CHAPTER 1 SECTION 3
Thibault (Max Muller) translates the first formula of this section as The abode of heaven, earth, and so on (is Brahman), on account of the term, own, i.e. Self. Badarayana points out that the highest social authority has his abode in the social worlds known as dyu, bhu, etc. That is, he has jurisdiction over the nobility (dyu) and the commonalty (bhu) who belong to the core society and also over other social worlds (bhuva or antariksham, the frontier society, akasa, the open space, the areas assigned to the great sages, maha, to the legislators, jana, to the meditators, tapa, to the jurists, satya, etc.). The use of the term, sva, indicates that that authority claims all these social worlds as his. (dyu bhu adi ayatanam sva sabdat 1-3-1)
The commentator transliterates the next phrase (1-3-2) as, And on account of its being designated as that to which the Released have to resort. The highest authority, Vaisvanara, is free to have his abode in any of the seven social worlds. The term, sva, indicates the person who decides his own way of life. He is free from all social bonds like a monk as the latter is described. A monk is free and is referred to as mukta, one who has discharged all his duties and has no more social obligations to fulfil. (mukta upasrpya vyapadesat 1-3-2)
Was Badarayana in favour of an autonomous noble who is free from all social bonds as the authority to head the new society that is an extension of the core-society, dyau-prthvi, nobles and commoners?
The commentator translates the third statement (1-3-3) as, Not (i.e. the abode of heaven, earth etc. cannot be) that, which is inferred (i.e. the pradhana), on account of the terms not denoting it. The teacher says that the above inference is not tenable, as the term sva does not indicate the concept, mukta. The former was indeed a noble who was autonomous and was not a subject under the state. The latter, monk too, was not a subject of any state and was free to move everywhere while the noble was confined to his social world, dyu. (na anumanam ata sabdhat !-3-3)
The commentator translates the next phrase (1-3-4) as, (Nor) also the individual soul (pranabhrti). This is not to the point. The abode of the highest authority and the representative and leader of the entire mega-society who carries on his shoulders the responsibility for the administration of that large society, visva, cannot be visualized as but that of one who is at the bare subsistence level (prana) and who has not acquired the knowledge and the training required for carrying out this mission. [It is not sound to hold that the term, prana, indicates breath or the human soul.] (prana bhrt ca 1-3-4)
The teacher explains that there is a difference between one who is free from social obligations and hence can be a good representative of the mega-society as Vaisvanara, and one who seeks but to exist (prana). (bheda vyapadesasat ca 1-3-5) Thibaut translates this phrase as On account of the declaration of difference.
Thibaut translates the next phrase (1-3-6) as On account of the subject-matter. The teacher points out that he is expounding the status and role of the highest social authority who represents and guards the interests of all sectors and strata of the mega-society and not the least common factor that underlies all human needs and aspirations, that is, the urge to survive against all odds. (prakaranat 1-3-6)
Thibaut interprets the next phrase (1-3-7) as, And on account of the two conditions of standing and eating (of which the former is characteristic of the highest Lord, the latter of the individual soul). To be precise, the teacher points out that the stances that the two, vaisvanara and prana, the highest representative authority and the individual at the lowest level are to take are different. [The concept of standing and eating is iinane and irrelevant.] (sthiti adanabhya ca 7)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (1-3-8) as, The bhuman (is Brahman), as the instruction about it is additional to that about the state of deep sleep (i.e. the vital air which remains awake even in the state of deep sleep). This is imprecise. The highest authority and representative of the interests of all sectors of the mega-society is expected to be content and unperturbed, as he has all the wealth necessary for carrying out his duties. The reference to the state of deep sleep is not relevant here.
The teacher explains that the personage occupying the position of the Vaisvanara, though originally belonging to the lowest level of the society where one was concerned with struggle for survival by acquiring the minimum needs, is at the end of that struggle at the top of the bourgeoisie whose members have adequate wealth and are content and do not have any internal agitation caused by unfulfilled desires and ambitions.
The landed (bhumipati) gentry are not part of this bourgeoisie (bhuma). This is indicated in the corollary to the rules prescribing the qualifications of the personage, purusha, occupying the position of Vaisvanara. (bhuma samprasadat avyupadesat 1-3-8)
Thibauts translation of the next phrase (1-3-9) as And on account of the agreement of the attributes (mentioned in the text) is unsatisfactory. The teacher points out that the dharma code outlines the rights and duties of the individuals at different levels of the social polity and the traits required of the individual to be assigned to a particular level. This correspondence is a requisite. Hence only a contented personage could occupy the position of Vaisvanara. (dharma upapatta ca 1-3-9)
Thibaut translates the statement (1-3-10) as The Imperishable (is Brahman) on account of (its) supporting (all things) up to ether. The highest authority supports all sectors and strata up to the level of the sky, that is, up to the highest social stratum. It never loses its ability to do so and occupies a position that has been instituted forever. The personage, Purusha, occupying this permanent (akshara) position at the top of the polity and is like a parasol is often referred to as Brahma. It is not sound to translate the expression, ambaranta as ether. (aksharam ambaranta dhrute 1-3-10)
Thibaut interprets the next epigram (1-3-11) as, This (supporting can), on account of the command (attributed to the Imperishable, be the work of the highest Lord only). The administrative structure of the larger social polity required the creation of a permanent position at the top from which the incumbent who was a contented personage belonging preferably to the bourgeoisie and who had risen from the lowest level of the society and who represented the wills, urges, needs and aspirations of all levels of the larger society directed all in his capacity as Vaisvanara.
