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Chapter IV, Phala-Adhyaya Section 1

In the Third Chapter, the Sadhanas or the means of knowledge relating to Para Vidya (higher knowledge) and Apara Vidya (lower knowledge) were discussed. The Fourth Chapter treats of Phala or the Supreme Bliss of attainment of Brahman. Other topics also are dealt with in it. In the beginning, however, a separate discussion concerned with the means of knowledge is dealt with in a few Adhikaranas. The remainder of the previous discussion about Sadhanas is continued in the beginning. As the main topic of this Chapter is that of the results or fruits of Brahma Vidya, it is called Phala Adhyaya.


Adhikarana I: (Sutras 1-2) The meditation on the Atman enjoined by scripture is not an act to be accomplished once only, but is to be repeated again and again till knowledge is attained.

Adhikarana II: (Sutra 3) The meditator engaged in meditation on Brahman is to view or comprehend It as identical with his own self.

Adhikarana III: (Sutra 4) In Pratikopasanas where symbols of Brahman are used for meditation as for instance Mano Brahmetyupasita, the meditator is not to consider the Pratika or symbol as identical with him.

Adhikarana IV: (Sutra 5) In the Pratikopasanas, the Pratikas or symbols are to be viewed as Brahman and not in the reverse way.

Adhikarana V: (Sutra 6) In meditations on the members of sacrificial acts, the idea of divinity is to be superimposed on the members and not vice versa. In the example quoted for instance the Udgitha is to be viewed as Aditya, not Aditya as the Udgitha.

Adhikarana VI: (Sutras 7-10) One is to carry on his meditations in a sitting posture. Sri Sankara maintains that the rule does not apply to those meditations whose result is Samyag-darsana but the Sutra gives no hint to that effect.

Adhikarana VII: (Sutra 11) The meditations may be carried on at any time, and in any place, if favourable to concentration of mind.

Adhikarana VIII: (Sutra 12) The meditations are to be continued until death. Sri Sankara again holds that those meditations which lead to Samyag-darsana are excepted.

Adhikarana IX: (Sutra 13) Knowledge of Brahman frees one from the effects of all past and future evil deeds.

Adhikarana X: (Sutra 14) Good deeds likewise cease to affect the knower of Brahman.

Adhikarana XI: (Sutra 15) Works which have not begun to yield results (Anarabdhakarya) are alone destroyed by knowledge and not those which have already begun to yield fruits (Arabdhakarya).

Adhikarana XII: (Sutras 16-17) From the rule enunciated in Adhikarana X are excepted such sacrificial performances as are enjoined permanently (Nitya, obligatory works), as for instance the Agnihotra, because they promote the origination of knowledge.

Adhikarana XIII: (Sutra 18) Sacrificial works not combined with knowledge or meditations also help in the origination of knowledge.

Adhikarana XIV: (Sutra 19) On the exhaustion of Prarabdha work through enjoyment, the knower of Brahman attains oneness with It. The Bhoga or enjoyment of the Sutra is, according to Sankara, restricted to the present existence of the seeker, since the complete knowledge obtained by him destroys the ignorance which otherwise would lead to future embodiments.


Meditation on Brahman should be continued

till knowledge is attained

Avrittirasakridupadesat IV.1.1 (478)

The repetition (of hearing, reflection and meditation on Brahman is necessary) on account of the repeated instruction by the scriptures.

Avrittih: repetition, practice of meditation on Brahman (is necessary); Asakrit: not only once, many times, repeatedly; Upadesat: because of instruction by the scriptures.

This Sutra states that constant practice of meditation is necessary.

Frequent practice of meditation on Brahman is necessary as there is instruction to that effect in the Sruti.

Verily, the Self is to be seen, to be reflected upon, and meditated upon (Bri. Up. II.4.5). The intelligent aspirant knowing about Brahman should attain Brahma-Sakshatkara or direct Self-realisation (Bri. Up. IV.4.21). That is what we must search out, that is what we must try to understand (Chh. Up. VIII.7.1).

A doubt arises whether the mental action (reflection and meditation) referred to in them is to be preformed once only or repeatedly.

The Purvapakshin maintains that it is to be observed once only as in the case of Prayaja offerings and the like.

Let us then repeat exactly as the scripture says, i.e., let us hear the self once, let us reflect on it once, let us meditate on it once and nothing more.

The present Sutra refutes this view and says that hearing, etc., must be repeated till one attains knowledge of Brahman or direct Self-realisation, just as paddy is husked till we get rice. There is the necessity of repetition till there is dawn of knowledge of Brahman. The repetition of mental acts of reflection and meditation eventually leads to direct Self-realisation. Repetition is to be performed because scripture gives repeated instruction.

Thus in the Chh. Up. VI.8.7 the teacher repeats nine times the saying, Tat Satyam Sa Atma Tat-Tvam-Asi SvetaketoThat Truth, That Atman, That thou art, O Svetaketu! Here Svetaketu is taught the mystery about Brahman nine times before he understood it.

