Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Archiradyadhikaranam: Topic 1 (Sutra 1)

The path connected with the deities beginning with that of light is the only path that leads to Brahmaloka.

Archiradina tatprathiteh IV.3.1 (518)

On the path connected with light (the departed soul of the knower of Saguna Brahman travels to Brahmaloka after death), that being well-known (from the Sruti).

Archiradina: by the path of the rays, etc., by the rays of light and so on, on the path connected with deities, beginning with that of light; Tatprathiteh: that being well-known (from the Sruti).

It has been explained that up to the beginning of the way the departure is the same. In the last section it was stated that the knower of the Saguna Brahman travels to Devayana or the path of the gods to Brahmaloka. But different texts make different declarations about the way itself.

One passage describes it as constituted by the junction of the Nadis and rays: "Then he mounts upwards by just those rays" (Chh. Up. VIII.6.5). Another passage describes it as beginning with light. "They go to the light, from light to day" (Chh. Up. V.10.1). Another way is described in Kaushitaki Upanishad I.3: "Having reached the path of the gods, he comes to the world of Agni." Another way is described in Bri. Up. V.10.1: "When the person goes away from this world he comes to the wind." Another way is described in Mun. Up. I.2.11: "Free from passion they depart through the gate of the sun."

A doubt here arises whether these ways are different from each other or whether there is only one path, the path of the gods of which the different texts mention different particulars, or give different descriptions.

The Purvapakshin maintains that these texts refer to different paths to Brahmaloka.

The present Sutra refutes this view and declares that all the texts refer to one path only and give only different particulars of the same path, the path connected with deities beginning with that identified with light. Why so? On account of its being widely known, from the Sruti texts that this is the path for all knowers of Brahman.

The text "Those who know this (Panchagni Vidya) and those who in the forest meditate with faith and austerity reach the deity identified with light" (Chh. Up. V.10.1), expressly states that the path connected with deities beginning with that of the flame belongs to all knowers of Brahman whatever be the Vidya by which they have attained that knowledge.

The goal, viz., Brahmaloka, is the same in all cases. Some part of the path is recognised in all texts. All the following passages declare one and the same result, viz., the attainment of the world of Brahman. "In these worlds of Brahman they dwell for ever and ever" (Bri. Up. VI.2.15). "There he dwells eternal years" (Bri. Up. V.10.1). "Whatever victory, whatever greatness belongs to Brahman, that victory he gains, that greatness he reaches" (Kau. Up. I.2). There is no justification to regard the path as different on account of its being dealt with in different chapters.

Hence we have to conclude that all the texts refer to the same path but give different particulars which have all to be combined for a full description of the path.

Though various Srutis refer to the path by such words as Archis (light), Surya (sun), Vayu (wind), etc., yet they all refer only to different portions of one and the same way, viz., Archiradi-marga or Devayana which leads to Brahmaloka. Each Sruti gives us something indicatory of the path and we have to combine the diverse particulars.