like a beast and does so in the other world also, depending on them like a beast and enjoys the fruits of his works as assigned by them. They (the performers of such sacrifices) become serviceable companions to the gods. They enjoy the companionship of the gods. So they are said to be the food of the gods in the figurative or metaphorical sense. They contribute to the enjoyment of the gods by their presence and service in that world. Therefore it is quite clear that the soul goes enveloped with the subtle essence of elements when it goes to other spheres for enjoying the fruits of his good deeds. He enjoys in the Chandraloka and returns to the earth at the end of his store of merit.
Kritatyayadhikaranam: Topic 2 (Sutras 8-11)
The souls descending from heaven have a remnant of Karma which determines their birth.
Kritatyaye'nusayavan drishtasmritibhyam yathetamanevam cha III.1.8 (299)
On the exhaustion of good work the soul returns to the earth with a remainder of the Karmas, as can be understood from direct statement in Sruti and Smriti, by the same route through which he ascended after death and differently too.
Krita: of what is done, of the Karma; Atyaye: at the end, at the exhaustion; Anusayavan: with a remainder of the Karma; Drishtasmritibhyam: as can be understood from direct statement in Sruti and Smriti; Yatha itam: by the way he went; Anevam: differently; Cha: and.
A fresh topic is discussed here. This Adhikarana teaches the mode of return from heaven. The question is raised whether the souls, after having enjoyed the fruits of all their works, return to the earth with any remnant of Karma (Karmasesha) or not. The Purvapakshin or the opponent says that there is no remnant of Karma. Why? On account of the specification "Yavat sampatam". The Sruti says "Having dwelt there till their work is exhausted, they return again the way they went by" (Chh. Up. V.10.5). This indicates that all their karma is completely exhausted there and there is nothing left.
This view is wrong. The right view is that the souls return to the earth by the force of some unenjoyed remnant or Anusaya of Karma. When the totality of works which helped the souls to go to the Chandraloka for enjoyment of the fruits of good deeds is exhausted, then the body made up of water which had originated there for the sake of enjoyment is dissolved by the fire of sorrow springing from the thought that the enjoyment comes to an end, just as hailstones melt by contact with the rays of the sun, just as ghee melts by contact with the fire. Then the souls come down with a remainder yet left.
This is proved by Sruti and Smriti as well. The Sruti says "Those whose conduct, during the previous life, has been good, presently obtain good birth, such as the birth of a Brahmin, a Kshatriya or a Vaisya; those whose conduct has been bad presently obtain some evil birth such as that of a dog or a pig" (Chh. Up. V.10.7).
The Smriti says "The members of the different castes and of the different orders of life who are engaged in the works prescribed for them, after leaving this world and enjoying the fruits of their works in the other world, are born again owing to the unenjoyed portion of their rewards, in distinguished castes and families, with special beauty, longevity, knowledge, conduct, property, comfort and intelligence". Hence the soul is born with residual Karma.
What is such Anusaya (residual work) of Karma which leads to higher or lower birth? Of what kind is that remainder? Some say that thereby we have to understand a remainder of the works which had been performed in the previous birth to obtain heaven and whose fruits have for the greater part been enjoyed. That residue might be compared to the remainder of oil which sticks to the inside of a vessel previously filled with oil even after it has been emptied or to a courtier of a king who loses his Durbar robe and therefore comes out with his shoes and umbrella alone. These analogies are obviously wrong, because when a virtuous deed leads the soul to heaven, we cannot assume that a portion of it brings him down to the earth. This would contradict the text which declares clearly that heaven alone is the fruit of meritorious acts and no residue continues to exist.
Moreover the scriptural passage distinguishes remainders of a different kind, viz., 'those whose conduct has been good; those whose conduct has been bad'. The latter cannot be a portion of the virtuous deed which leads the soul to the heaven. Therefore the Anusaya is the residue or remnant of some other store of Karmas bearing fruit. After the fruits of the meritorious acts have completely been enjoyed in heaven, the remaining other set of works (good and bad) whose fruits are to be enjoyed in this world forms the Anusaya with which the souls come to the earth.
