The purport of BU (BV) 2.1 is: The
Brahman alone is TRUTH and only
appears as this world comprising five
elements, names and forms and sense-
organs (pranas) that are related as
Causes and their means. Consequently,
BU (BV) 2.2 and 3 explain the (real)
nature of the pranas and the gods
superintending over them, thereby
seeking to explain prana vai satyam
tesam esa satyam. Finally, it is shown
how the Brahman obtains as the twofold
world murta ‘what has form’ and amurta
‘what has no form’. This determines the
significance of the Upanisadic teaching
Dr. K. P. Jog
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
Dr. Shoun Hino is Professor of Philosophy
at Gifu Pharmaceutical University
(Japan). He did his M.A. under late Prof.
H. Kitagawa and Prof. Musashi
Tachikawa at Nagoya University and
Ph.D. studies under Prof. K.P. Jog at
Poona University in 1979.
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
Yajfiavalkya who affirmed neti neti, Le. indescribability of the
Brahman, the ultimate Truth. It is on this basis that Sankara
built up his theory of Non-dualistic Vedanta.
Consequently, the Bhasya of Sankara on this Upanisad has
assumed a very great significance in Vedantic literature. Next
to his Bhasya on the Brahmastitra- 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 phi-
losopher. 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 Brhadaranyakopanisad-
bhasyavartika. The last member of the compound-name, vartika,
refers to Sureévara’s discussion of ukta, anukta and durukta
portions in Sankara’s writing. Suresvara has underlined every
small detail in the varied arguments in the Bhasya on the
Upanisad and clarified the same with characteristic skill. It is
noticed that Sureévara 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 Bhartrprapafica, a predecessor or
a senior contemporary of Sankara. It may become possible for
us, now, to set up a somewhat understandable scheme of
Bhartrprapajica’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 (implying Pramanavyavahara or Nyaya)
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 Brhaddranyakopanisad 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
Our translation of Sisu and Murtamirta Brahmana 2.2 and
2.3 in BUBV goes to the press somewhat late and_ before
Ajatasatru Brahmana; this is owing to the sudden and quite
a prolonged illness of K. P. Jog. Consequently, our introduction
to BUBV 2.2 and 3, which depends much on the earlier
Brahmana, viz. AjalaSatru Brahmana is bound to be (in some
measure) deficient. It takes for granted what is (or, will be)
said in the introduction to that Brahmana; it relates more to
the textual details than to the problems involved. That is to
say, it is not clarified herein how BU (or, BUBV) 2.2 and 3
do not present any significantly positive philosophical thoughts
in addition to those in BU (or, BUBV) 2.1; they merely amplify,
by adding explanatory details, the thought in the latter.
A few words about our translation may not be unnecessary.
There is inherent difficulty in rendering into very simple English
structure the slightly (and comparatively) truncated or complex
Sanskrit structure; we have yet tried at a number of places to
simplify the same by avoiding as much literal English rendering
as in the earlier parts of our series.
As usual our friends and colleagues in the Deccan College,
Pune have helped us in tracing some citations. We acknowledge
gratefully their help. We express our special thanks also to Prof.
K. Macida (ILCAA), Prof. J. Takashima (ILCAA) and Mr. N.
Okaguchi. Prof. Macida is a developer of Devanagari printing
software called CATUR, which has been used in preparing our
books, and Mr. Okaguchi is a Devanagari font designer.
We hope to put into our readers’ hands the work on BUBV
2.1 at some early date.
We -have already stated in the Preface how BUBV 2.2 and
3 go merely to amplify, by adding explanatory details, the thought
in BUBV 2.1. This becomes clear in the light of the synoptic
contents of the two Brahmanas under translation in this part
of our work. (These are given below).
But first, it is necessary to record here that BUBV 2.1.20
stated that the vital force is a/the body, which is the Atman
namely, the inner self— is the (basic or ultimate) truth of the
pranas ‘organs’ which are described as truth (Read: etasmad
atmanah sarve pranah sarve lokah sarve devah sarvani bhutan
vyuccaranti ... prand vai satyam tesam esa satyam). Therefore,
BU 2.2, which seeks to clarify the nature of the Atman, i.e.
the inner self, describes it figuratively as sis ‘a young one’ bound
by physical bonds or, to speak precisely, the limiting adjuncts
of the same. Also, it reveals the secret names of the Self.
Naturally, therefore, BU 2.2 is called Sigsu Brahmana.
Then BU 2.3 goes to describe the two forms of the same
Brahman (i.e. the inner self) in order to explain its secret names
and its so-called composition which does not belie its description
as the truth of the truth. The Brahman is here described as
(i) having forms (uirta) and (ii) not having any form whatever
(anurta). It (viz. which is muirta) is then described as mortal
(martya), limited in point of time and place (sthita), existent
as distinct objects (sat) and finally that (tyat), viz. beyond
description. The same is again described as comprising the
perceptible (three in number) and imperceptible (two in number)
elements (b/itas). The adhyatma ‘with reference to a/the body’
and adhidaivata ‘with reference to deities’ forms also are well
determined —this, in relation to three elements, viz. Prthivi, Ap
and Tejas (murta) and that in relation to the remaining two
elements, viz. Wind and Sky (amurta). Finally, the form of that
Purusa ‘being’ is revealed (with the help of examples) which
leads to the proper philosophical and true description of its
name also, and to the instruction (a@desa) about its nature in
the words neti neti. All this is significantly called Murtamurta
Brahmana. This Brahmana, viz. 2.3, is comparatively longer than
its preceding and, as a result, BUBV 2.2 is shorter than BUBV
2.3. This should become clear from the following synopsis of
In the beginning, Suresvara brings out (in verses 1-7) how
there is continuation of the thought of BUBV 2.1. Then he
explains (in verses 8-15ab) the meaning of the first section of
BUBV 2.2. He supplements to this explanation the interpretation
of the word sasthtinam offered by a pre-Sankara Vedantin
Bhartrprapafica (in verses 15cd-21). He explains the second
section (in verses 22-24) and the third section (in verses 25-29).
He explains the fourth section (in verses 30 and 31).
This shows how brief is Suresvara’s explanation of BUB. It
is not necessary to present here the details of a comparative
discussion about BUB and BUBV. It is necessary to point out,
nevertheless, that Suresvara avoids many of the details in BUB
on section four. Possibly, he does not appear to notice any
significant philosophical points revealed in them.
Suresvara pays, it seems, greater attention to the introduction
to the Brahmana (verses 1-14). He explains only minutely the
purport of the first section (in verses 15-34) and thus clarifies
the significance of the different concepts—or, rather, adjectives
murta, martya etc.—in relation to the ‘elements’. Then (in verses
35-44) he brings out, by way of explaining the words muirta,
martya, sthita and (finally) sat in relation to the three elements
Prthivi etc. in the second section. He explains thereafter (in
verses 45-48) the purport of the third section, stressing the
meaning of Mandala, i.e. Hiranyagarbha. Incidentally, following
Sankara’s very briefly worded view of Bhartrprapajica (in BUB)
regarding the BU sentence tyasya hy esa rasah, he presents the
same (in verses 49-58ab) and then gives blame to it, by pointing
out the faults involved in the same (in verses 58cd-68) at length;
this is in relation to the deities connected therewith (adhidaivata).
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