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

57. There is pre-eminence of the (meditation on) plenitude (i.e. Agni Vaisvânara in his aggregate form), as in the case of sacrifices; for thus scripture shows.

In the legend beginning 'Prâkînasâla Aupamanyava,' the text speaks of meditations on Vaisvânara in his distributed

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as well as his aggregate condition. References to him in his distributed state are made in the passage, 'Aupamanyava, whom do you meditate on as the Self? He replied: Heaven only, venerable king. He said: The Self which you meditate on is the Vaisvânara Self called Sutegas;' and in the following passages (Kh. Up. V, 12-17). A meditation on him in his aggregate state, on the other hand, is referred to in the passage (V, 18), 'Of that Vaisvânara Self the head is Sutegas, the eye Visvarûpa, the breath Prithagvartman, the trunk Bahula, the bladder Rayi, the feet the earth' &c.--A doubt here arises whether the text intimates a meditation on Vaisvânara in both his forms or only in his aggregate form.

The pûrvapakshin maintains that we have to do with meditations on Vaisvânara in his distributed form, firstly because the text exhibits a special verb, viz. 'you meditate on,' with reference to each of the limbs, Sutegas and so on; and secondly because the text states special fruits (connected with each special meditation) in the passage, 'Therefore every kind of Soma libation is seen in your house,' and the later similar passages.

To this we make the following reply. We must suppose that the entire section aims at intimating 'the pre-eminence,' i.e. at intimating as its pre-eminent subject, a meditation on 'plenitude,' i.e. on Vaisvânara in his aggregate state, who comprises within himself a plurality of things; not a number of special meditations on the limbs of Vaisvânara. 'As in the case of sacrifices.' In the same way as the Vedic texts referring to sacrifices such as the darsapûrnamâsa aim at enjoining the performance of the entire sacrifice only, i.e. of the chief sacrificial action together with its members--and not in addition the performance of single subordinate members such as the prayâgas, nor again the performance of the chief action together with some of its subordinate members; so it is here also.--But whence do you know that 'plenitude' is the preeminent topic of the passage?--It is shown by scripture, we reply, since we apprehend that the entire section forms a connected whole. For on examining the connexion of

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the parts we find that the entire section has for its subject the knowledge of Vaisvânara. The text at first informs us that six Rishis--Prâkînasâla, &c., up to Uddâlaka--being unable to reach a firm foundation in the knowledge of Vaisvânara, went to the king Asvapati Kaikeya; goes on to mention the object of each Rishi's meditation, viz. the sky and so on; determines that the sky and so on are only the head and so on of Vaisvânara--in the passage 'he said: that is but the head of the Self,' and the later similar passages;--and thereupon rejects all meditations on Vaisvânara in his distributed form, in the passage, 'Your head would have fallen if you had not come to me,' and so on. Finally having discarded all distributed meditation it turns to the meditation on the aggregate Vaisvânara and declares that all results rest on him only, 'he eats food in all worlds, in all beings, in all Selfs.'--That the text mentions special fruits for the special meditations on Sutegas and so on we have, in accordance with our view, to explain as meaning that the results of the subordinate meditations are to be connected in their aggregate with the principal meditation. And that the text exhibits a special verb--'you do meditate'--in connexion with each member is not meant to enjoin special meditations on those members, but merely to make additional remarks about something which has another purpose (i.e. about the meditation on the aggregate Vaisvânara).--For all these reasons the view according to which the text enjoins a meditation on the aggregate Vaisvânara only is preferable.

Some commentators here establish the conclusion that the meditation on the aggregate Vaisvânara is the preferable alternative, but assume, on the ground of the Sûtra employing the term 'pre-eminence' only, that the Sûtrakâra allows also the alternative of distributed meditation. But this is inadmissible, since it is improper to assume a 'split of the sentence' (i.e. to ascribe to a passage a double meaning), as long as the passage may be understood as having one meaning only. Their interpretation, moreover, contradicts those passages which expressly blame distributed meditations; such as 'Thy head would have

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fallen,' And as the conclusion of the section clearly intimates a meditation on the aggregate Vaisvânara, the negation of such meditation could not be maintained as pûrvapaksha 1. The term 'pre-eminence' which the Sûtra employs may moreover be explained as meaning (not mere preferability, but exclusive) authoritativeness.


274:1 As this passage states the number of the prayâgas (viz. five, which is the number of the seasons) and other secondary points, we conclude that the injunction of the offering of the prayâgas, which is given in other Sâkhâs, is valid also for the Sâkhâ referred to in the text (the Maitrâyanîyas, according to the commentators).

274:2 But only says 'they offer an animal to Agnîshomau.'

274:3 Wherefrom we infer that not any animal may be offered to Agnîshomau, but only a he-goat.

277:1 Yadobhayatropâstisiddhântas tadâ vyastopâstir evâtra samastopâstir eva vâ pûrvapakshah syân nâdya ity âha, spashte keti, dvitîyas ka tatrâyukto vâkyopakramasthavyastopâstidhivirodhât, Ân. Gi.

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