Another view is that after death the entire store of Karmas about to bear fruit fructifies. Therefore the souls come to the earth without any Anusaya or residue of Karma. This is wrong. This is untenable. Some of those Karmas can be enjoyed only in one kind of birth and some in another. They cannot combine in one birth. It cannot be said that one portion ceases to bear fruit. There is no such cessation save by Prayaschitta or expiation. If all Karmas bear fruit after death, there will be no cause for rebirth after life in heaven or hell or in animal bodies, because in these there is no means of virtue or vice. Moreover some capital sins like the killing of a Brahmin involve many births.
How then can the totality of Karmas lead to one birth alone? The scripture is the sole source of virtue and vice. Similarly the Kariri Ishti, a sacrifice offered by those who are desirous of rain, causes rain. Therefore you cannot ascribe it to the fructification of past acts after death. Therefore the view that death manifests all actions, that all events are due to the fructification of complete store of Karmas after death is entirely incorrect and baseless.
The Purvapakshin or the objector argues that just as a lamp shows all objects, so also death exhausts all Karmas. This analogy is not correct. Because a lamp, although equally distant from a big and a very small object, may manifest only the big one and not the small object. So death excites the operation of the stronger actions only, not the weaker ones, although there is equal opportunity for both sets of works for fructification. Therefore the view that all actions are manifested by death cannot be upheld, because it is contradicted by Sruti, Smriti and reason.
You need not be afraid that if any Karmas are left in store there will be no salvation, because knowledge of Self will annihilate all Karmas. Therefore it is an established conclusion that the souls descend to the earth from heaven with a remainder of works (Anusaya).
By what way does it descend? They return by the same way that they went by, but with some difference. From the expression "as they came" and from the fact of 'ether and smoke' it is concluded that they descend by the way they went to the heaven (Chh. Up. V.10.5). That there is some difference too is known from night, etc., not being mentioned and from the cloud, etc., being added (Chh. Up. V.10.6). He descends by the route by which he went to a certain stage and then by a different route. The word 'Ramaniyacharana' means works which are Ramaniya or good. 'Kapuyacharana' means evil acts. The word 'Yavat sampatam' does not mean the exhaustion of all Karmas, but the exhaustion of the works that took the soul to heaven and which is exhausted in heaven by enjoyment.
Charanaditi chet na upalakshanartheti karshnajinih III.1.9 (300)
If it be objected that on account of conduct (the assumption of the remnant of Karma, Anusaya is not necessary for rebirth on earth), (we say) not so (because the word 'conduct' is used) to signify indirectly (the remainder). So Karshnajini thinks.
Charanat: on account of conduct; Iti: thus, so; Chet: if; Na: not so; Upalakshanartha: to signify secondarily, indirectly, meant to imply or connote; Iti: thus; Karshnajinih: Karshnajini thinks, holds, says.
An objection is raised with reference to the residual Karma, Anusaya, stated in the preceding Sutra and is refuted.
The Purvapakshin or the objector says in the text cited (Chh. Up. V.10.7.) "those whose conduct has been good" etc., get a good birth.
The quality of the new birth depends on 'Charana' or conduct, not on Anusaya or remainder of work. 'Charana' and 'Anusaya' are different things because 'Charana' is the same as Charitra, Achara, Sila – all of which mean conduct, while Anusaya means remainder of work.
Scripture also says that action and conduct are different things "According as he acts and according as he conducts himself so will he be" (Bri. Up. IV.4.5).
The objection is without force. This Sutra refutes this and says that the term 'conduct' is meant to denote the remainder of the works (good Karmas) after enjoyment in the other world. Conduct stands for Karma which depends on good conduct. This is the opinion of the sage Karshnajini. This is secondary implication of the term.
