Brahma Sutras – Chapter 3, Section 4 –  Slokas 1 – Slokas 52

।। तृतीयोऽध्यायः ।।
।। चतुर्थः पादः ।।

पुरुषार्थोऽतः शब्दादिति बादरायणः ।। 3.4.1 ।।

Bādarāyana Maharshi says that Knowledge of the Self determines a man’s purpose and therefore, liberation also results from the Knowledge of the Self as declared in the scriptures.


शेषत्वात्पुरुषार्थवादो यथाऽन्येष्विति जैमिनिः।।3.4.2।।

Jaimini Maharshi thinks that the scriptures prescribe sacrificial acts to attain certain purposes including liberation and therefore, believes that the Knowledge of the Self does not yield independent results but is connected with the acts through the agent. Therefore, the fruits of the Knowledge of the Self are merely praise of the agent as is the case elsewhere.


However, it must be known that the Supreme Self is the Primordial Cause, the doer, the witness, the enjoyer, the beneficiary and remains as a non-agent.



The conduct of the men of Realization confirms what the scriptures declare.



The scriptures declare that the Knowledge of the Self is the supreme.



Knowledge and karma or action go together with the jeeva when IT leaves the physical frame.


तद्वतो विधानात्।।3.4.6।।

Rites are enjoined by the scriptures for one who is in possession of that knowledge of the Vedas.



And on account of prescribed rules.


अधिकोपदेशात्तु बादरायणस्यैवं तद्दर्शनात्।।3.4.8।।

Bādarāyana Maharshi stands firm on his view as the scriptures declare that the Supreme Self is even greater than the agent. It is to be known that though the Supreme Self appears to be the agent, IT remains a non-agent.


तुल्यं तु दर्शनम्।।3.4.9।।

But the declarations of the Sruti supports both views of knowledge and religious acts equally.



The declaration is not universal.


विभागः शतवत्।।3.4.11।।

A hundred is divided into two which is knowledge and work. This is referable only to the illusion, reflection of Consciousness and not to the Knower of Brahman.



The scriptures prescribe sacrificial acts for one who has studied the Vedas. The Knower of Brahman will not have work to perform or accept or reject and is untainted by the results of said work.



Jnāni is exempt from all these restrictions.



The fire of knowledge can cut asunder all delusion and illusion and thereby, the reflection of Consciousness. As the Supreme Self is the Primordial Cause, every action, inaction, thought and speech and therefore, the fruits of the aforementioned are in honour of IT and is a glorification of this Supreme Knowledge.


The Knower of the Self may be engaged in work outwardly but in reality, engaging in work is comparable to praising Knowledge and therefore, he does not become bound by its effects.


कामकारेण चैके।।3.4.15।।

Some refrain from all work out of personal choice.


उपमर्दं च।।3.4.16।।

The scriptures state that through Knowledge illusion, reflection of Consciousness is destroyed. Therefore, when everything is the Supreme Self, who will see, what is there to see and how will one see.


ऊर्ध्वरेतःसु च शब्दे हि।।3.4.17।।

Knowledge is bestowed on those who observe sannyāsa wherein sannyāsa refers to renunciation of the fruits of actions and inactions. This is the fourth stage mentioned in the scriptures.


परामर्शं जैमिनिरचोदना चापवदति हि।।3.4.18।।

Jaimini Maharshi thinks the reference to sannyāsa in the previous Sutra is only a mere reference and not an injunction as the scriptures condemn them.


अनुष्ठेयं बादरायणः साम्यश्रुतेः।।3.4.19।।

Bādarāyana Maharshi thinks sannyāsa also must be a stage one must go through for the scriptural text refers equally to all the four stages of life.


विधिर्वा धारणवत्।।3.4.20।।

Or rather there is an injunction in this text as in the case of carrying sacrificial fuel.


स्तुतिमात्रमुपादानादिति चेन्नापूर्वत्वात्।।3.4.21।।

If it is said that references about Udgitha and others are merely eulogistic because of their reference to parts of sacrificial acts, then that can be refuted because of the extraordinary nature of the texts.



There must be injunctions on account of several words expressive of injunction.


पारिप्लवार्था इति चेन्न विशेषितत्वात्।।3.4.23।।

If it is said that stories in the Upanishads are for the purpose of Pāriplavas, then that is not so because certain stories described are specified by the Sruti for this purpose.


तथा चैकवाक्यतोपबन्धात्।।3.4.24।।

The stories are deeply connected with Vidyas or meditations as a whole.


अत एव चाग्नीन्धनाद्यनपेक्षा।।3.4.25।।

For that very reason, there is no necessity of lighting fires and other rites for a sannyāsin.


सर्वापेक्षा च यज्ञादिश्रुतेरश्ववत्।।3.4.26।।

The scriptures prescribe sacrifices and religious activities as a necessity similar to how a horse is used as per its adequacy.


