This Volume pertains to mere prescriptions for such meditations as relate to some non-Atman elements connected with the worship of Atman (i.e. Brahman). Thus it forms a supplement to the principal thought of the Upanisad which is presented in its thoroughness in chapters 3-5. Also, incidentally, it throws light on people's aspirations in their normal or worldly life and indulgence in non-Srauta rituals of minor significance.
Also, it provides the readers with the Half-Verse Index of the whole of Suresvara's Vartika on the Brhadaranyakopanisad.
About the Author:
Dr. K.P. Jog is a retired Professor of Vedic Sanskrit and General Editor of Sanskrit Dictionary Project of Deccan College Research Institute, Pune.
Dr. Shoun Hino is professor of Gifu Pharm, University (Japan). He did his M.A. at Nagoya University (Japan) and Ph.D. at Poona University (India).
The Brhadaranyaka is the biggest and most important one among principal Upanisads and contains numerous discussions of teachers, pupils, questioners and others. It is marked by philosophical speculations not opposed to but in conformity with a vigorous performance of rituals. The Brhadaranyaka reveals to us the towering personality of the great Upanisadic thinker Yajnavalkya who affirmed neti neti, i.e. indescribability of the Brahman, the ultimate Truth. It is on this basis that Sañkara built up his theory of Non-dualistic Vedànta.
Consequently, the Bhasya of Sañkara on this Upanisad has assumed a very great significance in Vedantic literature. Next to his Bhasya on the Brhadaranyaka nay almost on a par with it his Bhasya on this Upanisad is a vivid picture of the (almost aggressively) vigorous philosophical acumen of the great philosopher. And this is more pronouncingly felt in his references to and the refutations of the arguments of the followers of other systems of Indian philosophy, for they were unavoidable for him while he clarified (in his way—on the non-dualistic way) the thought of the Upanisad from which he was distant at least by a period of about 1000 years and since there had intervened between him and the Upanisad a number of thinkers of various systems. Yet, since he had set himself to the task of commenting on the Upanisad, he inevitably became somewhat brief, leaving quite a lot of disputations unclear (for his contemporaries).
This gave his pupil Suresvara a scope for clarifying his Guru’s thought in its fullness and he wrote the Brhadaranyakopanisadbhasyavartika. The last member of the compound-name, vartika, refers to Suresvara’s discussion of ukia, anukia and durukia portions in Sankara’s writing. Suresvara has underlined every small detail in the varied arguments in the Bhasya on the Upaniad and clarified the same with characteristic skill. It is noticed that Suresvara is familiar with minute details of different philosophical systems Nyaya and Mimamsa in particular and therefore he has in a way shaped the Tika of Anandagiri the most read commentator of Sankara’s works thus throwing abundant light on the vigorous philosophical activity of the times which preceded his teacher sankara and himself.
A special mention has to be made here of Suresvara’s detailed discussions of the views of Bhartrprapanca a predecessor or a senior contemporary of Sankara. It may become possible for us now to set up a somewhat understandable scheme of Bhartrprapanca’s philosophy on the basis of these. Another significant contribution of Suresvara deserves special notice. His discussions about the interpretation of Vedantic passage (implying Mimamsa) and various means of understanding knowledge in relation to the Vedantic logic indeed deserve in-depth studies for purposes of clarifying the method of Non dualistic Vedanta.
The Vartika of Suresvara on the Brhadaranyakopanisad is truly his magnum opus and needed to be translated in full. I feel happy that Prof. K.P. Jog and his worthy pupil Dr. Shoun Hino have undertaken this important task. I have gone through the earlier parts of this work and find that they have well attempted to secure a satisfactory translation. This translation I cannot forget to add is accompanied by some brief annotation on the same. For this work Dr. Hino was awarded the 1991 Eastern Study Prize by the Eastern Institute Inc. at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo.
While we present the translations of BU chapters 5 and 6, we should invite the readers’ attention to two things. First, we have included here the translations of BU 5.15 and 6.1 even if these were presented in our earlier volumes (of course, for convenient references in the relevant portions. Those translations, we should state, were apparently tentative and had to be sufficiently revised. Therefore, they are not mere repetitions. Besides, they serve their purpose in the contexts in which they find their proper place. Secondly, the readers would feel puzzled to find that, BU chapter 5 has only 15 Brãhmanas ‘sections’ whereas B1JBV has 17. This is because Suresvara has divided the contents of BU 5 into three different Brähmanas:
BUBV 5.5 corresponds to BU 5.5.1,
BUBV 5.6 corresponds to BU 5.5.2, and
BUBV 5.7 corresponds to BU 5.5.3-4.