Anarthakyamiti chet na tadapekshatvat III.1.10 (301)
If it be said (by such interpretation of the word 'conduct' – good conduct would become) purposeless, (we say) not so, on account of (Karma) being dependent on that (good conduct).
Anarthakyam: purposeless, useless, irrelevancy; Iti: thus, as; Chet: if; Na: not so; Tat: that (conduct); Apekshatvat: on account of dependence on that.
A further objection with reference to the word 'Charana – conduct' is raised and refuted in this Sutra.
The Purvapakshin or the objector says that may be, but why should we give up that meaning which the word 'Charana' directly conveys viz., 'conduct' and take up the merely connotative meaning 'residue of Karma'. Then good conduct would be purposeless in man's life, as it has no result of its own, not being a cause of the quality of new birth. Conduct which is the direct meaning of the word may have for its fruit either a good or an evil birth according as it is good or bad. Some fruit will have to be allowed to it in any case for otherwise it would be purposeless.
This Sutra refutes this. The Sutra denies this view on the ground that only those who are of good conduct are entitled to perform Vedic sacrifices. This objection is without force on account of the dependence on it. It cannot stand. The Smriti says, "Him who is devoid of good conduct the Vedas do not purify." He, whose conduct is not good, does not attain religious merit by mere performance of sacrifices. Conduct enhances the fruit of Karma (Atisaya). Good conduct is an aid or auxiliary to Karma. Therefore it has a purpose. When the sacrifice begins to produce its fruit, the conduct which has reference to the sacrifice will originate in the fruit some addition. It is, therefore, the view of Karshnajini that the residue of works only which is the indirect meaning of the term 'Charana' or conduct and not just conduct is the cause of the new birth. If a man is able to run by means of his feet he will certainly not creep on his knees. If a man cannot run on his legs, can he run on his knees?
Sukritadushkrite eveti tu baadarih III.1.11 (302)
But conduct (Charana) means merely good and evil works; thus the sage Baadari thinks.
Sukrita: good or righteous deeds; Dushkrite: (and) bad or unrighteous deeds; Eva: only, merely; Iti: thus; Tu: but; Baadarih: (Sage) Baadari.
Further discussion on the meaning of the word 'Charana' is made here. The Sutra says that there is no difference between conduct and Karma. According to the sage Baadari the phrases 'Ramaniyacharana' and 'Kapuyacharana' mean good and evil works.
Charana means the same as Anusthana or Karma (work). The root 'Char' (to walk, to conduct oneself) is used in the general sense of acting. People say in common parlance of a man who does sacrifices. "That man walks in righteousness." The term Achara also denotes only a kind of religious duty. A sacrifice is a meritorious act (Dharma). Achara is also Dharma. When Karma and Charana are separately described it is as when you speak of Brahmanas and Parivrajakas, i.e., Sannyasis. Though Charana and Karma are one, yet they are spoken of sometimes as different on the maxim of "Kuru-Pandavas." Though the Pandavas were also Kurus, yet in the phrase Kurus and Pandavas the word Kuru is used in a narrower sense. Thus 'men of good conduct or character' means those whose actions are praiseworthy: 'men of evil conduct or evil Charana' are those whose actions are to be censured. Conduct is used in the general sense of action. As Charana is Karma only, it is established, therefore, that those who go to heaven have remainder of Karma (Anusaya) as the cause of a new birth on earth.
Eva – only: The force of this word in this Sutra is to indicate that this is the opinion of the author of the Sutras.
Tu – 'but' is used to indicate speciality, one's own conclusion and to add emphasis.
Anishtadikaryadhikaranam: Topic 3 (Sutras 12-21)
The fate after death of those souls whose deeds do not entitle them to pass up to Chandraloka.
Anishtadikarinamapi cha srutam III.1.12 (303)
The Sruti declares that the non-performers of sacrifices, etc., also (go to the world of moon).
Anishtadikarinam: of those who do not perform sacrifices etc.; Api: even; Cha: also; Srutam: is declared by the Sruti.
The movement of persons doing evil deeds is now described. This Sutra is that of Purvapakshin.
