Organization of Brahma Sutras

Q3-1). How is Brahma Sutra Bhashya Organized ?

Brahmasutra Bhashya has 4 chapters.  The chapters deal with following topics :

Chapter 1 :  Samanvaya adhyaya – This chapter  focuses on proving that Brahman is the central theme of all Upanishads.

Chapter 2 : Avirodha Adhyaya  – This chapter proves that there is no contradiction in Shruti, smriti as far as  knowledge of Brahman is concerned  – Brahma Vidya.

Chapter 3 : Sadhana Adhyaya – This chapter deals with the spiritual practices – sadhana required to gain knowledge of Brahman – Brahma vidya.

Chapter 4 : Phaladhyaya – This chapter deals with  moksha or liberation which is the result of  spiritual practices – Brahma Vidya.

Each chapter of Brahma Sutra is divided into four sections called padas.      Each pada is further subdivided into adhikaranas.  Totally there are 192 adhikaranas. Each adhikaranas has one or more sutras. Totally there are 592 sutras in the Bhashya.

Q3-2). What are the characteristics of Bhashya ?

Bhashya has following characteristics.

1). Subject Matter being discussed in sutra – Vishaya.

2). Clarification of doubts – Samshaya

3). Objections  – Purva Paksha – Opposing views of different philosophers.

4). Conclusions of Vedantin – Siddhantha

5).  Link between previous and present topic – Sangatih

Q3-3).  Who are the opponent philosophers – purva pakshins ?

Brahma Sutra Bhashya deals with objections raised by different philosophical schools ( darshanas).  In general there are two types of philosophical schools – astika darshana and nastika darshana.

Nastika Darshana – Those who do not accept Veda as reference – Veda pramanam.  Following are the nastika darshanas.

  1. Boudha  by Buddha
  2. Jain by Mahavira
  3. Charvaka by Brahaspati Acharya

Astika Darshanas – Those who believe in Veda pramanam as reference.

1. Sankhya by Kapila Muni

2. Vaisheshika founded by Kanada Rishi

3. Nyaya founded by Gautama Rishi

4. Purva Mimamsa by Jaimini Rishi

5. Uttara mimamsa by Badarayana

6. Yoga by Patanjali Maharshi.

Q3-4).  What is the role of  observation and inference in Brahmasutra ?

Knowledge is of two kinds – apara vidya  and para vidya. Apara vidya refers to knowledge of the world.  Para vidya refers to knowledge of Self – Brahman.  Apara vidya and para vidya are also called  loukika (worldly) knowledge and adhyatmika (spiritual) knowledge respectively.  Loukika knowledge is about anatma (non self) – objects. Adhyatmika knowledge is about the Self (atma).

For all loukika knowledge observation and inference is useful. All scientific discoveries are based on loukika knowledge.  Observation is called pratyaksha and inference is called anumana.  Observed data is called reference data or pramanam. For example, e see smoke on the mountain and infer that there is fire on the mountain.

However, pratyaksha and anumana is not useful in Vedanta study.  Pratyaksha and  anumana is used in vedanta study only for matters related to anatma – non self.  Pratyaksha and anumana is rarely used in vedanta.

For Vedanta pramanam reference data is always teachings of upanishads. Vedanta is not based on pratyaksha and anumana but revelation from divine source.  However anumana or inference is used in Vedanta.  Inference is based on logic called nyaya  which is different from loukika logic.

Pratyaksha and anumana is not useful in proving or disproving Vedanta jnanam because both belong to different realities.  A nastika cannot prove or disprove vedanta jnanam because of this reason.


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