Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 1: Itarakshapanadhikaranam: Topic 14 (Sutra 19)

After enjoying the fruits of Prarabdha Karma the knower becomes one with Brahman.

Bhogenatvitare kshapayitva sampadyate IV.1.19 (496)

But having exhausted by enjoyment the other two works (viz., good and evil works, that have begun to yield fruits), he becomes one with Brahman.

Bhogena: by enjoyment; Tu: but; Itare: of the other two works (merit and demerit); Kshapayitva: having exhausted; Sampadyate: becomes united with Brahman, becomes one with Brahman, obtains, joins.

This Sutra concludes with the answer to the question "What becomes of the Prarabdha portion of the illumined soul’s work, which has brought his present life into existence."

It has been shown that all good and evil deeds whose effects have not yet begun are destroyed by the power of knowledge of Brahman. "The two others on the other hand, i.e., those good and evil works whose effects have begun, a man has at first to exhaust by the fruition of their consequences, and then he becomes one with Brahman." This appears from scriptural passages such as "for him there is delay so long as he is not delivered from the body, then he will become one with Brahman" (Chh. Up. VI.14.2), and "Being Brahman he goes to Brahman" (Bri. Up. IV.4.6).

The Purvapakshin argues that the knower of Brahman will continue to see diversity even after death, just as he sees plurality while living: analogously to the visual appearance of a double moon which may continue even after it has been cognised as false. He does not attain oneness with Brahman even after death.

This Sutra refutes it and declares that the Prarabdha works are destroyed through enjoyment. Though the knower of Brahman has to remain in this world as a liberated sage or Jivanmukta, yet he attains oneness with Brahman at death.

When the Prarabdha Karmas are exhausted by being worked out, he no longer beholds any plurality on account of the absence of any cause like the Prarabdha. He certainly becomes one with Brahman as all works including Prarabdha are destroyed at death.

Thus Brahma Jnana destroys Karmas (Sanchita) which have not begun to bear fruit. Those which have begun to bear fruit (Prarabdha) must be worked out by enjoyment. There is no escape even on the part of the enlightened soul from the operation of the law of Prarabdha.

The Purvapakshin again argues that a new aggregate of works will originate a new fruition. Not so, we reply; the seed of all such fruition is destroyed. What on the death of the body, could originate a new period of fruition, is only a new set of works and works depend on false knowledge. But such false knowledge is totally destroyed by perfect knowledge of Brahman.

When, therefore, the works whose effects have begun are destroyed, the liberated sage who knows Brahman necessarily enters into the state of perfected isolation or Absolute Kaivalya.

Thus ends the First Pada (Section 1) of the Fourth Chapter (Adhyaya IV) of the Brahma Sutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.