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Suresvara's Vartika On Sariraka Brahmana (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: IDE746
Author: , Translated And Annotated By Shoun Hino, K.P. Jog
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 9788120820449
Pages: 505
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8" X 5.8"
Weight 770 gm
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Book Description
From the Jacket:

This is the concluding volume of our 12-volume serial publications, i.e., Advaita Tradition Series.

BU 4.4 and, for that matter, BUBV thereon are the logical sequence to BU 4.3 and also BUBV on it. The previous portion ended with a few passing remarks on the final stage in the life of a transmigratory being which is in contrast with that on the being's having acquired of the knowledge of the Brahman. This portion then opens with a detailed information on the transmigratory life with a view to stressing on that being's continued and gradual attempt to prepare for the life (while alive in the world sense) of a knower. That invites the need of renunciation, both partial and (then) total. Also that determines the description of the ever-growing joy of that aspirant for the knowledge of the Brahman. For achieving this purpose, this portion lays a great emphasis on the Upanisadic advice vijnaya prajnam kurvita.

About the Author:

Dr. Shoun Hino is Professor of Gifu Pharm. University (Japan). He did his M.A. at Nagoya University (Japan) in 1975 and Ph.D. studies at Poona University (India) in 1979.

Dr. K.P. Jog was Professor of Vedic Sanskrit and General Editor of Sanskrit Dictionary Project of Deccan College Post-Graduate Research Institute, Pune.


The Brhadaranyaka is the biggest and most important one among principal Upanisads and contains numerous discussions of teachers, pupils, questioners and others. It is marked by philosophical speculations not opposed to but in conformity with a vigorous performance of rituals. The Brhadranyaka reveals to us the towering personality of the great Upanisadic thinker Yajnavalkya who affirmed neil neil, i.e. indescribability of the Brahman, the ultimate Truth. It is on this basis that Sankara built up his theory of Non-dualistic Vedanta.

Consequently, the Bhasya of Sankara on this Upanisad has assumed a very great significance in Vedäntic literature. Next to his Bhãsya on the Bralunasülra— nay almost on a par with it—his Bhasya on this Upanisad is a vivid picture of the (almost aggressively) vigorous philosophical acumen of the great phi— Josopher. And this is more pronouncingly felt in his references to and the refutations of the arguments of the followers of other systems of Indian philosophy, for they were unavoidable for him while he clarified (in his way- —on the non-dualistic way) the thought of the Upanisad from which he was distant at least by a period of about 1000 years and since there had intervened between hen and the Upanisad a number of thinkers of various systems. Yet, since he had set himself to the task of commenting on the Upanisad, he inevitably became somewhat brief, leaving quite a lot of disputations unclear (for his contemporaries).

This gave his pupil Sureivara a scope for clarifying his Guru’s thought in its fullness and lie wrote the Brhadaranyakopanisadbhasyavartika. The last member of the compound—name, vartika, refers to Suresvara’s discussion of ukta, anukta and durukta portions in Sañkara’s writing. Suresvara has underlined every small detail in the varied arguments in the Bhaya on the Upanisad and clarified the same with characteristic skill. It is noticed that Suresvara is familiar with minute details of different philosophical systems Nyaya and Mimamsa in particular and therefore he has in a way shaped the Tika of Anandagiri the most read commentator of Sankara’s works thus throwing abundant light on the vigorous philosophical activity of the times which preceded his teacher Sankara and himself.

A special mention has to be made here of Suresvara’s detailed discussions of the views of Bhartrprapanca a predecessor or a senior contemporary of Sankara. It may understandable scheme of Bhartrprapanca’s philosophy on the basis of these. Anther significant contribution of Suresvara deserves special notice. His discussions about the interpretation of Vedantic passage and various means of understanding knowledge manavyavahara or Nyaya in relation to the Vedantic logic indeed deserve in depth studies for purpose of clarifying the method of Non Dualistic Vedanta.


