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قراءة كتاب The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by Sankaracarya Sacred Books of the East, Volume 1

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The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by Sankaracarya
Sacred Books of the East, Volume 1

The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by Sankaracarya Sacred Books of the East, Volume 1

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 1


With the Commentary by


Translated by GEORGE THIBAUT

Part I





Pâda I.

Pâda II.

Pâda III.

Pâda IV.


Pâda I.

Pâda II.

Transliteration of Oriental Alphabets adopted for the Translations of the Sacred Books of the East.

[Transcriber's Note: The sequence "@n" is used to transcribe the character "n" with a horizontal line (a "macron") across the top.]


To the sacred literature of the Brahmans, in the strict sense of the term, i.e. to the Veda, there belongs a certain number of complementary works without whose assistance the student is, according to Hindu notions, unable to do more than commit the sacred texts to memory. In the first place all Vedic texts must, in order to be understood, be read together with running commentaries such as Sâyana's commentaries on the Samhitâs and Brâhmanas, and the Bhâshyas ascribed to Sa@nkara on the chief Upanishads. But these commentaries do not by themselves conduce to a full comprehension of the contents of the sacred texts, since they confine themselves to explaining the meaning of each detached passage without investigating its relation to other passages, and the whole of which they form part; considerations of the latter kind are at any rate introduced occasionally only. The task of taking a comprehensive view of the contents of the Vedic writings as a whole, of systematising what they present in an unsystematical form, of showing the mutual co-ordination or subordination of single passages and sections, and of reconciling contradictions—which, according to the view of the orthodox commentators, can be apparent only—is allotted to a separate sâstra or body of doctrine which is termed Mîmâmsâ, i.e. the investigation or enquiry [Greek: kat ezochaen], viz. the enquiry into the connected meaning of the sacred texts.

Of this Mîmâmsâ two branches have to be distinguished, the so-called earlier (pûrva) Mîmâmsâ, and the later (uttara) Mîmâmsâ. The former undertakes to systematise the karmakânda, i.e. that entire portion of the Veda which is concerned with action, pre-eminently sacrificial action, and which comprises the Samhitâs and the Brâhmanas exclusive of the Âranyaka portions; the latter performs the same service with regard to the so-called jñânakanda, i.e. that part of the Vedic writings which includes the Âranyaka portions of the Brâhmanas, and a number of detached treatises called Upanishads. Its subject is not action but knowledge, viz. the knowledge of Brahman.

At what period these two sâstras first assumed a definite form, we are unable to ascertain. Discussions of the nature of those which constitute the subject-matter of the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ must have arisen at a very early period, and the word Mîmâmsâ itself together with its derivatives is already employed in the Brâhmanas to denote the doubts and discussions connected with certain contested points of ritual. The want of a body of definite rules prescribing how to act, i.e. how to perform the various sacrifices in full accordance with the teaching of the Veda, was indeed an urgent one, because it was an altogether practical want, continually pressing itself on the adhvaryus engaged in ritualistic duties. And the task of establishing such rules was moreover a comparatively limited and feasible one; for the members of a certain Vedic sâkhâ or school had to do no more than to digest thoroughly their own brâhmana and samhitâ, without being under any obligation of reconciling with the teaching of their own books the occasionally conflicting rules implied in the texts of other sâkhâs. It was assumed that action, as being something which depends on the will and choice of man, admits of alternatives, so that a certain sacrifice may be performed in different ways by members of different Vedic schools, or even by the followers of one and the same sâkhâ.

The Uttara Mîmâmsâ-sâstra may be supposed to have originated considerably later than the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ. In the first place, the texts with which it is concerned doubtless constitute the latest branch of Vedic literature. And in the second place, the subject-matter of those texts did not call for a systematical treatment with equal urgency, as it was in no way connected with practice; the mental attitude of the authors of the Upanishads, who in their lucubrations on Brahman and the soul aim at nothing less than at definiteness and coherence, may have perpetuated itself through many generations without any great inconvenience resulting therefrom.

But in the long run two causes must have acted with ever-increasing force, to give an impulse to the systematic working up of the teaching of the Upanishads also. The followers of the different Vedic sâkhâs no doubt recognised already at an early period the truth that, while conflicting statements regarding the details of a sacrifice can be got over by the assumption of a vikalpa, i.e. an optional proceeding, it is not so with regard to such topics as the nature of Brahman, the relation to it of the human soul, the origin of the physical universe, and the like. Concerning them, one opinion only can be the true one, and it therefore becomes absolutely incumbent on those, who look on the whole body of the Upanishads as revealed truth, to demonstrate that their teaching forms a consistent whole free from all contradictions. In addition there supervened the external motive that, while the karmakânda of the Veda concerned only the higher castes of brahmanically constituted society, on which it enjoins certain sacrificial performances connected with certain rewards, the jñânâkânda, as propounding a certain theory of the world, towards which any reflecting person inside or outside the