The analogy of the Prayaja is faulty. It is not to the point at all because there is the Adrishta which is the result gives fruit at some particular future time in the next world. But here the result is directly realised. Direct intution of the Self is a visible result to be gained in this very life. Therefore, if the result is not there, the process must be repeated, till the result is realised. Such acts must be repeated, because they subserve a seen purpose.

When we speak of the Upasana of the Guru or the king or of the wife thinking about her absent husband, we do not mean a single act of service or thought but a continuous series of acts and thoughts. We say in ordinary life that a person is devoted to a teacher or a king if he follows him with a mind steadily set on him, and of a wife whose husband has gone on a journey we say that she thinks of him only if she steadily remembers him with longing.

In Vedanta, Vid (knowing) and Upasati (meditating) are used as identical. That 'knowing' implies repetition follows from the fact that in the Vedanta texts the terms 'knowing' and 'meditating' are seen to be used one in the place of the other. In some passages the term 'knowing' is used in the beginning and the term 'meditating' in the end: thus, e.g., He who knows what he knows is thus spoken of by me and teach me sir, the deity which you meditate on (Chh. Up. IV.1.4; 2.2). In other places the text at first speaks of 'meditating' and later on of 'knowing'; thus e.g., Let a man meditate on mind as Brahman and He who knows this shines and warms through his celebrity, fame and glory of countenance (Chh. Up. III.18.1, 6).

Meditation and reflection imply a repetition of the mental act. When we say He meditates on it the continuity of the act of remembrance of the object is implied. Similar is the case with reflection also.

From this it follows that repetition has to be practised there also, where the text gives instruction once only. Where, again, the text gives repeated instruction, repeated performance of the mental acts is directly intimated.

When the scripture speaking about the rice for the sacrifice says, The rice should be beaten the sacrificer understands that the injunction means The rice should be beaten over and over again, till it is free from husk for no sacrifice can be performed with the rice with its husk on. So when the scripture says, The Self must be seen through hearing, reflection and meditation it means the repetition of these mental processes, so long as the Self is not seen or realised.

Lingaccha IV.1.2 (479)

And on account of the indicatory mark.

Lingat: because of the indicatory mark or sign; Cha: and.

The same topic is continued.

An indicatory mark also shows that repetition is required. In the Sruti there is a teaching of repeated meditation. It says that one son will be born if there is a single act of meditation whereas many sons will be born if there are many and repeated acts of meditation. Reflect upon the rays and you will have many sons (Chh. Up. I.5.2). In the Section treating of meditation on the Udgitha the text repeats the meditation on the Udgitha viewed as the sun, because its result is one son only and the clause Reflect upon his rays enjoins a meditation on his manifold rays as leading to the possession of many sons. This indicates that the repetition of meditation is something well known. What holds good in this case holds good for other meditations also.

In the case of first class type of aspirant with intense purity, dispassion, discrimination and extremely subtle and sharp intellect, a single hearing of that great sentence Tat-Tvam-Asi Mahavakya will be quite sufficient. Repetition would indeed be useless for him who is able to realise the true nature of Brahman even if the Mahavakya Tat-Tvam-Asi is enounced once only. But such advanced souls are very rare. Ordinary people who are deeply attached to the body and objects cannot attain realisation of Truth by a single enunciation of it. For such persons repetition is of use. The erroneous notion I am the body can be destroyed only through constant meditation or repeated practice. Knowledge can dawn only when there is incessant and frequent meditation.

Repetition has the power of annihilating this erroneous idea gradually. Meditation should be continued till the last trace of body idea is destroyed. When the body consciousness is totally annihilated, Brahman shines Itself in all Its pristine glory and purity. The meditator and the meditated become one. Individuality vanishes in toto.

If repetition is not necessary the Chhandogya Upanishad would not have taught the truth of the great sentence Thou art That repeatedly.

In the Taittiriya Upanishad III.2 we find that Bhrigu goes several times to his father Varuna and asks him again and again, to be taught the nature of Brahman.

Bhrigu Varuni went to his father Varuna saying, Sir, teach me Brahman. He told him this, viz., food, breath, the eye, the ear, mind and speech. Then he said again to him That from whence these beings are born, that by which when born they live, that into which they enter at their death, try to know that. That is Brahman.

This injunction about repetition is meant for those only who lack in purity and subtle understanding and in whom a single enunciation is not sufficient to give them the direct cognition of Brahman.

The individual soul is taught step by step to be subtler than the body, etc., till it is realised as pure Chaitanya. When we have the knowledge of the object only, we can have full knowledge of the affirmation about it. In the case of those who have ignorance or doubt or wrong knowledge, the affirmation (Tat-Tvam-Asi) cannot bring on immediate realisation but to those who have no such obstruction there will be realisation. Hence reiteration with reasoning is only for leading us to full Vachyartha Jnana.