In the Ajatasatri Brahmana viz BU 2.1. there has occurred the discussion on the definition of the Brahman and the remaining parts of BU 2, i.e. Brahmana 2-6 of it, proceeded to elucidate the nature of the manifest forms of the same; incidentally, though, the final part of that portion (SU 2.6) supplied information on the line of teachers relating to the last two chapters of the Satapoath Brahmana and the first two chapters of RU. These two chapters of BU, viz. 1 and 2, have, in keeping with the ancient tradition, enunciated in clear terms what is being dealt with in the work (uddita) and then taken up defining the Brahman (laksana) of the uddista (BU 2.1), the parfksä examination’ of the same only naturally following it. This examination has naturally taken the form of jalpa and vada (see for these terms under SUB 4.1.1 and 2) in chapters 3 and 4 of RU and is presented in the disputes between sage Yajbavalkya and several seers and the sage’s final instruction to king Janaka. It is worth noting, nevertheless, that chapter 3 and chapter 4.1 and 2 of BU appear to present one connected idea which is further elucidated in RU 4.3-6. Yet RU 4.3 and 4.4 are extremely significant, elaborate and fairly long presentations of two important aspects of the said examination and have demanded special treatment in BUBV and, consequently, in our scheme, i.e. in two separate volumes, soon to follow.

Though given in our volume 4 as an Appendix, the translation of BURV 3.1 is presented here in revised form in order that the reader can have one (conveniently) complete picture of Suresvara’s contribution.

As before, we have derived great help from Anandagiri’s Sastraprakasika (SP) and AnandapUrna’s Nyayakalpalatika (NKL). We express our special thanks to Prof. K. Macida (ILCAA), Prof. 3. Takashima (ILCAA) and Mr. N, Okaguchi. Prof. Macida offered us his own Devanagri printing software called Catur. Prof. Takashima Provided us with various programmes which made it possible to shape a book from the manuscript. And Mr. Okaguchi designed Devanagri Font.


This volume, which comes as a sequel to Jyotis Brahmana (BU 4.3), is known by the name Sâriraka Brãhmana; this is because it relates to the last of tile transmigratory stages in the worldly life of a seeker of the Brahman. Already BU 4.3 had referred to this stage in brief and only in passing; therefore, it is only natural that By 4.3 should dilate on that subject a little more and then proceed to the gradual and conscious development in the seeker’s worldly life before (what is commonly known as) death. This justifies the name of the Brãhmana, reveal as it does the development of the inner self in the seeker’s body. In the introductory verses of BUBV 4.4, then, Suresvara brings out this fact with a view to showing its relation to BUBV 4.3. And, immediately after this, he turns his attention to this last transmigratory stage in the seeker’s life.

His method of discussion on the contents of BU 4.4 is somewhat different from that in other (i.e. earlier published) volumes of BUBV. He focuses his attention on the texts of the various Kandikãs in it and explains the meanings of them in their fullness—in fact, a larger part of BUBV is devoted to the presentation of the matters in the Kandikas of BU. But, presenting it, he dwells on most of the words and phrases in them and offers explanation of relevant matters in the same. This is why we notice here explanations of the most significant words of the Kevaladvaita theory based on the Upanisads. It has thus become necessary for Suresvara to express his thoughts on such different subjects as avidya atmasvarupa karmas (niya, kanya and nisiddha as well) vidya, prajna, kama, sanuyasa, bheda moksa, vitta and so on. It is indeed a very long list of these and, therefore, we choose to present only some of these, beside certain more significant aspects of Suresvara’s writing in BUBV 4.4.

