Suresvara's Vartika on Jyotis Brahmana
|Author:||Shoun Hino & K.P. Jog|
|Publisher:||MOTILAL BANARSIDASS DELHI|
|Pages:||xx, 774 p.|
Consequently, the Bhasya of Sankara on this Upanisad has assumed a very great significance in Vedantic literature. Next to his Bhasya on the Brahmasutra nay almost on a par with it--his Bhasya on this Upanisad is a vivid picture of the (almost aggressively) vigorous philosophical acumen of the great philosopher. And this is more pronouncingly felt in his references to and the refutations of the arguments of the followers of other systems of Indian philosophy, for they were unavoidable for him while he clarified (in his way-on the non-dualistic way) the thought of the Upanisad from which he was distant at least by a period of about 1000 years and since there had intervened between him and the Upanisad a number of thinkers of various systems. Yet, since he had set himself to the task of commenting on the Upanisad, he inevitably became somewhat brief, leaving quite a lot of disputations unclear (for his contemporaries).
This gave his pupil Suresvara a scope for clarifying his Guru's thought in its fullness and he wrote the Brhadaranyakopanisadbhasyavartika. The last member of the compound-name, vartika, refers to Suresvara's discussion of ukta, anukta and durukta portions in Sankara's writing. Suresvara has underlined every small detail in the varied arguments in the Bhasya on the Upanisad and clarified the same with characteristic skill. It is noticed that Suresvara is familiar with minute details of different philosophical systems-Nyaya and Mimamsa, in particular and therefore he has in a way shaped the Tika of Anandagiri, the most read commentator of Sankara's works, thus throwing abundant light on the vigorous philosophical acitivity of the times which preceded his teacher Sankara and himself.
A special mention has to be made here of Suresvara's detailed discussions of the views of Bhartrprapanca, a predecessor or a senior contemporary of Sankara. It may become possible for us, now, to set up a somewhat understandable scheme of Bhartrprapanca 's philosophy on the basis of these. Another significant contribution of Suresvara deserves special notice. His discussions about the interpretation of Vedantic passage (implying Mimamsa) and various means of understanding/knowledge (implying Pramanavyavahara or Nyaya) in relation to the Vedantic logic indeed deserve in-depth studies for purposes of clarifying the method of non-dualistic Vedanta.
"The Vartika of Suresvara on the Brhadaranyakopanisad is truly his magnum opus and needed to be translated in full. I feel happy that Prof. K.P. Jog and his worthy pupil Dr. Shoun Hino have undertaken this important task. I have gone through the earlier parts of this work and find that they have well attempted to secure a satisfactory translation. This translation, I cannot forget to add, is accompanied by some brief annotation on the same. For this work Dr. Hino was awarded the 1991 Eastern Study Prize by the Eastern Institute, Inc. at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo." No. 19465
The Brhadaranyaka is the biggest and most important one among principal Upanisads and contains numerous discussions of teachers, pupils, questioners and others. It is marked by philosophical speculations not opposed to but in conformity with a vigorous performance of rituals. The Brhadranyaka reveals to us the towering personality of the great Upanisadic thinker Yajnavalkya who affirmed neil neil, i.e. indescribability of the Brahman, the ultimate Truth. It is on this basis that Sankara built up his theory of Non-dualistic Vedanta.
Consequently, the Bhasya of Sankara on this Upanisad has assumed a very great significance in Vedäntic literature. Next to his Bhãsya on the Bralunasülra— nay almost on a par with it—his Bhasya on this Upanisad is a vivid picture of the (almost aggressively) vigorous philosophical acumen of the great phi— Josopher. And this is more pronouncingly felt in his references to and the refutations of the arguments of the followers of other systems of Indian philosophy, for they were unavoidable for him while he clarified (in his way- —on the non-dualistic way) the thought of the Upanisad from which he was distant at least by a period of about 1000 years and since there had intervened between hen and the Upanisad a number of thinkers of various systems. Yet, since he had set himself to the task of commenting on the Upanisad, he inevitably became somewhat brief, leaving quite a lot of disputations unclear (for his contemporaries).
This gave his pupil Sureivara a scope for clarifying his Guru’s thought in its fullness and lie wrote the Brhadaranyakopanisadbhasyavartika. The last member of the compound—name, vartika, refers to Suresvara’s discussion of ukta, anukta and durukta portions in Sañkara’s writing. Suresvara has underlined every small detail in the varied arguments in the Bhaya on the Upanisad and clarified the same with characteristic skill. It is noticed that Suresvara is familiar with minute details of different philosophical systems Nyaya and Mimamsa in particular and therefore he has in a way shaped the Tika of Anandagiri the most read commentator of Sankara’s works thus throwing abundant light on the vigorous philosophical activity of the times which preceded his teacher Sankara and himself.
