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The Vedanta Sutras of Badarayana, Commentary by Sankara (SBE38), tr. by George Thibaut [1896] at

26. Where the getting rid (of good and evil) is mentioned (the obtaining of this good and evil by others has to be added) because the statement about the obtaining is supplementary (to the statement about the getting rid of), as in the case of the kusâs, the metres, the praise and the singing. This (i.e. the reason for this) has been stated (in the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ).

In the text of the Tândins we meet with the following passage: 'Shaking off all evil as a horse shakes his hair, and shaking off the body as the moon frees herself from the mouth of Râhu, I obtain self made and satisfied the uncreated world of Brahman' (Kh. Up. VIII, 13). Again, in the text of the Âtharvanikas, we read, 'Then knowing, shaking off good and evil he reaches the highest oneness, free from passion' (Mu. Up. III. 1, 3). The Sâtyâyanins read, 'His sons obtain his inheritance, his friends the good, his enemies the evil he has done.' And the Kaushîtakins, 'He shakes off his good and his evil deeds. His beloved relatives obtain the good, his unbeloved relatives the evil he has done' (Kau. Up. I, 4).--Of these texts two state that the man who has reached true knowledge rids himself of his good and evil deeds; one, that his friends and enemies obtain his good and evil deeds respectively; and one finally declares that both things take place.

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This latter text calls for no remark; nor again that one which refers only to his friends and enemies obtaining his good and evil deeds; for in order that they may obtain those he must necessarily first have got rid of them, and the act of getting rid of them has therefore to be supplied in the text. Those passages, however, which merely mention a man's shaking off his deeds, give rise to a discussion whether those deeds, when shaken off, are obtained by his friends and enemies, or not. Here the pûrvapakshin maintains that the latter circumstance is not to be supplied in the two passages mentioned--firstly because the text does not state it; secondly because what other Sâkhâs say about it falls within the sphere of a different vidyâ; and thirdly because the getting rid of the evil and good deeds is something done by the man himself, while the obtaining of them is the work of others. As thus there is no necessary connexion between the two, we have no right to supply the latter on the basis of the former.

To this we make the following reply. Although the text mentions only the getting rid of the deeds, yet the obtaining of them by others must necessarily be added, because the statement concerning the latter is merely supplementary to the statement about the former, as appears from the text of the Kaushîtakins.--In reply to the arguments brought forward by the pûrvapakshin we offer the following remarks.

The separation of the different passages would indeed have to be insisted upon, if anybody intended to introduce an injunction about something to be done, which is contained in one text only, into some other text also. But in the passages under discussion the act of getting rid of--and the act of obtaining--the good and evil deeds are not mentioned as something to be performed, but merely as implying a glorification of knowledge; the intended sense being, 'Glorious indeed is that knowledge through whose power the good and evil deeds, the causes of the samsâra, are shaken off by him who knows, and are transferred to his friends and enemies.' The passage thus being glorificatory only, the teacher is of opinion that,

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to the end of strengthening the glorification, the obtaining of the good and evil deeds by the friends and enemies--which in some passages is represented as the consequence of their being shaken off by the man who knows--must be supplied in those passages also which mention only the shaking off. That one arthavâda-passage often depends on another arthavâda-passage is a well-known fact; the following passage, e.g. 'The twenty-first indeed from this world is that sun,' would be unintelligible if no regard were paid to the other passage, 'Twelve are the months, five the seasons, three these worlds; that sun is the twenty-first.' Similarly the passage, 'The two Trishtubh verses are for strengthening,' necessarily requires to be taken in connexion with the other passage, 'Strength of the senses indeed is Trishtubh.' And as the statement about the obtaining of the good and evil deeds has only the purpose of glorifying knowledge (and is not made on its own account), we need not insist too much on the question how the results of actions done by one man can be obtained by others. That the obtaining of the deeds by others is connected with their being got rid of by the man who knows, merely for the purpose of glorifying knowledge, the Sûtrakâra moreover indicates by making use of the expression, 'because the statement about obtaining is supplementary to,' &c.; for if he wished to intimate that the actual circumstance of other persons obtaining a man's good and evil deeds is to be inserted in those vidyâs where it is not mentioned he would say, 'because the fact of obtaining.' &c. The Sûtra therefore, availing itself of the opportunity offered by the discussion of the combination of particular qualities, shows how mere glorificatory passages have to be inserted in texts where they are wanting.

