Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 4: Pradipadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutras 15-16)

The liberated soul which has attained the Saguna Brahman can animate several bodies at the same time.

Pradipavadavesastatha hi darsayati IV.4.15 (548)

The entering (of the released soul into several bodies) like (the multiplication of) the flame of a lamp because thus the scripture declares.

Pradipavat: like the flame of a lamp; Avesah: entering, animating; Tatha: thus, so; Hi: because; Darsayati: the scripture shows (or declares).

This Sutra shows the possibility of the liberated soul of simultaneously possessing several bodies other than his own.

In Sutra 11 it has been shown that a released soul can assume many bodies at the same time for enjoyment.

A doubt arises whether the bodies which the released create for themselves when rendering themselves threefold and so on are soulless like wooden figures or animated by souls like the bodies of men.

The Purvapakshin maintains that as neither the soul nor the mind can be divided, they are joined with one body only, while other bodies are soulless. Other bodies are lifeless puppets. Enjoyment is possible only in that body in which the soul and mind exist.

This Sutra refutes this view and says, "Like the flame of a lamp in their entering" i.e., just as the one flame of a lamp can enter into different wicks lighted from it, the released soul, although one only, multiplies itself through its lordly power and enters into all these bodies. It creates bodies with internal organs corresponding to the original internal organs and being limited by these divides itself as many. Therefore, all the created bodies have a soul which renders enjoyment through all of these bodies possible. Scripture declares that in this way one may become many. "He is onefold, he is threefold, fivefold, sevenfold" (Chh. Up. VII.6.2).

The Yoga Sastras also make the same affirmation.

Svapyayasampattyoranyatara-pekshamavishkritam hi IV.4.16 (549)

(The declaration of absence of all cognition is made) having in view either of the two states, viz., deep sleep and absolute union (with Brahman), for this is made clear (by the scriptures).

Svapyayasampattyoh: of deep sleep and absolute union (with Brahman); Anyatarapeksham: having in view either of these two; Avishkritam: this is made clear (by the Sruti); Hi: because. (Svapyaya: deep sleep; Anyatara: either, any of the two; Apeksham: with reference to, with regard to.)

The range of knowledge of the liberated soul is now discussed.

The Purvapakshin holds: How can lordly power, enabling the released soul to enter into several bodies and enjoy be admitted if we consider the different scriptural texts which declare that the soul in that state has not any specific cognition? e.g., "What should one know and through what?" (Bri. Up. II.4.14). "But there is not the second thing separate from it which it can know" (Bri. Up. IV.3.30). "It becomes like water, one, witness and without a second" (Bri. Up. IV.3.32).

This Sutra says that these texts refer either to the state of deep sleep or to that of final release in which the soul attains absolute union with the Nirguna Brahman.

Those passages on the other hand, which describe lordly power refer to an altogether different condition which like the heavenly world, is an abode where knowledge of Saguna Brahman produces its results.

We have been discussing in the previous Sutras about one who has not attained absolute union with Nirguna Brahman but only Brahmaloka. There is cognition in Brahmaloka. There is enjoyment also in heaven. The difference between heaven and Brahmaloka is that one does not return to this world from Brahmaloka whereas one returns to this universe from heaven when the results of his virtuous deeds have been exhausted.