A special mention has to be made here of Suresvara’s detailed discussions of the views of Bhartrprapanca a predecessor or a senior contemporary of Sankara. It may understandable scheme of Bhartrprapanca’s philosophy on the basis of these. Anther significant contribution of Suresvara deserves special notice. His discussions about the interpretation of Vedantic passage and various means of understanding knowledge manavyavahara or Nyaya in relation to the Vedantic logic indeed deserve in depth studies for purpose of clarifying the method of Non Dualistic Vedanta.
In the Ajatasatri Brahmana viz BU 2.1. there has occurred the discussion on the definition of the Brahman and the remaining parts of BU 2, i.e. Brahmana 2-6 of it, proceeded to elucidate the nature of the manifest forms of the same; incidentally, though, the final part of that portion (SU 2.6) supplied information on the line of teachers relating to the last two chapters of the Satapoath Brahmana and the first two chapters of RU. These two chapters of BU, viz. 1 and 2, have, in keeping with the ancient tradition, enunciated in clear terms what is being dealt with in the work (uddita) and then taken up defining the Brahman (laksana) of the uddista (BU 2.1), the parfksä examination’ of the same only naturally following it. This examination has naturally taken the form of jalpa and vada (see for these terms under SUB 4.1.1 and 2) in chapters 3 and 4 of RU and is presented in the disputes between sage Yajbavalkya and several seers and the sage’s final instruction to king Janaka. It is worth noting, nevertheless, that chapter 3 and chapter 4.1 and 2 of BU appear to present one connected idea which is further elucidated in RU 4.3-6. Yet RU 4.3 and 4.4 are extremely significant, elaborate and fairly long presentations of two important aspects of the said examination and have demanded special treatment in BUBV and, consequently, in our scheme, i.e. in two separate volumes, soon to follow.
Though given in our volume 4 as an Appendix, the translation of BURV 3.1 is presented here in revised form in order that the reader can have one (conveniently) complete picture of Suresvara’s contribution.
As before, we have derived great help from Anandagiri’s Sastraprakasika (SP) and AnandapUrna’s Nyayakalpalatika (NKL). We express our special thanks to Prof. K. Macida (ILCAA), Prof. 3. Takashima (ILCAA) and Mr. N, Okaguchi. Prof. Macida offered us his own Devanagri printing software called Catur. Prof. Takashima Provided us with various programmes which made it possible to shape a book from the manuscript. And Mr. Okaguchi designed Devanagri Font.
In the beginning of the fourth chapter BUBV stated sastha arabhayate dhyayo vadanyaynea yatnatah The Sixth chapter is now begun in the manner which befits a debate. SP has explained the word vadanyayena as sisyavaryakramena tatvairnaya pradhananyayena and yatna as paranatanirasena svamatasadhana this is to say in the preceptor’s manner of imparting instruction to his pupil i.e. in such a way that the truth of the doctrine is ascertained and its correctness is established after the refutation of the view of the disputant on the basis of reasons showing the incorrectness or error in the same. This statement of BUBV has it must be noted taken its cur from BU itself. This may by clarified by what we said in our preceding volume which dealt with the dialogue of Yajnavalkya with artabhaga and others. That dialogue relates to Yajnavalkya’s disputes with a number of seers and it is seen the sage has affirmed the oneness of the individual self and the Brahmana. This is according to him vijanam anadam brahma. In ch. 4.1 and 2 he has begun to ascertain the truth in his proposition and has for that purpose presented his definition of the Brahman. And now in ch. 4.3 he proposes to offer a profound discussion on how the Brahman can be comprehended in the light of an individual’s experience in the states of waking dream and deep sleep. He seeks to establish that the Braman is independent pure and similar to light it has the omnipotent power to bring bliss and fearlessness to an individual who ponders over its nature and thereby overcomes duality all the doubts of the individual being removed in their entirety. To the last stages in the Tran migratory life of the seeker of the Brahman this is a preparation for the beginning of BU 4.4.
Suresvara faithfully follows Sankara in regard to many a detail of BUB and explains, time and again, the meanings of BU sentences, phrases and words which his preceptor has used. Also, he goes further to bring out the import of the observations in BUB with a careful attention to each of them. As such, it is noticeable that Suresvara has done his first duty as a Vartikakara, viz, to explain what has been said (ukta) in the Bhasya. The next two duties of a Vartikakara are: to add, in his explanation, his own observations/comments on what has remained unsaid (anukta) and also on what is not properly said (durukta) therein. Yet, it is gratifying to note that, on going through the contents of BUBV 4.3, one does not find anywhere any comment with reference to what has been ‘not properly said’ (durukta) and, thus, Suresvara had not to do the third duty of a Vartikakara. However, there are, according to Suresvara, certain unsaid (anukia) details without whose explanations (and/or any comments thereon) the thought of flU 4.3 would remain wanting in fullness. Suresvara filled up most of the gaps which he has found it necessary to fill.
