BRAHMASUTRAS 3-3 (contd)
The commentator interprets the next formula (3-3-30) as, (The twofold view taken above) is justified because we observe a purpose characterised thereby (i.e. a purpose of the going), as in ordinary life. Badarayana says that the purpose of going to the forests to learn from the retired senior citizens (pitrloka) who are experienced in worldly life or to the social world of the nobles (devaloka) or to the academy of scholars (Brahmaloka) is met and benefits secured for being transmitted to the social world of commoners (manushyaloka). Hence the new code is not to be found fault with, he advises his students. (upapannasta lakshanartha upalabdhe lokavat B.S.3-3-30)
Thibaut interprets the formula (aniyama sarvasam avirodha sabda anumanabhyam. 3-3-31) as, There is no restriction (as to the going on the path of the gods) for any vidya nor any contradiction (of the general subject matter), according to scripture and inference (i.e. smrti). It is not necessary nor is it sound to introduce Veda as scripture and the later work (smrti) as inference drawn from Vedic utterances, while translating this formula.
Badarayana is not referring to only devayana, the path to the abode of the nobles and to the academy of scholars. There are no prescribed rules on what should be learnt and from whom. This freedom granted in the new social constitution, Brahma, to every one, especially to every person who is able to emerge as a social leader, purusha, aware of his potentials, is not contradictory to any statement uttered and heard in the Srutis or to any work like a Upanishad as conveying the inferences drawn from such Vedic statements. The commentator draws attention to Chhandogya Upanishad (5-10-1). This statement requires correct interpretation. (It is wrong to translate the term, devas as gods.) (Vide Ch.39 of this work on Pravahanas counsel to Gautama on the Functions of the Trained Social Leader, Purusha.)
Pravahana, a highly educated and trained member of the ruling oligarchy of Panchala directed the teacher, Gautama, to stay with him for some time to know the answer to the questions he had put to that teachers son and disciple, Svetaketu. He said that this knowledge had been a privilege of the cadres of administrators (Kshatras) in all the social worlds (lokas). It had also not reached the cadres of jurists (Brahmans). Gautama would be the first among them to learn this science of administration (prasasanam) (C.U.5-3-6,7). The issue was whether the judiciary, the Brahmans, had jurisdiction over the executive, the Kshatras.
Pravahana then explained to Gautama that the social cadre (loka) to whose ranks the trainees from the academy (samiti) of the former were sent for higher studies, could be described as one whose teachers were persons who held the rank of civil judges (Agni). Personages who held the rank of Aditya (and belonged to the governing elite) too were contributory teachers there. At first there is smoke, lack of clarity of thought and purpose and then brightness. Pravahana was using the picture of a sacrifice that went on throughout the day.
At the end of the day intellectuals who held the rank of Chandra (Soma) came to give sober counsel. The non-administrators (nakshatras) too came in to guide and their contributions are likened to sparks. These nakshatras could give hints on economy and technology, which were fields mastered by the scholars of the other society. Pravahana was explaining the functions of the royal faculty that had scholars from different social sectors. (5-4-1)
The nobles (devas) tended with sincerity and devotion (sraddha) this royal academy headed by Agni, the chief judicial officer who had jurisdiction over the commonalty and all the subjects of that state of Panchala. From this offering of devoted service arose the king (raja) who was an outstanding, influential and sedate intellectual like Soma (5-4-2). Pravahana told Gautama that the sacrificial fire, that is, the course of studies in the higher royal academy might be compared to the rain that follows winds (vayu), formation of clouds, lightning and thunder and hailstones.
He was referring to the knowledge acquired at the end of heated discussions engaged in by the scholars at the higher academy headed by Soma. The nobles (devas) offered the services of Raja Soma, the intellectual of the other forest society who had the status of a king, for the protection and smooth conduct of the discussions at the royal academy that preceded the return of the trainees to their posts among the commonalty (C.U.5-5-1,2).
Pravahana asked Gautama to visualize the agro-pastoral commonalty (prthvi) as a sacrificial fire (agni). The endeavours made round the year (samvatsara) are like the twig (samit) cast in the fire-pit to keep the fire burning. The unclassified populace of the open space (akasa) around this agro-pastoral terrain (prthvi) is compared to the smoke arising from the fire. The endeavours are visualized as being continued beyond sunset into the night. The activities of the people in the different main directions contribute to this sacrifice and those of the intermediate directions are like the sparks emerging from the sacrificial fire. Pravahana would compare the contribution of the nobles (devas) to this sacrifice to the rain that helps in cultivation of the land and production (sambhava) of food-grains (anna) (C.U.5-6-1 and 2).
The formation of the personality of the ideal social leader (purusha) is compared to performance of a sacrificial act. His utterances (vak) keep this act going on like a twig cast in the sacrificial fire (agni). Prana, that is, the individual who is at the subsistence level and has no identity of his own is compared to the smoke coming from the fire lit, that is, as emerging from the commonalty which is guided by the Vedic official designated as Agni. (C.U.5-7-1, 2)
The trainees of the royal academy had to return to the commonalty after their tenure as social leaders (purushas). The initiative taken by the nobles in creating a new cadre that would carry out the task of social development is underlined in this allegory. (C.U.5-9-2) Pravahana told Gautama that the householders of the plains and scholars of the forest who understood the importance of devotion and sincerity and were engaged in tapas (endeavour to find out the best means for the development of the personality of the individual) should follow the path of positive enlightenment. (C.U.5-10-1)
The intellectual endeavour (tapas) continues from months to years and from the guidance given by Aditya (the representative of the governing elite, devas) to that given by Soma (the head of the intellectuals who had retired to the forest). Then the scholar gets enlightened (vidyut, flash of lightning). He then comes across the social leader (purusha) who is not an ordinary human being (manava) (one following the social code known as Manava Dharmasastra).
This leader (purusha) who is on the threshold of the aristocracy (divam) leads that scholar to Brahma, the head of the judiciary. This is the path leading to the nobles (devas). Pravahana was explaining how a scholar could enter the fold of the intellectual aristocracy. He had to take the assistance of the leader (purusha) who himself was at its threshold (C.U.5-10-2). This elaborate interpretation will help the reader to note that the instruction given in the royal academy had a major social objective.
Thibaut translates the next formula (yavad adhikaram avasthiti adikarikanam B.S.3-3-32) as Of those who have a certain office there is subsistence (of the body) as long as the office lasts. It needs to be stated that the commentators of the medieval times and their adherents of the later times have overlooked the implications of this formula, which is highly pragmatic and deals with issues pertaining to social and political administration.
The commentator was off the mark when he said, The question here is whether for him who had reached true knowledge a new body originates after he has parted with the old one or not. Fables, myths and legends have to be interpreted in a rational way if we seek to understand the events and lives of the personages of ancient India.
The implications of this formula can be understood better by following the implications of the instruction given to the students of the royal academy by their teacher (in the Taittiriya Upanishad) at the time of their graduation and departure for taking over their offices in the state. We have to trace what were the rights and duties, powers and privileges (adhikara), immunities (ananda) and obligations, natural rights and societal duties that the different social ranks and sectors and officials representing them and controlling them had.
The unwavering intellectual who occupied the highest position in the social polity as Brahma, the interpreter of the Atharvaveda or Brahma that incorporated the socio-political constitution of the Vedic times and presided over the constitution-bench as the supreme judge instilled fear in the minds of all the officials. The five officials designated as, Vayu (Vata), Surya, Agni, Indra and Mrtyu functioned under his supervision and dreaded to default in their functions, the teacher pointed out to his students.
Vayu, Indra and Mrtyu were in charge of the open terrains (akasa) including the frontier society (antariksham), the patriciate (divam) and the commoners (manushyas) respectively. Surya or Aditya controlled the army and the administrative machinery (Kshatras) and Agni guided the intelligentsia (Brahmans). They and the sectors under their respective jurisdiction had to function along the lines prescribed in the constitution, Brahma.
The students were eager to know what privileges and immunities (the bliss, ananda) the supreme judge and head of the constitution bench and his colleagues enjoyed. What was meant by the term, ananda and how the privileges and immunities and the consequent happiness that the different social cadres and officials of the later Vedic polity were eligible for, according to the teacher of Taittiriya Upanishad has been explained while dealing with the formula 3-3-11.
The teacher tells his students that the individual who is a social leader, purusha, and is on the threshold of the aristocracy, is the same person who is performing the role of Aditya, the head of the executive wing of the governing elite. A commoner who has developed his talents can reach the level of Aditya. It is implicit that he cannot however become a member of that elite. He cannot attain the level of Indra or Brhaspati or Prajapati or Brahma. These positions required higher talents than the ones, which the Purusha was endowed with or had developed.
Even as it is not sound to treat the concept, Prajapati, as identical with the concept, Brahma, it is not sound to treat the concepts, Purusha and Brahma, as being identical. The Purusha ranked far lower than Brahma, the supreme judge and interpreter of the socio-political constitution. None of the three terms, Purusha, Prajapati and Brahma indicated the status of the omnipresent omniscient, omnipotent God.
The commentator notes without dissenting that some persons like Krshna Dvaipayana, Vasishtha, Bhrgu, Narada and Sanatkumara were said to have assumed new body after the old body had perished. Some had assumed through supernatural powers various new bodies while the old body remained intact all the while and that all of them had completely mastered the contents of the Vedas. Such assumptions betray a total lack of rationalism in approach to issues pertaining to social polity.