It has been said that those who do sacrifices, etc., go to the Chandraloka. The question now arises whether those persons also who do not perform sacrifices go to the sphere of moon or not.
The Purvapakshin or the opponent maintains that even they go to heaven though they do not enjoy anything there like those who perform sacrifices, because they too are in need of the fifth oblation for a new birth. Moreover the Sruti declares: "All who depart from this world go to the sphere of moon" (Kau. Up. I.2). The word 'all' shows that it is a universal proposition without any qualifications. Since all who perish must go to the world of moon, it follows that the sinners also go there.
Siddhantin: The sinners do not go to the sphere of moon. They go to Yamaloka or the world of punishment. This is said in the following Sutra.
Samyamane tvanubhuyetareshamarohavarohau tadgatidarsanat III.1.13 (304)
But of others, (i.e., those who have not performed sacrifices, etc.) the ascent is to the abode of Yama and after having experienced (the results of their evil deeds) they come down to the earth; as such a course is declared by the Sruti.
Samyamane: in the abode of Yama; Tu: but; Anubhuya: having experienced; Itaresham: of others (of those who do not perform sacrifices); Arohavarohau: the ascent and descent; Tat: of them; Gati: (about their) courses; Darsanat: as can be understood from the Sruti.
Description of the movement of persons who have done evil deeds is continued. This Sutra refutes the view of the previous Sutra. This is the Siddhanta Sutra.
Sinners suffer in Yamaloka and return to this earth. Yama says to Nachiketas: 'The way to the hereafter never rises before an ignorant person who is deluded by wealth. This is the world – he thinks – there is no other; thus he falls again and again under my sway' (Katha Up. I.2.6).
Tu (but, discards the Purvapaksha. It is not true that all persons go to Chandraloka. The ascent to the sphere of moon or Chandraloka is only for the enjoyment of the fruits of good works. It is neither without a special purpose nor for the mere purpose of subsequent descent. Hence those who have done evil actions do not go there. Those who perform sacrifices rise to the Chandraloka not any other persons.
Aroha-Avarohau: Ascent and descent, i.e., coming to worldly existence (ascent) and going to still nether regions (descent). This is the interpretation of Sri Madhvacharya.
Smaranti cha III.1.14 (305)
The Smritis also declare thus.
Smaranti: the Srutis declare; Cha: also.
Description of the journey of persons doing evil deeds is continued in the Sutra.
The Smritis also declare the same fate of the sinners. The Smritis also declare that the evil doers come within the clutches of Yama. Manu, Vyasa and others say that those who do evil deeds go to hell and suffer there. In the Bhagavata it is said "The sinners are quickly carried to the abode of Yama by the path of sinners, on which they travel with great pains, constantly rising and falling, tired and swooning." Manu and Vyasa declare that in the Chitisamyamana evil deeds are requited under the rule of Yama.
Api cha sapta III.1.15 (306)
Moreover there are seven (hells).
Api cha: also, moreover; Sapta: the seven (hells).
Particulars of the abode of Yama are given. Smriti mentions seven hells which serve as places of torture for the evil doers. The temporary hells are Raurava, Maharaurava, Vahni, Vaitarani and Kumbhika. The two eternal hells are Tamisra (darkness) and Andhatamisra (blinding darkness).
Tatrapi cha tadvyaparat avirodhah III.1.16 (307)
And on account of his (Yama's) control even there (in those hells) is no contradiction.
Tatra: there (in those hells); Api: also, even; Cha: and; Tadvyaparat: on account of his (Yama's) control; Avirodhah: no contradiction.
The same topic continues in this Sutra. The Purvapakshin or the objector says: According to the Sruti the evildoers undergo punishment from the hands of Yama. How is this possible in the seven hells called Raurava, etc., which are superintended by Chitragupta and others? This Sutra refutes the objection.