We observe that men by repeating again and again a sentence which they, on the first hearing, had understood imperfectly only, gradually rid themselves of all misconceptions and arrive at a full understanding of the true sense.

All this establishes the conclusion that, in the case of cognition of the Supreme Brahman, the instruction leading to such realisation may be repeated.


He who meditates on the Supreme Brahman

must comprehend It as identical with himself

Atmeti tupagacchanti grahayanti cha IV.1.3 (480)

But (the Sruti texts) acknowledge (Brahman) as the Self (of the meditator) and also teach other (to realise It as such).

Atmeti: as the Self; Tu: but; Upagacchanti: acknowledge, approach, realise; Grahayanti: teach, make others comprehend, instruct; Cha: also.

This Sutra prescribes the process of meditation.

A doubt arises whether Brahman is to be comprehended by the Jiva or the individual soul as identical with it or separate from it.

The opponent maintains that Brahman is to be comprehended as different from the individual soul owing to their essential difference, because the individual soul is subject to pain, sorrow and misery, while the other is not.

The present Sutra refutes the view that Brahman is to be comprehended as identical with one's self. The individual is essentially Brahman only. The Jivahood is due to the limiting adjunct, the internal organ or Antahkarana. The Jivahood is illusory. The Jiva is in reality an embodiment of bliss. It experiences pain and misery on account of the limiting adjunct, Antahkarana.

The Jabalas acknowledge it I am indeed Thou, O Lord, and Thou art indeed myself. Other scriptural texts also say the same thing, I am Brahman: Aham Brahma Asmi (Bri. Up. I.4.10). Thy self is this which is within all (Bri. Up. III.4.1). He is thy self, the ruler within, the immortal (Bri. Up. III.7.3). That is the True, that is the Self, That thou art (Chh. Up. VI.8.7). The texts are to be taken in their primary and not secondary sense as in The mind is Brahman (Chh. Up. III.18.1), where the text presents the mind as a symbol for meditation.

Therefore we have to meditate on Brahman as the Self.

You cannot say that these mean only a feeling or emotion of oneness, just as we regard an idol as Vishnu.

In the latter case we have only a single statement. But in the Jabala Sruti we have a double affirmation, i.e., the identity of Brahman with the individual soul with Brahman. The seeming difference between Jiva and Brahman is unreal. There is Jivahood or Samsaritva for the individual soul till realisation is attained.

Hence we must fix our minds on Brahman as being the Self.


The symbols of Brahman should not be meditated upon

as identical with the meditator

Na pratike na hi sah IV.1.4 (481)

(The meditator is) not (to see the Self) in the symbol, because he is not (that).

Na: not; Pratike: in the symbol (such as Akasa, the sun, the mind, etc.); Na: not; Hi: because; Sah: he.

This and the following two Sutras examine the value of a Pratika or symbol in worship.

Pratikas, symbols, would not be regarded as one with us. The meditator cannot regard them as being one with him, as they are separate from him.

Chhandogya Upanishad III.18.1 declares The mind is Brahman.

A doubt arises whether in such meditations where the mind is taken as a symbol of Brahman, the meditator is to identify himself with the mind, as in the case of the meditation: I am Brahman Aham Brahma Asmi.

The Purvapakshin maintains that he should, because the mind is a product of Brahman and as such it is one with It. So the meditator, the individual soul, is one with Brahman. Therefore, it follows that the meditator also is one with the mind, and hence he should see his Self in the mind in this meditation also.

The present Sutra refutes this. We must not attach to symbols the idea of Brahman. Because the meditator cannot comprehend the heterogeneous symbols as being of the nature of the Self.

We must not regard Pratikas (symbols or images) as being ourselves. They are different from ourselves and cannot be regarded as being identical with ourselves. Nor can we say that they being derivatives of Brahman and Brahman being one with Atman, they are also to be treated as one with the Atman. They can be one with Brahman only if they go above name and form and when they go above name and form, they will not be Pratikas.

Atman is Brahman only when freed from Kartritva (doership). Two gold jewels cannot be identical but both can be one with gold.

If the symbol mind is realised as identical with Brahman, then it is no longer a symbol, just as when we realise an ornament as gold, it ceases to be an ornament. If the meditating person realises his identity with Brahman, then he is no longer the Jiva or the individual soul, the meditator. The distinctions of meditator, meditation and the meditated exist in the beginning when oneness has not been realised. Whenever there is the distinction between the meditator and the meditated there is the process of meditation. Where there is consciousness of difference, diversity or plurality, the meditator is quite distinct from the symbol.

For these reasons the self is not meditated in symbols. The meditator is not to see his self in the symbol.


When meditating on a symbol, the symbol should be considered

as Brahman and not Brahman as the symbol

Brahmadrishtirutkarshat IV.1.5 (482)

(The symbol) is to be viewed as Brahman (and not in the reverse way), on account of the exaltation (of the symbol thereby).