The teacher was describing the concept of sovereignty being vested in a personage whose desires were all fulfilled and who had no more personal desires and who was not attached to any social group or sector and who knew the requirements of the weakest of the society as he had risen from that level to the highest by his own talents. There is no indication that the supreme God was ordering all to obey him. (sa ca prasasanat 1-3-11)
Thibaut reads the next formula (1-3-12) as And on account of (Scripture) separating (the akshara) from that whose nature is different (from Brahman). The teacher explains that no other interpretation of the above formula reveals itself. Only a contented person who has experienced the desires and needs of all levels from those at the subsistence level (prana) to the contented bourgeoisie (bhuma) and ranks above the nobility (ambaranta) can exercise authority over and support (protect) all. The concept, Brahman as the Ultimate, is not to be introduced here as it deals with social polity and sovereign power being vested in the Vaisvanara, the free man representing all sectors of the mega-society. (anya bhavavya avrtte ca 1-3-12)
Thibaut following the commentators of the medieval times interprets the next epigram (1-3-13) as, On account of his being designated as the object of sight (the highest Self is meant, and) the same (is meant in the passage speaking of the meditation on the highest person by the syllable, Om). The concept of Om signifying the highest authority is not to be introduced here. The teacher explains that this highest authority is required as his duty (karma) to watch all goings-on. This instruction is explicit in the term, prasasana.
The person occupying the highest position is not a figurehead or a mere symbol of the union of all the three major social sectors, bhu, bhuva and sva. He has to support all the sectors and supervise all. (ikshati karma vyapadesat sa 1-3-13)
The commentator interprets the next phrase (1-3-14), as The small (ether is Brahman), on account of the subsequent (arguments). The personage, purusha, who occupies the highest position and ranks above the nobility and oversees the activities of all below him, is not visualized as a super-man or as a colossus. Like a minute particle of dust (dahara) he moves everywhere in the cosmos as shown later. (dahara uttarebhya 1-3-14)
Thibaut interprets the next statement (1-3-15) as (The small ether is Brahman), on account of the action of going (into Brahman) and of the word, (Brahmaloka); for thus it is seen (i.e. that the individual souls go into Brahman is seen elsewhere in Scripture); and (this going of souls into Brahman constitutes) an inferential sign (by means of which we may properly interpret the word Brahmaloka.) The statement here does not refer to Brahmaloka.
It needs to be recognized that Brahmaloka indicated the academy of jurists and not the residence of Brahma, the God. The personage who occupies the high position of the representative and observer and controller of all activities of human beings is constantly on the move even as the minute dust is always moving in the air.
The evidence of this movement and the distinguishing trait of the Vaisvanara are indicated by the term, dahara. The concept of the souls of the individuals going towards and merging in the great soul, Brahma, does not emerge from the context. Badarayana was dealing with concepts pertaining to social polity rather than with those concerning salvation or with human soul merging in the divine soul. (gati sabdhabhya tatha hi drshtam lingam ca 1-3-15)
The commentator explains the next statement (1-3-16) as, And on account of the supporting also (attributed to it, the small ether must be the Lord) because that greatness is observed in him (according to other scriptural passages). The teacher was drawing attention to the rapid movement of the considerably small but great personage across all regions. He was supporting all sectors and strata up to the highest level. He was not a colossus but was a great personage who stood steadfast by his views. This knowledge is obtained by a reference to the Vedic passages.
The teacher was pointing out that the personage (who was later visualized as emerging as a colossal figure, Visvarupa) was indeed a dwarf, a minute but great figure, Urukrama or Vamana, who represented all sections of the large society, Visva. (dhrta ca mahimnosya asmin upalabdha 1-3-16)
He was however not a Vaisvanara. Badarayana points out that the settled and widely accepted meaning of the expression, dahara akasa, is great and vast like the open skies though minute. (prasiddha ca 1-3-17) Thibaut translates this phrase as And on account of the settled meaning.
According to Thibaut, Badarayana argued that if it be said that the other one (i.e. the individual soul is meant), on account of a reference to it (made in a complementary passage, we say) no, on account of the impossibility. (1-3-18) This interpretation is not to the mark.
If it is argued that the reference, dahara, is to some thing else it is refuted, as it is unlikely. The teacher asserts that no other concept could have been considered as being the minute basic radical, dahara, as well as the representative of the macro-society, vaisvanara. (itara paramarsat sa iti ca nasambhavat 1-3-18)
According to Thibaut the next formula means (1-3-19) If it be said that from the subsequent (chapter it appears that the individual soul is meant, we would point out that what is there referred to is) rather (the individual soul in so far) as its true nature has become manifest (i.e. as it is non-different from Brahman).
The teacher argues that the conclusion that follows the above references is the svarupa, real and natural form of Vaisvanara, the representative of the will of the universal man is that of the dwarf, dahara, rather than that of the colossus, Visvarupa. (uttarat ca idavibhuta svarupa tu 1-3-19)
Badarayana agrees that the other references cited give a different meaning to the concept, Vaisvanara as dahara. (anya artha ca paramarsa 1-3-20) Thibaut translates this phrase as And the reference (to the individual soul) has a different meaning.
Thibaut translates the next statement (1-3-21) as, If it be said that on account of the scriptural declaration of the smallness (of the ether the Lord cannot be meant; we reply that) that has been explained (before). The teacher takes into account the objection raised by some students that there was very little (alpa) reference to dahara in the Vedas (Srutis). He says that this issue has already been dealt with. (alpa srte iti ca itat uktam 1-3-21) In other words, he has already explained why the natural form of Vaisvanara was that of a dwarf rather than that of a colossus.
Thibaut translates the next formula (1-3-22) as On account of the acting after (i.e. the shining after that after which sun, moon etc. are said to shine is the highest Self) and (becaue by the light) of him (all this is said to be lighted). The teacher notices that all activities of the officials follow the path shown by that personage.
Badarayana (it may be inferred) was confronted with the issue of validity of the administration of the new social polity introduced by the dwarfish reformer, Vamana. Vamana advocated the concept of a state headed by a true representative of the entire society, by a Vaisvanara who had emerged from the lowest level of the society rather than from any of its higher ranks whether from the intelligentsia or from the aristocracy or the powerful feudal lords or from the rich bourgeoisie or from the landed gentry. He must have however acquired the confidence of all these ranks and known their aspirations and needs by his personal contacts with them. The officials appointed by such a true representative of the mega-society would follow his recommendations while performing their duties. (anu krutestasya ca 1-3-22)
Thibaut translates the next formula (1-3-23) as Moreover Smrti also speaks of him (i.e. of the prajna Self as being the universal light). The authors of the Dharmasastras who remember the interpretations given in the past by the Vedic sages notice this aspect. (api ca smaryena 1-3-23) Badarayana thus said that he was not suggesting any new method of social governance.