There is no contradiction as the same Yama is the chief ruler in those seven hells also. Chitragupta and others are only superintendents and lieutenants employed by Yama. They are all under Yama's government or suzerainty. Chitragupta and others are directed by Yama.
Vidyakarmanoriti tu prakritatvat III.1.17 (308)
But (the reference is to the two roads) of knowledge and work, those two being under discussion.
Vidyakarmanoh: of knowledge and work; Iti: thus; Tu: but, only; Prakritatvat: on account of these being the subject under discussion.
But the sinners never go to heaven because the topic relating to the two paths in the Chhandogya Upanishad is confined to men of knowledge and men of work. It has no reference to evil-doers. The different journeys of the departed souls to the other world through the two roads or paths described in the Panchagnividya of Chhandogya Upanishad are the results of knowledge (meditation) and religious sacrifices according as they were practised in life; because these two are the subjects under discussion.
The Sruti says that those who do not go by means of Vidya along the path of Devayana to Brahmaloka or by means of Karma along the path of Pitriyana to Chandraloka are born often in low bodies and die often. If you say that evil-doers also go to Chandraloka that world will get overfull. But you may reply that there will be souls going out from there to the earth. But then the Sruti text clearly says that the evil-doers do not go there.
The evildoers go to the third place and not to heaven. The Sruti passage says "Now those who go along neither of these ways become those small creatures continually returning of whom it may be said 'Live and die'. Theirs is a third place. Therefore the world never becomes full" (Chh. Up. V.10.8).
The word 'but' in the Sutra refutes a doubt that arises from a text from Kaushitaki Upanishad, 'That all departed go to the Chandraloka'. The word 'all' has to be taken as referring only to those who are qualified, who have performed good deeds. All eligible souls only go to Chandraloka. It does not include evil doers or sinners.
The word 'but' sets aside the view propounded by the objector. If the sinners do not go to the world of moon or Chandraloka, then no new body can be produced in their case: because there is no fifth oblation possible in their case and the fifth oblation depends on one's going to the sphere of moon. Therefore all must go to the Chandraloka in order to get a new body. This objection is answered by the next Sutra.
Na tritiye tathopalabdheh III.1.18 (309)
Not in (the case of) a third place, as it is thus declared in the scriptures.
Na: not; Tritiye: in the third; Tatha: so thus; Upalabdheh: it being perceived or seen to be.
The fifth oblation is not necessary in the case of those who go to the third place, because it is thus declared in the scriptures.
The rule about the five oblations does not apply in the case of evildoers or sinners because they are born without the oblations. The Sruti says, "Live and die. That is the third place." That is to say these small creatures (flies, worms, etc.,) are continually being born and are dying. The sinners are called small creatures because they assume the bodies of insects, gnats etc. Their place is called the third place, because it is neither the Brahmaloka nor the Chandraloka. Hence the heaven world never becomes full, because these sinners never go there. Moreover, in the passage, "In the fifth oblation water is called man" the water becomes the body of a man only, not of an insect or moth etc. The word 'man' applies to the human species only.
Smaryate'pi cha loke III.1.19 (310)
And (moreover the) Smritis have recorded also (that) in this world (there had been cases of birth without the course of five oblations).
Smaryate: is stated in Smritis; Api: also; Cha: and; Loke: in the world.
The argument commenced in Sutra 17 to refute the objections raised in Sutra 12, is continued.
There are, moreover, traditions, apart from the Vedas that certain persons like Drona, Dhrishtadyumna, Sita, Draupadi and others were not born in the ordinary way from mother's womb. In their cases there was wanting the fifth oblation which is made to the woman. In the case of Dhrishtadyumna and others, even two of the oblations, viz., the one offered into woman and the one offered into man, were absent. Drona had no mother. Dhrishtadyumna had neither father nor mother. Hence in many other cases also, procreation or birth may be supposed to take place independently of oblations. The female crane conceives without a male.
The five oblations are not absolutely necessary for a future birth. The rule about the five oblations is not universal. It applies only to those who do sacrifices. Therefore the sinners need not go to heaven.