शमदमाद्युपेतः स्यात्तथापि तु तद्विधेस्तदङ्गतया तेषामवश्यानुष्ठेयत्वात्।।3.4.27।।

Even though there is no injunction to work to attain Knowledge in the scriptures, one must be calm, resolute and exercise self-control and others as these are enjoined as important aids to Knowledge and therefore, have to be necessarily observed.


सर्वान्नानुमतिश्च प्राणात्यये तद्दर्शनात्।।3.4.28।।

The Sruti declares that all kinds of food are permitted only when one’s life is in danger.



This is the apt interpretation of the scriptures regarding permissible and forbidden food to avoid any contradictions.


अपि च स्मर्यते।।3.4.30।।

Moreover, the Smritis also support this view.



The scriptures also list out prohibitions that must be followed by one who seeks to become the Knower of Brahman.



And the duties of the various stages are to be performed by one who does not want Liberation as they are enjoined in the scriptures.


सहकारित्वेन च।।3.4.33।।

And these duties are to be performed as they are a means to Knowledge.


सर्वथाऽपि तु त एवोभयलिङ्गात्।।3.4.34।।

The same duties are to be performed in all cases because of the twofold indicatory marks.


अनभिभवं च दर्शयति।।3.4.35।।

The scriptures show that one endowed with Brahmacharya is not overcome by anger and other obstacles.


अन्तरा चापि तु तद्दृष्टेः।।3.4.36।।

In fact, persons standing in between two stages of life are also entitled to Knowledge as such cases are seen.


अपि च स्मर्यते।।3.4.37।।

Moreover, the Smriti also mentions such cases.



Special sādhanās like japatapadhyānadānaupavāsa and others favour Knowledge.


अतस्त्वितरज्ज्यायो लिंङ्गाच्च।।3.4.39।।

But better than this is the other, wherein one is in some stage of life or other because of the indicatory signs in the Sruti and Smriti.


तद्भूतस्य तु नातद्भावो जैमिनेरपि नियमातद्रूपाभावेभ्यः।।3.4.40।।

Jaimini Maharshi is of the opinion that for one who has risen to the highest stage of Sannyāsa, there is no reverting to the preceding ones as there are restrictions prohibiting such a reversion.


न चाधिकारिकमपि पतनानुमानात्तदयोगात्।।3.4.41।।

And expiation for one who has taken the vow of lifelong celibacy is ineffective since his fall as inferred from Smriti is irremediable. It is to be understood that a sannyāsa in reality has renunciated all the fruits of action and thereby, as a Knower of Brahman knows that the Supreme Self is the doer and therefore, is unaffected by action, inaction and fruits of the actions and inactions.


उपपूर्वमपि त्वेके भावमशनवत्तदुक्तम्।।3.4.42।।

Some consider this transgression on the part of the Naishthika to be minor and therefore, claim that expiation may or may not be followed just like how ordinary Brahmacharins consume prohibited food. So it is explained by Jaimini Maharshi.


बहिस्तूभयथाऽपि स्मृतेराचाराच्च।।3.4.43।।

Whether the transgression constitutes as a major or minor sin, they are kept outside the society in accordance with the customs and Smriti texts.


स्वामिनः फलश्रुतेरित्यात्रेयः।।3.4.44।।

Atreya Brahmarshi thinks that the agentship for meditation belongs to the sacrificer as the Sruti declares a fruit for it.


आर्त्विज्यमित्यौडुलोमिस्तस्मै हि परिक्रियते।।3.4.45।।

Audolomi Maharshi says that it is the duty of the ritwik to undertake such meditations for that is his assignment.



And because the Sruti declares thus.


सहकार्यन्तरविधिः पक्षेण तृतीयं तद्वतो विध्यादिवत्।।3.4.47।।

The meditative state is enjoined in the text as the third requisite besides education and freedom from vices, anger, passion and others. This meditative state that is continuous devotion to Knowledge is the injunction of another auxiliary to Knowledge as one may not have attained unity of knowledge and experiences diversity of knowledge owing to past impressions.


कृत्स्नभावात्तु गृहिणोपसंहारः।।3.4.48।।

The Chhāndogya Upanishad enumerates the duties of the Brahmacharins and ends the chapter enumerating the duties of the householder that comprises of duties from all the stages of life.



As the scriptures enjoins the other stages of life, it enjoins the state of a sannyāsa.



The scriptures have declared that a Knower of Brahman should behave like a child without revealing Himself, for so it fits in with the context.


ऐहिकमप्यप्रस्तुतप्रतिबन्धे तद्दर्शनात्।।3.4.51।।

The fruition of Knowledge may take place even in this life if there is no obstruction to the means adopted because it has been seen in the scriptures.


एवं मुक्तिफलानियमस्तदवस्थावधृतेस्तदवस्थावधृतेः।।3.4.52।।

There is no rule of this kind with regards to Liberation, the fruit of Knowledge because the Sruti declares that state to be Immutable.


[Brahma Sutras – Chapter 3, Section 4 –  Slokas 1 – Slokas 52]

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