Brahmadrishtih: the view of Brahman, the view in the light of Brahman; Utkarshat: on account of superiority, because of super-eminence.

The same discussion is continued.

In meditations on symbols as in The mind is Brahman, The sun is Brahman, the question is whether the symbol is to be considered as Brahman, or Brahman as the symbol.

This Sutra declares that the symbols, the mind, the sun, etc., are to be regarded as Brahman and not in the reverse way. Because you can attain elevation or progress by looking upon an inferior thing as a superior thing and not in the reverse way. As you have to behold Brahman in everything and free yourself from the idea of differentiation and diversity, you have to contemplate on these symbols as Brahman.

To view the symbol as Brahman is quite proper, but by reversing the order to view Brahman in the light of the symbol is not justifiable, because of super-eminence of Brahman over the symbol.

It would not serve any purpose to think of Brahman in the light of a limited thing; because it would be only to degrade the Infinite Lord to the status of a finite thing. The symbol should be raised higher in thought to the level of Brahman but Brahman should not be brought down to the level of the symbol.


In meditation on the members of sacrificial actsthe idea of divinity is to be superimposed on the members and not in the reverse way

Adityadimatayaschanga upapatteh IV.1.6 (483)

And the ideas of the sun, etc., are to be superimposed) on the subordinate members (of sacrificial acts), because (in that way alone the statement of the scriptures would be) consistent.

Adityadimatayah: the idea of the sun, etc.; Cha: and; Anga: in a subordinate member (of the sacrificial acts); Upapatteh: because of consistency, because of its reasonableness.

A particular instance is cited to confirm the preceding Sutra.

He who burns up these (sun), let a man meditate upon that which shines yonder as the Udgitha (Chh. Up. I.3.1). One ought to meditate upon the Saman as fivefold (Chh. Up. II.2.1). Let a man meditate on the sevenfold Saman in speech (Chh. Up. II.8.1). This earth is the Rik, fire is Saman (Chh. Up. I.6.1).

In meditations connected with sacrificial acts as given in the texts quoted, how is the meditation to be performed? Is the sun to be viewed as the Udgitha or the Udgitha as the sun? Between the Udgitha and the sun there is nothing to indicate which is superior, as in the previous Sutra, where Brahman being pre-eminent, the symbol was viewed as Brahman.

The present Sutra declares that the members of sacrificial acts as the Udgitha are to be viewed as the sun and so on, for the fruit of the sacrificial act is increased by so doing. The sacrificial work becomes successful. A scriptural passage, viz., Chh. Up. I.1.10 Whatever one performs with knowledge, faith and Upanishad is more powerful expressly declares that knowledge causes the success of sacrificial work.

If we view the Udgitha as the sun, it undergoes a certain ceremonial purification and thereby contributes to the Apurva or Adrishta, the invisible fruit of the whole sacrifice, which leads to Karma Samriddhi (the fulness of the Karma). If the sun is viewed as Udgitha in the reverse way the purification of the sun by this meditation will not contribute to the Apurva, as the sun is not a member of the sacrificial act.

The members of the sacrificial acts are to be viewed as the sun, etc., if the declaration of the scriptures that the meditations increase the result of the sacrifice is to come true.

The sun, etc., are higher (Utkarsha) than Udgitha because the sun, etc., are the fruits attained by Karma. Therefore, the rule of Utkarsha-buddhi referred to above needs that we must regard and worship Udgitha, etc., as the sun, etc.

If you say that if we regard the sun, etc., as the Udgitha, the former being of the nature of Karma will give the fruit, that would be wrong because Upasana itself is a Karma and will give the fruit.

The Udgitha should be raised higher in thought to the level of the sun, but not the sun brought down to that of the Udgitha.

In this way a meditator should raise himself to the level of Brahman by thinking himself as Brahman, but should not bring Brahman down to the level of the individual soul.


One is to meditate sitting

Asinah sambhavat IV.1.7 (484)

Sitting (a man is to meditate) on account of the possibility.

Asinah: sitting; Sambhavat: on account of the possibility.

The posture of the meditator while engaged in meditation is now discussed.

In Karmanga Upasanas there is no question as to whether they should be done sitting or standing as they depend on the particular Karma. In pure realisation or perfect intuition there could be no such question as it depends on the object of realisation. In other Upasanas sitting is necessary for meditation.

The Purvapakshin here maintains that as the meditation is something mental there can be no restriction as to the attitude of the body.

This Sutra says that one has to meditate sitting, because it is not possible to meditate while standing or lying down. Sitting is necessary for meditation because Upasana is the continuity of mental state and such continuity will not exist when one walks or runs because then the mind will attend to the body and cannot concentrate, or when one lies down because then he will be soon overpowered by sleep.

In Upasana one has to concentrate one's mind on a single object. This is not possible if one is standing or lying. The mind of a standing man is directed on maintaining the body in an erect position and therefore incapable of reflection on any subtle matter.

