THE contents of the first Pâda may be summed up as follows:--It has been shown that a person who has read the text of the Veda; who further, through the study of the Karma-Mîmâmsa, has acquired a full knowledge of the nature of (sacrificial and similar) works, and has recognised that the fruits of such works are limited and non-permanent; in whom there has arisen the desire for the highest aim of man, i.e. Release, which, as he has come to know in the course of reading the Vedânta portions of scripture, is effected by meditation on the nature of Brahman--such meditation having an infinite and permanent result; who has convinced himself that words are capable of conveying information about accomplished things (not only about things to be done), and has arrived at the conclusion that the Vedânta-texts are an authoritative means of knowledge with regard to the highest Brahman;--that such a person, we say, should begin the study of the Sârîraka-Mîmâmsâ which indicates the method how Brahman is to be known through the Vedânta-texts.
We next have shown that the text 'That from which these creatures are born,' &c., conveys the idea of the highest Brahman as that being which in sport, as it were, creates, sustains, and finally reabsorbs this entire universe, comprising within itself infinite numbers of variously constituted animated beings--moving and non-moving--, of objects of enjoyment for those beings, of means of enjoyment, and of abodes of enjoyment; and which is the sole cause of all bliss. We have established that this highest Brahman, which is the sole cause of the world, cannot be the object of the other means of knowledge, and hence is to be known through scripture only. We have pointed out that the position of scripture as an authoritative means of knowledge is established by the fact that all the Vedânta-texts connectedly refer to the highest Brahman, which, although not related to any injunctions of action or abstention
from action, by its own essential nature constitutes the highest end of man. We have proved that Brahman, which the Vedânta-texts teach to be the sole cause of the world, must be an intelligent principle other than the non-sentient pradhâna. since Brahman is said to think. We have declared that this intelligent principle is other than the so-called individual soul, whether in the state of bondage or that of release; since the texts describe it as in the enjoyment of supreme bliss, all-wise, the cause of fear or fearlessness on the part of intelligent beings, the inner Self of all created things, whether intelligent or non-intelligent, possessing the power of realising all its purposes, and so on.--We have maintained that this highest Being has a divine form, peculiar to itself, not made of the stuff of Prakriti, and not due to karman.--We have explained that the being which some texts refer to as a well-known cause of the world--designating it by terms such as ether or breath, which generally denote a special non-sentient being--is that same highest Self which is different from all beings, sentient or non-sentient.--We have declared that, owing to its connexion with heaven, this same highest Self is to be recognised in what the text calls a 'light,' said to possess supreme splendour, such as forms a special characteristic of the highest Being. We have stated that, as we recognise through insight derived from scripture, that same highest Person is denoted by terms such as Indra, and so on; as the text ascribes to that 'Indra' qualities exclusively belonging to the highest Self, such, e.g., as being the cause of the attainment of immortality.--And the general result arrived at was that the Vedânta-texts help us to the knowledge of one being only, viz. Brahman, or the highest Person, or Nârâyana--of whom it is shown that he cannot possibly be the object of the other means of knowledge, and whom the possession of an unlimited number of glorious qualities proves to differ totally from all other beings whatsoever.
Now, although Brahman is the only object of the teaching of the Vedânta-texts, yet some of these texts might give rise to the notion that they aim at setting forth (not
[paragraph continues] Brahman), but some particular being comprised within either the pradhâna or the aggregate of individual souls. The remaining Pâdas of the first Adhyâya therefore apply themselves to the task of dispelling this notion and proving that what the texts in question aim at is to set forth certain glorious qualities of Brahman. The second Pâda discusses those texts which contain somewhat obscure references to the individual soul; the third Pâda those which contain clear references to the same; and the fourth Pâda finally those texts which appear to contain even clearer intimations of the individual soul, and so on.