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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Form the original authoritative work of Vedanta


style="text-align: justify;">[Footnote 1: There is a story that Kumarila could not understand the meaning of a Sanskrit sentence "_Atra tunoktam tatrapinoktam iti paunaraktam_" (hence spoken twice). _Tunoktam_ phonetically admits of two combinations, _tu noktam_ (but not said) and _tunauktam_ (said by the particle _tu_) and _tatrapi noktam_ as _tatra api na uktam_ (not said also there) and _tatra apina uktam_ (said there by the particle _api_). Under the first interpretation the sentence would mean, "Not spoken here, not spoken there, it is thus spoken twice." This puzzled Kumarila, when Prabhakara taking the second meaning pointed out to him that the meaning was "here it is indicated by _tu_ and there by _api,_ and so it is indicated twice." Kumarila was so pleased that he called his pupil "Guru" (master) at this.]


The _Vedanta sutras_, also called Uttara Mima@msa, written by Badaraya@na, otherwise known as the _Brahma-sutras_, form the original authoritative work of Vedanta. The word Vedanta means "end of the Veda," i.e. the Upani@sads, and the _Vedanta sutras_ are so called as they are but a summarized statement of the general views of the Upani@sads. This work is divided into four books or adhyayas and each adhyaya is divided into four padas or chapters. The first four sutras of the work commonly known as _Catu@hsutri_ are (1) How to ask about Brahman, (2) From whom proceed birth and decay, (3) This

is because from him the Vedas have come forth, (4) This is shown by the harmonious testimony of the Upani@sads. The whole of the first chapter of the second book is devoted to justifying the position of the Vedanta against the attacks of the rival schools. The second chapter of the second book is busy in dealing blows at rival systems. All the other parts of the book are devoted to settling the disputed interpretations of a number of individual Upani@sad texts. The really philosophical portion of the work is thus limited to the first four sutras and the first and second chapters of the second book. The other portions are like commentaries to the Upani@sads, which however contain many theological views of the system. The first commentary of the _Brahma-sutra_ was probably written by Baudhayana, which however is not available now. The earliest commentary that is now found is that of the great S'a@nkara. His interpretations of the _Brahma-sutras_ together with all the commentaries and other works that follow his views are popularly known as Vedanta philosophy, though this philosophy ought more properly to be called Vis'uddhadvaitavada school of Vedanta philosophy (i.e. the Vedanta philosophy of the school of absolute monism). Variant forms of dualistic philosophy as represented by the Vai@s@navas, S'aivas, Ramayatas, etc., also claim to express the original purport of the Brahma sutras. We thus find that apostles of dualistic creeds such as Ramanuja, Vallabha, Madhva, S'rika@n@tha, Baladeva, etc., have written independent commentaries on the _Brahma-sutra_ to show that the philosophy as elaborated by themselves is the view of the Upani@sads and as summarized in the _Brahma-sutras_. These differed largely and often vehemently attacked S'a@nkara's interpretations of the same sutras. These systems as expounded by them also pass by the name of Vedanta as these are also claimed to be the real interpretations intended by the Vedanta (Upani@sads)

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