Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 2: Vagadhikaranam: Topic 1 (Sutras 1-2)

At the time of death the functions of the organs are merged in the mind.

Vangmanasi darsanacchabdacca IV.2.1 (497)

Speech is merged in mind, because it is so seen, and there are scriptural statements (to that effect).

Vak: speech; Manasi: in the mind; Darsanat: because it is so seen or observed, because of the scriptural declaration; Sabdat: because of the word of the Vedas, because of the statement of the Smriti; Cha: also, and.

This Sutra says that speech merges in the mind at death.

Till now Jivanmukti or liberation while living is described. Now the attainment of Brahmaloka by going along the path of gods (Devayana) after death is going to be described.

About the process of dying we have the following passage, "When a man departs from here his speech merges in his mind, his mind in Prana, Prana in fire and fire in the Highest Deity" (Chh. Up. VI.6.1).

Now a doubt here arises whether the organ of speech as such gets merged in the mind or only its function.

The Purvapakshin maintains that the organ itself is merged in the mind as there is no mention in the text about the function of speech getting merged.

The present Sutra refutes this view and decides that only the function of the organ of speech is merged in the mind.

The merging is always of the effect in the cause. Speech is not an effect of the mind. Therefore, the organ of speech cannot merge in the mind. But Vrittis (functional manifestations) can merge in something which is not its cause. For instance, heat which is the function of fire originates from fuel and extinguished in water.

We see the manifestation of speech ceasing in a dying man, though his mind is still functioning. None sees the organ of speech being merged in the mind.

So experience also teaches that the function of speech and not the organ itself gets merged in mind.

Ata eva cha sarvanyanu IV.2.2 (498)

And for the same reason all (sense-organs) follow (mind, i.e., get their functions merged in it).

Ata eva: hence; Cha: and, also; Sarvani: all (organs); Anu (Anugacchanti): after (follow).

This Sutra intimates that the functions of all the organs merge in the mind at the time of death.

For the same reasons (general experience and corroborative statement of Sruti) as stated in Sutra 1, the functions of all the other sense-organs follow, i.e., get merged in the mind. "The fire is verily the Udana, for he whose light has gone out comes to a new birth with his senses merged in the mind" (Pras. Up. III.9).

Like the speech it is observed that the eye and other senses discontinue their functions, while the mind continues to act. Because the organs themselves cannot be absorbed, and because the text admits of that interpretation we conclude that the different organs follow after, i.e., are merged in the mind only as far as their functions are concerned.