Author Topic: Anubandha chatushhTayam  (Read 509 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Anubandha chatushhTayam
« on: February 27, 2015, 01:01:11 PM »
Anubandha chatushhTayam

      According to our tradition for any shaastra, the introductory shloka should discuss four-fold factors called anubandha chatushhTayam. (These four factors, anubandha chatushhTayam, should not be confused with the four-fold qualifications, saadhana chatushhTayam, required for a seeker. These two chatushhTayam-s will be discussed with reference to this suutra, and the reader should be aware of the difference between the two). This anubandha chatushhTayam is stated simply in a sloka form as:

      adhikaariishcha vishhayaH sambandhashcha prayojanam.h |
      shaastraarambha phalaM proktam anubandha chatushhTayam.h ||
      The shloka just provides the list of the four factors that constitute the anubandha chatushhTayam. The first suutra or shloka in a text should present these four factors. The four factors are: 1. adhikaarii - or qualified student - who is qualified to study the text, here the Brahmasuutra-s? 2. The second factor is vishhayah - the subject matter. 3 The third one is 'prayojanam'- what is the benefit of studying the suutra-s? and 4 the fourth is the sambandhaH, the relationship. This is similar to preface in a textbook, where the author discusses to whom the text is written, the contents and the benefit.

      For the study of Brahmasuutra, who is the adhikaari or qualified student? Shankara says the one who has saadhana chatushhTayam or the one who has the four-fold qualifications is the adhikaari or the qualified student. Nowhere in the ten upanishhads one can find directly mentioning of saadhana chatushhTayam as qualifications. How did Sankara come up with these four-fold qualifications? - It is based on Brahmasuutra only. On that basis he wrote Tattvabodha which defines these four-fold qualifications. All other prakarana grantha-s contain an elaborate discussion of these. The four-fold qualifications are 1. viveka, discrimination to remove the superimposed error or adhyaasa, 2. vairaagyam or dispassion - considering all other pursuits to be subservient to this main pursuit, which is the removal of adhyaasa, 3. shaTka sampattiH - the six-fold inner discipline: (a) shama, mind control, (b) dama, sense control, (c) uparama, reduction of extrovertedness (withdrawal), (d) titikshaa, forbearance (capacity to ignore discomforts in life), (e) shraddhaa, faith in guru, scriptures and God and (f) samaadhaanam (concentration) or commitment to the goal. and 4. mumukshutvam or desire for moksha. The benefit of having these four-fold qualification is to be qualified to the study of Brahmasuutra - He is the adhikaarii or a qualified student.

      The second factor that should be provided in the introduction - it is vishhayaH, the subject matter. For Brahmasuutra as the name shows Brahman is the subject matter of the suutra-s. It has to be understood from advaitin's point that when we use Brahman, we are not using Brahman as a new substance, which is revealed by Vedanta. Brahman is the new status of the student or the listener or the aatma. It is not a new thing but my own higher status, paraa prakR^iti. Thus whenever we talk about Brahman it should be understood as aatmanaH brahmatvam, the brahman status of my own self is the subject matter.

      The third factor is prayojanam - What benefit do I get for studying Vedanata shaastra through Brahmasuutra? When I know the Brahman status of mine, the benefit is that I will negate the abrahman or non-Brahman status of mine, which is due to error. For example, when I come to know that 'this is a rope', what benefit I have of knowing the 'ropeness'? In the process of knowing that 'this is a rope', the prior misconception that 'this is a snake' goes away or displaced by the knowledge of the truth of the object.

      Thus 'ropeness' knowledge displaces the prior 'snakeness' misconception. It is replaced only because it is a misconception and not real knowledge. If it is real, it will not be replaced. Similarly 'Brahmatvam' knowledge (the knowledge of Brahmatvam status of mine) displaces the jiivatvam' (the knowledge of jiivatvam status of mine) misconception. This is stated simply as "brahmatva j~naanena jiivatva nivR^ittiH prayojanam |" Jiivatva is the same as samsaara. samsaara nivR^itti is otherwise called moksha or liberation. Moksha is the freedom from the sense of limitation, sense of smallness or sense of inadequacy.

      The fourth factor is sambandha or relationship. The immediate question that arises is relation between what and what? In this context, the relationship is between the textbook and the subject matter. We call the relationship as 'pratipaadya pratipaadaka sambandhaH' (a poor translation of this is object-subject relationship) - Brahman and Brahmasuutra have got the pratipaadya pratipaadaka sambandha - It is a technical factor and can be understood as follows. There is a rule that a topic can be considered as a subject matter of a book only if the topic is discussed as the central theme of the book. If the topic is discussed casually as a side-subject, it cannot be taken as the central theme of the book. For example in the Bhagavad Geeta there is a discussion on one's diet. From that we cannot say 'diet' is the subject mater of the Geeta. Since diet is not the central theme, Geeta and the diet do not have pratipaadya pratipaadaka sambandha. Then what is the central theme of Geeta? One can say aatma vidyaa or Brahmavidya is the central theme. This is explicitly stated at the end of each chapter; brahmavidyaayaa.n yogashaastre shrii krishhNaarujana sa.nvaade..., etc. With Geeta, Brahmavidya has pratipaadya-pratipaadaka sambandha. This may be translated into English as revealer-revealed relationship. This aspect becomes more clear when one discusses the various arguments in terms of what is the central theme of Brahmasuutra.

      As mentioned above the anubandha chatushhTayam, the four fold-factors, are required for any text as the contents of its introductory sloka. But this anubandha chatushhTayam is not directly revealed by the first suutra. In the first suutra that says - 'athaato brahma jij~naasaa', there is no direct mention of adhikaarii etc., in the suutra. Hence the anubandha chatushhTayam is not the direct meaning of the suutra but it is only an implied meaning of the suutra. This is called in Sanskrit 'aarthika arthaH' or indirect or implied meaning. If so, then what is the direct meaning of the suutra?

      The direct meaning of the suutra, 'athaato brahma jij~naasaa', is 'thereafter, therefore, Brahman inquiry (should be done)'. Incidentally we should be aware that Shree Vyaasaachaarya is not discussing a new philosophy, unlike saankhya, nyaaya, vaisheshhika etc., wherein the authors are propounding a new system of philosophy. Vyaasa's aim is to extract the philosophy, which is contained in the Upanishads. Hence whenVyaasaachaarya writes a suutra, he has got some Upanishhad mantra-s or sloka-s in his mind.

      To understand the right meaning of the suutra, we should know what is the upanishhadic mantra-s he had in his mind. Then only we will know what is the import of the suutra. This is very much required here since suutra happens to be a very cryptic statement. So when we study a suutra, we should be aware of what upanishhadic statement Vyaasaachaarya had in his mind in formulating the suutra. That relevant upanishhadic statement pertaining to a given suutra is called Vishhaya vaakyam'. Hence every suutra must have a vishhaya vaakyam. Unfortunately Vyaasaachaarya does not say what is the vishhaya vaakyam of a given suutra. It becomes important, therefore to take the help of commentators. Without bhaashhyam one cannot know the vishhaya vaakyam-s of many suutra-s. Fortunately Bhagavaan Shankara has laid a royal path for us to follow suutra-s closely in conjunction with the advaitic interpretation. How did Shankara knew the vishhaya vaakyam or relevant upanishhadic statements? He claims that he learned from his teacher, and who in turn learned from his teacher, etc., - thus a guruparampara traced all the way to Vyaasaachaarya. Hence the invocation of the lineage of teachers at the very beginning of each notes. A teacher of sampradaaya is emphasized in Vedanta.