Brahm Sutra 1.1.1 part 1

Some previous articles which may be helpful to study prior to Brahm-Sutras:

  1. Philosophies of India
  2. Is Vedas mutually contradictory?
  3. Advait, Dvait and Vishishtadvait
  4. तत्त्व त्रय (सारांश)
  5. अर्थ-पंचक , श्री वैष्णव संप्रदाय का आधार

Sri Ramanuja has bequeathed three works on the Brahma-Sutra: the Vedanta-Sara, Vedanta-Dipa, and the Sri-Bhashya. The first work merely enunciates the meaning of the Sutras. The second goes beyond this summary of conclusions and indicates the dialectical framework. The third is the fullest and all-sufficient commentary. Pious tradition records that the Goddess Sarasvati was so charmed by it that she blessed it with the prefix ‘Sri’. He did advance his special philosophical point of view in his early work, the Vedarthasangraha in a brilliant and spirited manner.

In his Mangala sloka in Sri Bhashya, the great Vaishnava acharya Sri Ramanuja declares in no uncertain terms the resplendent glory of Lord Sriman Narayana.

अखिल भुवन जन्म स्थेम भङ्गादि लीले
विनत विविध भुत व्रात रक्षैक दिक्षे |
श्रुति शिरसि विदीप्ते ब्रह्मणि श्रीनिवासे
भवतु मम परस्मिन् शेमुषि भक्ति रूपा ||

May my intellect assume the form of Bhakti in Srinivasa, the highest Reality, revealed in the Vedanta as the Lord who creates, protects and destroys the whole universe with sportive ease and who has taken a vow to protects all creatures who seek him.

अखिल भुवन जन्म स्थेम भङ्गादि लीले 

The Supreme Brahman, as a matter of play /recreation / fun is involved in the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the all Universes.

विनत विविध भुत व्रात रक्षैक दिक्षे |

The Supreme Brahman, has taken up a unique and singular vow to protect all types of beings who surrender unto him.

श्रुति शिरसि विदीप्ते ब्रह्मणि श्रीनिवासे

The Supreme Brahman, is well explained by all the Upanishads is the residing place of Sri. i.e. Brahman is that who is the husband of Sri (Mahalakshmi).

भवतु मम परस्मिन् शेमुषि भक्ति रूपा ||

May he shower ‘shemushi bhakti’ to me.

2nd Mangal Shloka of Sri-Bhasya

2nd mangal shloka.JPG

Meaning:  Let all the beings in this earth consume the nectar which is in the form of the words of Sage Badarayana (son of Sage Parashara).  This Nectar is obtained by the churning of the Milky Ocean namely the Upanishads and well protected by Purv-Acharyas. Now it is to be re-distributed to the world by me.


Ramanuj Proudly proclaims that he is not postulating any new concept or his own philosophy. The Vishishtadvait doctrine can be traced back to time immemorial. Bhagwat Bodhyayan (desciple of Ved-Vyaas), wrote commentry on Vedant-sutra after Ved-Vyaas compiled it. He is just re-destributing it.


2nd mangal shloka.JPG


In the introduction to Sri Bhashya, Sri Ramanuja says:  

Bhagavad Bhodayana kritam vistirnam Brahma-sutra – vrttim purvacharyah samskipuhtan-mata-anusarena sutraksarani vyakhyasyante

‘The previous Masters have abridged (purvacharyah samskipuh) the detailed commentary on Brahma sutra which had been composed by Bhagavad Bodhayana (Bhagavad Bhodayana kritam vistirnam Brahma-sutra – vrttim). The words of the Sutra will be explained (sutraksarani vyakhyasyante) in accordance with their views and traditions (tan-mata-anusarena).


भगवद-बोधायन-टङ्क-द्रमिड-गुहदेव-कपर्दि-भारुचि-प्रभृत्यविगीत- शिष्टपरिगृहीत-पुरातनवेदवेदान्त-व्याख्यान- सुव्यक्तार्थ-श्रुतिनिकरनिदर्शितो ‘यं पन्थाः । — Vedarthasangraha, par. 130.