Bhrgu's father had retired from his post of Varuna and was stationed in his forest abode on the periphery as a pitara. He drew the attention of Bhrgu to the life of the discrete individuals, bhutas, of that social periphery. The individuals of the social periphery (bhutas) were later constituted into separate cadres and ranks, following the provisions of that constitution, Brahma. It made available to them when they come into existence (jata), the provisions for their livelihood (jiva). (It is implied that the constitution guaranteed protection of life and the minimum needs of life.) (Vide Ch.30 of this work on Bhrgu and Varuna on the concept, Brahma)
The protectors of that constitution, that is, members of the judiciary (Brahma) enable them to enter their fold (abhisamvisanti) when they leave that stage of unorganised commonalty of the periphery (and go ahead to become a class of intellectuals). The new entrants seek to know (vijijnasa) in detail about the provisions of that constitution (Brahma). Bhrgu wondered whether dialectical methods used to gain the knowledge of the not-yet known (vijnana) from what was known (jnana) would help one who was trained to think to reach the highest level. The Veda, the socio-political constitution or Brahma, did facilitate one to gain such knowledge through extrapolation and through ascertaining the latent trends from the manifest events.
Among the people of the social periphery who were independent individuals there were such scientists who were not mere conformists. This ability too is an innate one and the constitution allowed it to blossom. Bhrgu realized that the independent individual if he was a thinker could become such an independent intellectual. He was however not satisfied with reaching only that level however high it was. Varuna advised Bhrgu to study the provisions of the constitution further to ascertain whether such an intellectual was frustrated in his bid to rise above those persons who governed the society.
The term, vijnana, is not to be translated as intelligence or as intellect or as understanding. [Of course, intelligence is not the ultimate principle. However the statement that it does not exhaust the possibilities of consciousness and that mans awareness is to be enlarged into super-consciousness with illumination, joy and power leads one to the theory that knowledge is power which has been by some pressed to dangerous limits. It is cautioned that the statement that the crown of evolution is this deified consciousness overlooks this danger.]
The concept of Brahma that Varuna expected Bhrgu to recognize was distinct from such abstract (later deified) consciousness. The intellectual however high he may be in the socio-political hierarchy by virtue of his knowledge of the latent trends cannot be granted unlimited privileges and immunities. His powers to put that knowledge into use are restrained by the constitution, Brahma. Such intellectuals are generally amoral and hold that they are superior to the rest of the society (as most of the commoners seek but to live) and disdain the latter. But the Brahmavadi did not do so and was on a mission of service. (T.U.3-5)
As Bhrgu probed further he discovered that the constitution, Brahma, upheld the need to make every one happy (ananda). All the individuals of the social periphery were born happy. Unlike the members of the organized sections of the society they were not under obligations to others. They were not bound by the codes of any clan or community or state.
The natural rights that these individuals who were also intellectuals of the social periphery enjoyed aided them to reach the highest level in the socio-political hierarchy by discovering and developing their potentiality. When they reached that highest level, there too they enjoyed those rights and could be happy, as those rights did not allow others to coerce them nor allow them to coerce others into deeds that would deprive them of any of their natural rights.
Bhrgu and his guide Varuna pronounced this standpoint in their science (vidya) on the provisions of the socio-political constitution. It was established (pratishthita) as applicable to the highest stratum (parama vyoma) of free intelligentsia. One who knows this feature tries to follow this constitution and be rooted in it. The member of this independent judiciary is eligible according to this constitution to be an independent owner of lands that yielded him his basic requirement, food (anna). He would not starve.
The Vedic official, Varuna, was not subordinate to the state and held his post intact even during interregna. As ombudsman he could pronounce whether the decisions taken by the constitutional bodies, sabha and samiti were in order and whether the incumbents were duly installed in their posts and whether they functioned according to rules. This section of Taittiriya Upanishad cannot be interpreted correctly without a proper appraisal of the status and role of Varuna in the Vedic social polity. Bhrgu, one of the contributors to the Atharvaveda had received training from an incumbent to the position of Varuna.
Bhrgu accepted his pronouncement and became eligible to head the cadre of social legislators (maha). One who was endowed with the eligibility to be a member of the highest constitution bench (brahma-varchas) could admit to the fold of the society over which this bench presided, men as domiciles (praja) and cattle (pasu). This bench could extend the jurisdiction of the social polity to men and animals not originally belonging to its area. The open areas may be brought under the jurisdiction of the core society if the legislators (maha) so decided.
The claim that while man has in his being all the five elements, the material, the vital, the mental, the intellectual and the spiritual (anna, prana, manas, vijnana and ananda), he may stress only one or the other of them and that only one who harmonizes all these is the complete man does not accord with the import of the theme of social ascent. (3-6)
The teacher then expounds the implication of the dialogue between Bhrgu and his teacher, Varuna. He asks his students to take the pledge not to speak ill of food (anna). The two terms, prana and anna indicate the same concept. That is, the right to life implies the right to a livelihood. The (physical) body (sarira) consumes food. The body (sarira) is established (pratishthita) in breath (prana). The life-breath (prana) is located in the body. This syllogism leads to the enigma that food (anna) is established (pratishthita) in food (anna). The right to livelihood (anna) is not contingent on any purpose other than being able to live.
A student who knows the meaning of this axiom is on proper footing (pratishthita). On graduation he becomes the owner of lands that provide food and is able to survive (independently) as an eater of food. He may become a member of the cadre of social legislators (maha) and be treated as being eligible to become a member of the constitution bench that had jurisdiction over all areas whose domiciles consented to be governed by it. The cattle-wealth of those areas too came under its jurisdiction. Thus the teacher reiterates the counsel that Varuna gave to Bhrgu. (3-7)
The luminaries (jyoti) who guide the society too survive on food, which is on par with water as a necessity. This leads to the statement that jyotis, the luminaries, are dependent on water and water is dependent on the luminaries. As in the previous passage this syllogism also leads to the enigma that food is established in food.
One (a legislator admitted to mahaloka) who recognizes the implication of this enigma that the right to a livelihood is not contingent on any other factor is eligible to be a member of the cadre of legislators (maha). He is endowed with the benefits and privileges due to one who has the qualifications needed to be a member of the high judiciary (brahma-varchas) (3-8). The council of scholars which functioned as the legislature was to be brought on par with the highest judiciary if it admitted all (living beings) to the society and guaranteed them the basic needs of livelihood.
The teacher calls upon the student who may on graduation become a social administrator to ensure that plenty of food was produced. The teacher was not advocating a subsistence economy though he insisted on ensuring the minimum requirement, food, for all. The plains, prthvi, were concerned with agrarian economy and production of food-grains. But the people of the other society, akasa or antariksham, were not engaged in agriculture and they had to be provided the surplus of the grains produced by the commonalty of the plains, prthvi.
Hence the people of the open space including the forests and mountains akasa are dependent on the people of the agrarian plans, prthvi. The people of the plains, prthvi, too are dependent for their other needs on the other society, akasa. The scholar who seeks to become a member of the cadre of legislators and rise to become eligible for the privileges of a member of the constitution bench has to realize the importance of the insistence on food, anna is established (pratishthita) on anna. (T.U.3-9)
The teacher who was delivering his convocation address to his students of the royal academy on their graduation and proceeding to take up their positions in the administration of the enlarged social polity was recalling Varunas counsel to Bhrgu. It had a core society whose lower ranks were known as prthvi and pursued agriculture as its main economy. It was called upon to meet the food needs of the people on the social periphery and in the open areas and of the other society and also of the intellectuals none of whom were engaged in production of food-grains.
The new constitution brought under the jurisdiction of this core society these groups as domiciles (prajas) though they might not have been natives (jana) of the essentially agricultural terrain (janapada). They were all to be extended the right to live and the right to a livelihood, the aphorisms indicate.
Varuna called upon Bhrgu, to note that the administrator was required to take the pledge that none of the subjects (prajas) would be denied the right to reside (anywhere) in the enlarged janapada. He was drawing attention to the provisions of the new constitution whose implementation the independent jurists were required to ensure. The directive, Do not deny residence to anybody; that shall be the rule, was meant to warn the clans and communities that were engaged in agriculture and were natives of the janapada against resisting the move to ensure that those individuals and groups who were constrained to be on the move constantly being deprived of the right of domicile, were enabled to settle down as organized communities.
In other words, the sections of the population of the larger janapada who were social universes, jagats, with no families or clans or communities or economic occupations and who had been during the period of aberration kept out of the rural economy, were required to be settled as organized communities freed from their life of uncertainty that drove many of their members to absolute poverty. The new constitution converted the unorganised social universes, vague aggregates of insecure but talented individuals (jagats), into organized and settled clans and communities, social worlds, lokas.
The erstwhile policy of food only for the producers of food was amended and with a surplus agricultural economy, every one was enabled to secure the food needed for his survival by any method. He could follow the advantages of the barter system introduced by the then elementary commercial economy and secure his food if he was himself not a producer of food-grains. The rule that the land could be cultivated only for ones personal needs was amended and the concept of a surplus economy meeting the demands of all consumers of food was introduced. A peasant who fails to produce all that the land is capable of yielding may be put to loss. This is implied in the translation, Therefore in any way whatsoever one should acquire much food. Food is prepared for him, they say.
Who should be fed first from the produce of grains all of which were to be surrendered to the common pool? The person who heads the commune and who has financed the agricultural operations, that is, the noble should be the first recipient of the surplus produce of food-grains (anna). Of course when there is no surplus, the cultivator could not be expected to part with any portion of the food-grains as the right to live and the right to livelihood cannot be superseded by this recommendation.