A sitting person may easily avoid these several occurrences and is, therefore, in a position to carry on his meditation. The sitting posture contributes that composure of mind which is the sine qua non of meditation. Meditation is to be practised in a sitting posture, as in that case only meditation is practicable.

Dhyanaccha IV.1.8 (485)

And on account of meditation.

Dhyanat: on account of meditation; Cha: and.

An argument in support of Sutra 7 is adduced.

Further, such continuity of thought is Dhyana or meditation. It can come only when the limbs are not active and the mind is calm.

Upasana (worship) being mainly of the nature of concentration, should be practised in a sitting posture, which is conducive to concentration. Concentration being an uninterrupted and unintermittent current of thought sent towards a particular object, the sitting posture becomes indispensable.

The word `Upasana' also denotes exactly what meditation means, that is concentrating on a single object with a fixed look, and without any movement of the limbs. This is possible only in a sitting posture.

Meditation denotes a lengthened carrying of the same train of ideas. We ascribe thoughtfulness to those whose mind is concentrated on one and the same object while their look is fixed and their limbs do not move. We say that Sri Ramakrishna is thoughtful. Now such thoughtfulness is easy for those who sit. The wife sits and thinks deeply over her husband gone in a distant journey.

Dhyana or meditation is thinking on one subject continuously, without the inrush of ideas incongruous with the subject of thought. Such meditation is possible in a sitting posture only and not while lying down or standing etc. Therefore, a sitting posture should be adopted both for prayers as well as for meditation.

The distraction of mind is minimised when one meditates in a sitting posture.

We, therefore, conclude herefrom also that meditation is the occupation of a sitting person.

Achlatvam chapekshya IV1.9 (486)

And with reference to immobility (the scriptures ascribe meditativeness to the earth).

Achalatvam: immobility, stability, steadiness; Cha: and, indeed; Apekshya: referring to, aiming at, pointing to.

The argument in support of Sutra 7 is continued.

The word 'cha' has the force of 'indeed'. In the Chhandogya Upanishad the root 'Dhyana' or meditation is employed in the sense of motionlessness.

With reference to the immobility of the earth in ordinary eye, the scripture fancies the earth as being engaged in concentration, as if it remains fixed in space in the act of pious meditation. It suggests that such a steady application of the mind can be attained by meditating only in a sitting posture.

If the body is at rest, there is rest for the mind also; if the body is in motion, i.e., restless, the mind too becomes restless.

In the passage, The earth meditates as it were, meditativeness is attributed to earth on account of its immobility or steadiness. This also helps us to infer that meditation is possible in one when he is sitting and not while standing or walking.

Steadiness accompanies meditation. Steadiness of body and mind is possible only while sitting and not while standing or walking.

Smaranti cha IV.1.10 (487)

The Smriti passages also say (the same thing).

Smaranti: the Smriti texts say, it is mentioned in the Smritis; Cha: also.

The argument in support of Sutra 7 is concluded.

Authoritative authors also teach in their Smritis that a sitting posture subserve the act of meditation, e.g., Having made a firm seat for one's self on a pure spot (Bhagavad Gita VI.11).

For the same reason the Yoga-Sastra teaches different postures, viz., Padmasana, Siddhasana, etc.


There is no restriction of place with regard to meditation

Yatraikagrata tatraviseshat IV.4.11 (488)

Wherever concentration of mind (is attained), there (it is to be practised), there being no specification (as to place).

Yatra: where, wherever; Ekagrata: concentration of mind; Tatra: there; Aviseshat: for want of any specification, it not being specifically mentioned, as there is no special direction in Sruti.

There are no specific rules about the time or place of meditation. Whenever and wherever the mind attains concentration, we should meditate. The Sruti says Mano'nukule where the mind feels favourable.

Any place is good if concentration is attained in that place. The scriptures say, Let a man meditate at whatever time, in whatever place and facing whatever region, he may with ease manage to concentrate his mind.

But places that are clean, free from pebbles, fire, dust, noises, standing water, and the like are desirable, as such places are congenial to meditation.

But there are no fixed rules to place, time and direction.


Meditations should be continued till death

Aa prayanat tatrapi hi drishtam IV.1.12 (489)

Till death (till one attains Moksha) (meditations have to be repeated); for then also it is thus seen in scripture.

Aa prayanat: till death, till Mukti; Tatra: there, then; Api: also, even; Hi: because; Drishtam: is seen (in the Sruti).

This Sutra says Upasana (meditation, worship) is to be observed till death.

Worship is to be continued till death, till one gets Mukti, because it is found in Sruti, that the worshipper, continuing so till death, attains the world of Brahman after death.

The first topic of the present Chapter has established that the meditation on the Atman or Brahman enjoined by the scriptures is to be repeated till knowledge dawns.

The question is now taken up about other meditations which are practised for attaining certain results.

The Purvapakshin maintains that such meditations can be stopped after a certain time. They should still give fruits like sacrifices performed only once.