The five oblations have nothing to do with the third way, i.e., die and be born in low bodies. They refer only to human births in the case of souls who ascend and then descend. In the case of others embodiment may take place in a manner other than through wombs.
By the particle 'Cha' (and) the Sutrakara shows that the observation of the world is also one corroborated by Smriti.
Darsanaccha III.1.20 (311)
Also on account of observation.
Darsanat: on account of observation; Cha: also, and.
The argument commenced in Sutra 17 is continued.
It is also observed that of the four classes of organic beings, namely viviparous animals, oviparous animals, animals springing from heat and moisture and beings springing from germs (plants) – the last two classes are produced without sexual intercourse, so that in their case the number of oblations is of no consequence.
The Purvapakshin or the objector says, "The Sruti passage speaks only of three classes of beings: That which springs from an egg (Andaja), that which springs from a living being (Jivaja) and that which springs from a germ (Udbhija)" (Chh. Up. VI.3.1). How then can it be maintained that there are four classes? The following Sutra gives a reply to his objection.
Tritiyasabdavarodhah samsokajasya III.1.21 (312)
The third term (i.e. plant life) includes that which springs from heat and moisture.
Tritiya sabda: the third term; Avarodhah: inclusion; Samsokajasya: of that which springs from heat and moisture.
The two classes spring from earth or water, from something stable. They both germinate: one from the earth and the other from water. It makes no difference because that which springs from moisture is included in the place of plant life (Udbhijja). There is similarity between Svedaja and Udbhijja. Hence there is no contradiction. Those which are born of sweat are called Svedaja. Svedaja and Udbhijja are not born of wombs. The word Udbhijja literally means born by bursting through. The plants burst through the earth. The sweatborn burst through the water. Thus the origin of both is similar, for both are born by bursting through.
Thus the evil-doers do not go to heaven. Only those who perform sacrifices go to heaven. This is the settled conclusion.
Sabhavyapattyadhikaranam: Topic 4 (Sutra 22)
The soul on its descent from the Chandraloka does not become identified with ether, etc., but attains a similarity of nature.
Tatsabhavyapattirupapatteh III.1.22 (313)
(The soul when coming down from the sphere of moon) attains similarity of nature with them, (i.e., with ether, air, etc.,) as this only is possible.
Tatsabhavyapattih: attainment of a similarity of nature with them; Upapatteh: being reasonable.
The way of descent of the individual soul from the sphere of the moon is now discussed. The Sruti declares, "They return again the way they went, to the ether, from the ether to the air. Then the sacrificer having become air becomes smoke, having become smoke he becomes mist, having become mist, he becomes a cloud, having become a cloud he rains down" (Chh. Up. V.10.5 & 6).
Now a question arises whether the soul actually becomes identical with ether, etc., or simply resembles them.
This Sutra says that the souls do not attain identity with them, because it is impossible. It is not possible that one thing should become another in the literal sense of the word. One substance cannot become another. If the souls become identical with ether, they could no longer descend through air. The souls become only like ether, air, etc. They assume a subtle form like ether, come under the influence or power of air and get mixed with or connected with smoke etc. The attaining to the state of being smoke, etc., is but moving along with them when they are in motion, stopping while they stop, entering into them and becoming as light as they are. Therefore the passage means that the souls become similar to Akasa, air, etc., but not identical.
Natichiradhikaranam: Topic 5 (Sutra 23)
It takes only a short time for the descent of the soul.
Natichirena viseshat III.1.23 (314)
(The soul passes through the stages of its descent) in a not very long time; on account of the special statement.
Na: not; Atichirena: in a very long time; Viseshat: because of special statement of Sruti.
The discussion on the soul's way of descent is continued. Next arises the question, does the soul in its descent through ether down to rain, stay at each stage for a very long time, or passes through it quickly? The Purvapakshin or the opponent says: 'There being nothing to define the time of his stay, it remains indefinitely long at each stage.' This view is set aside by this Sutra. This Sutra says that the soul passes through them quickly. This is inferred from the circumstance of the text making a special statement.