The second in priority are those in the middle sector, that is who belong to akasa or antariksham who are not producers of food but can trade other goods for food. Whatever surplus still remains is to be given to the last in the row of recipients that is, to those who are in the lowest rungs of the society and who have contributed almost nothing to production of food-grains. (T.U.3-10-1) A scholar who knows the implications of the provisions regarding production, distribution and consumption of food, mans essential need, ensures (kshema) that his utterances (vacha) accordwith the wishes of the commonalty (manushi samajna).
As an administrator he would protect the fruits of the works (yoga-kshema) engaged in by those persons who are absorbed in that commonalty and also those who leave it (prana-apana, in-breath and out-breath). The works done may be what men do by their hands and what are done with the help of animals that move on their legs. Even the removal of the unwanted things (payu) and consequent freedom (vimukta) (from cares and liabilities) comes under concerns pertaining to the commonalty.
Varuna expected the nobles (devas) to look after those sections of the population that had to be content with what was produced on the lands that were dependent only on rain. The nobles were expected to note that their strength (bala) was in the intelligentsia (vidyut) that was allied with them. The administrators who were in charge of the commonalty were not burdened with the task of looking after these two sections of the population. (T.U.3-10-2)
Varuna (the ombudsman) brought under the jurisdiction of the open society (akasa) the care of and increase in cattle-wealth. In other words, the commoners (manushyas) of the agrarian society (prthvi) and the nobles (devas) were freed from the duties pertaining to pastoral economy. These were brought under the jurisdiction of the social world known as akasa or antariksham. So also those among the non-kshatriyas (nakshatras) who were highly educated and were social guides or luminaries (jyotis) were brought under this third world.
Varuna called upon the administrators of this region to look after the issues pertaining to the aristocrats (amrtam) among the domiciles in the terrains brought under the core society as prajas. They were to look after the interests of the members of the judiciary who had the highest privileges and immunities (ananda, bliss). The commoners, manushyas, of prthvi, the agrarian tracts, were not burdened with the task of looking after the new domiciles (prajas) of the expanded janapada or of the nobles who had guided the latter.
The teacher asks the students to deem and honour (upasita) the personage who is thus installed (pratishthita) as the head of this setup and be established in (as adherents of) this arrangement. He asked them to deem (upasita) this arrangement as having been ordained by the legislators (maha) and become members of that body of (great legislators, maha or maharshis). He called upon them to share their way of thinking (mana) and become (known as) manavas.
The manavas voluntarily followed the provisions of varna and asrama codes and retained the right to follow or not the codes of the clans and communities and regions to which they originally belonged. Varuna encouraged Bhrgu to incorporate this arrangement with respect to the three social worlds in the code that the cadre of legislators (maharshis) was preparing as Manava Dharmasastra. (T.U.3-10-3)
The teacher advises the student to deem that manava, the thinker and legislator who has framed the new code incorporating the rights and duties of and relations among the different social sectors as worthy of respect. All those who have personal interests (kama) honour him (as he has ensured that these would be fulfilled if they are not in conflict with the interests of others). One should honour that high authority on the social constitution as Brahma. Then he could become one eligible to be a member of the constitution bench, a Brahmavan.
The student is asked to deem and worship that constitution as providing the power (weapon) to be wielded by the Brahmana, the member of the high judiciary, to gently put down others (that is, other views, parimara). Those hateful elements (dvishanta) around that judge (brahmana) are destroyed by that and so too the colleagues (bhratr, cousins) on the bench who are not to his liking are put down by it. The supreme judge can wield this weapon, Brahmadanda, against the enemies of this constitution. He can also override the views of the other members of the judiciary and take them to task for violating the spirit of the constitution that it should fulfill the common interests of all and the specific interests of the different cadres.
The teacher pointed out that the personage (purusha) who was the then incumbent to that position (of Brahma or Brahmana) was the person who held also the position of Aditya (sun, in common parlance), the head of the governing elite. Varuna was pointing out to his student, Bhrgu that the personage who had taken over the role of the supreme judge and threatened to use his constitutional powers to put down the enemies of the constitution and who overruled the dissenting members of the bench was an Aditya and that he had administrative powers and also headed the army. (T.U.3-10-4)
An individual who recognizes the implications of these provisions in the social constitution may opt to leave this social world (loka) of commoners and join (upasamkrama) any of the many following socio-economic strata. That stratum may be one whose members may be just self-sufficient as far as their food requirements are concerned and do not have any other objectives than get this met (anna-maya). Or it may be one, which is at the bare subsistence level and is not eager to get this too met (prana-maya).
One who does not ask for anything more than food and even one who does not ask for even food but is free from subservience to others is not necessarily inferior to one who is prepared to toil hard for earning his livelihood and in the process lose his freedom. It may be a cadre of thinkers (mana-maya) who are not worried about food and other mundane requirements.
Or it may be a higher cadre of intellectuals who seek to know what has not yet been known (vijnana-maya). Or it may be a cadre of high judicial officers who have the highest privileges and immunities and are objective, impartial and gentle in their meting out of justice and hence are highly happy (ananda-maya). The teacher says that the individual may go up or down this social ladder according to which stage or social cadre (loka) meets his desires (kama). (T.U.3-10-5)
The formula 3-3-32 of Brahmasutra of Badarayana thus demands an intensive analysis of the rights and duties of the different sectors of the larger society and of the officials heading them and protecting their interests. He was for continuance of the powers and rights that these sectors had during the Vedic times when the laws based on Rta and Satya prevailed. They were not annulled by the new social constitution, Brahma that he proposed and that was superior to Dharma. Bhrgu who was the chief editor of Manava Dharmasastra followed the instructions given by Varuna who was the guardian of the socio-political constitution, Atharvaveda or Brahma of the Vedic times, as pointed out to the students of the royal academy by the teacher in his convocation address.
Thibaut interprets the formula (3-3-33) (aksharadhiyam tvavarodha samanyatad bhavabhyam aupasadvat tat uktam) as, But the (denials of) conceptions concerning the akshara are to be comprehended (in all meditations on the akshara) on account of the equality and of the object being the same, as in the case of the upasad; this has been explained (in the Purva Mimamsa). The commentator points out that in some places in the Upanishads the highest Brahman, under the name of Akshara, is described as that of which all qualities are to be denied, that is, it is nirguna. In some contexts it is not denied that Brahman has certain traits, is saguna. Hence a doubt arises whether the mental conception of the Brahman as one with no traits is to be accepted in all contexts or not. The commentator refers to Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (3-8-8) and Mundaka Upanishad (1-1-5,6). What do these passages say?
Gargi asked Yajnavalkya across what that concept, akasa, was woven like warp and woof. In other words, what was that eternal and holistic concept, akasa, the social sector that is not part of any of the three social worlds and whose status could not be assessed in terms of the principles of hierarchy that the system of three social worlds, lokas, had developed, with the nobles (dyau) occupying the highest position, the agro-pastoral commoners (prthvi) the lowest and the industrial sector (antariksham) the middle, dependent on (B.U.3-8-6)? (Vide Ch.19 of this work on Yajnavalkya and his detractors.)
Gargi is seen to avoid using the term, antariksham. Instead she uses the term, bhuta, and draws attention to the need for keeping this residue of the ancient society eternal and unabsorbed in any of the three organized social worlds. She was drawing attention to the status and role of those who belonged to the vague social periphery. Yajnavalkya agreed that it was a difficult question (B.U.3-8-7).
He told Gargi that the Brahmanas, that is, the experts in the socio-political constitution, Atharvaveda, held it to be imperishable (aksharam). It was neither massive (asthula) nor minute (ananu); in other words, that basic rank over which the new hierarchical structure had been erected did not belong to the field of macro-sociology or to that of micro-sociology. It was neither insignificant (ahrasva) nor was it deeply significant (adirgha).
It was neither solid (like iron, loha) nor fluid (sneha). [Lohita may imply red-hot iron.] It does not cover the fields that come under chhaya (shade, no original talent), tama (darkness, impenetrable nature, not necessarily ignorance). It does not cover the fields that come under vayu (air, persons and beings of the open areas), akasa (mobile persons, whether significant or insignificant beyond the three settled social worlds) and sanga (persons associated with social and economic groups).
It does not cover the individuals who recognize their environment (only) through taste or smell, through observation or sound. It also does not cover the ordinary thinkers (manas) and the high intelligentsia (tejas). It does not cover the inanimate objects, which lack breath, and the beings, which cannot speak out their feelings and are not endowed even with the minimum intellect (amatra). It is anantara and abahya, that is, it includes both what belongs to the field of social horizon and is not internal and things that are external to oneself. It is not exploitative (asnati) and is not exploited (B.U.3-8-8).
Yajnavalkya was presenting the jurisdiction of the conventional state as presented by Atharvaveda and pointed out that it did not cover certain sections of the population. [While not refuting the claim that the Ultimate (Brahman) has no characteristic marks that can help one to identify it, it needs to be stated here that Yajnavalkya and Gargi were not discussing about that Ultimate.]
He pointed out that the officials designated as Surya (Aditya) and Chandra (Soma) were in their respective positions as that imperishable ordinance (akshara prasasana) commanded them to be. The former exercised administrative and military control over the population of the new expanded state and the latter guided its integrated intelligentsia.
