1 ) What is Brahma Sutra Bhashya?
Brahma sutra Bhashya means commentary on Brahma sutras written by Sri Veda vyasa Maharshi. There are many commentaries written by different Acharyas (philosophers) on Brahma Sutra. Each commentary presents the view point of respective Acharya. Following are some of the important bhashyas available.
• Sri Shankaracharya – Advaita
• Sri Bhaskaracharya, Sri Vadava Prakasha – Bhedabheda
• Sri Ramanuja – Vishistadvaita
• Sri Madhvacharya – Dvaita
• Sri Nimbarka – Dvaitadvaita
• Sri Kantha – Kashmiri Shaivism
• Sri Vallabhacharya – Shuddhadvaita
• Sri Shuka – Bhedavada
• Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushana – Achintyabhedabeda
Q2). Why there are so many Bhashyas?
Bhashyas are commentaries on Brahma Sutra. Brahma sutra is concise and logical presentation of the teachings of Vedanta. Different Bhashyas represent different viewpoints of respective Acharyas based on their philosophical inclination (darshanas).
Science is based on observation of facts . Observed facts are recorded as data. Different scientists can interpret data in different ways. Data being same, interpretations can vary. As far as scientists are concerned, data is the reference and interpretations are their view points to make sense out of the data.
Similarly, in Vedanta, all Acharyas accept the teachings of Upanishads, as the reference. They give different viewpoints, philosophical systems to present a coherent view of Vedantic teachings with Brahma Sutra of Sri Veda Vyasa Maharshi as reference.
The point to be noted here is that there is no difference of opinion amongst Acharyas as far as the teachings of Upanishads are concerned while they may have difference of opinion in interpretations.
There is reason why Upanishad teachings are taken as reference by all Acharyas. Normally a child is very close to mother compared to father. One day, mother points to father and says this is your father. The child accepts mothers words and accepts him as father. Having the deep trust in mother, child has no questions. Similarly, Upanishads are teachings from Veda Mata. Vedas originated from Parabrahma Srimannarayana himself. Due to this reason, all Acharyas take the teachings of Upanishads as absolute reference.
Q3). What is Darshana ? Who is Darshanika ?
Darshana means philosophy. Philosophy is a Greek word which means love of wisdom. Philosophy is study of fundamental nature of Reality, existence. Darshana means seeing. Darshanika is a seer.
Philosophy in general involves deep contemplation and speculation about the nature of reality. While Western Philosophy is based on observation, inference and mental speculation, Darshanikas based their philosophy on teachings of Upanishads. The belief system is that there is a limitation on mental abilities to reach Truths beyond mind. Inference, observations and mental speculations cannot uncover the deeper Truths of existence.
Upanishads as body of knowledge embody Truths beyond the human mind revealed to the sages called Rishis. Hence Darshanikas depend on their view point based on revealed Truth which has a higher standing compared to perception and inference based knowledge and mental speculation. Darshanika is not just formulates the view point based on Vedantic teachings but also has a direct experience of Truth.
Q4). Why philosophy is important?
Human being has a very much evolved intellect compared to other animals. But for the intellect, human being is no better than any other animal. This intellect has given the ability for mankind to observe nature, discover laws of nature and utilize these laws make our lives better. Intellect has made our life richer in the form of science, technology, mathematics and art.
Man being intelligent has always wondered about the nature. He has pondered over the question of existence, purpose of life and meaning of life. A philosopher with his sharp intellect penetrates some of the mysteries of life and presents his findings in the form of philosophy. Widely accepted philosophy in the world provides guidance to human beings in their day to day living and pursuit.
A Darshanika addresses following questions to present darshana based on the revelations of Upanishads.
• Who am I? Why I am here? (Koham?)
• What is this Universe (prapancha)
• Who is the Creator (Ishvara) ?
• What is the ultimate reality (Brahman)?
• What is bondage (bandha) ? What is the cause of suffering (dukha)?
• What is the path for becoming free from bondage (moksha)?
Darshanika address the key question human beings face. How can I be free from suffering and attain a state of eternal life, infinite bliss.