The Sruti says, 'Having become a cloud he rains down. Then he is born as rice and corn, herbs and trees, sesamum and beans. From thence the escape is beset with many difficulties. For whoever the persons may be that eat the food, and beget offspring, he henceforth becomes like unto them' (Chh. Up. V.10.5).
The soul's journey, through the stages of the ether, the air, the vapour or smoke, the mist, the cloud and the rain, takes a shorter time than his passing through the stages of corn, semen, foetus, which takes a much longer time or hard suffering, as there is the special statement in Sruti, that after its entrance into a corn the escape is beset with much greater difficulty and pain.
The Sruti says "The souls enter into rice" and adds "from thence the escape is beset with more difficulty and pain." There is a hint here that the escape from the previous states or earlier stages is easy and pleasant and attained quickly.
"He who has begun to descend will enter the mother's body (woMB) before a year passes since starting, though wandering through different places" (Naradiya Purana).
Anyadhisthitadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutras 24-27)
When the souls enter into plants, etc., they only cling to them and do not themselves become those species.
Anyadhishthiteshu purvavadabhilpat III.1.24 (315)
(The descending soul enters) into (plants) animated other (souls), as in the previous cases, on account of scriptural declaration.
Anyadhishthiteshu: into what is possessed or occupied by another; Purvavat: like the previous cases; Abhilapat: on account of the scriptural statement.
The discussion on the way of descent of the individual soul is continued.
In the description of the soul's descent, it is said then they are born as rice and corn, herbs and beans. Now a doubt arises, are these souls descending with a remnant of their Karmas, themselves born as rice, corn, etc., or do they merely cling to those plants, etc.
The Purvapakshin holds that they are born as rice, corn, etc., and enjoy their pleasures and pains on account of the remainder of works still attaching to them and do not merely cling to them. The condition of a plant may be a place of enjoyment of the fruits of actions. Sacrifices which entail killing of animals may lead to unpleasant results. Hence the word 'born' is to be taken literally.
This Sutra refutes this view. The souls are merely connected with rice and plants which are already animated by other souls and do not enjoy there pleasures and pains as in previous cases. As the souls becoming air, smoke, was decided to mean only that they become connected with them, so here also their becoming rice, etc., merely means that they become connected with those plants. Because in these stages there is no reference to their Karma, just as in the earlier stages of ether etc. They enter these plants independently of their Karma. They do not enjoy pleasure and pain while they abide there. The souls use the rice and plants as their halting station without being identified with it, as it is expressly stated in Sruti to be a passing stage, like the previous stages of ether, air etc. They do not lose their identity. The souls are not born there for the purpose of retributive enjoyment. Where real birth takes place and experience of pleasure and pain commences, the fruits of actions begin, the text refers to the operation of Karma as in "Those whose conduct has been good will quickly attain a good birth" (Chh. Up. V.10.7).
Further if the word 'born' is taken in its literal sense, then the souls which have descended into the rice plants and are animating them would have to leave them when they are reaped, husked, cooked and eaten. When a body is destroyed the soul that animates it abandons it.
Therefore the descending souls are merely outwardly connected with the plants animated by other souls. They abide till they attain the opportunity for a new birth.
Asuddhamiti chet na sabdat III.1.25 (316)
If it be said that (sacrificial work is) unholy, (we say) not so, on account of scriptural authority.
Asuddham: unholy; Iti: so, thus; Chet: if; Na: no, not so, (the objection cannot stand); Sabdat: on account of the word, on account of the scriptural authority.
An objection to Sutra 24 is raised and refuted.
An objection may be raised that the sacrificial work, such as the Jyotistoma sacrifice and the like where animals are killed is unholy. Therefore its result may cause the sacrificer to be actually born as a corn or a plant as penalty for his cruel action. Such objection is groundless, because the killing of animals in sacrifices causes no demerit as it is sanctioned by the scriptures.
