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\u2022Chapter II\u2014The Critique of Erroneous Doctrines
\u2022Chapter III\u2014Erroneous Notions Refuted
\u2022Chapter IV\u2014The Origin of Bondage
\u2022Chapter V\u2014Towards Liberation
\u2022Chapter VI\u2014The Controversy Over Action and
\u2022Chapter VII\u2014Specimens of Vedantic Meditations
\u2022Chapter VIII\u2014Upasana\u2014Upanishadic Meditations
\u2022Chapter IX\u2014The Causal Law as a Limitation
\u2022Chapter X\u2014Vaishvanara Vidya
\u2022Chapter XI\u2014The Preliminaries to Sadhana
\u2022Chapter XII\u2014Brahman and Its Realisation
\u2022Chapter XIII\u2014Consideration on Some Issues Arising in
The greatest truths available for human comprehension are supposed to be documented in the great scriptures called the Upanishads. They are exultations of masters who are deeply involved in the ultimate principles of the cosmos. They are realised souls, called Rishis, but these Rishis in their expressions through the Upanishads spoke in terms of their particular vision of the Ultimate Reality.
A common student of the Upanishads is likely to feel embarrassed over apparently irreconcilable differences and contradictions among the statements of these great Masters. Every kind of philosophy you will find in the Upanishads. There are provisions for establishing the monism aspect of philosophy, the dualistic aspect, the active aspect, the volitional aspect\u2014 everything can be found. Even Sankhya and Mimamsa have a reference.
What is it that you are supposed to take from this big forest of statements on the nature of Reality? To clarify the intention of these sages and to reconcile these statements in a harmonious manner, and to point out that different expressions do not necessarily mean contradictory presentations, Brahma Sutras was written. They can be harmonised by a higher perception of what is there and what is happening. In order to harmonise these multifaceted statements, Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa wrote a new text called the Brahma Sutras. Sutra is a thread that connects different parts of the vision of Truth.
All the statements connected with Ultimate Reality, known as Brahman in the Sanskrit language, have to be threaded together so that instead of the various statements of the Upanishads being contradictory outbursts, they become beautiful pearls in the garland of the knowledge of the Supreme Being, from various points of view. This act of reconciliation is called
We have problems like this in the Gita also. What is it that the Gita is telling us? \u2018Go ahead and fight\u2019; \u2018Think of Me always\u2019; \u2018I am doing everything\u2019\u2014what is the point in saying all these things which seem to be negating one another?
When a Cosmic Perception enunciates a Truth, it may look like a multiple proclamation of different hues, colours and emphases, which an ordinary person will not be able to reconcile. You cannot know which is the correct vision and which is lesser or higher. To obviate these difficulties, the great Master Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa wrote the wonderful interpretative textbook called the Brahma Sutras.
\u2018What do you want?\u2019 is the first question. \u2018I want the ultimate Being, Brahman\u2019. This is a terrific question, and a statement. Who is it that wants Brahman?
To avoid the quandary that may arise out of making a statement of this kind, the Sutra\u2014the first one\u2014avoids \u2018who\u2019, \u2018why\u2019 and all that. It simply makes an impersonal statement that Brahman should be known. Who should know It, it does not say, because if you ask such questions you will involve yourself in some kind of preliminary contradiction. Who are you to know Brahman? What right have you? So, avoiding such possible objections, the Brahma Sutra goes directly into the main theme, \u2018It has to be known\u2019.
What is the meaning of \u2018knowing\u2019? You know that there is a meeting here, I know that many people are sitting here, you know that I am speaking\u2014this is a kind of knowledge, of course. Is it in this sense that you have to know Brahman? Or is there any other way?
The word \u2018Brahman\u2019 comes from a Sanskrit root, \u2018Brhm\u2019\u2014to expand, to be comprehensive, to include and be perfect. If the thing that is to be known you call Brahman is that which is inclusive and comprehensive, it must be including the knowing individual also. If the knowing person is outside this comprehensive Being, then that being would not be comprehensive, because it has excluded the knower or the person who aspires for it. So, it should include even the aspirant for it. Here is a knotty point before us.
If that which is to be known includes the knower of it also, then what is the answer to this question \u201cBrahman is to be known?\u201d Known by whom? It is already told that nobody is there to know it. Yet at the very beginning itself is a statement, \u2018It has to be known\u2019. Is Brahman knowing Itself? Brahman is to be known\u2014\u2018Athato Brahma Jijnasa\u2019\u2014when thus it is said, does it mean that Brahman is wanting to know Itself? What for is this book which is to be read by people when only Brahman can know Itself and no one else can know It? That is to say, there is no passage to It with which you can be acquainted.
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