This socio-political constitution established firmly the roles and jurisdictions of the patriciate and the commonalty (divam and prthvi). The duration for performance of duties, like day and night, fortnights, months, seasons and years were specified. There could be no vagueness about these even as the imperishable (akshara) laws of nature (prasasana) decide which rivers flow to the east and which to the west from the ice-capped mountains. (B.U.3-8-9)
Mundaka Upanishad deals with Brahma-Vidya, which outlines the social constitution of the Vedic times. The version of Atharvaveda as amended by Satyavaha to meet the code based on Satya (truth) is attributed to Angirasa. [This would obviate the assumption that paravara meant both higher and lower knowledge.] (Mu.U.1-1-2).
Saunaka, the great householder (mahasala) approached Angiras and after agreeing to be a regular student of the latter asked him to let him know by knowing (vijnata) which all things and persons in this enlarged society (sarvam idam) came to be known (M.U.1-1-3) Angirasa told him that there were two types of disciplines of study (vidya), which, according to the experts in Brahma-vidya, were to be known. They were concerned with fields that were external (para) to the core society and not external (apara) to it. [Para and apara need not be translated as higher and lower.] (Mu.U.1-1-4) (Vide Ch.25 of this work on The Message of the Monks on Brahma-vidya, and the Social Constitution of the Vedic Times.)
Angirasa traced among the disciplines of study that belonged to the apara (non-alien) fields, the four Vedas, Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. He included phonetics, rituals, grammar, etymology, metrics and astrology also in the apara group of studies. The para group of studies is that by which one overtakes (adhigamya) and masters the undecaying (aksharam). He was referring to the knowledge whose horizon seems to be constantly going beyond ones grasp despite the knowledge already gained and which will not decay and will ever be valuable. (Mu.U.1-1-5)
These studies that pertain to non-external (apara) issues are observable, that is, fall within the orbit of empiricism and can be easily grasped. They deal with family (gotra), class (varna) and with things seen and heard of and with men who work with their hands and move about on their legs.
The studies that pertain to issues external (para) to activities of the immediate society dwell on factors that are of constant administrative concern (nityam vibhu) and spread everywhere (sarva-gatam) and at the same time exceedingly subtle (susukshmam). These issues and the solutions to them never exhaust themselves (avyaya). The scholars, who discriminate between good and bad and between the passing phase and the permanent values (dhira) observe (paripasya) these as originating (yoni) in the social periphery where discrete individuals (bhutas) live apart from social groups. (Mu.U.1-1-6)
The studies pertaining to non-external (apara) are empirical and concern the manifest and temporary social relations. The studies pertaining to external (para) issues dwell on the factors that are constantly in operation and originate in needs that are not of a social type. The teacher then explains the concept of the expanded society, visva. The expansion of the commonalty (prthvi) of the core society is like the spider sending forth the thread of its web from its own body and withdrawing it.
The regions where the medicinal herbs (aushadi) grow lie outside the essentially agrarian lands (prthvi), even as the hair grows on the head and on the body from the within the man (sata purusha) but are not counted as constituting organs of man. The teacher says that similarly the concept visva, the expanded society has its origin in the concept, akshara, the non-decaying. (Mu.U.1-1-7) He was referring to the Atharvaveda or Brahma by this term, akshara. As the attitude adopted in both the Upanishads towards the concept, akshara, is the same, it is proper to accept and stand by it.
Thibaut translates the phrase (iyadamananat 3-3-34) as On account of (the same) number being recorded. Since this common approach is adopted in a number of contexts in the different Upanishads, it is advisable to accept it without dwelling deep on the issue whether Brahman (Akshara) is saguna or nirguna.
Thibaut interprets the next formula (antara bhutagramavat sva atmana B.S.3-3-35) as As the self within all, as in the case of the aggregate of the elements (there is oneness of vidyas). The commentator draws attention to Brhadaranyaka Upanishad in this connection. At the discussion held under the chairmanship of the Janaka of Videha, Ushasta, son of Chakra requested Yajnavalkya to explain to him the Brahman who was immediately present (and could be a witness, sakshat) and was not indirect (aparoksha) and was the individual present (atma, soul) in all (sarva-antara). Yajnavalkya replied, This is your atma; that is within all. Ushasta wants to know what is in all. Yajnavalkya explained that the pranas (breaths), composed of in-breath (prana), out-breath (apana), equalising breath (samana) diffused breath (vyana) and the up-breath (udana) together constituted atma and it was present in all. (Vide Ch.19 of this work on Yajnavalkya and his detractors)
Ushasta wanted to know what was Brahma. Yajnavalkya would identify the prana (breath), which is in all with Brahma. It is what sees (drshta), hears (srotra), thinks (manas) and understands (vijnata) (understands through the application of the knowledge, jnana, already acquired). Ushasta had to realize that the atma (soul,), which is within him, is present in all. The concept, Brahma, is identical with this concept of atma. Every other interpretation suffers from defects, ailment (arta). (B.U.3-4-2) Ushasta would have discovered if he had introspected that he was suitable for the position of a jurist, Brahma, Yajnavalkya implied.
Kahola, son of Kushitaka, was not satisfied with the explanation given by the sage, Yajnavalkya, to the question raised by Ushasta. He wanted the sage to state clearly what was within all (persons and beings). Yajnavalkya explained that this common feature was something higher than the needs and experiences common to all, like hunger and thirst, sorrow and allure, aging and death. He pointed out that Brahmanas, having known this aspect of ones individual (atma) needs and experiences overcome the desire for sons (putra), for economic occupations and wealth (vitta) and for control over social worlds (lokas) and live the life of mendicants.
Desire for sons is related to desire for wealth and the latter to desire for power. Hence a Brahmana, after completing the stage of life of a student, should seek to lead the life of an innocent uneducated child. He should not seek wealth and power through his mastery over the disciplines (vidya). When he has gone through the (second) period of innocent childhood after completing his course of education, he should seek to be a silent monk (muni).
Yajnavalkya decried the desire for sons that impelled a man to marry and earn wealth and gain power. After having completed both stages, that of a sociable person, who talked with and taught all, and that of a silent meditator, one becomes fit to adorn the position of a jurist, Brahmana. A jurist must have no need to earn wealth or long for power. Persons who had no sons were not eligible to be heads of families or have wealth or occupy posts of power. But for the post of a jurist only one who had no need for wealth and power as he had no sons was eligible. He will not be impelled by desire and will not be partial to any one.
Kahola wanted to know how the Brahmana (jurist as described by Yajnavalkya) behaved. Yajnavalkya said that one should not pay attention to that jurists conduct as long as he had proved that he had no personal desires and was highly educated. Every other qualification prescribed for the position of a jurist or judge is defective (arta). This explanation silenced the doubts that Kahola had entertained (B.U.3-5-1). This central theme of the discussion needs to be recognized and appreciated correctly.
Kabandha (who was known to be a heretic) asked Patanchala of Madra whether he knew the formula (sutra, thread) by which this loka (social world of commoners) and the other (para) loka (social world of nobles) and all (sarva) discrete individuals (bhutas) were held together. The core society of the Vedic times had two strata, nobles and commoners. There were several discrete individuals on its periphery and they were known as bhutas. Kabandha wanted to know the provisions of the social code that brought the two strata and these individuals together. Patanchala acknowledged that he did not know that formula.
Kabandha then asked Patanchala Kapya whether he and his assistants knew the invisible person from the intervening area (antaryami) who controlled them from within. Patanchala confessed that he did not know that person. Kabandha then told them that only one, who knew that formula (sutra) (of social integration) and the person who alone could control all the sectors involved, might be called a Brahman, an expert in Atharvaveda.
This expert in Brahma knows the traits of the social world of commoners (loka), of the nobles (devas), of the discrete individuals of the social periphery (bhutas) and of the individual (atma) who is not subordinate to any social body. Such an expert knows all (sarva) (means of social control).
Thus Kabandha explained it in the presence of Uddalaka. Uddalaka claimed that he knew that formula and warned Yajnavalkya that if he did not know that formula and the invisible person who exercised such control needed for social integration, he should not take away the cows (offered by Janaka of Mithila). Thereupon, Yajnavalkya told Uddalaka of Gautama clan that he knew the formula (sutra, thread) and the invisible controller (B.U.3-7-1).
Yajnavalkya told Uddalaka, son of Aruna and follower of Gautama, that vayu (air, in common parlance) was that sutra (thread). This Vedic official (Vayu) held together the commonalty (ayam loka, this social world), the patriciate (paraloka, the other one) and all the discrete individuals (sarva bhuta) on the social periphery. To indicate that a person (purusha) is dead, it is said that his limbs have loosened for they are held together by the air (that passes through the tendons) as by a thread. Similarly the Vedic official designated as Vayu holds together the larger core society though none is able to identify who he is (B.U.3-7-2).
Uddalaka then asked him to describe the invisible inner controller. Yajnavalkya told him that the invisible inner controller was settled (tishtha) in the prthvi. He is within it. But the commoners (prthvi) are not aware of his presence in their midst. The commonalty (prthvi) is his body (sariram), that is, he is a member of one of the social bodies that are part of this commonalty but he is not a prominent personage.He controls (yamayata) this commonalty (prthvi) from within it.
The presumption that the nobles direct the commonalty as they belong to a stratum higher than the commonalty and that the representative of the autonomous commonalty is not a commoner is incorrect. Social control is effected from within the society unlike political control, which is exercised from above by the state or a higher stratum. This internal controller of the commonalty is an individual (atma) who does not pursue his physical needs and is invisible (antaryami). However he has been granted the status of a noble (amrtam) (B.U.3-7-3).