The interpretation by Thibaut of the next epigram (1-3-24) as, On account of the term, (viz.the term, lord, applied to it) the (person) measured (by a thumb is the highest Lord) does not solve the enigma. The highly influential personage, purusha, who presented himself as a colossus, Visvarupa, was in fact a representative of the micro-society and was so dwarfish that he was said to be as short as a thumb.
The teacher was asserting that it was Vamana who represented the micro-society who as Vaisvanara appeared as a representative of the macro-society. [It may be noted here that the sage, Agastya too was a dwarf and was said to be only a thumb-high.] The term, alpa or dahara, indicated the stage of compressed potentiality. Though the nominee to the highest position in the mega-society might have originally belonged to a micro-society, he was highly potent. That potency became manifest when he was accepted as Vaisvanara and head of the mega-society vested with immense powers. (sabdat eva prabhita 1-3-24)
Thibaut was off the mark when he interpreted the formula (1-3-25) as. But with reference to the heart (the highest Self is said to be of the size of a span), as men are entitled (to the study of the Veda). According to Badarayana with reference to the expectations of the heart (that is, of the soul that is said to be located in the heart) the commoner (manushya) has certain basic rights.
The teacher says that the commoner (manushya) has the right to develop himself from the status of a weak and unimportant member of a micro-society, or a commoner who could not but abide by the directions issued by his small clan or community which is almost at the bare subsistence level, to that of a powerful representative and head of a macro-society.
The new socio-political constitution introduced by the Upanishads granted the commoner the right to the highest position in the polity, a right equal to what an intellectual or a member of the bourgeoisie or of aristocracy or of the landed gentry or of the feudal order enjoyed. The aspiration of the commoner to be able to rise to the highest position by being a representative of the entire society could be thus fulfilled. (hrdi apekshaya tu manushya adhikaratvat 1-3-25)
The commentator interprets the formula (1-3-26) as: Also (beings) above them (viz. men) (are qualified for the study and practice of the Veda), on account of the possibility (of it), according to Badarayana. The issue of the right to study the Vedas was not being discussed. The social ascent even to a level above that of the commoners, that is, to that of the nobles and intellectuals, and independent bourgeoisie was feasible, according to the scheme proposed by Badarayana. A commoner, manushya, was not condemned to work for others for all times. He could rise to great heights. (tat uparyapi Badarayana sambhavat 1-3-26)
Thibaut translates the next formula (1-3-27) as, If it be said that (the corporal individuality of the gods involves) a contradiction to (sacrificial) works, we deny that, on account of the observation of the assumption (on the part of the gods) of several (forms). The formula does not refer to gods or to sacrificial acts. It is not sound to accept the assumption that the ancients were polytheists and that there were diverse methods of offering sacrifices and that these gods were visualized in different forms.
The student complains to the teacher, Badarayana, that the duties of the different officials mentioned were mutually contradictory. He was voicing the views of Badarayanas detractors. The teacher refutes this allegation for an official might present himself in different forms.
Both medieval and modern commentators assumed that gods (devas) were superior to men (manushyas) and that the former were entitled to acquiring knowledge (of Brahman) but not the latter. They assumed that Indra and other gods were physically present at the sacrificial acts performed by the latter, even as the priests were.
The detractors among the commentators argued that no one had in actuality observed the presence of the gods at these sacrifices. It was also not possible for a god like Indra to be present at the same time at many sacrifices. These commentators failed to realise that Indra, Agni, Varuna, Soma, Vayu etc. were not names of gods but were designations of certain high officials of the Vedic social polity. Every small region had an administrative body of eight officials and these officials were required to witness every important act like a sacrifice performed by the prominent members including rulers of that polity.
If these officials and the sages and elders were not present at a sacrificial act it would be deemed to be invalid. The roles of these officials who were wrongly presented as gods were not identical. Different officials might be present on different occasions depending on the purpose for which a sacrifice was performed. The western Indologists and their modern Indian adherents have failed to appreciate this situation. (virodha karmaniti ca ena aneka pratipatta darsanat 1-3-27)
The interpretation by Thibaut of the next statement (1-3-28) as If it be said (that a contradiction will result) in respect of the word, we refute this objection on the ground that (the world) originates from the word, as is shown by perception and inference fails to dwell on the objection raised by the critics and the defence that Badarayana put forth.
The teacher points out that the statement that the nobles were present physically at the sacrifices even as the men who performed them did and accepted their offerings does not conflict with the expression in the Vedic texts. This is what we are required to infer from the contexts described in the Vedic hymns.
The authoritativeness of the Veda has been proved from its independence, basing on the original or eternal connection of a given word with its specific meaning, the later commentator says. He says that a divinity possessing corporeal individuality may by means of its supernatural powers be able to enjoy at the same time the oblations which form part of several sacrifices and that it will yet on account of its individuality be subject to birth and death just as we men are. This leads to a contradiction with the Vedic text losing its authoritativeness, he fears.
The commentators of the medieval times knew that devas and devatas did not have divinity and that they had no supernatural powers. Did the Vedic poets too follow the concept that devas were only superior men and were not super-men or gods with extraordinary powers to be present at the same time at different places? These commentators were not able to cite passages in the Vedas that would indicate positively that they treated devas as but men. This alone can be read in this formula which itself belonged to the last stage of the Vedic era. (sabda iti ca ena ata prabhavat pratyaksha anumanabhyam 1-3-28)
Badarayana expected his students and critics not to use the term, deva, as god though they were not able to locate in Vedas evidence to show that the sages did not resort to anthropomorphising divinity and endowing men with divinity. It may be inferred that the school of Parasaras who edited the chronicles and hymns known as the Vedas did not bestow them the air of philosophical or theological treatises and allowed them to carry the air of exoticism that had been introduced by their original authors.