The most significant aspect of Suresvara’s writing is his treatment of the views of Bhartrprapanca. Thus, while explaining the thought of By 4.4.7, he first states Bhartrprapanca’s explanation of the Sloka in that Kandika, at length, in verses 392-412 and sets the same aside by citing his opinion on it in verses 413-439- the reference here is to the Upanisadic thought on tattvadhyanad avidyadhvasti which in its turn, leads to kanadidhvasti, Also, in verses 706-740, Suresvara states Bhartrprapanca’s explanation of vijnaya prajnam kurvita and examines the same in verses 741-754 here, according to Suresvara, there can be agreement with Bhartrprapanca but, very soon (or, immediately afterwards) in verses 755-795 he treats of what appears to him as reject able. Again, he mentions another aspect of Bhartrprapanca’s explanation of that same statement, viz. vijnaya in verses 965-969 for rejecting it. Further, in verses 1032-1034, he states Bhartprapanca’s opinion on the import of vedanuvacana in BU 4.4.22 and rejects it in verses 1035-1038.

It is known that Bhartprapanca was a jnanakarmasamuccayavadin and Suresvara does not contribute to the jnanakarmasanuccaya theory. Therefore, he takes one further opportunity to mention the view of a follower of that theory on BU 4.4.9 with reference to taijasa in verses 586-597, but does not say any word about it, either of approval or of rejection. This would not look quite strange, since it is often noticed that Suresvara accepts some opinions of these (more usual) opponents.

Yet more interesting aspect is Suresvara’s criticism of the views of Mandana. Thus, in verses 796-810, he states Mandana’s opinion on vijnaya and rejects the same in verses 811-832. So also, after stating Mandana’s opinion on samnyasinam eva munitvam in verses 1071-1072, he rejects it in verses 1073-1078. This should go to show that Suresvara and Mandana were not one and the same thinker.

One more important aspect of Suresvara’s thoughts is his carefulness in treating the Madhyandina recession of BU with respect and discussing some significant readings in the same. He has done this in BUBV 4.3 and he does it here in BUBV 4.4 also. In Kanva BU 4.4.2 there is a statement about ukratni of a jiva to this is added in Madhyandina BU the statement sanjnanam evanvavakramati and Suresvara does not forget to bring out its import also in BUBV so also in place of Kanva BU 4.4.7 wherein occur the words athyam asartro nrto and that is read in Madhyandina BU as athayam anasthiko sarior and Suresvara offers in verses 520-522 his explanation of the word anasthika. Again in Madhyandina BU there is a reading vitara for vitata of Kanva BU and Suresvara explains it at length in 548-560. In verse 615 Suresvara discuss the Madhyandina reading asurya in relation to sariram anusancaret. However after stating in verses 1267-1273 the explanation of the Madhyandian reading sraddhavitto bhutva Suresvara states in verses 1274-1282 that the Kanva reading samahito bhutva is more proper.

Sannyasas is an important topic in BU 4.4 and also in BUBV. Therefore Suresvara points out in verses 1089-1093 that it leads tot eh acquisition of the knowledge of the atman. Sannyasa is according to him allowed for even an ignorant person. He rejects in verses 114-1145 that sannyasins can perform rituasl verses 1261-1266 point out how the smrti texts have prescribed sannyasa for an individual.

This brings us to Suresvara views on the relation between the Sruti and the smrtis. In his opinion the sruti does not follow the smrti. If smrtis were taken as independent authoritative texts Suresvara points out to the danger of even Jaina Smrtis becoming authoritative (verses 1151-1153). The Sruti is certainly independent of the Smrti (verses 1149-1150).

In respect of avidya Suresvara does not accept it as having a twofold nature (as understood by some mimamsakas) and therefore through prajna has one to make it prone towards securing the knowledge of the Atman (verses 880-890) and therefore he states in clear words (verses 891-898) his rejection of that view vidya which is defined by Suresvara in verses 112-114 can be a cause for the removal of avidya but it cannot lead to the attainment of the Brahman (verses 908-919).

About some other trace the views of Suresvara separately they are just the same as are known to scholars if Vedanta and therefore repeating them is better avoided. Also as in other parts of BUBV there was no occasion for Suresvara to go into the discussions on the nature of the means of knowing and their interrelations BUBV 4.4 is more or less an intellectual exercise in Upanisadic exegesis.


SRIMUKHAM by Sri Jagadguru Shankaracharyaix
FOREWORD by Prof. Hajime Nakamuraxi

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