Such an individual may be present among those who are dependent on rivers, lakes, wells and sea (apa, water) (B.U.3-7-4). He may be present also among the intelligentsia of the commonalty who can exercise the right to nominate their representative on the governing body. This representative was during the Vedic times designated as Agni (fire, in common parlance) (B.U.3-7-5). The frontier society (antariksham) too had such an individual within its ranks who exercised imperceptible control over its operations and who had its representative on the governing body of the larger society (B.U.3-7-6).
The people of the open lands whose administrator was designated as Vayu had such an individual within their ranks who too was similarly an imperceptible internal controller of their activities. He was a member of the board of governors and had the rank of a noble (amrtam) (B.U.3-7-7). The nobles (devas) who resided in their exclusive areas too had an administrator who belonged to their ranks and who exercised imperceptible control over their activities (B.U.3-7-8). The body of administrators (Kshatras or Adityas) appointed by the nobles too had a member, who exercised imperceptible control over the activities of these administrators (B.U.3-7-9).
The people who resided in the different directions (dik) (that is, in the provinces away from the capital that was directly under the nobles) had their representative on the body of governors. This individual (atma) too similarly exercised imperceptible control over this population from within their ranks. (B.U.3-7-10). Yajnavalkya was drawing attention to the vast autonomy that these different sectors of the larger society had and the responsibility that their representatives had to carry out while remaining in the background. Social stability and progress hinges on leaders who remain away from the light of publicity and exercise positive influence in an integrated societal framework. Mere transliteration of these passages does not enlighten the readers.
Yajnavalkya treats the intellectuals of the forests and the higher ranks of the non-administrators (nakshatras) as constituting one single social sector. These intellectuals were under the influence of Chandra (Soma), the Vedic official who had a rank on par with Aditya. The unattached individual (atma) who represented this sector on the board of governors exercised imperceptible control over it (B.U.3-7-11). The space (ether, as often explained) within the core society, which no organized group claimed and which almost insignificant persons inhabited, too, had a representative on this board of governors. These inhabitants did not know who he was and that he exercised imperceptible control over their lives. He too had a place in the ruling elite of Yajnavalkyas vision (B.U.3-7-12).
This elite had representatives of different sectors who performed the functions expected of them without any show and without using coercive methods. Yajnavalkya was explaining the features of the governing elite and body of representatives of the social polity under a stoical leader, which the Janaka of Videha was. Yajnavalkya then draws attention to the social sector characterized by extreme ignorance and inertia (tamasi). It too had its representative on the above board though he could not be identified. He too exercised imperceptible control over his sector from within (B.U.3-7-13)
On the other extreme of the social spectrum we notice a splendid group of intellectual aristocracy (tejasvini). These tejasvinis too have their representative on the high body of governors. He had the status of a devata, which was only marginally lower than that of the cultural aristocrat (deva) (B.U.3-7-14) Thus Yajnavalkya brought out the features of the essential aristocracy (adhidaivatam). He then proceeded to deal with the essentially individualistic persons (adhibhutam).
All the discrete individuals (sarva bhuta) on the social periphery too have their representative on the board of governors of the larger society though they may not be aware of his identity. He looks after the mundane interests (sarira) of all of them. (Bhutas were not ghosts.) He also exercises imperceptible control (antaryami) over their activities while being one of them (atma). He too deserves to be honoured as one belonging to the nobility (amrtam) (15).
Yajnavalkya then proceeded to explain the role of the essential individual with an identity of his own (adhyatma). This identity emerges from ones breath (prana), speech (vak), observation (chakshu), hearing (srotra), thought (manas) and touching (tvacha) and also from understanding what yet is not known (vijnana) through knowledge already acquired. The identity developed thereby by the individual (atma) functions as the imperceptible inner controller (antaryami). And when he functions as a person who is self-restrained, he becomes eligible to rise to the level of the nobility (amrtam). (B.U.3-7-16 to 21) Self-restraint and ability to get ones identity to bear upon the functions performed by others in the society is termed as Adhyatma, the essential individuality.
Yajnavalkya envisages the presence within the permanent cadre of nobles (amrta), of intellectuals, every one of whose individual calibre as representative of a particular social stratum or sector could be recognized correctly and respected only by the other members of that internal and high governing body. They knew (vijnana) aspects of nature that were not known to those who had only formal education (jnana). They could claim mastery over vijnana. [Vijnana which implied knowing the unknown by extrapolation of the knowledge, jnana, already gained from formal education required application of the methods of Samkhya dialectics.]
The essential individual reproduces himself. The new generation too is a part of the larger society and is included in the concept atma (soul in common parlance). This atma too controls itself (that is, the growing child) imperceptibly since even before the semen is cast in the womb. It too, according to the sage, has the traits of nobility (amrtam), everlasting noble thoughts. (B.U.3-7-23)
The term, bhutagrama, is to be interpreted not as the group of five elements but as a reference to the concept of a unit of the social periphery whose individual members, bhutas, live in close proximity and function independently but without coming in conflict with one another and without developing common orientations or having common objectives. Such residential units were developed during the times of Badarayana. Its members enjoyed freedom and were autonomous like the nobles who were not under the control of the state or any social organisation. This is indicated by the term, sva atmana. The commoners, manushyas, did not enjoy such autonomy.
Thibaut interprets the next formula (anyatha bhedan upapatti iti ca ena upadesa antaram 3-3-36) which too is a signnificant one, as If it be said that else the separation (of the statements) cannot be accounted for, we reply that it is (here) as in the case of other instructions. Badarayana rejects the claim that there is a contradiction between this instruction and other instructions in the Upanishads. Commentators have in this connection referred to the famous instruction to Svetaketu in Chhandogya Upanishad. What was the instruction?
Uddalaka tells Svetaketu that all things (animate as well as inanimate) in this cosmos (idam) have their individuality, atma (self or soul, in common parlance), in the minute atom (anima) (of which all things are made). That is the eternal truth (satyam). Uddalaka holds that this soul (atma) is what is true. He does not try to drive a wedge between matter and soul. Uddalaka asked Svetaketu to realize that he was that. Tat tvam asi, That art thou. Svetaketu requested his father and teacher, Uddalaka (son of Aruna), to instruct him further on this theme. (Vide Ch.42 in this work for a critical appreciation of this highly significant instruction.)
The above outline of the instruction given to Svetaketu indicates that there is internal consistency in it. Many scholars of the times of Badarayana failed to notice it and later commentators wondered why Brahmasutra had introduced this note.
Thibaut translates the next formula (vyatihara virsishanti hi itaravat B.S.3-3-37) as There is exchange (of meditation), for the texts distinguish (two meditations) as in other cases. The commentator here deals with the issue whether the soul is to be revered as Aditya and the Aditya as soul or the former alone. He would hold that the two souls are to be treated as one. He was off the mark when he gave the impression that Aditya represented the divine soul. The doubt was about treating akasa and antariksham as two different zones or as one. While in some places it was treated as implying the same zone in some other contexts they were not treated as the same. So too some other concepts have been used in different ways.
Thibaut translates the epigram (sa eva hi satyadaya B.S.3-3-38) as For the True and so on are one and the same (vidya). The commentator noticed that the explanations given regarding concepts like satya created doubts about which meaning of the concept concerned was correct. The two concepts, Prajapati and Brahma, have been used as identical ones in the codes based on satya, truth. He, who deems and reveres the highly (mahat) rich recipient of tributes (yaksha) as being the first-born (with the privilege of being given first homage) and as Brahma in the codes based on satya, conquers all these social worlds (lokas). Having been conquered, these social worlds lose their independence and separate identities.
In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, the sage explains that the chief of the people, the first among all those who are born, is Brahma, the chief expounder of the constitution based on truth. (B.U.5-4-1). Yajnavalkya was dealing with the position of the Prajapati as the senior-most citizen who earlier held the status of the chief judge, Brahma.
The sage told his disciples that in the beginning this universe was fluid (apa) and unorganised. The concept of a code based on truth (satya) emerged at that stage. That code (based on satya) was known as Brahma. The status and role of Prajapati, chief of all peoples, were described in that constitution. He constituted the cadre of nobles (devas) and selected some persons for that permanent cadre. The nobles, devas, were required to honour the code based on truth, satya. The sage explains that this term has three syllables, sa, ti and yam. The first and the last syllables are indicative of (positive) truth. The middle syllable, ti, indicates activities that are not in tune with rta. Before the codes based on satya came into force, the laws (of nature) based on rta controlled the activities of all individuals and groups.
The new constitution, Brahma, based on principles of truth, satya, permitted certain ways of life that had been earlier barred as being against the rules of natural justice (rta). But these ways of life were hedged in the provisions of the code based on satya, truth and were not treated as granting total freedom to the individual. Hence what was not in tune with the laws based on rta partook the nature of satya. One might stand by truth and harm oneself rather than abide by the laws that permitted one to protect oneself and promote his personal interests without caring for the laws based on truth.