Thibaut and other commentators were off the mark when they iinterpreted the next epigram (1-3-29) as implying: And from this reason the eternity of the Veda follows. The phrase does not mention the term, Vedas. What were visible and honoured were a group of officials of the Vedic polity like Indra and Agni, Varuna and Mitra, Vayu and Aditya who occupied for specified periods permanent positions according to the Vedic constitution. It is not rational to suggest that Badarayana claimed that the Vedas were eternal. (ata evam ca nityatvam 1-3-29)
The commentator translates the next formula (1-3-30) as And on account of the equality of names and forms there is no contradiction (to the eternity of the word of the Veda) in the renovation (of the world); as is seen from the Sruti and the Smrti. Was the new code as prescribed in the Smrti or Dharmasastra a departure from the earlier practice as approved by the social constitution, Brahma, of the Vedic times? Both use the same or equivalent terminology for the designations of the officials and the forms in which they are to appear. This reveals that there is no contradiction between the two codes.
The Smrtis indicate continuation of this tradition. If Indra, Agni etc. were officials of the Vedic social polity, they continue to be so in the new post-Vedic social polity as described in the Dharmasastra and continue to perform the same or equivalent roles as in the Vedic times. The concept, renovation of the world, is a misleading one. The new code attempted to reorganise the scheme of three social worlds, trilokas and three social universes, trijagats and other individuals of the periphery and of the subaltern, bhutas and pranas, and introduced the concept of a larger society, visva, with four social classes, varnas.
Its head was Vaisvanara who emerged from the lowest level of the society and had developed the ability to represent the interests of all cadres and strata impartially, even as Brahma, the highest officer of the judiciary, did. The Upanishada social constitution did not depart radically from the traditional constitution either in the nomenclature of the officials or the socio-political structure that may be traced to the Vedas. (samana namarupatvat ca avrtta api avirodho darsanat smrte ca 1-3-30)
Thibaut translates the next statement (1-3-31) as, On account of the impossibility of (the gods being qualified) for the madhu-vidya etc. Jaimini (maintains) the non-qualification (of the gods for the Brahmavidya). The officials of the Vedic polity and also of the post-Vedic polity did not have the right to be members of the judiciary as they had not mastered madhu-vidya taught by Yajnavalkya.
It was an important section of jurisprudence, Brahmavidya, which belonged not to the Vedas proper but to the epilogues to the Vedas, that is, to Vedanta, which dealt with the concept of a common trait underlying all social relations and interdependence. Jaimini who barred nobles from judiciary took this stand. (madhvadish asambhavat anadhikaram Jaimini 1-3-31)
The Rgvedic polity and also the Atharvan polity did empower Agni, Varuna, Mrtyu and Yama to function as officers of the judiciary but did not develop a science of jurisprudence. This development belonged to the Upanishadic thought.
The commentator translates the next epigram (1-3-32) as: And (the devas etc. are not qualified) on account of (the words denoting devas etc.) being (used) in the sense of (sphere of) light. The teacher, Badarayana, points out that in the new scheme the earlier officials are retained but are referred to as jyotis, as guides, as leading lights.
He implies that they no longer exercise coercive control over the masses but are moral and intellectual guides for the social sectors under their respective care and jurisdiction. Between the Vedic polity that gave prominence to the executive powers of the nobles and other officials and the guides, jyotis, of the Upanishadic polity there was a significant difference. (Jyotishi bhavat ca 1-3-32)
Thibaut translates the formula (1-3-33) as Badarayana, on the other hand, (maintains) the existence (of qualification for Brahmavidya on the part of the gods); for there are (passages indicatory of that). Badarayana maintains that the qualification for pursuing Brahma-vidya (jurisprudence) was prescribed for the nobles (devas), for there are, according to him, passages indicatory of that.
Badarayana asserts that the officials of the new polity do have the qualifications necessary to hold their respective positions. He implies that it will be unwise and heretical to question their aptitude and competence though they may not exercise coercive power and function only as guides. These guides were required to be acquainted with the principles of jurisprudence. In other words, the new constitution provided not only for a strong executive but also for a wise executive that would guide the peoples. (bhavam tu Badarayana asti hi 1-3-33)
Thibaut translates the next formula (1-3-34) as Grief of him (i.e. of Janasruti arose) on account oh his hearing a disrespectful speech about himself; on account of his rushing on of that (grief) (Raikva called him Shudra); for it (the grief) is pointed at (by Raikva). The commentators notice that the formulas of Brahma-sutra are connected with the scrutiny of the concepts and themes dealt with by many of the Upanishads. These might have been composed under the guidance of Badarayana.
Chhandogya Upanishad describes how Raikva an intellectual who pulled carts for a livelihood counselled the rich and famous chieftain, Janasruti. Janasruti was grief-stricken on account of his hearing a disrespectful speech about himself. Raikva called him a Shudra, an uneducated person. The discussion on whether the Shudras were permitted to study the Vedas is unwarranted.
What is pertinent is the cause of the grief of the person who had to hear from the swans disrespectful words. Janasruti was extremely rich but he was not a Brahman or a Kshatriya ruler or a Vaisya. He was not initiated as a dvija, twice-born and was a Mahashudra which was being pointed out to him by Raikva. He had offered Raikva who was but a cart-driver though a great scholar, huge wealth for being taught the secrets of Brahmavidya.