Our such gap—and that is very important— is the thoughts of the age-honored Advaitin Bhartrprapanca whom even Sankara could/did not ignore. His occasional remarks on Bhartrprapanca’s views cannot be mistaken though, more details in the same, their acceptability, to some extent, and the wrongs or internal contradictions in the same, have demanded Suresvara’s attention. In fact, it may be said that he has invited scholars’ attention to their great importance (this, we have observed in our earlier volumes and Prof. Nakamura also has noted in his foreword). We may add: SP has rendered excellent help in understanding these. Here, in this volume, we only note down some (and only very important) of Bhartrprapanca’s views and leave Out others which are just occasionally referred to; any discussion of these views is also avoided (for obvious reasons).
(i) BU 4.3.15 refers to the inner self (Jiva) in the deep sleep state thus: sa yat tatra kincit pasyaty ananvagatas tena bhavafy asango hy ayam purusah Suresvara has presented bhartrprapanca’s explanation of this ananvãgata-vakya in BUBV verses 4.3.1015-1086; but, among these verses, he has stated in verse 1049 an objection to Bhartrprapanca’s and immediately pointed out in verse 1050 the wrong in the objector’s view. In verses 1054-1074 Suresvara offers his reasons as to why he discards Bhart1prapanca’s view as incorrect. Then, in verses 1075-1086 he states Bhartrprapanca’s explanation on the illustration in BU 4.3.18 of a big fish swimming in a river-stream (naganatsta drstanta). Also, after refuting Carvaka’s view in that respect, in verse 1087, he shows Bhartrprapanca’s refutation of that view and states his own view (showing his agreement with him to some length) in verses 1088-1104. Later, in verses 1147-1186, Suresvara points out the correctness in Bhartrprapanca’s discarding dehatmatva, incidentally explaining (according to Bhartprapanca) the illustration of the flight of a falcon (syenavakya) in BU 4.3.19. Again, in verses 1188-1202, he states Bhartprapanca’s conclusions from that illustration; of course, with a slight hesitation (and demurring) his acceptance of the same in verses 1203-1205. Further, in verses 1537-1565, Suresvara states Bhartrprapanca’s explanation of BU 4.3.23 yad vat tan na pasyati pasyan and also points out in verses 1566-1577 how it is unacceptable to him.
(ii) Another important aspect of BUBV 4.3 is Suresvara’s very detailed discussions—sufficiently long?-on the views of the Buddhists; Vijnanavadins and Ksanikavadins in particular. Thus, in verses 461-472, he refutes the views of the Bahyarthavadins and then turns to refute the views of the Vijnanavadins in verses 473-478 and 521-530. As to the Ksanikavadins, he discusses their views in verses 577-478 and 586-618. But, there are occasions for Suresvara to take note also of other views of the Buddhists—and these cannot be said to be necessarily of any particular school; there has been on those points almost a general agreement among them all. The notion of santana is one such point as receives Suresvara’s attention in verses 621-648. Also, while discussing the nature of anumana ‘inference’ (in various contexts), Suresvara has taken in verses 741-766 a serious note of the Buddhists acceptance of Svabhava karya and avinabhava as the means of inference. Similarly the Buddhists theory of apoha has engaged his attention in verses 768-791 and led him to discus some views of the Sunyavadins in verses 792-807.
(iii) Yet another disputant for Suresvara is the followers of Carvaka’s school. First e discusses in verses 116-123 and also in verses 262-266 their view on Sariratmavada and then their non acceptance of inference as a means of knowing in verse 144-149 and 156-159.
In the discussions of these various views Suresvara displays a remarkable skill of argument and while presenting the views of the rivals of the Vedanta and also refuting them he does not leave any small idea untouched. This is evinced in his exposition of (1) bhedabheda theory (2) the nature of abhava and of anupalabdhi as a means of various means of knowing. These expositions are in no way wanting in the explanations of every single word that has relevance upon the subject matter. Again he supports each of his explanations with proper Upanisadic authority and for this purpose he enters into various semantic aspects of the basic text. He has done this so meticulously that he has not ignored the variant readings in the Madhyandina Samhita of BU for he has dealt with the Kanva Samhita. Nevertheless the most significant aspect of his writing is that he has never lost sight of the issues under discussions even if they demanded even distantly related notions of various philosophical schools at some notable length.
|Srimukham by Sri Jagadguru Shankaracharya||vii|
|Foreword by Prof. Hajime Nakamura||ix|
|Table of Contents||xiii|
|Translation and Annotation||1|
|Alterations to BUBV Index (Vol. 9, Book 2)||647|
|Half verse Index of BUBV 4.3||651|
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