The code based on truth protected those who adhered to truth and ignored the laws based on self-interest and rta. One who understands this aspect and acts accordingly does not face decline if his conduct is found to be a violation of the laws based on rta. (B.U.5-5-1)
He held that the codes based on satya introduced by the new social system gave the highest place to Brahma, the chief judge and upholder of the constitution and placed the Prajapati, the chief of the people as being next to him in authority and gave the Prajapati authority over the nobles (devas). The new code based on strict adherence to truth, satya, however permitted under supervision certain ways of life that were not considered to be rational and pragmatic and were hence decried by the earlier laws based on rta. It is not sound to translate the term, anrta, as untruth. It is imperative that we do not treat either rta or satya as being identical with dharma. There were significant differences in the emphases the laws based on these three different concepts. None of them should be equated with religion.
The laws based on truth (satya) designated the personage (purusha) in the centre of the circle (mandala) of administrators belonging to the nobility as Aditya. That personage (purusha) and the personage (purusha) in the right eye (that is, the chief of the commonalty) were instituted (pratishthita) as officials functioning in close contact with and dependent on each other. The agencies through which Aditya observed the different activities, events and persons influenced the agencies of observers belonging to the commonalty (pranas) too interacted. When one rises in social ladder (utkrama) he observes the functions of that circle of administrators (mandalam) of the aristocracy clearly (suddha). Then those agencies that throw light on the activities of the commonalty cease to focus on him (5-5-2).
The personage (purusha) in that circle (mandala) is visualized as representing all the three social worlds, bhu, bhuva and sva. His head is correlated with the unified (eka) commonalty, his two hands with the two sections, political and economic of the frontier society and the two legs on which he stands (pratishtha) with the two sections, liberal and feudal, of the patriciate of the core society. The Upanishad calls this personage as ahar, one who does not kill. One who knows this destroys sins, that is, ceases to be a sinner (B.U.5-5-3).
The message of the Upanishad is that the nobles who were till then held to be the highest in the social ladder are under the new laws based on truth (satya) the supporters of the entire social system with the intellectuals at its top. The sage describes the personage in the eye (of the commoner) too in similar terms. But he terms this personage as aham, one with personal identity (B.U.5-5-4). The explanation given by the commentator that the text records only one vidya of the True and that hence all the qualities mentioned are to be comprehended in one act of meditation is not to the mark.
The commentator translates the statement (kamadi itaratra tatra ca ayatanadibhya B.S.3-3-39) as (Having true) wishes and other (qualities) (have to be combined) there and here, on account of the abode and so on. He refers to Chhandogya Upanishad (8-1-1). He reads it as, There is this city of Brahman and in it the palace, the small lotus and in it that small ether. We should interpret the teaching in a rational manner.
A vipra, a scholar who was constantly on the move, educating all he came across, was a follower of Narada who had been briefed by Sanatkumara. Narada was regarded as a Hari, member of the group of scholars of the dark social periphery and also as a Gandharva who propagated the significance of the syllable, aum. The Vipras too shared his orientation. Later they were identified as Brahmans. Vipras and Brahmans were two distinct cadres. (Vide Ch.44 of this work for a critical appreciation of the Academy of Scholars, Brahma-loka.) What the audience was asked to honour and follow was the spirit of that academy and not the person who was heading it.
They are told that it is that soul which should be treated as the real academy (satyaloka) of scholars that is, Brahmapura. This individuality (atma) is free from sins, old age, insentience (mrtyu), sorrow, hunger and thirst. The desires (objectives) of the academy and its resolves (samkalpa) are within the framework of the code of truth (satya). Just as the subjects (praja) of a country (janapada) or district (kshetra-bhaga) lead a life in accordance with its disciplinary code (anusasanam), the members of the academy are dependent on its discipline and its resources. (C.U.8-1-4,5)
The commentator also refers to Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (4-4-22) and deals with the question of whether it contradicts the above. Yajnavalkya was required to elucidate and establish his suggestion. He said that that great individual (mahatma) was not born (aja) in the local society or state [over which Janaka presided as the elected representative of its natives]. He knew also about the traits, orientations and aspirations of all the living persons as further knowledge (vijnana). The master (adhipati) of all (sarva) persons, the charismatic chief (isa) of all, the controller (vasi) of all, lived in the internal (hrdaya) vacant space (akasa) of that social polity. (Vide Ch.21 of this work for an analysis of the dialogue between Yajnavalkya and Janaka of Videha on the role of the scholarly king as a jurist, Brahma.)
He did not become popular by pious (sadhu) deeds or duties or was belittled by impious acts. He was the charismatic chieftain of all (sarvesvara) (especially in the outskirts of the core society), the master (adhipati) and guardian (pala) of the individuals (bhutas) in the social periphery. He had kept the social worlds (lokas) apart (asambhedaya) even while being a bridge (setu) amongst them. In other words he had not permitted their separate identities to be pulled down though he encouraged interactions amongst them. [Yajnavalkya was explaining to Janaka how to identify the candidate suitable for the position of the chief judge of the federal state.]
The scholars (Brahmanas) try to define the traits necessary in that great judge by pinpointing (vividishanti) his different features. The individuals who had been admitted to the cadre (loka) of jurists (Brahma) had no use for sons. They had risen above the desire for sons (praja) or subjects, for wealth (vitta) and for peoples and communities (loka). They had to lead the life of mendicants who lived on alms (bhiksha) and had to be constantly on the move (chara). The sage had the picture of the status and role of the Vipras who assisted the chief judge, Brahmana.
One desires to have (to conquer) worlds (lokas), as he wants wealth. He desires to have wealth, as he wants sons (putra). The judge has to be free from desires. Yajnavalkya rules out a ruler becoming a judge also, as control over communities (lokas) and possession of wealth (vitta) indicate desires. The unattached individual (atma) can be described only in terms of exclusion (neti, neti). He is incomprehensible, indestructible, unattached, unfettered, unharmed for he cannot be comprehended or destroyed or be attached or fettered or harmed. One who knows this cannot be overcome by sins, that is, punished for having committed sins. He is not rewarded either for his welfare activities. He does his duty stoically. His soul is not affected by what he has done or by the duties that he has failed to perform. (B.U.4-4-22)
The step, which the scholar as an interpreter and upholder of the socio-political constitution (Atharvaveda or Brahma) was required to take gave him immunity against being hauled up for committing a sin. Yajnavalkya pointed out that a person (who could be a judge) having known this implication of that step (provision incorporated in the constitution) should become calm, self-controlled, withdrawn, patient and collected or unperturbed (samahita). Then he would notice the presence of his atma (the conscience) in him (atma). He would see all (sarva) in himself.
Free from sins and stains and also from doubts, he becomes a Brahmana, a member of the judiciary. Such a judge should have been already exonerated from all charges before taking up his position as a judge. Thus Yajnavalkya explained the provisions pertaining to the formation and constitution of the judiciary, Brahma-loka.
He declared that Janaka who had been given the status of Samrat had attained that level and was eligible to pronounce verdicts (that would be binding all individuals, cadres, clans, communities and ranks of the larger society). The natives (jana) of Videha who had elected their Janaka were not members of any organized social body (deha). They were individuals who accepted the constitution that was recommended by Yajnavalkya. It made the judiciary as outlined by him the highest constitutional authority headed by the Janaka from whichever social rank that Janaka might have risen. Janaka was subordinate to the constitution. (B.U.4-4-23)
Yajnavalkya and Janaka were discussing the role of the purushas in correcting the nobles as well as the commoners. The nobles (devas) needed to be freed from the grip of hedonism while the commoners had to be freed from insentience. The social leader (purusha) was even when he seemed to be asleep reflecting on how to free them and he had personally (svayam) become a brilliant light (jyoti). Janaka was pleased that the sage had enlightened him and freed him (vimoksha) from his dilemma on how to stop the decadence of the nobility and rouse the commonalty to conscious noble activities. He requested Yajnavalkya to instruct him further on this. (B.U.4-3-14)
Yajnavalkya dealt with a different theme when he instructed his wife, Maitreyi. The soul (atma) is not matter and has no interior or exterior. It is constituted of awareness (prajna). It has arisen out of the discrete individuals or elements (bhutas, later treated as senses). When its force dwindles it vanishes into those basic units. Yajnavalkya implied that one who was aware represented all the discrete individuals of the larger society. When he lost this status he became again an insignificant unit of that society. As he left the scene no one else could take his position and the society slid into insentience, even as the body is declared to be a corpse when the soul leaves it (B.U.4-5-13). (Vide Ch. 22 of this work on the Dialogue between Maitreyi and Yajnavalkya.)
Thibaut translates the epigram (Adaradalopa B.S.3-3-40) as. On account of (the passage showing) respect, there is non-omission (of the prana agnihotra). The commentator draws attention to the clauses explaining the concept of Vaisvanara in Chhandogya Upanishad (5-19-1) and raises the question whether the agnihotra offered to the pranas should be omitted when the eating itself is omitted.
The concept of the free man as the representative of the universal society has to be appreciated correctly. The teacher advises that the first bit of food that one consumes, should be an offering (homiyam) to the prana, the individual at the bare subsistence level. When the latter is asked to accept it and thereby consecrate the food being eaten by the former, that individual at the bare subsistence level (prana) is satisfied. (He has no other expectations.) When this individual is satisfied, the official designated as chakshu, the observer is satisfied (that the host has not committed any errors) (Vide Ch.40 of this work for an analysis of the advice given to Uddalaka and his companions by Asvapati, ruler of Kaikeya.).