The present Sutra declares that they are to be continued up to death, because the Sruti and Smriti say so. With whatever thought he passes away from this world (Sat. Br. X.6.3.1). Remembering whatever form of being he in the end leaves this body, into that same form he even passes, assimilated its being (Bhagavad Gita VIII.6). At the time of death with unmoved mind (Bhagavad Gita VIII.10). Let a man at the time of death, take refuge with this triad (Chh. Up. III.17.6). Whatever his thought at the time of death with that he goes into Prana and the Prana united with light, together with the individual self, leads on to the world as conceived at the moment of death (Pras. Up. IV.2.10). This also follows from the comparison to the caterpillar (Bri. Up. IV.4.3) or leech. The leech takes hold of another object before it leaves an object.

One cannot entertain such a thought at the time of departure of Prana from this body without practice for the whole life.

Therefore, meditations must be practised up to death.


Knowledge of Brahman frees one from all past and future sins

Tadadhigama uttarapurvaghayorasleshavinasau

tadvyapadesat IV.1.13 (490)

On the attainment of this (viz., Brahman) (there takes place) the non-clinging and the destruction of later and earlier sins; because it is so declared by the scriptures.

Tadadhigama: when that is realised; Uttarapurvaghayoh: of the subsequent and the previous sins; Asleshavinasau: non-clinging and destruction; Tadvyapadesat: because Sruti has declared so.

The result of knowledge of Brahman or the state of Jivanmukti is now discussed.

The supplement to the Third Chapter is finished herewith. With the last Adhikarana the topics connected with the Third Chapter have come to an end. From this Adhikarana the Fourth Chapter proper begins. The Fourth Chapter is the Phaladhyaya, i.e., the Chapter relating to the fruits of Brahma Vidya.

The Purvapakshin maintains that emancipation is attained in spite of knowledge, only after one has experienced effects of one's sins committed before enlightenment because the Smritis declare Karma is not destroyed before it has yielded its effects. The law of Karma is unrelenting.

This Sutra says that when a person attains knowledge all his past sins are destroyed and future sins do not cling to him.

Karma has doubtless its power of bringing its effects but that power can be nullified and overcome by knowledge of Brahman. Prayaschittas (expiatory acts) have the power of cleansing sin. Saguna-Brahma-Vidya cleanses all sins. Nirguna-Brahma-Vidya puts an end to agency or doership and destroys all sins. Hence no future doership can come to him and the effects of the entire past doership vanish when knowledge dawns. Otherwise there will be no liberation as Karma is Anadi (beginningless). If it is said that emancipation is caused like the fruits of Karma, it will be transient and not eternal.

Further, the results of Jnana must be direct and immediate. So all sins vanish when one attains knowledge of Brahman or Self-realisation.

The scripture declares that future sins which might be presumed to cling to the agent do not cling to him who knows. As water does not cling to lotus leaf, so no evil deed clings to him who knows this (Chh. Up. IV.14.3). Similarly scripture declares the destruction of previous accumulated evil deeds. As the fibres of the Ishika reed when thrown into the fire are burnt, thus all sins are burnt (Chh. Up. V.24.3). The extinction of works the following passage also declares: The fetter of the heart is broken, all doubts are solved, all his works are destroyed when He who is high and low is seen (Mun. Up. II.2.8).

As regards the verses which say that no Karma is destroyed, but by producing its effects, that holds good in the case of ordinary men who are in ignorance and who have no knowledge of Brahman. It does not hold good in the case of those enlightened sages who have knowledge of Brahman.

The knower of Brahman feels and realises thus: That Brahman whose nature it is to be at all times neither agent not enjoyer, and which is thus opposed in being to the soul's previously established state of agency and enjoyment that Brahman am I; hence I neither was an agent, nor an enjoyer at any previous time, nor am I such at the present time, nor shall I be such at any future time.

In this way only the final emancipation is possible; for otherwise, i.e., if the chain of works which has been running on from eternity could not be cut short, liberation could never take place. Emancipation cannot depend on locality, time and special causes, as the fruit of works is; because therefrom it would follow that the fruit of knowledge is non-permanent.

Therefore, it is an established conclusion that there results the extinction of all sins on attaining Brahman.


Similarly good work do not affect the knower of Brahman

Itarasyapyevamasamsleshah pate tu IV.1.14 (491)

Thus in the same way, there is non-clinging of the other (i.e., Punya or virtue, good works) also; but at death (liberation, i.e., Videha-Mukti is certain).

Itarasya: of the other; Tu: also; Evam: thus, in the same way; Asamsleshah: non-clinging; Pate: at death; Tu: but, indeed.

Discussion on the consequence of Brahma Jnana (the knowledge of Brahman) is continued.

As in the case of sin, so merit or virtue cannot attach to the knower of Brahman. Otherwise such merit will be an obstruction to liberation. When doership goes, merit must go like sin. The result of merit is below that of Jnana. Merit and sin have to be left behind. When both are transcended, liberation is sure at death.

