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"The gist of Sribhasyam on chatussutri" by Dr.NSA

From: padmini ranganathan (
Date: Tue Sep 21 1999 - 11:34:06 PDT

PArAs~arya vachassudhAm upanishat dugdhAbdhi
samsArAgni  vidIpana vyapagata prANAtma sanjIvinIm
pUrvAchArya surakshitAm bahumati vyAghAta dUrasthitAm
AnItAm tu nijAksharai: sumanasO bhaumA: pibantu

In the second invocatory verse,RAmAnuja states that
the theme of his commentary is Supreme Brahman. The
subject matter of the bhasya are the sUtrAs. The
sUtrAs are expounding the essence of the upanishads
and the upanishads in turn propound Brahman. Thus, the
ultimate theme of the commentary is verily Supreme

The meaning of the second invocatory verse may be
briefly summarized thus:-

1. The nectar or amrta of the form of the words of the
great VyAsa, son of ParAsara, is expounded faithfully
in accordance with the letters of the sUtrAs for the
benefit of sincere aspirants, who are capable of
discriminating what is "sAra" and what is "asAra". The
author of the great commentary is inviting the earnest
to enjoy this nectar directly without undergoing any

2. This nectar is drawn from the depths of the milky
ocean of the upanishads. This nectar restores to life,
those  who have been distanced from the Supreme
Brahman on account of the torments of the fire of

3. This nectar is the one that is well guarded by the
ancient masters.

4. This nectar is far from the several contradictions
and conflicts of many diverse opinions of different

This is expounded through the words of the
BhAshyakAra, that are faithful to the wordings of the
sUtrAs of the great VyAsa.

RAmAnuja   declares that Brahman is the ultimate
object of this great commentary and the ultimate
purpose of this work is perfect enlightenment upon the
ultimate realities. This exposition is based on valid
pramANAs and they represent the teachings gained from
tradition. By  mentioning the greatness of VyAsa as
the great son of ParAs~ara, RAmAnuja mentions that 
the son truly imbibes the greatness of his father. The
meaning of "ParAs~ra is this:-- He who vanquishes the
antagonists, i.e."parAn" of the form of (kudrstIs)
perverse thinkers by sharp arrows of the form of
pramANAs and tarkAs.(means of valid knowledge and
argumentation). That was the greatness of 'ParAs~ra'.
What to say about the noble and worthy son of such a
great master?

VEdavyAsA's name is mentioned in the vEda also. The
sUtrakAra BAdarAyaNa is not different from VyAsa. The
'skAndapurANa' expressly mentions that the great
VedavyAsa is the author of the 'BrahmasUtrAs'also.

By mentioning  the holy name of VEdavyAsa, it may be
said that RAmAnuja is offering salutations also at the
feet of the great master. One should  have supreme
devotion towards the guru, just as one has supreme
devotion towards God.

The word 'vachas' or words signifies the profound
meaning of those words. This suggests that the words
of the sUtrAs have a significant sense. The term
'sudhA' or nectar points out that these profound
meanings are enjoyable like 'amrta'or nectar. The
terms 'upanishat', 'dugdha' and 'abdhi', have
significant meanings. 'upanishat' signifies that this
work is related to the Supreme Brahman directly.
'dugdha' or milk suggests that the upanishadic portion
of the vEda has greater essence that that of the
earlier part namely the 'karmabhAga'.

'abdhi' points out that the upanishads are infinite in
number just as the vast oceans. The word 'madhya' or
'middle of it' declares that these truths are culled
out from the depths of the upanishads. This amounts to
saying that the subject matter of this great
commentary is the sUtrAs of BAdarAyaNa .

And the upanishads are the sources of the sUtrAs.

Ultimately the theme of the upanishads is Supreme

Thus this great work also has Supreme Brahman as its
ultimate theme. The schools that are non-vedic are all
excluded by this.

The second quarter of the verse declares the supreme
benefit that is derived from these sUtrAs. This is
'sanjeevini' or life restoring teaching. For whom?,
for those people who are suffering from the
non-attainment of that 'paramAtman' , on account of
the 'vidIpana' or terrible blazing of 'samsArAgni',
that is, the three kinds of torments  that are the
results of 'samsAra'. SamsAra, in its totality, leads
to the three kinds of torments and on  account of
this, one is 'gata, vyapagata', that is,
non-attainment  of that 'paramAtman' from
beginningless time.

The word 'prANAtma' here means the very 'prANa' of all
'Atmans'. 'prANinAm prANanahEtu: paramAtmA'.

The Upanishads say that every  entity here lives on
account of that 'prAna'. 'prANasya prAnam'.

People who are involved in this universe on account of
their beginningless karma have been  unable to attain
their very inner self, the Supreme ParamAtman, though
He is residing along with them in the inner recesses
of their heart. This plight is from beginningless time
 and there is nothing other than devotional surrender
unto that Supreme being that can take them to the
bliss of communion with that great paramAtman. That
can happen only when one gains the true knowledge of
his nature and the nature of his Lord paramAtman. 
This attainment of knowledge is the aim of this
enquiry into Brahman made by the sUtrAs. Thus the
truths that are taught by the great BAdarAyaNa VyAsa,
when realised properly, will enable one to live in God
and attain the supreme benefit of life.

The third pAda describes that the truths that are
expounded here are gained from tradition and that they
were zealously guarded by the ancient masters and were
handed down  to the devoted and worthy disciples from
time to time. It is also pointed out that these truths
are unassailable and all mutually contradictory and
conflicting views of other various masters are
distanced from these truths.

>From this, it becomes clear that the truths expounded
here are genuinely representing the essence of the

Having decided thus, the importance of this great
work, RAmAnuja heartily invites the sincere and the
fair minded aspirants to enjoy this nectar and get the
supreme benefit from this namely 'attainment of
paramAtman'. There is no 'phala' or benefit more
pleasing than the attainment of the Supreme


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