Bhagavad Bodhayana- Tanaka- Dramida- Guhadeva- Kapardi – Baruchi – prabhrty- avigita-sista- parigrahita-puratana – Veda-Vedanta- vyakhyana-suvyaktar-thasrutinikaranidarshito-yam- panthah I

This path is declared in many Srutis, whose meaning has been made very clear by the ancient commentators on Veda and Vedanta, accepted by Masters such as Bhagavad Bodhayana- Tanaka- Dramida- Guhadeva- Kapardi – Baruchi.

Comparing with the introduction by Aadi-Shankar

“यथा च अयमअर्थो वेदान्तानां तथा वयंस्यां शारीरकमीमांसायां प्रदशानयष्यामैः”


Mangal Shloka of Vedarth-Sangrah:

अशेष चिदचिद् वस्तु शेषिणे शेषशायिने ।

निर्मलानन्त कल्याण निधये विष्णवे नमः ।।

I offer adoration to Vishnu, the all-pervading Supreme Being, who is the overlord of all
sentient and non-sentient entities, who reposes on the primordial Shesa, who is pure
and infinite and in whom abound blissful perfections.

Lord Viṣṇu is the Brahman and he is characterized in three ways:

[i] aśeṣa-ciḍ-acid-vastu-śeṣin

He is the Master of all entities, without exception. all sentient and non-sentient entities are subordinate to a Higher Principle. Hence, they are called śeṣabhūtas or mastered-beings. The Independent One who masters them to suit His purpose is called śeṣī.

[ii] śeṣaśāyin

He reclines on Ādiśeṣa, the divine serpent. Ādiśeṣa

iii] nirmalānanta-kalyāṇa-nidhiḥ

Lord Viṣṇu is the possessor of pure and endless auspiciousness. He is not devoid of qualities but home of infinite divine qualities. He is blemishless i.e. devoid of any bad qualities.

Mangal Shloka of Vedant-Saaram

vedat saram

Brahman has for his body all the sentient and insentient beings. The jeevatma and prakriti is inseparable from Brahman and associated in Sharir-aatma bhaav. Brahman being the universal aatman and Chit-Achit being his body.

शरीर-आत्मा भाव, घटक श्रुति

bhed Abhed and Ghatak shruti

Brahman is

  1. Ananat Kalyaan Gunaakar: Ocean of infinite divine qualities/attributes
  2. Akhil hey Pratyanik: Devoid of any bad/material attributes.

1st Sutra


Then, Therefore, inquire into Brahman.

Brahman is derived from the root word- “Brih” which means “great or massive”

Bruhyati Brahmyati iti brahma: One who is giant/ great and makes everyone approaching him equally massive/ great is Brahman.

ब्रह्मशब्देन च स्वभावतः निरस्तनिखिलदोषः अनधिकाशय असंख्येयकल्याणगुणगणः पुरुषोत्तमो अभिधीयते

Thus Brahman primordially denotes that supreme person who is abode of all auspicious qualities to an infinite degree and is free from all the worldly taints.

Akaar-artho vishnuh: Akaar represents Vishnu. (aksharanaam akaaro asmi (BG 10th chap)). Ramanuj starting his commentry with A-kaar has great significance.


Steps involved in a person starting to study Vedanta
(in an ideal situation or as it existed in those days)
(According to Bhagavan Ramanuja)

Capture.JPGStep 1:
A person should engage in the study of Vedas as per the Vedic Injunction 
Step 2:
As soon as he memorizes the text of the Vedas, he will, automatically / by instinct try to understand the Meaning of the Vedic texts
Step 3:
As ordained in the Vedic texts, he engages in Vedic rituals that give him worldly fruits like progeny, prosperity etc.
Step 4:
In due course, he realizes that these worldly fruits give momentary happiness; such happiness is also relatively of an ordinary nature
Step 5:
He then begins to enquire into the Upanishadic texts that speak about a state where there is unalloyed happiness / bliss that is also permanent, which is attained by the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman. Having belief in the same, he starts to study Vedanta.


Author: ramanujramprapnna

studying Ramanuj school of Vishishtadvait vedant

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