Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vedanta Sutra Digest

The basic points summarised:

Vedanta Sutra 4.3.16: This relates to the question of being transported to Vaikuntha upon receipt of mukti; does the Lord Himself come to take muktas or are they transported by His messengers (Vishnudutas)? The answer is that in special cases the Lord Himself arrives to personally escort the Nirapeksa (sannyasi, dedicated) devotees. The Nirapeksa devotees are special for another reason; unlike most devotees who apparently have to remain in their liGga-dehas (subtle bodies) for some time, the Nirapeksas are immediately released from both their physical and subtle bodies, and that their celestial (apRakritic) body is given by the Lord immediately.

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.1: This sutra discusses Chan. U. 8.12.3, whereby the description of the mukta and his activities are described. It is then asked "what is meant by the manifestation of 'one's own form'?", as stated in the Chan. U. Srimat Baladeva answers that this refers to the dormant eight-fold qualities of the soul, and that it this is what is referred to as the "manifestation of one's own form". This is confirmed later [VS 4.4.5].

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.2: This sutra confirms that the "manifestation of one's own form" is the state of mukti. "Therefore, Mukti is indeed the manifestation of one's own form, which consists in remaining in one's own natural condition, free from the body, etc., which are produced through the effect of Karmas. This bodiless condition, free from pleasure and pain, is Mukti."

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.3: In the previous sutra a doubt was raised as to the nature of the "Highest Light"; does the term refer to the Sun or does it refer to Brahman? This sutra confirms that the "Highest Light" (param jyotir) refers to Brahman, Hari.

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.5: In VS 4.4.1 it was stated that the manifestation of the latent eight-fold qualities of the soul constituted the "manifestation of one's own form" as mentioned in the Chan. U. This sutra explains those eight-fold qualities to be: (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. This is the opinion of Jaimini Rishi: The mukta manifests a body that has eight attributes.

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.6: Next, the opinion of Audulomi Rishi is given: The mukta manifests a body that has only one attribute - intelligence (prajJAH).

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.7: After giving the opinion of Jaimini and Audulomi, Badarayana opines that both are true. The soul can simultaneously display it's inherent eight qualities as well as it's one quality (of intelligence), and that these two views do not contradict each other as in the example of a mass of salt. "Therefore, it follows, that in Mukti, the Jiva manifests as pure intelligence, endowed by the Lord with the eight qualities."

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.10
: For the mukta who approaches the Highest Light (Hari), has he a body or not? The opinion of Badari is given: The muktas do not have a body, on the reasoning that the existence of a body intimates the existence of pain, etc., and that the description given in the Chan. U. (8.12.3) implies that the soul's exit from the body means that it is above pain and thus bodiless.

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.11: Then the opinion of Jaimini: The muktas have a body on the authority of Chan. U. (7.26.2), wherein it is described that the mukta can assume various bodies simultaneously. Furthermore, this is possible because the body of the mukta is celestial (apRakritic).

Vedanta Sutra 4.4.12: The final word on the subject - The mukta has both a body and a bodiless nature because the scriptures describe them in both ways. A technical example of a Vedic sacrifice is given to illustrate this point. However, due to the muktas' release from the body and their quality of 'satya-sankalpa' (having their wishes realised instantaneously), assume a body by the force of their mere will, and they can have as many as they like (within reason!). Those muktas who do not wish to possess a body will not choose to do so. Those muktas who choose to assume bodies do so out of their wish to serve Hari, manifesting His cit-sakti as they do so. Then it is described that the mukta's body has a nature like that of Hari's, whereby they see, hear, smell, perceive and know through His energy alone. Verily, the mukta's body is am aMza of Hari!
Srimat Baladeva writes that the will of the mukta, which is operative in all of this, has to be cultivated from the beginning of the sadhaka's spiritual practice, and that it is the same will that was cultivated during the time of sadhana. "Since this had been his aspiration, even before Mukti, it becomes realised in the state of Mukti."


Thus it is concluded that there is no Vedantic support for the "inherent siddha-deha" theory, and that Srimat Baladeva Vidyabhushan concurs with the Vrindaban Gosvamis and other illustrious Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharyas in the matter of sadhana with a view to attaining a spiritual body.


Post a Comment

<< Home