The remaining part of the Sutra, 'Like the kusâs the metres, the praise and the singing, 'introduces some analogous instances.--The case under discussion is analogous to the case of the kusâs 1. Those, a mantra of the Bhâllavins

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[paragraph continues] ('You kusâs are the children of the tree, do you protect me!') represents as coming from trees in general, without any specification. The corresponding mantra of the Sâtyâyanins on the other hand is, 'You kusâs are the children of the Udumbara-tree;' a particularizing statement which must be considered as valid for the kusâs in general.--Another analogous case is that of the metres. In some places no special statement is made about their order of succession; but the text of the Paiṅgins, 'The metres of the Devas come first,' determines the general priority of the metres of the Devas to those of the Asuras 1.--Similarly the time of the stotra accompanying the performance of the Shodasin-rite which in some texts is left undefined is settled by the text of the Rig-vedins (ârkâh), 'when the Sun has half risen.'--And similarly a particularizing text of the Bhâllavins defines what priests have to join in the singing; a point left unsettled in other Srutis 2.--As in these parallel cases, so we have to proceed in the case under discussion also. For if we refused to define a general text by another more particular one, we should be driven to assume optional procedure (vikalpa), and that the latter is if possible to be avoided is a well-known principle. This is stated in the Pûrva Mîmâmsâ-sûtras X, 8, 15.

The passages about the shaking (off) can be viewed as giving rise to a different discussion also, and the Sûtra can accordingly be explained in a different manner. The question can be raised whether the 'shaking' means the getting rid of one's good and evil deeds or something else.--The pûrvapaksha will in that case have to be established in the following manner. Shaking (dhû) here does not mean 'getting rid of,' since the root 'dhû' according to grammar means shaking in an intransitive sense or trembling; of flags streaming in the wind we say, for

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instance, 'the flags are shaking' (dodhûyante). We therefore take the word in the same sense in the passages under discussion and understand by the 'trembling' of the good and evil deeds the fact of their not meeting, for a certain time, with their results.

To this pûrvapaksha we make the following reply. The word 'shaking' has to be taken in the sense of 'getting rid of,' because it is supplemented by the statement of others obtaining the good and evil deeds. For those deeds cannot be obtained by others unless they are got rid of by their former owner. Hence although it is not easily imaginable that the deeds got rid of by one man should be obtained by others, we yet, on the ground of its being mentioned, may determine accordingly that 'shaking' means 'getting rid of.' And although only in some passages the statement about the obtaining is actually found in proximity to the statement about the shaking, it yet has, on the ground of the latter, to be supplied everywhere and thus becomes a general reason of decision (viz. that 'shaking' means 'getting rid of). Against the pûrvapakshin's view we further remark that good and evil deeds cannot be said to 'tremble' in the literal sense of the word, like flags in the wind, since they are not of substantial nature.--(Nor must it be said that of the horse which exemplifies the shaking, the text only says that it shakes its hair, not that it casts anything off, for) the horse when shaking itself shakes off dust and also old hairs. And with that shaking (which at the same time is a shaking off) the text expressly compares the shaking (off) of evil.--Nor do we when assigning different meanings to one and the same root enter thereby into conflict with Smriti (grammar). The clause 'this has been stated' we have already explained.


227:1 I.e. according to the commentators, small wooden rods used by the Udgâtris in counting the stotras.

228:1 Metres of less than ten syllables belong to the Asuras, those of ten and more to the Devas.

228:2 The general text is, according to the commentators, 'The priests join in the singing;' the defining text of the Bhâllavins, 'The adhvaryu does not join in the singing.'

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