Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 1 > Vedanta Sutra


Vedanta Sutra


1.what is the characteristic of vedanta-sutra?


Greatly learned scholars, who have appeared in India just like the stars and illuminated the entire world, have praised the Brahma-sutra profusely. The acaryas of the jnani community headed by Srimat Sankaracarya and the acaryas of the devotee community headed by Srimat Ramanujacarya have established their respective philosophy based on the Brahma-sutra. what to speak of this,any community which has not composed a comentry on the Brhama sutra is not highly regarded in India. The  defination of the Brhma sutra is as follows;''Although the statements of the Upanisads conisist of all knoweledge,they are incomprehensible.'' To understand the meaning of one statement in relation to another statement is difficult. For a student to understand truth by studying the Upanisads is extremely hard. One can never understand the actual meaning of the Upanisads without the guidance of abona fide spiritual master. The Upanisads are the head of Vedic literature. They consist of knoweldge regarding the soul and the duty of the living entities.


One cannot become successful in human life if one does not realize the meaning of the Upanisads. After contemplating on this point, Lord Vyasadeva wrote the Brahma-sutra by dividing the statements of the Upanisads. The Brahma-sutra is not simply a philosophy like Sarikhya, Patanjala, Nyaya, Vaisesika, and Purva-mimamsa, but it is spiritual literature that properly establishes the purport of the Upanisads, which are the head of the Vedas. Hence, everyone worships it. Those who desire to accumulate spiritual knowledge should study Brahma-sutra and not labor hard to study other scriptures. It is not easy for a person to understand the true meaning of the Brahma-sutra. It is not that simply by studying the sutras one will understand the meaning.Without the help of the commentary on the sutras, the meaning cannot be understood. Therefore, one will achieve spiritual knowledge if one learns the meaning of the sutras from a bona fide spiritual master. Now the difficult question is where can we get a proper commentary on the sutras or where can we find a bona fide spiritual master who is expert in explaining the meaning of the sutras.


The commentary on Brahma-sutra written by the sage Baudhayana is almost extinct. With utmost care, Sri Ramanuja Svami collected that commentary from Sarada-pltha and thereafter wrote his own commentary on Brahma-sutra known as Sri-bhasya. This description is found in a Sanskrit book, Prapanndmrta. Sarada-pltha was the place of Sri Sankaracarya. There is no doubt that Sarikara Svami kept the commentary of Baudhayana with great care in his matha. Sarikara Svami, the direct incarnation of Rudra, composed the Sariraka-bhasya on Brahma-sutra to carry out his own work. It is said that to spread his own commentary Sankaracarya hid the commentary of Baudhayana.{Sajjana-tosani 8/1)


2. Which is the genuine commentary on Brahma-sutra? What is the main reason behind Sahkaracarya's hiding the Srimad-Bhdgavatam and the commentary of Baudhayana?


Vedavyasa is the compiler of the Brahma-sutra. After composing the sutras, he thought, "The purpose for which I composed these sutras, by extracting the meaning of the Upanisads, has not become successful. Unless I personally compose a commentary, the sutras will not be understood." When he was contemplating in this way, Narada Muni appeared and instructed him to compose a commentary. Thus, Vyasadeva wrote a commentary on Brahma-sutra called the Srimad-Bhdgavatam. These events are described in many Purdnas.


Although Srimad-Bhdgavata-mahdpurdna is the genuine commentary of Brahma-sutra, still by the order of his spiritual master, the great sage Baudhayana compiled a commentary on Brahma-sutra. Therefore, there were two commentaries on the Brahma-sutra available in the world. To carry on with his work in following the order of the Lord, Sri Sahkara Svami wrote a commentary on Brahma-sutra called Mayavdda-bhdsya and tried his best to conceal both the commentaries as explained above. {Sajjana-tosani 8/1)


3. How many divisions does the Brahma-sutra have and what do they establish?


The Brahma-sutra is divided into four chapters. Each chapter is further divided into four parts. The first chapter of Brahma-sutra describes that all the Vedas are in perfect harmony with the Supreme Brahman, the second chapter describes that the scriptures do not contradict each other, the third chapter describes the process for attaining Brahman, and fourth chapter describes that attaining Brahman is the ultimate goal of life.Living entities who are faithful, peaceful, pure-hearted, self-controlled, free from material desires, and greedy to associate with saintly persons are qualified to study this scripture. This scripture gives knowledge, and that knowledge is about the Supreme Brahman; therefore, this scripture and the Supreme Brahman are related to each other. This scripture establishes that Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead; He is pure, eternal, flawless, and full of bliss, knowledge, unlimited qualities, and inconceivable potencies. The goal of this scripture is to remove the unlimited faults of the living entities and help them meet the Supreme Lord.


