Brahma Sutras


Brahma Sutras

The Brahma sūtras, also known as "Vedānta Sūtras", constitute the "Nyāya prasthāna", the logical starting point of the "Vedānta" philosophy (Nyāya = logic/order). No study of Vedānta is considered complete without a close examination of the "Prasthāna Traya", the texts that stand as the three starting points. The Brahma Sutras are attributed to Badarayana.

While the Upanishads ("Śruti prasthāna", the starting point of revelation) and the Bhagavad-Gītā ("Smriti prasthāna", the starting point of remembered tradition) are the basic source texts of Vedānta, it is in the Brahma sūtras that the teachings of Vedānta are set forth in a systematic and logical order.

While the earlier commentators like Adi Shankara treat Bādarāyaņa, the author of the Brahma Sūtra, as a distinct person, Vaishnavite tradition identifies him with Krishna Dwipayana Vyāsa, the author of the Mahābhārata.

Commentaries

Many commentaries have been written on this text, the earliest extant one being the one by Adi Shankara. His commentary set forth the non-dualistic ("Advaita") interpretation of the Vedānta, and was commented upon by Vācaspati and Padmapāda. These sub-commentaries, in turn, inspired other derivative texts in the Advaita school.

Ramanuja also wrote a commentary on the Brahma sutra, called Sri Bhasya, which lays the foundations of the Vishishtadvaita tradition. In this, he firmly refutes the Advaita view as proposed by Adi Shankara in his commentary.

Other commentators on the Brahma Sūtras, belonging to other schools of Vedānta, include Bhāskara, Yādavaprakāśa, Keśava, Nīlakaņţha, Madhva, Vallabha, Vijnanabhiksu, Nimbarka, and Baladeva Vidyābhūshaņa.

Overview

The Brahma Sūtras are also known by other names: "Vedānta Sūtras", "Uttara Mīmāmsā-sūtras", "Śārīraka Sūtras", "Śārīraka Mimāmsā-sūtras". Vaishnavas also call this the "Bhikshu sūtras".

The Brahma Sūtras attempt to reconcile the seemingly contradictory and diverse statements of the various Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gītā, by placing each teaching in a doctrinal context. The word "sūtra" means thread, and the Brahma sūtras literally stitch together the various Vedanta teachings into a logical and self-consistent whole.

However, the Brahma Sūtras are so terse that not only are they capable of being interpreted in multiple ways, but they are often incomprehensible without the aid of the various commentaries handed down in the main schools of Vedānta thought.

The Vedānta Sūtras supply ample evidence that at a very early time, i.e. a period before their own final composition, there were differences of opinion among the various interpreters of the Vedānta. Quoted in the Vedānta Sūtras are opinions ascribed to Audulomi, Kārshnāgni, Kāśakŗtsna, Jaimini and Bādari, in addition to Vyasa.

The Brahma Sūtras consist of 555 aphorisms or sūtras, in four chapters ("adhyāya"), each chapter being divided into four quarters ("pāda"). Each quarter consists of several groups of sūtras called "Adhikaraņas" or topical sections. An "Adhikaraņa" usually consists of several sūtras, but some have only one sūtra.

The first chapter ("Samanvaya": harmony) explains that all the Vedānta texts talk of Brahman, the ultimate reality, which is the goal of life. The very first sūtra offers an indication into the nature of the subject matter. VS 1.1.1 "athāto brahma jijñāsā" - Now: therefore the inquiry (into the real nature) of Brahman.

The second chapter ("Avirodha": non-conflict) discusses and refutes the possible objections to Vedānta philosophy. The third chapter ("Sādhana": the means) describes the process by which ultimate emancipation can be achieved. The fourth chapter ("Phala": the fruit) talks of the state that is achieved in final emancipation.

These "sūtras" systematize the jñānakāņda (path of wisdom, as opposed to "Karmakāņda", the path of duty) of the Veda, by combining the two tasks of concisely stating the teaching of the Veda and argumentatively establishing the specific interpretation of the Veda adopted in the sūtras.

The sūtras also discuss the role of karma and God and critically address the various doctrines associated with Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaisheshika, Shaiva, Shakta, Atheism, and Sankhya philosophies.

Related links

* [http://sa.wikibooks.org/wiki/ब्रह्मसूत्र Brahma Sutra in Devanagari]
* [http://www.bharatadesam.com/spiritual/brahma_sutra/brahma_sutra_sankara_index.php Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Adi Shankara] - Translated by George Thibaut
* [http://www.bharatadesam.com/spiritual/brahma_sutra/sribhashya_ramanuja/vedanta_sutra_commentary_ramanujaindex.php Sri Bhashya - Ramanuja's commentary on Brahma Sutras]
* [http://www.hinduism.8k.com/brahmasutras.html Brahma Sutras by Swami Sivananda (Basic Introduction)]
* [http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/bs_00.html Swami Sivananda's complete translation and commentary on the Brahma Sutras.]
* [http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe48/index.htm The Internet Sacred Texts Archive: Complete eText of the Vedanta-Sutras] -- with the commentary of Ramanuja Translated by George Thibaut
* [http://veda.harekrsna.cz/encyclopedia/vedsutra.htm Brahma Sutras]
* [http://www.akshamala.org Akshamala: A Vedantic Thesaurus in Telugu]
* Download the complete etext at [http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext05/8sutr10.zip Zip (569 K)] or [http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext05/8sutr10.txt Txt (1.6 M)] Formats.


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  • Brahma Sutras — Le Brahma Sutras aussi appelé Vedanta Sutras est un texte de l hindouisme lié à l école philosophique āstika du Vedanta. Ce texte, composé entre 500 et 200[1], est traditionnellement attribué à Badarayana (connu aussi sous le nom de Vyāsa). Ce… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brahma-Sutras — Das Brahma Sutra, auch als Vedanta Sutra bezeichnet, zählt im Hinduismus zu den Schriften der orthodoxen brahmanischen Tradition. Um die maßgeblichen Schriftstellen aus den Upanishaden, der Bhagavadgita sowie weiteren heiligen Schriften zu… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Brahma sūtra — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Los Brahma Sūtra son textos filosóficos pertenecientes a la tradición hinduista. Se los conoce con distintos nombres: Vedānta Sūtra Uttara Mīmāmsā Sūtra Śārīraka Sūtra Śārīraka Mimāmsā sūtra Bhikshu sūtra Contenido 1 …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Brahma-Sutra — Das Brahma Sutra, auch als Vedanta Sutra bezeichnet, zählt im Hinduismus zu den Schriften der orthodoxen brahmanischen Tradition. Um die maßgeblichen Schriftstellen aus den Upanishaden, der Bhagavadgita sowie weiteren heiligen Schriften zu… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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