Asvapati was addressing Prachinasala and others who belonged to rich families of the commonalty and called upon them to ensure that the needs of the individuals at the bare subsistence level were first met. Otherwise the governing council would take them to task for causing unrest among the weaker sections of the population. With the nobles and the head of the administrative machinery being satisfied, the host who performed the sacrifice is bestowed with subjects (prajas) and cattle (pasu) and is declared to be eligible to possess needs and comforts (annadhi) other than the bare subsistence (anna). Such a rich person would be deemed to be an enlightened charismatic figure (tejas) and the traits prescribed by the socio-political constitution (brahma-varchas) to hold the position of a judge (C.U. 5-19-1,2).
Uddalaka and others had approached Asvapati of Kekaya to learn from him who was to be considered as having these traits. Only scholars who belonged to the higher social stratum and who were not guilty of exploiting or ignoring the weaker sections and who attended to the needs of the latter first before securing for themselves, comforts and luxuries could be appointed to the judiciary. They knew who was entitled to be called Vaisvanara and would treat all members of the larger society as equals, and as entitled to rights equal to the ones they themselves enjoyed and hence could be appointed to it.
It is necessary to note the implications of the offerings made to Agni. If one offers tributes to Agni, the head of the intelligentsia of the commonalty (performs agnihotra sacrifice, as described in common parlance), without knowing the purpose behind such an act, it would be like removing the live fuel and pouring the offering on dead ashes. It would be a waste of energy and wealth. But if he offers tributes to Agni, knowing well that purpose, he would be pleasing all the organized social worlds (lokas), all the individuals on the social periphery (bhutas) and all the individuals who are not attached to social bodies (atmas). He would be deemed to be, indeed, one performing an act of sacrifice. Even as soft cotton is burnt up when placed on fire, so are the sins of one performing an act of sacrifice burnt up if he knows the (above) purpose for which he is performing it (C.U.5-24-1,2,3).
A rich ruler who knows the purpose of this sacrifice may offer what remains after meeting the needs of the organized social worlds, the individuals on the periphery and the unattached persons, to those who have been expelled from the society for serious crimes (to Chandalas). He would be treated as one offering sacrifice to the unattached individual (atma) who represents the universal society of free men (vaisvanara) (C.U.5-24-4).
As all hungry children sit around their mother to be fed, all individuals (bhutas) sit round the sacrifice offered in front of the official designated as Agni. He represents all members of the larger commonalty; it is implied (5-24-5). Agni, as Vaisvanara, meets the needs of all sections of the larger society including the Chandalas, the outcasts.
The commentators of the medieval times and their adherents of the modern times have failed to understand the theme of the agnihotra sacrifice and the statuses and roles of the different sections of the larger society in respecting the great official, Agni.
(upasthita etastat vacanat B.S.3-3-41) Thibaut interprets this epigram, as,When (eating) is taking place, (the prana agnihotra has to be performed) from that (i.e. the food first eaten); on the ground of the passage declaring that. The commentator could not trace the difference between the prana agnihotra sacrifice and the sacrifice involving the three domestic fires.
While Prachinasala, one of the six students deemed the patriciate (divam) as representing the will of the universal society of the free men (vaisvanara), Uddalaka deemed the organized commonalty (prthvi) as doing so. [Satyayajna, Indradyumna, Jana and Budila had indicated other and diverse views with respect to this issue.]
Asvapati noticed that Uddalaka was for the firmly rooted (pratishtha) commonalty being treated as the ones whose voice spoke the will of the individual (atma) representing that of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara). Asvapati also noticed that Uddalaka was supported by his subjects (prajas) and had a large number of cattle (C.U.5-17-1).
Asvapati agreed that Uddalaka too recognized that every one needed food and at the same time every one should be free to pursue the career that pleased him. As Uddalaka was born in a clan that adhered to this stand he was eligible to hold the position of a jurist (brahma-varchas). According to the constitution (brahma) an independent person (atma) could represent the will of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara). One has to stand on his own feet (atma-pada), Uddalaka had suggested when he mentioned prthvi or commonalty as what could stand for all individuals (atma). If Uddalaka had not approached Asvapati for instruction, his legs would have lost their strength and dried up, that is, he would not have been able to stand long for the cause of the universal society. (C.U.5-17-2)
Then Asvapati gathered all the six scholars and gave them an advice common to all. He pointed out that that each of them was eating his own food (enjoying the benefits of his status as a counsellor) under the impression that the individual members (atma) (who were not attached to any social body) of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara) were all different (prthag) from one another. Such a person hence cannot represent the entire society that is, all the social worlds (lokas), all the individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery and all the individuals (atmas, who were not attached to social bodies).
One should deem and revere atma as a concept denoting all the members of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara). He should deem it as a measure that reduces the size of the macro-society to a very great extent (pradesamatram) (on the map) and enhances to a great level (abhivimanam) the individual (who is a society in microcosm). This realization will enable one to share food (feelings and orientations) with all social groups and individuals (C.U.5-18-1). In short one should see the entire macro-society as not different from oneself.
Asvapati as a prince was concerned with establishing a social system and principles of jurisprudence that would encourage every individual to identify oneself with every other individual and with the entire society, especially of the region where he lived. [Commentators of the medieval times wondered whether he was interpreting the concept of Visvarupa.] He corrected the wrong notions that his students had about the traits of Vaisvanara, the ideal representative of the universal society of free men.
The head of this society (about whom Prachinasala spoke) would be one who was renowned (sutejas) for his influence over all. He would perceive (chakshu) it as having a form (about which Satyayajna asked) comprising that entire large society (Visvarupa). Its basic members (pranas) would be following diverse careers (as Indradyumna noticed). Its unified body would reflect the mega society (bahula) as Jana expected. It would treat wealth as unwanted accretion like the liquid collected in the bladder, as pointed out to Budila. It would be firmly established in the commonalty (prthvi) as desired by Uddalaka.
Asvapati compared the three fires, garhapatya, anvaharyapachana and ahavaniya (which during the Vedic times Gandharvas cherished as they gave up wandering and settled in sanctified homes) to the heart, the mind and the mouth of Visvarupa, the (anthropomorphised) form of the universal society of free men, vaisvanara. [The interpretation that the teacher tried to establish a correspondence between the microcosm and the macrocosm is a note that has been developed in this analysis.] (C.U.5-18-2)
The sacrifices performed by householders in front of the three domestic fires were to be attended by the nobles (devas), sages (rshis) and elders (pitaras) who had retired to their forest abodes. Their economic activities and earnings from them would not be acknowledged as valid unless the rich householders offered as part of their obligations to the society the shares in their gains to maintain these three social cadres who were no longer engaged in economic activities. During the Vedic times when there was no system of tax (kara) or forced tributes (bali) the householders were expected to set apart one-fourth of their earnings under the head, yajna, for the fulfilment of this obligation. The nobles, sages and elders were to be invited to be present for these sacrifices and honoured even as the parents and other guests were.
Thibaut interprets the formula (tat nirdharina aniyama tad drshte prthag hi apratibandh phalam B.S.3-3-42) as, There is non-restriction of the assertions concerning them (i.e. the assertions made concerning certain sacrificial acts are not permanently connected with those acts), because this is seen (in scripture); for a separate fruit, viz. non-obstruction (of the sacrifice belongs to them). Some students wondered whether the clause prescribing the undertaking to perform the sacrifices concerned was a statutory one in view of the code not mentioning separately that the enjoyment of fruits of social and economic endeavours was banned if this duty of contributing to the maintenance of the three non-economic social cadres was not first fulfilled through performance of these domestic sacrifices. Badarayana pointed out that there were such clauses. (Vide Ch.32 of this work on Aum.)
Thibaut interprets the cryptogram, (pradanavad eva hi tad uktam B.S.3-3-43) as As in the case of the offerings, (Vayu and Prana must be held apart). This has been explained (in the Purva Mimamsa-sutra). He could not guess correctly its meaning.
The issue of who was to be honoured as the main guest and witness at a sacrifice has also been mentioned in the code. It is not a mere religious ritual. The poet in the allegory (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1-4) deals with the role of the ideal ruler. (Vide Ch.15 of this work on evolution of the four-fold society)
In the Chhandogya Upanishad, Raikva drew the attention of Janasruti and other students to an episode involving Saunaka of the clan of Kapi and Abhipratari, son of Kakshasena. When they were being served food, a student (brahmachari) asked them for alms but they did not give him anything. The student posed them a riddle and challenged them to solve it. A noble (deva) who was the guardian of the frontier society (bhuvana) had swallowed up four great persons (mahatmana). The commoners (martya) do not notice him though he lives among the multitude (bahudha). This food has not been offered to the person to whom it belongs. (C.U.4-3-5,6).
Saunaka reflected on this riddle and replied that the one noble (deva) whom that student referred to was the soul of the devas, that is, the conscience of the cadre of aristocrats. He was the person who had brought into being (janita) the class of subjects (prajas). He had yellow (golden) teeth (that were only for show) and he devoured his food. Saunaka referred to him as anasuri, as Surya. Surya (sun, which is visualized as a god without teeth) represented all the nobles.
Saunaka explained that scholars spoke of the magnificence of Surya as being very great and as one who ate what was not food. Saunaka told the student that they deemed Surya as a great personage and followed him and directed that the student be offered food (C.U.4-3-7). The student was trying to establish that Surya had a status and role that were not to be underestimated while dealing with Vayu, Agni, Surya, Soma and Apa.
