Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Apratikalambanadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutras 15-16)

Only those who have taken recourse to the worship of Brahman without a symbol attain Brahmaloka.

Apratikalambanannayatiti baadarayana ubhayathadoshattatkratuscha IV.3.15 (532)

Baadarayana holds that (the superhuman being) leads (to Brahmaloka only) those who do not take recourse to a symbol of Brahman in their meditation; there being no fault in the twofold relation (resulting from this opinion) and (it being construed on the doctrine) as is the meditation on that (i.e., Brahman) so does one become.

Apratikalambanat: those who do not have recourse to the symbols for the meditation of Brahman; Nayati: (the superhuman being) leads or takes; Iti Baadarayanah: so says Baadarayana; Ubhayatha: both ways; Adoshat: there being no defects; Tat-kratuh: as is the meditation on that, (so does one become); Cha: and.

The discussion commenced is Sutra 6, whether the soul is taken to the Supreme Brahman or the Saguna Brahman is concluded in this and the following Sutra.

A doubt here arises whether all worshippers of the Saguna Brahman go to Brahmaloka being led by the superhuman being mentioned in Chh. Up. IV.15.5 or only some of them?

The Purvapakshin maintains that all go to Brahmaloka whatever may be their Upasana.

This Sutra declares that only those worshippers of the Saguna Brahman who do not take recourse to any symbol in their meditation on Brahman go there. This is the opinion of the teacher Baadarayana. This, however, does not contradict what is said in III.3.31 if we understand that by ‘all’ is meant all those worshippers who do not take recourse to any symbol in their meditation on Brahman.

Only Brahma Upasakas are taken by the Amanava Purusha to the Brahmaloka. The form of meditation governs the result. In the case of symbols like the Salagrama stone, there is no feeling that it itself is Brahman. No doubt in the case of Panchagni-Vidya, the Sruti says that the worshipper is led to Brahmaloka. But we cannot extend the result to the worshippers of external symbols where there is no direct scriptural statement, we have to understand that only those who meditate on Brahman go to Brahmaloka, not others.

He whose meditation is fixed on Brahman reaches Brahmaloka. This view is supported by Sruti and Smriti. "In whatever form they meditate on Him, that they become themselves." In the case of symbols on the other hand, the meditation is not fixed on Brahman, the symbol being the chief element in the meditation. Hence the worshipper does not attain Brahmaloka.

Visesham cha darsayati IV.3.16 (533)

And the scripture declares a difference (in the case of meditation on symbols).

Visesham: difference; Cha: and; Darsayati: the scripture declares.

An argument in support of the conclusion arrived at by Baadarayana, is adduced here.

With reference to meditations on symbols such as name and so on, that occur in Chhandogya Upanishadic texts, the Sruti speaks of different results according to difference in the symbols. "One who meditates upon name as Brahman becomes independent so far as name reaches" (Chh. Up. VII.1.5). "One who meditates upon speech as Brahman becomes independent so far as speech reaches" (Chh. Up. VII.2.2).

Now the distinction of rewards is possible because the meditations depend on symbols, while there could be no such difference in results, if they depend on the one non-different Brahman.

Hence it is quite clear that those who use symbols for their meditation cannot have the same reward as others. They cannot go to Brahmaloka like those who meditate on the Saguna Brahman.

Thus ends the Third Pada (Section 3) of the Fourth Chapter (Adhyaya IV) of the Brahma Sutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.