A knower of Brahman has no idea of agency. He is not touched by good works also. He goes beyond virtue and vice. He overcomes both (Bri. Up. IV.4.22).

Even there where the text mentions evil deeds only, we must consider good deeds also to be implied therein, because the results of the latter also are inferior to the results of knowledge.

Merit also is a cause of bondage and stands in the way of liberation. For a knower of Brahman all his accumulated merits and demerits are destroyed. Thus his merits and sins being totally inoperative, his salvation necessarily follows at death.


Works which have not begun to yield results are alone destroyed by knowledge and not those which have already begun to bear fruits

Anarabdhakarye eva tu purve tadavadheh IV.1.15 (492)

But only those former (works) whose effects have not yet begun (are destroyed by knowledge; because the scripture states) that (i.e., the death of the body) to be the term.

Anarabdhakarye: in the case of those works, the effects of which have not begun to operate, i.e. to yield fruits or results; Eva: only; Tu: but; Purve: former works; Tadavadheh: that (death) being the limit, because of waiting till death.

Discussion on the consequence of Brahma Jnana is continued.

In the last two Adhikaranas (topics) it has been stated that all the past works of a knower of Brahman are destroyed. Past works are of two kinds, viz., Sanchita (accumulated works) those which have not yet begun to yield results and Prarabdha, i.e., those works whose effects have already begun to operate and have produced the body through which the aspirant has attained Brahma Jnana or knowledge of Brahman.

The Purvapakshin maintains that both these are destroyed, because the Mundaka Upanishad says that all his works are destroyed. He thereby overcomes both. This refers to all works without any distinction, all works whatever must be regarded to undergo destruction.

Further the sage who has attained Self-realisation is a non-doer. He has no idea or feeling of agency. His idea of non-doership is the same with reference to Sanchita or Prarabdha. Hence both these works are destroyed when one attains knowledge of Brahman or the Supreme Self.

This Sutra refutes this view and declares that only Sanchita Karmas or accumulated works whose fruits have not yet begun to operate are destroyed by knowledge but not the Prarabdha. Prarabdha Karmas are destroyed only by being worked out. Those works whose effects have begun and whose results have been half enjoyed, i.e., those very works to which there is due the present state of existence in which the knowledge of Brahman arises and not destroyed by that knowledge. This view is founded on the scriptural passage For him there is delay only as long as he is not delivered from this body, and then he is one with Brahman (Chh. Up. VI.14.2), which fixes the death of the body as the term of the statement of the attainment of final release.

If it were not so, then there would be no teachers of knowledge.

Therefore, the Prarabdha Karmas are not destroyed by knowledge.

If it is said that fire must destroy all seeds, the reply is that what has begun to operate, like a potter's wheel, must have its operation. Mithya Jnana (the erroneous knowledge of multiplicity) though negated by Jnana, will persist for a while (Badhitanuvritti).

Each man's inner realisation cannot be denied or disputed by another. This truth is declared by the description of the Sthitaprajna in the Bhagavad Gita.

The Knowledge of Brahman in a knower or a sage cannot check the Prarabdha Karma, just as an archer has no control over the arrows already discharged, which comes to rest only when its momentum is exhausted. The liberated sage must keep up this body as long as the momentum of Prarabdha Karmas lasts. When the Prarabdha Karmas are worked out or exhausted the body falls off and he attains Videha-Mukti or disembodied salvation.

The final discussion, therefore, is that knowledge effects the destruction of those works only whether good or evil, whose effects have not yet begun to operate.


Permanent obligatory works enjoined by the Vedas

for different Asramas are not to be given up

Agnihotradi tu tatkaryayaiva taddarsanat IV.1.16 (493)

But the Agnihotra and the like (tend) towards the same effect, knowledge (liberation), because that is seen from the scriptures.

Agnihotradi: daily Agnihotra, etc., daily offering of oblations to the perpetually maintained fire; Tu: but; Tatkarya: tend towards the same result as that (knowledge); Eva: only; Taddarsanat: that being seen from the scriptures.

Works of permanent obligation (Nitya Karmas) enjoined by the Vedas such as Agnihotra tend towards the same effect, i.e., have the same effect as knowledge. Because this is declared by the texts such as the following, Brahmanas seek to know him by the study of the Vedas, by sacrifices, by gifts (Bri. Up. IV.4.22).

But an objection is raised as knowledge and works have different effects, it is not possible that they should have one and the same effect.

It is observed, we reply, that curd and poison whose ordinary effects are fever and death have for their effects satisfaction and a flourishing state of the body, if the curd is mixed with sugar and the poison taken while certain Mantras are recited. Even so works if joined with knowledge may effect final emancipation.

