Sri Gurubhyo Namaha
These are quick notes for Brahma Sutra Bhaashya (authored by Sri Shankaracharya) classes that were taught by Swami Paramasukhananda, which I was a student of during 2012-2013. What I feel like recording I record. They are not a substitute for live classes, but done as my cogitation.
The Mimaamsa Shaastra is a way to extract meaning out of a text. The methodology of ascertaining the central teaching or subject matter of a text involves six aspects
- Upakrama-upasamhaara (Beginning and End): The subject matter of a text is typically repeated at the beginning and the end.
- Abhyaasah (Repetition) : The subject matter is typically repeated multiple times in the text.
- Apurvata (Novelty) : The subject matter of a text or scripture is what is novel about it. For instance, one should not search for English knowledge in a Physics text book.
- Phalam (Fruit of knowledge): The subject matter of a text is generally presented in the text as that by which one gets some utility or gain. More importantly, if a topic in the text is said to have negative utility or no utility, it is not the subject of the text.
- Arthavaada (Glorification): The subject matter of a text is one that may be glorified in the text extraordinarily.
- Upapattih (Not being illogical) : The subject matter of a text is one that is presented in a way that is not devoid of logic.
These are called the Mimaamsa shat-lingaani or taatparya lingaani (the signs that show what the subject matter is). Of these six, the primary are Apurvata, upapattih and phalam. The other three are secondary.
The Acharya presents the Vedanta as the scripture whose subject matter is Jiva-Brahma-aikyam (The oneness of the individual and the Lord (who also appears as the world)). The way that the Vedanta (Upanishads) satisfy these insignia to bring out Jiva-brahma-aikyam is as follows.
- Apurvata : The knowledge of duality is known to all via pratyaksha (sense-organs), so there is nothing to be taught here. So the detailing of srishti, etc by the Upanishads is not novel. The novel teaching is that there is no world or God apart from the Atman. The oneness between the Atman and the world and God is called Jiva Brahma Aikyam and the knowledge is called Atma-jnaanam or Brahma-jnaanam.
- Upapattih : The teaching of Jiva-brahma-aikyam is not an illogical teaching, because of the fact that one’s idea about oneself is based on assumptions that are illogical. Shaastra points this out and then claims the authority to give the knowledge of the Atman to itself. One can have doubts about it, but ultimately these get resolved if one sticks with Shaastra for sufficient time.
- Phalam : The Upanishads declare the fruit of the Atma-jnaanam to be the only thing that frees a man emotionally, as well as from the cycle of birth and death. No other knowledge is declared to have any fruit.
- Arthavaadah: Atma-jnaanam and the Atma-jnaani (the wise person who possesses Atma-jnaanam) is praised and glorified over and over again in the Upanishads.
- Upakrama-upasamhaarah : Several portions of the Upanishads begin and end with the subject being Atma-jnaanam or Jiva-brahma-aikyam.
- Abhyaasah : The teaching of Jiva-brahma-aikyam is repeated over and over again multiple times in the Upanishads.From these the Acharya concludes that the knowledge of the Atman is the subject matter of Vedanta (Upanishads).