There are five branches of knowledge in this scripture: visaya, samsaya, purva-paksa, siddhdnta or sangati, and nydya. Nydya is a particular portion of each chapter, visaya are statements for consideration, samsaya discuss doubts, purva-paksa discusses opposing arguments, and siddhdnta is the authentic conclusion.(Sajjana-tosani 8/1)


4. What philosophical conclusions have the dcdryas preached based on the Brahma-sutra?


The statements of the Upanisads are called Veddnta. To properly explain the Veddnta, Sri Vedavyasa divided it into four chapters and composed sutras called the Brahma-sutra or the Veddnta-sutra. The Veddnta-sutra has been widely respected by the intellectual people of the world. The simple conclusion is that the instructions found in the Veddnta-sutra are the true purport of the Vedas. Different dcdryas have extracted different conclusions from the Veddnta-sutra, which nourish their own philosophies.Sri Sarikaracarya preached the philosophy of vivarta-vdda from these sutras. He said that Brahman becomes transformed and is no longer Brahman, and so the philosophy oiparinama-vdda [the theory of transformation] is not proper, but the philosophy of vivarta-vdda is certainly proper. Another name of vivarta-vdda is Mayavada. He gathered necessary Vedic mantras and nourished his philosophy of vivarta-vdda. From this, it appears that the philosophy of parindma-vdda was current a long time ago. By establishing the philosophy of vivarta-vdda, Sri Sarikara suppressed the philosophy of parinama-vada.


Vivarta-vada is a theory; not being satisfied with this theory, Srlman Madhvacarya established dvaita-vdda with the support of Vedic mantras. In the same way, with the support of Vedic mantras. Srimad Ramanujacarya established the philosophy of visistddvaita-vdda, Sri Nimbadityacarya established the philosophy of dvaitddvaita-vdda, and Sri Visnu SvamI established the philosophy of suddhddvaita-vada.The Mayavada philosophy preached by Sri Sarikaracarya is totally opposed to the science of devotional service. In spite of establishing and propagating separate philosophies, the conclusions of the four Vaisnava dcdryas are in accordance with devotional service. Srlman Mahaprabhu extracted the conclusion of all Vedic statements while respecting the philosophies of the four Vaisnava dcdryas and taught that philosophy to His followers. The name of His philosophy is acintya-bheddbheda-tattva. Even though He accepted the sampraddya of Srlman Madhvacarya, He only accepted the essence of Madhavacarya's philosophy.(Jaiva Dharma Chapter 18)


5. Is Veddnta, impersonal knowledge?


In all respects Veddnta is philosophy that aims at devotional service to the Lord. (Tattva-viveka)


6 . How did the commentaries on Vedanta develop and who discovered the science of mddhurya-rasa?


After collecting Baudhayana's commentary on the Veddnta-sutra, Sri Ramanuja, who was an incarnation of Sarikarsana, wrote his own commentary on Veddnta-sutra known as Sri-bhdsya. The science of mddhurya-rasa was not revealed in that commentary, and therefore Srimad Govindadeva ordered Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana to reveal that science for the inquisitive devotees. At a place near Jaipur, Baladeva Vidyabhusana, a surrendered devotee of Sri Caitanyadeva, engaged in studying Vedic literature and wrote a commentary on the Brahma-sutra known as Govinda-bhdsya .

(Sajjana-tosani 8/1)


7. Do the Vaisnavas need to study Govinda-bhasya?


Many people think "I am a Vaisnava," but one should study Sri Govinda-bhdsya to know exactly what one must do and understand to become a Vaisnava. For the Vaisnavas, this Govinda-bhdsya is invaluable treasure.(Sajjana-tosani 8/1)