The Purvapakshin maintains that even obligatory works (Nitya Karmas) such as Agnihotra which do not give any fruits but which are enjoined by the scriptures as a sort of discipline are destroyed by the dawn of knowledge, just as other works done with desires, because the idea of non-agency of the knower of Brahman is the same with respect to both.

This Sutra refutes this view and declares that the regular obligatory works are not destroyed.

Obligatory duties exercise a purifying influence on the heart and are helpful to the origination of knowledge. They contribute indirectly to knowledge i.e., liberation. They subserve final emancipation immediately. Therefore, their results persist till death.

Ato'nyapi hi ekeshamubhayoh IV.1.17 (494)

For (there is) also (a class of good works) other than this, according to some. (There is agreement) of both (teachers, Jaimini and Baadarayana) (as to the fate of those works).

Atah: from this; Anya: different; Api: also; Hi: because, indeed; Ekesham: of some (Sakhas); Ubhayoh: of both.

There is also a class of good works different from works of permanent obligation (Nitya Karmas like the daily Agnihotra and the like) which are performed with a view to a fruit. The following statement of some Sakhas is made with reference to these: His friends get his good works and enemies his evil actions.

Both teachers, Jaimini and Baadarayana, are of the opinion that works performed for the fulfilment of some special desire do not contribute towards the origination of true knowledge.


Sacrificial works not combined with knowledge or meditation

also help in the origination of knowledge

Yadeva vidyayeti hi IV.4.18 (495)

Because the text whatever he does with knowledge intimates this.

Yadeva: whatever; Vidyaya: with knowledge; Iti: thus, this, so; Hi: because.

Nitya Karmas (regular obligatory works) which help the origination of knowledge are of two kinds, viz., those combined with meditations and those unaccompanied by knowledge or meditations.

The Purvapakshin maintains that work combined with meditations helps the origination of knowledge as it is superior to work done without meditation.

The present Sutra refutes it and says that in the statement That alone which is performed with knowledge becomes more powerful (Chh. Up. I.1.10) the comparative degree indicates that works done without knowledge, not combined with meditations are not altogether useless, though the other class is more powerful.

Even ordinary Agnihotra has Virya (power) but Agnihotra confirmed by Vidya (Upasana) is more potent (Viryavattara). Agnihotra if accompanied by knowledge possesses a greater capability of originating knowledge and, therefore, is of superior causal efficiency with regard to the realisation of the self, while the same works if devoid of knowledge possess no such superiority.


After enjoying the fruits of Prarabdha Karma

the knower becomes one with Brahman

Bhogenatvitare kshapayitva sampadyate IV.1.19 (496)

But having exhausted by enjoyment the other two works (viz., good and evil works, that have begun to yield fruits), he becomes one with Brahman.

Bhogena: by enjoyment; Tu: but; Itare: of the other two works (merit and demerit); Kshapayitva: having exhausted; Sampadyate: becomes united with Brahman, becomes one with Brahman, obtains, joins.

This Sutra concludes with the answer to the question What becomes of the Prarabdha portion of the illumined soul's work, which has brought his present life into existence.

It has been shown that all good and evil deeds whose effects have not yet begun are destroyed by the power of knowledge of Brahman. The two others on the other hand, i.e., those good and evil works whose effects have begun, a man has at first to exhaust by the fruition of their consequences, and then he becomes one with Brahman. This appears from scriptural passages such as for him there is delay so long as he is not delivered from the body, then he will become one with Brahman (Chh. Up. VI.14.2), and Being Brahman he goes to Brahman (Bri. Up. IV.4.6).

The Purvapakshin argues that the knower of Brahman will continue to see diversity even after death, just as he sees plurality while living: analogously to the visual appearance of a double moon which may continue even after it has been cognised as false. He does not attain oneness with Brahman even after death.

This Sutra refutes it and declares that the Prarabdha works are destroyed through enjoyment. Though the knower of Brahman has to remain in this world as a liberated sage or Jivanmukta, yet he attains oneness with Brahman at death.

When the Prarabdha Karmas are exhausted by being worked out, he no longer beholds any plurality on account of the absence of any cause like the Prarabdha. He certainly becomes one with Brahman as all works including Prarabdha are destroyed at death.

Thus Brahma Jnana destroys Karmas (Sanchita) which have not begun to bear fruit. Those which have begun to bear fruit (Prarabdha) must be worked out by enjoyment. There is no escape even on the part of the enlightened soul from the operation of the law of Prarabdha.

The Purvapakshin again argues that a new aggregate of works will originate a new fruition. Not so, we reply; the seed of all such fruition is destroyed. What on the death of the body, could originate a new period of fruition, is only a new set of works and works depend on false knowledge. But such false knowledge is totally destroyed by perfect knowledge of Brahman.

When, therefore, the works whose effects have begun are destroyed, the liberated sage who knows Brahman necessarily enters into the state of perfected isolation or Absolute Kaivalya.

Thus ends the First Pada (Section 1) of the Fourth Chapter (Adhyaya IV) of the Brahma Sutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.

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