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

31. There is no restriction (as to the going on the path of the gods) for any vidyâ; nor any contradiction

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(of the general subject-matter), according to scripture and inference (i.e. Smriti).

We have shown that the going on the path of the gods is valid only for the vidyâs of the qualified Brahman, not for the knowledge of the highest Brahman which is destitute of all qualities.--Now we observe that the going on the path of the gods is mentioned only in some of the qualified vidyâs such as the paryaṅka-vidyâ, the pañkâgni-vidyâ, the upakosala-vidyâ, the dahara-vidyâ; while it is not mentioned in others, such as the madhu-vidyâ, the sândilya-vidyâ, the shodasakala-vidyâ, the vaisvânara-vidyâ.--The doubt then arises whether the going on the path of the gods is to be connected with those vidyâs only in which it is actually mentioned or generally with all vidyâs of that kind.

The pûrvapakshin maintains the former view; for, he says, the limitative force of the general subject-matter of each particular section compels us to connect the going on the path of the gods with those vidyâs only which actually mention it. If we transferred it to other vidyâs also, the authoritativeness of scripture would suffer; for then anything might be the sense of anything. Moreover, the details about the path of the gods beginning with light and so on are given equally in the upakosala-vidyâ and the pañkâgni-vidyâ, which would be a useless repetition if as a matter of course the going on the path of the gods were connected with all vidyâs.

To this we make the following reply. The going on the path of the gods is not to be restricted but to be connected equally with all those qualified vidyâs which have exaltation (abhyudaya) for their result. The objection above raised by the pûrvapakshin that thereby we contradict the general subject-matter, we refute by appealing to scripture and Smriti. Scripture in the first place declares that not only those 'who know this,' i.e. the pañkâgni-vidyâ (Kh. Up. V, 10, 1), proceed on the path of the gods, but also those who understand other vidyâs, 'and also those who in the forest follow faith and austerities.'--But how do we know that the latter passage refers to those who are conversant with other

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vidyâs? The text certainly speaks of those only who are intent on faith and austerities!--Not by faith and austerities alone, we reply, unaided by knowledge, can that path be attained; for another scriptural passage says, 'Through knowledge they mount to that place from which all wishes have passed away; those who are skilled in works only do not go there, nor penitents devoid of knowledge' (Sat. Brâ. X,5, 4,16). We therefore conclude that faith and austerities denote at the same time other vidyâs.--The Vâgasaneyins again read in the Pañkâgni-vidyâ, 'Those who thus know this and those who in the forest worship faith and the True.' The latter part of this passage we must explain to mean, 'Those who in the forest with faith worship the True, i.e. Brahman;' the term 'the True' being often employed to denote Brahman. And as those who know the pañkâgni-vidyâ are in the above passage referred to as 'those who thus know this,' we must understand the clause, 'and those who in the forest,' &c., as referring to men in the possession of other vidyâs. And, moreover, also the passage, 'Those, however, who know neither of these two paths become worms, birds, and creeping things' (VI, 2, 16), which teaches that those who miss the two paths have to go downwards, intimates that those who possess other vidyâs have to proceed either on the path of the gods or that of the fathers, and as their vidyâs are as such not different from the pañkâgni-vidyâ, we conclude that they proceed on the path of the gods (not on that of the fathers) 1

In the second place Smriti also confirms the same doctrine, 'These two, the white and the black path, are known as the eternal paths of the world; on the one man goes not to return, on the other he again returns' (Bha. Gî. VIII, 26).

With regard, finally, to the circumstance that the details about the path of the gods are given in the Upakosala-vidyâ

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as well as the Pañkâgni-vidyâ, we remark that the repetition is meant to assist reflection.

For all these reasons the going on the path of the gods is not limited to those vidyâs in which it is actually mentioned.


234:1 Itas ka vidyântarasîlinâm gatir iti liṅgadarsanam samukhinoti atheti, etân iti vidyântaraparâ grihyante, tathâpi katham devayânayogas teshâm ity âsaṅkya yogyatayety âha tatrâpîti. Ân. Gi.

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