Brahma Sutras

aka Vedanta Sutras, Brahmsutras

"According to Sri Shankara, there is one Absolute Brahman who is Sat-chit-ananda, who is of an absolutely homogeneous nature. The appearance of this world is due to Maya—the illusory power of Brahman which is neither Sat nor Asat. This world is unreal. This world is a Vivarta or apparent modification through Maya. Brahman appears as this universe through Maya. Brahman is the only reality. The individual soul has limited himself through Avidya (ignorance) and identification with the body and other vehicles. Through his selfish actions he enjoys the fruits of his actions. He becomes the actor and enjoyer. He regards himself as atomic and as an agent on account of Avidya or the limiting Antahkarana (inner instrument). The individual soul be comes identical with Brahman when his Avidya is destroyed. In reality Jiva is all-pervading and identi cal with Brahman. Isvara or Saguna Brahman is a product of Maya. Worship of Isvara leads to Krama Mukti. The pious devotees (the knowers of Saguna Brahman) go to Brahmaloka and attain final release through highest knowledge. They do not return to this world. They attain the Nirguna Brahman at the end of the cycle. Knowledge of Nirguna Brahman is the only means of liberation. The knowers of Nirguna Brahman attain immediate final release or Sadyo Mukti. They need not go by the path of gods or the path of Devayana. They merge them selves in Para Brahman. They do not go to any Loka or world. Sri Shankara’s Brahman is Nirvishesha Brahman (Impersonal Absolute) with out attributes...

You can understand the Brahma Sutras if you have a knowledge of the twelve classical Upanishads. You can understand the second chapter if you have a knowledge of Sankhya, Nyaya, Yoga, Mimamsa, Vaisheshika Darshana and Buddhistic school, too. All these schools are refuted here by Sri Shankara. Sri Shankara’s commentary is the best commentary. Dr. Thibaut has translated this commentary into English. “Brahma Sutras” is one of the books of Prasthana Traya. This is an authoritative book on Hindu Philosophy. The work consists of 4 Adhyayas (chapters), 16 Padas (sections), 223 Adhikaranas (topics) and 555 Sutras (aphorisms). The first chapter (Samanvayadhyaya) unifies Brahman, the second (Avirodhadhyaya) refutes other philosophies, the third (Sadhanadhyaya) deals with practice (Sadhana) to attain Brahman and the fourth (Phaladhyaya) treats of fruits of Self-realization. Each chapter contains four Padas. Each Pada contains Adhikaranas. Each Adhikarana has separate question to discuss. The first five Adhikaranas of the first chapter are very, very important."

- Swami Sivananda

"The Upanishads do not contain any ready-made consistent system of thought. At first sight they seem to be full of contradictions. Hence arose the necessity of systematizing the thought of the Upanishads. Badarayana, to whom the authorship of the Brahma-Sutras or Vedanta-Sutras is ascribed, is not the only one who had tried to systematize the philosophy of the Upanishads. From the Brahma-Sutras itself we find that there were other schools of Vedanta which had their own following. We find the names of Audulomi, Kasakristna, Badari, Jaimini, Karshnajini, Asmarathya and others mentioned. All this shows that Badarayana’s Sutras do not constitute the only systematic work in the Vedanta school, though probably the last and best. All the sects of India now hold this work to be the great authority and every new sect starts with a fresh commentary on it — without which no sect can be founded in this country."

- Swami Vireswarananda

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