In all lie makes three Brähmanas of one and consequently 17 Brhmanas of 15.
Our friends and colleagues in the Deccan College, Pune have as usual helped us in tracing citations in BUBV and its commentaries. to their sources. We acknowledge their help gratefully. Our special thanks go to Prof. K. Macida (ILCAA), Prof. J. Takashima (ILCAA) and Mr. N. Okaguchi. Prof. Macida is a developer of Devanãgari printing software, called Catur, which has been used in preparing our hooks, and Mr. Okaguchi is a Devangari font designer.
Our other volumes will soon follow at regular intervals.
The foregoing four chapters have declared that the Brahman which alone is immediately and directly perceptible which is the inner self within all (beings) which is not affected by any delimiting adjuncts which is beyond hunger etc and which can be described (merely) as not this not this (viz. that Brahman) the knowledge of which is a means to attaining immortality. Now are to be considered (or described) the so-far-not mentioned modes is delimited by adjuncts which has been within the (worldly) dealings involving words and (their) senses (or objects signified) which are not opposed (in nature) to (ritual) activities which are excellent means of achieving prosperity and which (can) achieve for an individual gradual liberation. This is the purpose of the ensuing (portion of the Upanisad). (As such) the Sruti intends to prescribe of om as an ancillary part of all of them (i.e. modes of worship) the control (in one’s conduct) making of gills and having (i.e. showing) Compassion (for others).
It is evident from this extract from BUB that the contents of these two chapters are hardly philosophical in nature. They are purely descriptive of various modes of the worship of the Brahman or various Meditations related to those things which are not the Brahman and have yet to be looked upon as the Brahman. These worships can be considered as leading basically to worldly prosperity and indirectly to liberation.
In chapter 5 the objects of worship (or meditation) are mainly the different parts or organs of the body viz, the heart (some times called as satya) manas, vac the fire in the stomach (vaisvanaragni) then vidyut lightening tapas heat food prana the principal wind in the body uktha, yajus, saman, ksatra these four have to be looked upon as prana the (well known) Gayatri and thus representing the combination of knowledge and action these culminate into the worship of Aditya that is principally Agni.
In chapter 6 is taken up the meditation on Prana abiding in the eye ear etc. it is reaffirmed that among all of the organs etc. prana is the most shining i.e. most important. It is then related to the pancagnividya the lore of five fires as becoming the origin of a human body and for emphasizing this a narrative of svetaketu Gautama is introduced. Also in connection with retas becoming waters in the fifth aluti of the pancagni worship there is a description of the Devayana and Pitryana worship there is a description of the Devayana and Pitryana paths. As a trail of this comes a very brief statement about the funeral of a dead man whether he knows or not the significance of pancagnividya. Then follows the description of the Mantha rite for begetting a son and also as a matter of course a man’s uniting with his wife according to the dictates of Dharma as well as an incidental abhicara karman.
In the end there is a statement of the line of teachers related to the whole the Khilla Kanda.
Now a few general observations have to be made in relation to the various Brahamanas of these two chapters. In other chapters most of the sections bear each a name for it but the sections in the 5th and 6th chapters do not bear each any name apparently there was a significance in any name.
Also since there have been descriptions of such modes of worship as are connected with the non Brahman or mundane objects there is a clear tendency to be traced form the Upanisadic times and also consequently in Sankaracarya and his followers to assimilate what are called popular notions of deities and rites offered to them with the staunch Vedantic theory.
In almost the concluding part of the 6th chapter are noticed some aspects of the latterly known Grhya and Dharma sutras in relation to a man’s pursuit of Kama sex desire and act a beginning of the thought in the Kamasutra and man’s attitude towards women the notions of black magic connected with the same also cannot be overlooked.
It has to be observed that though he has almost closely followed Sankaracarya Suresvara has occasionally dropped a few of this thoughts that are expressed in BUB at great length. We have left it for the readers to see this for themselves inasmuch as Suresvara has not missed the spirit of the original.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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