The sacrifices are not impure or sinful because the scriptures declare them to be meritorious. The scriptures alone can tell us what is Dharma and what is Adharma, what is holy and what is unholy. Our knowledge of what is duty and the contrary of duty depends entirely on Sastras, because these are Atindriya, i.e., beyond sense perception and there is in the case of right and wrong an entire want of binding rules as to place, time and occasion. What in one place, at one time on one occasion is performed as a right action, is a wrong action in another place, at another time, on another occasion. Therefore no one can know without a scripture, what is either right or wrong. No doubt the scripture says that one must not cause injury (Ma himsyat sarva bhutani – let not any animal be injured (killed). That is the general rule. 'Let him offer an animal sacred to Agnistoma' is an exception. General rule and exception have different spheres of application. They have different scopes settled by usage, and so there is no conflict between them.
Therefore we conclude that the souls become enclosed in plants when scripture says that the descending souls from the Chandraloka become plants. They are perfectly unconscious in these stages.
Retah sigyogo'tha III.1.26 (317)
Then (the soul gets) connected with him who performs the act of generation.
Retah: one who ejects the seminal fluid; Yoga: connection with; Atha: then afterwards.
The discussion on the way of descent of the soul is continued. What becomes of the soul after its clinging to the plants is now mentioned.
Chhandogya text (V.10.6.) declares "For whoever eats the food and performs the act of generation, that again he (the soul) becomes". Here again the soul's 'becoming', i.e., he who performs the act of generation cannot be taken in its literal sense, because a man is able to procreate when he attains puberty. We have to understand that the soul gets connected with one who performs the act of generation. We again infer from this that the soul's becoming a plant merely means its entering into connection with the plant and not actual birth as such.
The soul after having entered into a corn or a plant becomes connected to him who eats the corn or the fruit and performs the act of copulation. In every stage of its passage it retains its distinctive identity from the bodies with which it may be connected.
Whenever one eats the food, whenever one performs the act of coition, the descending soul becomes again that food and that semen. The soul remains in him in copulation only till he enters into the mother's womb, with the semen injected. He has a touch with the seminal fluid created by eating such grain and ultimately attains a body in wombs. The soul does not really take the form of and become identical with its procreator, because one thing cannot take the form of another thing. If it were to become literally the procreator, then there would be no possibility of the soul's getting another body.
Yoneh sariram III.1.27 (318)
From the womb a (new) body (springs).
Yoneh: from the womb; Sariram: the body.
The discussion on the nature of the descent of the soul is concluded here.
After having passed through the various preceding stages, the soul at last enters into the womb of the mother. He attains a fully developed human body in the womb of the mother which is fit for experiencing the fruits of the remainder of works. The family in which it is to be born is regulated by the nature of this remainder as mentioned in Chh. Up. V.10.7. "Of these, those whose conduct here has been good will quickly attain some good birth, the birth of a Brahmana, or a Kshatriya or a Vaisya. But those whose conduct here has been bad will quickly attain an evil birth, the birth of a dog, or a Chandala".
Thus it has been clearly shown that the soul becomes plant, etc., in the same sense as it becomes ether, etc.
The whole object of teaching this law of incarnation is that you should realise that the Atman or the Absolute alone is the Highest Bliss. This Atman alone must be your sole object of quest. You should get disgusted with this world of pain and sorrow and develop dispassion and discrimination and try earnestly to attain the Eternal Bliss of the Absolute.
O ignorant man! O foolish man! O miserable man! O deluded soul! Wake up from your long slumber of ignorance. Open your eyes. Develop the four means of salvation and attain the goal of life, the summum bonum, right now in this very birth. Come out of this cage of flesh. You have been long imprisoned in this prisonhouse of body for time immemorial. You have been dwelling in the womb again and again. Cut the knot of Avidya and soar high in the realms of Eternal Bliss.
Thus ends the First Pada (Section 1) of the Third Adhyaya (Chapter III) of the Brahma Sutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.