Adventures in Humility

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.5

Adhikarana III - The attributes of the Mukta Soul.

Now the author is going to determine what are the blessings which the freed soul enjoys. But before doing that, it is necessary to determine the divine attributes such as true resolve (the instantaneous fulfilment of every wish that the soul entertains), and qualities like the same; and the soul's getting a body of celestial texture. For these are the causes, that bring about the enjoyment of blessings. Therefore, the author begins with the determination of the attributes, which the soul shows forth.

Doubt: When the soul reaches the Highest Light, does it manifest itself with a certain group of attributes, or is it merely pure intelligence? Or is it pure intelligence, plus other attributes, because there is no necessary contradiction between them?

Purvapaksa: As a Purvapaksa, the author gives first the opinion of the sage Jaimini.

brAhmeNa jaiminir upanyAsAdibhyaH

5. According to Jaimini, the freed soul manifests with all the
given by Brahman, because of the reference and the
(as contained in other passages of the Upanishad). - 542.


The word "Brahma" of the sUtra means, accomplished or completed by the Brahman [as per Panini 4.2.68]. The Mukta appears with the divinely given attributes, mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad [8.7.1] beginning with "who is free from sins," and ending with "whose will is true." These are the eight Gunas or qualities, which he then possesses. Namely, (1) he is free from sins, (2) free from old age, (3) free from death, (4) free from grief, (5) free from hunger, (6) free from thirst, (7) he has desires which are instantly realised, and (8), a will which accomplishes its resolution spontaneously.

Why do we say so? Because of the reference and the rest. In the above passage of the Chandogya Upanishad [8.7.1] Prajapati suggests that the freed souls also come to possess the eight attributes of Atman, which he has proclaimed so widely; and which reaches the ears of the Devas in heaven, and the Asuras in the nether world.

The words "and the rest" of the sUtra indicate that the soul not only possesses these eight attributes, but that it acts in the way mentioned in the same Upanishad:

"The Mukta moves about there laughing, playing, and rejoicing, with women, with carriages, with other Muktas of his own period or of the past Kalpas. (So great is his ecstasy) that he does not remember even the person standing near him, nor even his own body."

Therefore, Jaimini is of the opinion that the Mukta soul manifests these eight-fold attributes and acts mentioned in this Upanishad. In support of his view there is a smRiti passage also:-

yathA na hriyate jyotsnA, etc. (?)

As a Purvapaksa, the author next gives the opinion of Audulomi, who holds the opinion that the Mukta soul possesses only one attribute, namely, that of pure intelligence.


Chandogya Upanishad 8.7.1:

ya AtmA apahata-pApmA vijaro vimRtyur vizoko vijighatso'pipAsaH satya-kAmaH satya-saMkalpaH, so'nveSTavyaH, sovijijJAsitavyaH sa sarvAMz ca lokAn Apnoti sarvAMz ca kAmAn, yas tam AtmAnam anuvidya vijAnAti: [iti ha prajA-patir uvAca].


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