But the latter refused and charged that Janasruti was but an uncivilized Shudra though he claimed to be a very rich person and to know the languages of even birds and animals. (Vide Ch.36 in this work for a critique on the meeting between Raikva and Janasruti) He had insulted a great scholar who had opted to lead a simple life as a worker by pointing out his poverty and offering wealth and holding that all were eager to be rich. (sugasya tadanadara sravanat tadadravanat sucyate hi 1-3-34)
Thibaut translates the next statement (1-3-35) as, And because the kshatriyahood (of Janasruti) is understood from the inferential mark (supplied by his being mentioned) later on with Chaitraratha (who was a Kshatriya himself). The discussion then veered round to which social class Janasruti was to be assigned. He could not be consigned to the class of workers, Shudras, as he was educated though he was arrogant and uncivilized. He had to be assigned to the Kshatriya varna, according to Badarayana, even as Chaitraratha was. This has been indicated in a later context.
Janasruti, Raikva and Chaitraratha belonged to a stage when the rich and the educated were being assigned to the appropriate classes. Chaitrarathas father, Chitraratha, was a Gandharva. He was a warrior and drove a decorated chariot and also a scholar who belonged to the Samkara school of political science. Gandharvas (like the nobles, Devas) were expected to opt for one of the three higher classes, Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas. Chaitraratha would have been found fit to enter the new Kshatriya class, which included warriors and administrators. It may be remarked here that Narada, a great scholar and teacher and a Gandharva, was treated as a Shudra as he and his students were not properly initiated in the process of schooling, Brahmacarya.
Janasruti belonged to the bourgeoisie whose members rode in chariots but was like Chitraratha, the Gandharva, not yet been initiated as a dvija, twice-born. Raikva opined that he was fit only to be assigned to the class of Shudras, which included all those who were not dvijas. Janasruti could be only a Mahashudra and certainly not a Vaisya or a Brahman.
The class of Brahmans included all intellectuals. Even a cart-driver like Raikva could be a Brahman. The highest among the Brahmans were jurists. Janasruti was not fit to be a Brahman though he knew many languages. He could however be an administrator, Kshatriya, if he did not agree to be a member of the larger bourgeoisie, the new class of Vaisyas. This background needs to be recognized. (kshatriyatva gate ca uttaratra caittrarathena lingat 1-3-35)
The commentator interprets the next formula (1-3-36) as, On account of the reference to ceremonial purifications (in the case of the higher castes) and on account of their absence being declared (in the case of the Shudras). As in the new code, Dharmasastra, based on the revised constitution, Brahma, there is a reference to the cultural practices (samskaras) to be observed by the person admitted to a particular class and also to the nature, bhava or guna, expected of him, Janasruti fits only in the class of Kshatriyas. The Brahmans were gentle and non-assertive (sattva) and the Shudras were ignorant and inert (tamas) while only the Kshatriyas were proud and assertive (rajas).
Besides, Janasruti knew how to honour the Brahmans and followed the ways of the rulers rather than the ways of the rich who hesitated to part with their wealth. Many Kshatriyas had not yet been initiated as dvijas even as the Shudras were not. However they could follow the cultural practices (samskaras) prescribed for the Kshatriya class and they were not declared as Vratyas, heretics.
This formula belongs to a stage when a separate class of Vaisyas without political authority had not yet been constituted and there was little difference between the rich and the mighty. The Brahmans were poor though some scholars were recipients of munificent donations from the rulers and the wealthy houseowners, Mahasalas. (samskara paramarsat tadbhava abhilashat 1-3-36)
It may be noticed here that the scheme of four varnas, Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras had not come into force during the Vedic times. But the Upanishads had to deal with the transition from the pre-varna Vedic social order to the post-Vedic varna system and hence revise the science of constitution and jurisprudence, Brahmavidya. Brahmasutra needs to be studied as a guide for a smooth transition to the new system.
Thibaut interprets the next formula (1-3-37) as, And on account of (Gautama) proceeding (to initiate Jabala) on the ascertainment of (his) not being that (i.e.a Shudra). Gautama, it has been interpreted by some, could not teach one who had not been admitted to the class of dvijas, that is, who had not been granted the right to wear the sacred thread and perform the rites prescribed for the three higher classes, Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas.
While many teachers and priests did not dare to refuse to perform sacrifices for the powerful Kshatriyas and did not hesitate to accept huge gifts from the rich Vaisyas, they were not prepared to guide the poor Brahmans though the latter were eligible to observe the prescribed cultural practices.
Jabala (Satyakama) did not know who his procreating father was and he was known as the son of a woman who had been forced to have sex with many men in the house where she was working. When Satyakama Jabala told Gautama the truth behind his birth, the latter was pleased and agreed to initiate him as a Brahman and teach him. (Vide Ch.37 of this work for a critique on this episode) It is wrong to interpret that Gautama was not willing to teach Shudras. Such unwillingness characterized only the post-Vedic and post-Upanishadic times and was not prominent during the times of Gautama who was an artisan by vocation though a great scholar and sage. (tadbhava nirdharane ca pravrtte 1-3-37)
The commentator interprets the next formula (1-3-38) as, And on account of the prohibition, in Smrti, of (the Shudras) hearing and studying (the Veda) and (knowing and performing) (Vedic) matters. The new social code (Smrti) that claims to remember the social practices of the earlier times has prohibited the non-initiated from listening to the Vedic hymns and studying them formally, that is, being taught by a recognized Brahman teacher. As a son had to hear from and be taught the traditional cultural practices by his father in the absence of a cadre of recognized teachers, Jabala was handicapped. The issue is not connected with the ban on the Shudras studying the Vedas, which came into force far later than the times of Badarayana and his senior, Gautama. (sravana adhyayanartha pratishedhat smrte ca 1-3-38)
The commentator interprets the next epigram (1-3-39) as (The prana is Brahman), on account of the trembling (predicated of the whole world). The teacher points out that the new code, Smrti, has introduced the above ban on the culturally uninitiated persons teaching the Vedas because of social unrest that has its origin in the subaltern. Its member is at the bare subsistence level (prana) but has the potential to rise to the highest level (Brahman) and to lead others at different levels. The commentators of the medieval times visualised this social unrest as pralaya, flood or compared it to an earthquake that would destroy the whole world. (kampanat 1-3-39)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (1-4-40) as The light (is Brahman), on account of that (Brahman) being seen (in the scriptural passage). He does not point out which passage was meant. The Upanishads were not treated as equivalent to Vedas. The new code, Smrti or Dharmasastra, has on the basis of the recommendations of the new constitution, Brahma, introduced the concept of jyoti. Every major social sector receives guidance from a luminary, jyoti, who unlike the earlier Vedic officials would not use coercive power.
