Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 4: Introduction

In the Third Pada or Section it has been shown that ether and other elements are produced from Brahman by reconciling the apparently contradictory texts of the Srutis that treat of their origin. It has been shown that a conflict of the Vedic passages as to the origination of the ether, etc., does not exist. The same is now done in this Section with regard to the vital airs or Pranas, and senses. The texts that deal with the origin of the Pranas and senses are taken up for discussion. This Section establishes that the vital airs and the senses derive their origin from Brahman.


This Section (Pada) IV of Chapter II is devoted to the discussion of the creation of the senses, the chief Prana. It establishes that they originate from Brahman.

Adhikarana 1:

(Sutras 1-4) teaches that the Pranas (senses) originate from Brahman.

Adhikarana II:

(Sutras 5-6) declares that the senses are eleven in number.

Adhikarana III:

(Sutra 7) teaches that the senses are of minute size (Anu) and not all-pervading.

Adhikarana IV:

(Sutra 8) intimates that the chief Prana is also produced from Brahman.

Adhikarana V:

(Sutras 9-12) informs us that the chief Prana is a principle distinct from air in general and from Pranas (senses) discussed above.

Adhikarana VI:

(Sutra 13) teaches that the chief Prana is minute (Anu) and not all-pervading.

Adhikarana VII:

(Sutras 14-16) teaches that the organs are superintended and guided in their actions by special deities. The senses are connected permanently with and are subservient to the individual soul. Hence the individual soul and not the presiding deities is their master.

Adhikarana VIII:

(Sutras 17-19) informs us that organs are independent principles and not mere modes of functions of the chief Prana. Prana is not the resultant of the combined functions of all the eleven senses. Although Prana is different from the senses and therefore not included in their number of eleven, yet it is like them, an instrument of action, as it has a specific and extraordinary function of supporting and nourishing the body, sustaining life, and supporting the senses.

Adhikarana IX:

(Sutras 20-22) declares that the creation of names and forms (the Namarupavyakarana) is the work not of the individual soul but of the Lord.

Flesh originates from earth. So also is the case of the two other elements.

On account of preponderance of a particular element in them the gross elements are so named after it. As for instance, the gross water is produced from the mixture of all the five primary elements but as the share constituted by the element water preponderates in the composition of the gross water, it is named water.