The Full Wiki

Brahma Sutras: Wikis

Advertisements
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Part of a series on
Hindu scriptures

Aum

Rigveda · Yajurveda · Samaveda · Atharvaveda
Divisions
Samhita · Brahmana · Aranyaka · Upanishad

Aitareya · Brihadaranyaka · Isha · Taittiriya · Chandogya · Kena · Maitri · Mundaka · Mandukya · Katha · Kaushitaki · Prashna · Shvetashvatara

Shiksha · Chandas · Vyakarana · Nirukta · Jyotisha · Kalpa

Mahabharata · Ramayana

Smriti · Śruti · Bhagavad Gita · Purana · Manu Smriti · Agama · Pancharatra · Tantra · Akilathirattu · Sūtra · Stotra · Dharmashastra · Divya Prabandha · Tevaram · Ramacharitamanas ·
Yoga Vasistha


The Brahma sūtras, also known as Vedānta Sūtras, constitute the Nyāya prasthāna, the logical starting point of the Vedānta philosophy (Nyāya = logic/order). No study of Vedānta is considered complete without a close examination of the Prasthāna Traya (Prasthanatrayi), the texts that stand as the three starting points. The Brahma Sutras are attributed to Badarayana.

While the Upanishads (Śruti prasthāna, the starting point of revelation) and the Bhagavad-Gītā (Smriti prasthāna, the starting point of remembered tradition) are the basic source texts of Vedānta, it is in the Brahma sūtras that the teachings of Vedānta are set forth in a systematic and logical order.

While the earlier commentators like Adi Shankara treat Bādarāyaņa, the author of the Brahma Sūtra, as the Jnana-Shakti Avatara (knowledge-power incarnation) of God, Vaishnavite tradition identifies him with Krishna Dwipayana Vyāsa, the author of the Mahābhārata.

Commentaries

Many commentaries have been written on this text, the earliest extant one being the one by Adi Shankara. His commentary set forth the non-dualistic (Advaita) interpretation of the Vedānta, and was commented upon by Vācaspati and Padmapāda. These sub-commentaries, in turn, inspired other derivative texts in the Advaita school.

Ramanuja also wrote a commentary on the Brahma sutra, called Sri Bhasya, which lays the foundations of the Vishishtadvaita tradition. In this, he firmly refutes the Advaita view as proposed by Adi Shankara in his commentary.

Other commentators on the Brahma Sūtras, belonging to other schools of Vedānta, include Bhāskara, Yādavaprakāśa, Keśava, Nīlakaņţha, Madhvacharya, Vallabha, Vijnanabhiksu, Nimbarka, and Baladeva Vidyābhūshaņa.

Overview

The Brahma Sūtras are also known by other names: Vedānta Sūtras, Uttara Mīmāmsā-sūtras, Śārīraka Sūtras, Śārīraka Mimāmsā-sūtras. Vaishnavas also call this the Bhikshu sūtras.

The Brahma Sūtras attempt to reconcile the seemingly contradictory and diverse statements of the various Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gītā, by placing each teaching in a doctrinal context. The word sūtra means thread, and the Brahma sūtras literally stitch together the various Vedanta teachings into a logical and self-consistent whole.

However, the Brahma Sūtras are so terse that not only are they capable of being interpreted in multiple ways, but they are often incomprehensible without the aid of the various commentaries handed down in the main schools of Vedānta thought.

The Vedānta Sūtras supply ample evidence that at a very early time, i.e. a period before their own final composition, there were differences of opinion among the various interpreters of the Vedānta. Quoted in the Vedānta Sūtras are opinions ascribed to Audulomi, Kārshnāgni, Kāśakŗtsna, Jaimini and Bādari, in addition to Vyasa.

The Brahma Sūtras consist of 555 aphorisms or sūtras, in four chapters (adhyāya), each chapter being divided into four quarters (pāda). Each quarter consists of several groups of sūtras called Adhikaraņas or topical sections. An Adhikaraņa usually consists of several sūtras, but some have only one sūtra.

The first chapter (Samanvaya: harmony) explains that all the Vedānta texts talk of Brahman, the ultimate reality, which is the goal of life. The very first sūtra offers an indication into the nature of the subject matter. VS 1.1.1 athāto brahma jijñāsā - Now: therefore the inquiry (into the real nature) of Brahman.

The second chapter (Avirodha: non-conflict) discusses and refutes the possible objections to Vedānta philosophy. The third chapter (Sādhana: the means) describes the process by which ultimate emancipation can be achieved. The fourth chapter (Phala: the fruit) talks of the state that is achieved in final emancipation.

These sūtras systematize the jñānakāņda (path of wisdom, as opposed to Karmakāņda, the path of action) of the Veda, by combining the two tasks of concisely stating the teaching of the Veda and argumentatively establishing the specific interpretation of the Veda adopted in the sūtras.

The sūtras also discuss the role of karma and God and critically address the various doctrines associated with Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaisheshika, Shaiva, Shakta, Atheism, and Sankhya philosophies.

External links

Advertisements

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message