Even the people at the bare subsistence level who had earlier not dared to assert their claims for the proper place in the social hierarchy based on the puritanical Vedic code of Satya (that superseded the earlier permissive code based on Rta or svabhava) were guided by the jyotis to develop their talents and reach the highest level, the impartial and highly educated Brahman. The reference to the jyotis leads to the concept of guided social ascent. (jyoti darsanat 1-3-40)
Social and political unrest among the deprived sections by itself cannot ensure that every one would attain the status due to him. There have to be guides, jyotis, who may not belong to those sections but can empathise with them.
Thibaut interprets the next statement (1-3-41) as The ether is Brahman, as it is designated as something different etc. (from name and form). The teacher agrees that the concept, akasa is different from the concept, other society itara-jana, which we have used to describe the concept, antariksham, as distinct from the core society of nobles and commoners, devas and manushyas.
It denotes the macro-society of the vast open space as well as the thinly populated and almost vacant areas of the core society, which were inhabited by the subaltern, prana. Badarayana drew the attention of his students to how the deep subaltern constituted the micro-society where social unrest began and rose to the level of the higher open areas. (akaso artha antaratva adi vyapadesat 1-3-41)
Was Badarayana referring to social unrest originating amongst tribes who are deprived sections in the deep core society? They were not tribes of the forests and mountains who claimed ownership of the areas where they pursued their traditional occupations and who were kept away from, by the agro-pastoral core society.
The thinker of the classical age knew that social change could not be initiated by persons in highly organised and well-knit groups like communities and clans and that waves of change began at the lowest level of the society and rose to spread among the thinly populated and unorganized mass society which was however not backward in culture and civilisation.
Thibaut interprets the next clause (1-3-42) as, And (on account of the designation of the highest Self) as different (from the individual soul) in the states of deep sleep and departing. The teacher distinguishes between the states of social uprising (utkranti) that characterized the concept of an organized industrial society and the aristocracy blocking the way of social progress for the individuals at the lowest level and of peace (sushupti) as experienced by all social groups and individuals on attaining the highest status as they are capable of attaining.
Social ascent under irrepressible internal urge has to be distinguished from satisfaction of all aspirations and peace obtained by following the guidance given by the luminaries, jyotis. Thus Badarayana defends the recommendation that the cadre of jyotis, social guides, who were superior to the nobles, devas, be created. (sushuptya utkrantya bhedena 1-3-42)
The teacher explains that the terms, pati, chief, etc. used in the new code to refer to the luminaries and social guides have to be understood in this background and not treated as indicating domineering persons who make the weak tremble and silence their aspirations. (patyadi sabdebhya 1-3-43) Thibaut translates this phrase as And on account of such words as Lord etc.
CHAPTER 1 SECTION 4
Thibault (Max Muller) translates the first formula of this section as, If it be said that some (mention) that which is based on inference (i.e. the pradhana); we deny this, because (the term alluded to) refers to what is contained in the simile of the body (i.e. the body itself); and (that the text) shows. Some have inferred that the expression, sarira-rupake indicates that the high official has taken over a position where he has to be physically present to carry out his duties and has become a member of a body of jurists. In other words, a luminary, jyoti, was not expected to be physically present at the spot or in the midst of the group he was expected to lead. The students sought a justification for this exemption. (anumanikam api ekesham iti ca it na sarirarupaka vinyasta grhite darsayati ca 1-4-1)
According to Thibaut the teacher pointed out But the subtle (body is meant by the term, avyakta) on account of its capability (of being so designated). (1-4-2) This explanation is not satisfactory. The concept of avyakta, the highest authority, the unwritten constitution, does not feature here. The teacher says that the implication is that the new incumbent to that high position is suitable for anointment. (sukshmam tu tat arhatvat 1-4-2)
Thibaut interprets the next phrase (1-4-3) as, (Such a previous seminal condition of the world may be admitted), on account of its dependence on him (the Lord); (for such an admission is) according to reason. Some critics noted that the term, rupaka, indicated that the new incumbent was not yet mature enough to be installed in that high position and to take over the responsibilities. The teacher pointed out that his use of this term was meaningful. (tad adhinatvat tad arthavat 1-4-3 )
Thibaut interprets the epigram (1-4-4) as, And (the pradhana cannot be meant) because there is no statement as to (the avyakta) being something to be cognised. Badarayana explains that as there is no pronouncement barring the elevation of the suitable candidate to his high position on the judiciary, it has yet to be known what other conditions he has to fulfil to occupy that position. He was asking his students to be patient and learn these qualifications. (jneyatva avacanat ca 1-4-4)
The commentator translates the next formula (1-4-5) as, And if you maintain that the text does speak (of the pradhana as an object of knowledge) we deny that, for the intelligent (highest) Self is meant, on account of the general subject-matter. Some scholars argued that the new code has spoken of the qualifications necessary for a candidate to occupy that position.
The teacher says that it does not mention all the qualifications and that the ones not mentioned are to be known and the one who has the awareness necessary (prajna) can infer them from the overall duties prescribed for that position. (vadati iti ca na prajno hi prakaranat 1-4-5)
The commentator notes that there is question and explanation relative to three things only (not to the pradhana). (1-4-6) Badarayana, points out that the code raised only three issues and provided explanations for these three only. There were other issues not dealt with by that code. The medieval commentators point out that Katha Upanishad dealt only with the fire sacrifice, the individual soul and the highest Self. Yama enlightened Naciketas only on these three issues, according to them.
