Bhagavān

Mapping of Bhāgavatam 1.1.1 onto Vedānta-sūtras, Part 2

Recap

We continue our examination of the mapping of the Vedānta-sūtras onto Bhāgavatam 1.1.1. As we saw before, the first five sutras are:

  • 1.1.1 athato brahma-jijñāsa
  • 1.1.2 janmādy asya yato
  • 1.1.3 śāstra yonitvāt
  • 1.1.4 tat tu samanvayāt
  • 1.1.5 ikṣater nāśabdam
  • 1.1.1. Now therefore inquiry should be made into the Absolute Truth,
  • 1.1.2. from which arise the creation and so on,
  • 1.1.3 [That Brahman is source of creation and so on is concluded from scripture] because scripture [alone] is the source of valid knowledge regarding Him,
  • [How is it that scripture is the only valid means to know Brahman?]
  • 1.1.4 But the truth that Brahman is knowable only through the Vedas is due to the fact that the Vedas are consistently reconciled in Him alone.
  • [Is pradhāna not the source of the creation as described by proponents of Sāṅkhya?]
  • 1.1.5 Because of the mention of [Brahman’s] act of seeing, pradhāna [is not the source of creation].

The Bhāgavatam verse is:

janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mṛṣā
dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi

Let us meditate on that Supreme Truth from whom this cosmos emanates, in whom it exists, and into whom it will be dissolved; who is concluded to be the foundational source through the import (artheṣu) of all the various types of Vedic statements, be they affirmative (anvayāt) or disaffirmative (itarataḥ); who is fully cognizant of everything and self-resplendent (svarāṭ); who revealed the Veda, about which even great sages are perplexed, to the first seer [Brahmā] by way of the heart; in whom the threefold creation is a real emergence, just as fire, water, and earth intermix with each other to produce material objects; and by whose own effulgence, all deception is utterly dispelled. (sb 1.1.1)

We have already seen that the first sūtra maps onto Bhāgavatam 1.1.1 as follows:

athāto brahma jijñāsa = satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi, tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mṛṣā dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ

Mapping onto VS 1.1.2

Śrī Jīva Goswami next turns his attention to sūtra 1.1.2. This mapping is explicit as the words janmādy asya yato are repeated verbatim in Bhāgavatam 1.1.1. Thus,

janmādy asya yato (VS 1.1.2) = janmādy asya yato (SB 1.1.1) – “from whom (yato) this cosmos (asya) emanates, in whom it exists, and into whom it will be dissolved)

Śrī Jīva explains that the word janmādi functions as a bahuvrihi compound, which qualifies the word ‘param’ in SB 1.1.1. However, the word is a upalakṣaṇa and not viśesaṇa of the satyam param in the verse.

Therefore although the meaning is, ‘“Let us meditate (dhimahi) upon that Absolute (param) from whom (yatah) this cosmos (asya) appears, etc.,” the meditation should only be on the svarūpa of Bhagavān, and not the upalakṣaṇa.

Scripture, not logic, is pramāṇa

Śrī Jīva notes that VS 1.1.3 and 1.1.4 establish the same upalakṣaṇa or taṭastha lakṣaṇa of param as VS 1.1.2. This is because VS 1.1.3 is a response to the following question that arises when one hears VS 1.1.2:

कुतो ब्रह्मणो जगज्जन्मादिहेतुत्वम्? How is that Brahman is the cause of the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the cosmos?

The reply is:

शास्त्रं योनिर्ज्ञानकारणं यस्य तत्त्वात्- Because scripture is the source of knowledge (yoni) about It (VS 1.1.3)

(and

“यतो वा इमानि भूतानि” इत्यादिशास्त्रप्रमाणकत्वादिति – Because there are statements to prove it, such as “From whom all these beings spring forth”.)

The main point is that logic or argumentation cannot prove the validity of the VS 1.1.2. Śrī Jīva himself offers a logical refutation of the notion that God is a creator of the world:

ईश्वरः कर्ता न भवति प्रयोजनशून्यत्वान् मुक्तात्मवत् – God cannot be the agent, because like a liberated person, He has no purpose to achieve.

But such logic contradicts scripture and therefore is rejected.

Mapping onto VS 1.1.3 and 1.1.4

Which part of the Bhagavatam verse 1.1.1 might be directly related to VS 1.1.3 and 1.1.4? As a fun exercise, try discovering this yourself by scanning verse 1.1.1 above!

If you guessed anvayād itarataś cā, you are correct! The mapping is:

śāstra yonitvāt, tat tu samanvayāt = anvayād itarataś cā, which means “[The Absolute Truth, upon whom we meditate, is concluded to be the foundational source of the creation of the cosmos] from the import (artheṣu) of all the various types of Vedic statements, be they affirmative (anvayāt) or disaffirmative (itarataḥ).”

The justification for this mapping is as follows (see Babaji’s commentary on Annucheda 105.7 of Paramatma Sandarbha for more information). The word ‘samanvaya’ literally means ‘that which is present appropriately in all sentences of scripture’. To arrive at samanvaya, there are different methods available to the inquirer. Śrī Baladeva Vidyabhusana defines samanvaya as the ‘essence of scripture arrived at by proper deliberation through analysis of the six indicators beginning with upakrama and so on (ṣaḍ-liṅga)’. Another method to derive samanvaya is that of anvaya (affirmation or inclusion) and vyatireka (disaffarmation or exclusion). Indeed, Śrī Jīva defines samanvaya as follows:

अन्वयव्यतिरेकाभ्यामुपपादनं समन्वयस्तस्मात् – To establish a conclusion by affirmation (anvaya) and disaffirmation is called samanvaya, meaning synthesis or consistent reconciliation.

Śrī Jīva cites many examples of anvaya such as:

सत्यं ज्ञानमनन्तं ब्रह्म – Brahman is truth, consciousness, and unlimited.

आनन्दो ब्रह्म – Brahman is bliss.

यतो वा इमानि भूतानि जायन्ते – Brahman is one alone without a second.

Some examples of vyatireka he cites are:

कथमसतः सज् जायेत -How can being (sat) arise from non-being (asat)?

को ह्येवान्यात् कः प्राण्याद् यदेष आकाश आनन्दो न स्यात् – If this bliss (Paramātmā) were not present in the sky of the heart, who indeed would infuse life into anything?

एको ह वै नारायण आसीन् न ब्रह्मा न च शङ्करः – Verily, there was Nārāyaṇa alone; there was no Brahmā and no Śiva.

He further cites another Vedānta sūtra (1.1.12) which states that Bhagavan is the reconciliation of all other statements:

आनन्दमयोSभ्यासात् – Brahman is full of bliss, because this is repeated throughout the scriptures (VS 1.1.12).

Because of the direct relation of the word ‘samanvaya’ with ‘anvaya’ and ‘vyatireka’, and because VS 1.1.4 is related syntactically to VS 1.1.3, the mapping above is proved.

Summary

In this article, we saw how Śrī Jīva draws out two mappings:

janmādy asya yato (VS 1.1.2) = janmādy asya yato (SB 1.1.1) – “from whom (yato) this cosmos (asya) emanates, in whom it exists, and into whom it will be dissolved)

śāstra yonitvāt, tat tu samanvayāt = anvayād itarataś cā, which means “[The Absolute Truth, upon whom we meditate, is concluded to be the foundational source of the creation of the cosmos] from the import (artheṣu) of all the various types of Vedic statements, be they affirmative (anvayāt) or disaffirmative (itarataḥ).”

In the next article, we will conclude this series.

Categories: Bhagavān, concepts

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