concepts

Mapping of Bhāgavatam 1.1.1 onto Vedānta-sūtras, Part 3

In the previous two articles, we saw how the first four Vedānta-sūtras map onto the first verse of the Bhāgavatam. We now examine the fifth and final sūtra,

1.1.5 ikṣater nāśabdam:

1.1.5 Because of the mention of [Brahman’s] act of seeing, pradhāna [is not the source of creation].

Śrī Jīva Goswami explains that the above sūtra was composed to refute a key Sāñkhya doctrine. In Sāñkhya, pradhāna, or unmanifest nature is proposed as the cause of the world. In Sāñkhya, there is no role, therefore, for Iśvara. Because śabda or scripture does not support the idea that pradhāna is the cause of creation, this notion is against scripture. Therefore the word ‘aśabdam’ is used in the sutra for ‘pradhāna’.

Why is pradhāna unacceptable to scripture as the cause of the world? The answer is in the word ikṣateḥ which is in the fifth case and indicates a hetu or reason. The word ikṣateḥ is derived from the root ikṣ which means to see. Because scripture describes the act of glancing at pradhāna as the cause for the setting of creation into motion, therefore pradhāna cannot be accepted as the cause because pradhāna is inert. This is the essence of the sūtra. An example of such a statement is from the Aitareya Upaniṣad:

sa aikṣata lokan nu srjā sa imān lokān asrjata: He glanced [with the intention], ‘Let me create the worlds; He created these worlds’. (Aitareya Upaniṣad 1.1.1-2)

According to Śrī Jīva Goswami, the relation of this sūtra to the SB 1.1.1 is as follows:

ikṣater nāśabdam (VS 1.1.5) = abhijñaḥ meaning ‘omniscient’ or ‘fully cognizant of everything’ (SB 1.1.1)

How does the sūtra relate to omniscience? The answer is that the act of seeing is preceded by a deliberation or thought or desire to create the world. Seeing implies the ability to think, which implies knowledge. Given that everything in the world is created by that one desire, the act of seeing is of one who is omniscient. In this way, the mapping is proved.

As we have seen in this series of articles, in his own inimitable way, Śrī Jīva Goswami has established a direct relationship between words of the Vedānta-sūtras and of the first verse of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. He provides solid ground for the concept that the Bhāgavatam is a commentary on the Vedānta-sūtras, providing as it does specific and detailed information to explain the terse Vedānta-sūtras.

Śrī Maharajji has taken Śrī Jīva’s analysis a step further and published a book called Vedānta darshanam, in which he provides a mapping between all the Vedānta-sūtras and the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The book can be found at this link:

https://archive.org/details/vedanta_bhagavata/page/n45/mode/2up

We hope to discuss at least some of these mappings in future articles.

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