The implications of the three boons that Naciketas sought from Mrtyu, the Vedic official in charge of the commonalty, manushyas, are brought out in a rational manner in my thesis on the Upanishads and Hindu Political Sociology. (Vide Ch.46 of this work on the Social Ascent of Naciketas) (trayanam eva ca evam upanyasa prasna ca 1-4-6)
Thibaut translates the next clause (1-4-7) as And (the case of the term avyakta) is like that of the term mahat. According to the commentator, Badarayana states that the case of the term avyakta is like that of the term mahat. The teacher says that the explanation of the term, mahat, also is present in that and other Upanishads and in the code. This term referred to a great and powerful legislative authority (mahat). He was superior to the civil authority (agni). He was an independent individual who was outside the jurisdiction of this civil authority and was the head of the social polity. (mahatva ca 1-4-7)
The commentator translates the next epigram (1-4-8) as, (It cannot be maintained that aja means the pradhana) because no special characteristic is stated; as in the case of the cup. As no special trait of this high authority is mentioned it is like the term, camasa, ladle. The importance of the ladle depends on what is lifted by it and not by what it is made of. The influence of this high legislative authority, mahat, depends on what he pronounces. (camasavat aviseshat 1-4-8)
Thibaut translates the next formula (1-4-9) as But the (elements) beginning with light (are meant by the term aja); for some read so in their text. According to the commentator, Badarayana explains that the elements beginning with light (jyoti) are meant by the term, aja, (unborn) for some read so in their text. The officials of the new polity are described as luminaries, jyotis. That is how some read in their text. (Jyoti rupa krama tu tatha hi adhiyat eke 1-4-9) These social guides (jyotis) are not members of any social body. The guidance given by them needs to be discerned and grasped.
Thibaut, following the commentators of the medieval times, interprets the next statement (1-4-10) as, And on account of the statement of the assumption (of a metaphor) there is nothing contrary to reason (in aja denoting the causal matter), just as in the case of honey (denoting the sun) and similar cases.
The teacher says that his counsel was to treat this designation of the officials as luminaries is only calling for imagining them as equivalent to the stars in the sky that guide the wayfarer. This is not contrary to reason even as the allegory of the honeycomb resorted to by Yajnavalkya is not to be treated as but imagination and its significance overlooked. (kalpana upadesat ca madhyadivat avirodha 1-4-10)
Thibaut translates the next formula (1-4-11) as, (The assertion that there is scriptural authority for the pradhana etc. can) also not (be based) on the mention of the number (of the Samkhya categories), on account of the diversity (of the categories) and on account of the excess (over the number of these categories).
The student points out that the number of luminaries in the new social polity that the teacher has mentioned in the subsidiary anthology does not tally with the number mentioned in the original code and that they are more in number and have diverse approaches. The student wonders whether the new scheme for the administration of the larger social polity can be successful in adopting a holistic approach without creating an unmanageable chimera of an administrative structure and governing body with its members having no common objective. It is not sound to introduce the elements of the Samkhya philosophy here. (na samkhya upasamtgrahat api nana bhavat atirekat ca 1-4-11)
The commentator interprets the next maxim (1-4-12) as (The panchajana are) the breath and so on, (as is seen) from the complementary passage. The teacher points out that if the student drew attention to the twenty-five (pancha panchajana) officials of the integrated polity it was included not in the main passage but in the rest of the edict pronounced to regulate the conduct of the members who did not come under the direct control of the five luminaries (agni, surya, soma, vayu and mrtyu).
Every one of the five communities (panchajana), Druhyus, Turvasus, Anus, Purus and Yadus, had five sections, Devas, Pitrs, Gandharvas, Manushyas and others, as pointed out in an analysis of the social polity of the Upanishadic times. There is no need to resort to theology or to mysticism to find out the implications of this formula. (prana adayo vakya seshat 1-4-12)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (1-4-13) as, In the case of (the text of) some (the Kanvas) where food is not mentioned, (the number five is made full) by the light (mentioned in the preceding mantra). The teacher agrees that of the five requisites, food, life, sight, hearing and mind the first (anna) had not been included among the list of jyotis, luminaries. It is a concrete object and is visible while the other four are functions and are not concrete objects. (jyotisha ca ekesham asati anne 1-4-13)
Thibaut translates the next formula (1-4-14) supposed to contain the argument advanced by Badarayana as, (Although there is a conflict of the Vedanta passages with regard to the things created, such as) ether and so on, (there is no such conflict with regard to the Lord) on account of his being represented (in one passage) as described (in other passages) viz. as the cause (of the world). Akasa etc. are considered by some to be primordial.
But the teacher does not agree with that stand for there has to be some power that has to be the cause of the emergence of these five elements, water, earth, fire, air and ether. In other words there is a force or power that underlies these five aspects of social polity and is anterior to these five. There is no need to introduce the concept of the great soul or the lord of creation in this discussion. (karanatvena ca akasa adishu yatha vyapadishtovate 1-4-14)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (1-4-15), as On account of the connexion (with passages treating of Brahman, the passages of the Non-being do not intimate absolute Non-existence). This formula does not refer to the concept of Brahman, the absolute or to the issue of non-existence of anything, which is neither matter nor soul. The five aspects of social polity and the basic feature that is common to them exercise mutual attraction. This facet has to be taken into account while interpreting the significance of the formula, Badarayana as teacher points out to his students. (samakarshat 1-4-15)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (1-4-16), as (He whose work is this is Brahman,) because (the work) denotes the world. The five aspects of the social polity, which he points out to them, pertain to the social universe (jagat) whose members are constantly on the move. The mutual attraction and dependence and influence noticed among the different sectors of the larger society lead to the concept of a fluid and dynamic society that has members performing all the activities that the five units individually perform in organised and static social worlds. The concept of Brahman is irrelevant here. (jagatvat ca itvat 1-4-16)
Thibaut translates the next statement (1-4-17) as, If it be said that this is not so, on account of the inferential marks of the individual soul and the chief vital air, we reply that that has been already explained. The teacher explains that the concept of the individual, jiva, who follows his own course of life based on his personal aptitudes and ability is distinct from the concept of prana, the person who is at the bare subsistence level and needs food for his existence.
