Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 2: Adhyakshadhikaranam: Topic 3 (Sutras 4-6)

The function of Prana is merged in the Jiva.

So’dhyakshe tadupagamadibhyah IV.2.4 (500)

That (Prana) is merged in the ruler (individual soul or Jiva) on account of the (statements as to the Pranas) coming to it and so on.

Sah: that (Prana); Adhyakshe: in the ruler (the Jiva); Tadupagamadibhyah: on account of the (statements as to the Pranas) coming to it and so on.

"Prana is merged in fire" (Chh. Up. VI.8.6). A doubt arises now whether according to the word of the scripture, the function of Prana is merged in fire or in the individual soul which is the ruler of the body and senses.

According to the Purvapakshin we must conclude that Prana is merged in fire only.

The present Sutra justifies its view because statements about Pranas coming to the Jiva, etc., are found in scriptural passages.

"All the Pranas approach the departing man at the time of death" (Bri. Up. IV.3.38). Another passage again specially declares that the Prana with its five functions follows the individual soul. After him thus departing the Prana departs, and that the other Pranas follow that Prana. "And after the Prana thus departing all the other Pranas depart" (Bri. Up. IV.4.2).

The text cited in Sutra 1, "When the man departs from here, his speech merges in mind, mind in Prana, Prana in fire and fire in the Highest Deity" (Chh. Up. VI.8.6), does not, however, contradict this view, as the following Sutra indicates.

Bhuteshu tacchruteh IV.2.5 (501)

In the (subtle) elements (is merged) (the Jiva with the Pranas) as it is seen from the Sruti.

Bhuteshu: in the elements; Tat sruteh: as that can be understood from Sruti, from the Sruti texts to that effect, there being a Vedic statement about that.

This Sutra amplifies the previous one.

The soul among with Prana rests in the subtle elements (Bhuta-sukshma). This is clear from the Sruti "Pranastejasi".

The soul united with the Prana takes up its abode within the subtle elements which accompany fire and forms the seed of the future gross body. This we conclude from the clause, "Prana in heat". But this passage intimates that the Prana takes up its abode and not that the soul together with the Prana takes up its abode.

We reply, it does not matter. The preceding Sutra intercalates the soul in the interval between Prana and fire. We may say shortly of a man who first travels from Haridwar to Ayodhya and then from Ayodhya to Benares that he travels from Haridwar to Benares. The passage under discussion, therefore, means that the soul together with the Prana abides in the elements associated with fire. The Prana is first merged in the individual soul and then the soul with the Prana takes its abode in the fine essence of the gross elements, fire etc., the seed of the future body.

But how are you entitled to draw in the other elements also, while the text only speaks of that? To this question the next Sutra gives an answer.

The Prana joining the soul, merged not only in Tejas but at the same time in other elements too. This can be understood from Sruti. It is said to merge only in Tejas, because Tejas (fire), is the predominating factor there. "That soul is united with the essence of the earth, of the water, of the air, of the Akasa, of the fire" (Bri. Up. IV.4.5).

Naikasmin darsayato hi IV.2.6 (502)

(The soul with Prana is merged) not in one element only, for both (the Sruti and Smriti) declare this (or declare so).

Na: not; Ekasmin: in one; Darsayatah: (both the Sruti and Smriti) declare so, both the Sruti and Smriti show; Hi: as, for, because.

When the soul leaves one body at the time of death and goes in from another, it together with the subtle body abides in the subtle essence of all the gross elements and not in fire only, because all the elements are needed for a future body. The new body consists of various elements. This matter is declared in the question and answer about the waters called man (Chh. Up. V.3.3). Vide III.1.2.

When the soul attains another body he does not rest in Prana alone, but goes with the subtle portions of all the elements. The question and answer in the Sruti show his.

A passage in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad declares that the soul’s embodiment is due to Karma, for the abode consisting of Graha (Indriyas or senses) and Atigraha (Vishayas or objects) is the effect of Karma. Here the subtle elements are called the abode because they are the stuff of which the new body is made. These two views or passages do not contradict each other.