Author Topic: A Brief outline of Brahmasutras  (Read 515 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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A Brief outline of Brahmasutras
« on: March 01, 2015, 02:03:48 PM »
A Brief outline of Brahmasutras

      Brahmasutras consists of four adhyaaya-s or chapters. Each adhyaaya is subdivided into four sections, called paada-s. Each paada or section is divided into topics known as adhikaraNam. There are in total 191 or 192 adhikaraNam-s depending on how suutra-s are divided. The number of adhikaraNam-s or topics in each section varies and is not constant. Most of the adhikaraNam-s are related to the analysis of the statements in the Upanishads, especially the ten important or dasha upanishad-s. Each adhikaraNam contain sutra-s, number of sutra-s varying from one to many.

      Thus we have in Brahmasutra, adhyaaya (chapter), paada (section), adhikaraNa (topic) and suutra. There are 555 sutras in total.

      Broadly there are four adhyaayas or chapters each with a major theme for discussion.

      The first chapter is called samanvaya adhyaaya. Approximately it means 'consistency'. Thus in the first chapter, Vyasacharya is establishing consistency or samanvaya as the proof or hetu indicating that the central theme of the Upanishads is Brahman. Vyasacharya has to prove this, since some of the other darshana-s (especially saa~Nkhya and puurvamiima.nsaa) do not accept Brahman as the central theme of Vedanta.

      The second adhyaaya deals with avirodha, noncontradiction. That is, it shows that Brahmavidya is free from all contradictions, since any contradiction is recognized as a defect in teaching. Hence in this chapter Vyasa points out that Brahmavidya is free from defects. He shows that all the three types of contradictions are not there. First is the internal contradiction, 'paraspara virodhaH', is not there within the Upanishads. That is, the Vedic statements do not contradict one another. The second contradiction is with smR^iti. And he shows there is no contradictory with statements from smR^iti. And the third one is no contradiction with logic. That is it is not illogical. Hence the second chapter is heavily logically based.

      The third chapter is based on saadhanaa and is called saadhanaadhyaaya, discussion of the means for attaining Brahman. These saadhana-s include both that are directly related and those that are indirectly related, such as rituals, upaasanaa-s, values etc., which are not the direct means but means for the purification of the mind.

      The fourth chapter is phala adhyaayaH, discussion of the benefits of Brahmavidya and that is mukti or moksha. The types of mukti are also discussed that involve immediate liberation and delayed liberation, krama mukti.