The individual who leads his life with confidence does not treat food as the basic necessity. Hence food, (anna) was not presented as a luminary, jyoti. In other words, the promotion of the concept that the entire social economy depends on production and provision of food for all sectors was not felt necessary, it was explained. (jiva mukhya prana linga anna iti ca ettat vyakhyatam 1-4-17)
According to Thibaut, Jaimini thinks that (the reference to the individual soul) has another purport, on account of the question and answer; and thus some also (read in their text). (1-4-18) Badarayana, is asked to notice that Jaimini gives a different interpretation about the question and the explanation given in the work referred to. (anyartha tu Jaimini: prasnavyakhyatabhyam api ca evam eke 1-4-18)
Thibaut reads the next epigram (1-4-19), as (The Self to be seen, to be heard etc. is the highest Self), on account of the connected meaning. The statements above do not mention either Jivatma or Paramatma and hence the relationship between the two must not have been dealt with in the given explanation. It was a discussion about jiva and prana, the commoner individual who has not extricated himself from the social body of which he is a member and the individual who is at the lowest level in the society struggling to get the food necessary for his survival. (vakhyanvayat 1-4-19)
Thibaut translates the next statement (1-4-20) as (The circumstance of the soul being represented as the object of sight) indicates the fulfilment of the promissory statement; so Asmarthya states. The identifying mark in the case of the jiva, the individual who is not dependent on food, is the ability to get his vow fulfilled, according to Asmarthya. This ability to stand on ones own legs and pursue the way of life one has opted for in tune with his natural talents is not expected of those who are at the lowest level of the society and struggling to exist, according to this anonymous teacher. (pratijna siddhe lingam Asmarathya 1-4-20)
Thibaut translates the next statement (1-4-21) as (The initial statement identifies the individual soul and the highest Self) because the soul when it will depart (from the body) is such (i.e. one with the highest Self); thus Audulomi thinks. The teacher points out that the individual is on the path of social ascent because of his aptitude, that is, one rises from the tamas group of ignorant masses to the rajas group of administrators and rulers and then to the sattva group of gentle and sober intellectuals. This path of social ascent is natural for every individual, according to the disciple of Uduloma. This disciple was a contemporary of Badarayana. The concept of free social ascent had come into fore even during the later Vedic times. (utkramishyata evam bhavat iti Audulomi 1-4-21)
Thibaut translates the next statement (1-4-22) as (The initial statement is made because the highest Self) exists in the condition (of the individual soul); so Kasakrtsna thinks. One of the members of the group discussing this issue pointed out that according to Kasakrtsna the natural aptitude and natural talents and hence the original status cannot be altered. Hence the concept of free social ascent is illusory and is not to be advocated. He was a pessimist unlike Audulomi. (Was this scholar a smith manufacturing copper goods?) (avasthite iti Kasakrtsna 1-4-22)
Thibaut translates the explanation given by Badarayana, as (Brahman is) the material cause also, on account of (this view) not being in conflict with the promissory statements and the illustrative statements. Badarayana points out that the natural traits functioning as a limiting factor with reference to modifications in human talents and aptitudes and the possibility of getting the vow to rise above them fulfilled have already been cited. The two are not mutually contradictory. (prakrti ca pratijna drushtam ta anuparodhat 1-4-23)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (1-4-24), as And on account of the statement of reflection (on the part of the Self). The interpretation that the possibility of the development of the abilities and rise in social status is not to be ruled out because mans soul is a reflection of the great soul does not seem to be correct. Badarayana urges his students to realize that the social codes have called upon every individual to exert so that he rises to the highest level possible for him and in accordance with his vow overcomes all limiting factors. (abhidhya upadesat ca 1-4-24)
Thibaut translates the next statement (1-4-25) as, And on account of both (i.e. the origin and the dissolution of the world), being directly declared (to have Brahman for their material cause). He was off the mark. This formula does not refer to the creation and dissolution of the world either directly or indirectly. Badarayana was pointing out that the new ordinance took into account the presence of variety in the larger society and also the feasibility of social ascent. The latter was not to be lost sight of under the impression that social statuses and personal talents had been pre-determined and were unalterable. The manifest features of the new, liberal code are not to be neglected. (sakshat ca ubhayam nanat 1-4-25)
It may be remarked that the new social code that was proposed by Badarayana, one of the Parasaras, did not accept the argument that mans destiny was predetermined. He claimed that it was possible for an individual to rise to the highest level provided he had the necessary aptitude and talents and exerts himself in that direction. Badarayana is seen to adopt an approach that is similar to that of Krshna, the author of the famous Bhagavad-Gita and advocate of Karmayoga.
Thibaut translates the next formula (1-4-26) as, (Brahman is the material cause) on account of (the Self) making itself; (which is possible) owing to modification. As one is able to form oneself, through mutation or alteration in ones habits, outlooks, talents and social relations etc. the rise in social status results. There is no need to introduce the concept of Brahman, the highest Self, intervening to enable one to get his efforts fructified. (atmakrte parinamat 1-4-26)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (1-4-27), as And because Brahman is called the source. The formula does not mention Brahma as the source of the entire world and of the natures of all the different beings and of the different types of activities. The teacher says that the Song (Gita) holds that all traits and their limits are determined at the time of birth, even when one is yet to be born and is in his mothers womb. This nature determines whether he would be able to rise in social ladder and how far and how. Badarayana reads such a meaning in the Bhagavad-Gita. (Yonisca giyate 1-4-27)
Thibaut translates the last statement of this section as, Hereby all (the doctrines concerning the origin of the world which are opposed to the Vedanta) are explained. The teacher closes the session with the declaration that all the principles have been explained. The formula does not mention that he was dealing with the issue of the origin of the world and the interpretations that were against those of the Vedanta. (etena sarve vyakhyata vyakhyata 1-4-28)