These five and the five sectors of prana (prana proper, apana, vyana, samana and udana, in-breath, out-breath, diffused breath, balanced breath and up-breath) were the ten units or dots that were the highest in the pair of dice and constituted the highest throw in the throw of the two cubes. In all the ten directions (four main, four intermediate, one upward and one downward) this is the highest food. This highest number (in years) denotes the tenure of the Viraj, which represents acquisition of food and other needs (annadi) of men. Through the concept of Viraj all (that is, all the sectors of the larger society) are seen. One who understands the meaning of this allegory obtains influence over all these ten sectors of adhidaivatam and adhyatmam covering the entire society and all individuals. (C.U.4-3-8) (Vide Ch.36 of this work on Janasruti and Raikva.)
Which of the five pranas, five sectors of the population, is to be given the highest importance and which official of the Vedic social polity has to be treated as more important than others and why, have been brought out in the above analysis. These facets had eluded the grasp of the medieval commentators and their adherents. The remark, There is contained in this one vidya a double meditative activity with regard to the bodily organs and the divinities, just as the agnihotra which is offered in the morning as well as in the evening requires a double activity is inane to say the least.
Thibaut interprets the formula (lingabhuyastvat tad dhi baliyastadapi B.S.3-3-44) as, On account of the majority of indicatory marks (the fire-altars built of mind etc. do not form elements of any act); for this (i.e. the indicatory mark) is stronger (than the general subject-matter; this also has been explained in the Purva Mimamsa sutras). The reference to the thirty-six thousand fire-altars that had been set up during the Vedic times and their distinguishing marks whether they were built of speech or of breath or of sight or of hearing or of work or of mind or of fire is unwarranted. So too it is not necessary to invoke the rules and provisions of Mimamsa.
The different sectors of the larger society have their respective distinguishing features. It has to be discerned which of those features is more prominent than others as most men have all or most of the traits identified. For instance how one is to be distinguished in the core society has been suggested in Chhandogya Upanishad. (5-2)
The sages treated all the three sections of the core society, the liberal aristocrats (devas), the commoners (manushyas) and the feudal lords (asuras) as the offspring of the Prajapati. They respected him as their father (pitara) and lived with him as students (Brahmacharis).
It was a stage when the feudal lords, asuras, had not yet been declared as intransigent enemies of the other two sections, devas and manushyas, of the core society. They had not been denied access to formal education. [Prajapati, a great intellectual and chief of the people, convened the two bodies, the house of nobles and the council of scholars, sabha and samiti, which were not subordinate to the king and which continued to function even during interregnums.]
When they had finished their formal course of studies, the nobles (devas) asked the Prajapati to advise them. He uttered the single syllable, da, and asked them whether they understood its significance. They said that they understood by it, damyata, control yourselves. He told them that they had understood it correctly. [The interpretation that the gods were naturally unruly and that they were hence asked to practise self-control, is unacceptable. The nobles tended to be haughty as they enjoyed immunity against being punished by the king or by the court or even by the chief of the people. They were advised to accept the verdicts of their own council, sabha or divam.] (C.U.5-2-1)
Then he asked the commoners, manushyas, what they understood by the syllable, da. They said that it meant datta, give. The Prajapati noted that they had understood it correctly. This instruction was not for the liberal nobles (devas) who were noted for their generosity but for the commoners (manushyas) who had been recipients of the gifts made by the nobles. [The remark that men are naturally avaricious and they should distribute their wealth is off the mark.]
The commoners were advised not to depend on the generosity of the rich nobles. They were directed to work hard, become self-sufficient and become even rich enough to help others. The sage was advocating a change in the relationship between the rich elite (devas) and the commoners (manushyas) who were looking up to the former for liberal aid (C.U.5-2-2).
The feudal lords (asuras) understood by the term, da, be compassionate, dayatvam. The Prajapati told them that they had understood correctly what he meant to tell them. [We have to refrain from translating the terms, devas and asuras, as gods and demons. Both groups were human beings and the two were rival sections of the ruling class.]
This thunderous appeal of the nobles (devas), da, da, da, implies, control your selves, be liberal, and be compassionate, damyata, datta, dayatva. The Prajapati appealed to the cruel feudal lords to change their ways of life and treatment of others. He appealed to all the three sections of the core society, devas, manushyas and asuras, to practise all the three orientations, damam, danam and dayam, self-control, generosity and compassion(3).
The sage explains that the role of the Prajapati may be likened to the role of the heart, hrdayam. Prajapati is often identified with the socio-political constitution (Atharvaveda or) Brahma and also with all (sarva) (that has been brought into existence in natural course), he notes. (C.U.5-3-1) Which of the three traits, sattva, rajas and tamas, that are innate in every man (and in every living) being is dominant in him determines the distinguishing characteristic of a member of a given social cadre.
Thibaut interprets the formula (purva vikalpa prakaranat syat kriyamanasavat B.S.3-3-45) as (The agni built of mind etc.) is a particular form of the preceding one (i.e. the agni built of bricks) on account of the leading subject-matter; it is (part of) the act; as in the case of the manasa cup. The thirty-six thousand fire altars signify the number of times one had to submit himself to scrutiny by the civil judge, Agni. He has to do so daily through out his life of hundred years and drink from the imaginary cup (of poison) to prove that his deeds are above board. This was an alternative in the past to ordeal by fire. This appears to have been indicated in one of the chapters in the earlier constitution. The commentator draws attention to the use of the term, arka, to indicate sanctifying every day by dedicating it to agni and he refers to Brhadaranyaka panishad (1-2-7) in this connection.
The poet-sage says that the quest for creation of a new social system did not end with the formation of an essentially agrarian core society, which was coeval with the emergence of the system of sacrifice, yajna, and the composition of the three Vedas.
The ambitious social activist was not satisfied with the formation of this miniature core society. He pooled the available resources to perform a greater sacrifice to bring about a mega-society and this required great effort (tapa) even while staying calm. The result of this effort was his securing his object and fame (yasa) and power to create new things (virya).
The social thinker took into account the features and functions of a larger social system. The asvamedha sacrifice had a great purpose. There was an effort to imbue this mega society with the characteristics of the educated agrarian core society. (B.U.1-2-6) (Vide Ch.13 of this work for an analysis of the Allegory of Asvamedna and the Society.)
The social activist submitted the body politic of this larger society which he identified himself with to an analysis of its functions and organization and structure. It was given the form of a large horse, a form needed for such analysis as earlier done with the common horse, asva. One, who visualizes the society as a horse, knows what the objective of this analysis or dissection, called asvamedha is. He let it be free, that is, he was only thinking about how the mega-society should be organized and its activities regulated. After one year he adopted it, gave it to himself (atmana). This society of all human beings living on natural resources was under the jurisdiction of the conqueror-cum-social activist.
He allowed the elite (devatas) of the other society to look after the other animals (pasu). This elite took charge of the pastoral and forest economy while that of the commonalty everywhere was under the care of this conqueror. In other words, according to the editors of this Upanishad, pastoral economy was under the control of devatas, the nobles of the frontier society and not under devas, the nobles of the core society. The reorganization left the animals under the care of the devatas who were essentially plutocrats, but brought the owners of the herds and their employees under the jurisdiction of the cultural aristocracy, devas.
All the human beings who had earlier been placed under the elite of the other society are now handed over to the Prajapati, the chief of the people of the larger society. While all men of this mega society are to be cared for by the Prajapati, a socio-political authority (superior to Aditi who looked after the food needs of all living beings), devatas, the elite of the other society took care of the other living beings. [The concept, society, covers all living beings.]
This new enlarged society, which the horse now represents, is one year old. During this one year there has been a rearrangement of jurisdiction. The elite has given up control over human society and has taken under its protection the other living beings, pasu, while all men whether in the core society or in the extended society or in the mega society have become subordinate to the Prajapati, chief of the people. In this arrangement Agni, the head of the council (samiti) of scholars and the commonalty, discharges the role of Arka. In the Vedic polity, the official in charge of collection of revenue from the farmers was designated as Arka. He was gentle in his methods and the farmers did not feel that they were losing any portion of their crops.
As Agni (who was subordinate to the Prajapati who convened both the Sabha, the assembly of nobles, and the council of scholars and elders, Samiti) took over the role also of Arka (Surya) who was essentially a noble (deva), the mega society came under a modified political structure. All the social worlds (lokas) came under the jurisdiction of Agni who was also Arka. This Arka heads the new commonalty (asva) that has to be analyzed (medha). This single society has the social traits of the new elite (devata) and also those of the insentient commonalty (mrtyu).
When the two societies were integrated, all economic activities were brought under the charge of the officer of the judiciary, Agni, who became the head of the new executive also, as Arka. One who knows this (that though a commoner, he has the traits of the nobility in him) conquers the traits of insentient commonalty (mrtyu). [It is not sound to interpret the term, mrtyu, as signifying death.] The insentient commonalty (mrtyu) cannot keep him under its thrall. Only physically he is part of it. But in his cultural traits he is part of the elite (devatas) of the other society, which has now been merged in the mega society referred to above.
Thus a new culturally rich commonalty emerges at the end of the asvamedha yajna. It is necessary to distinguish between devas who constituted the liberal aristocracy of the core society that stood apart from its agrarian commonalty and the devatas who formed the stratum of plutocrats and technocrats of the industrial society (B.U.1-2-7). The social activities prescribed were expected to bring about a change in the outlook of the individual performing them.
Thibaut translates (atidesat ca B.S.3-3-46) as, And on account of the transfer (of particulars). The above assertion on the implications of the submission by the commonalty (manushyas) to the authority of agni in the beginning and to that of arka or surya later is to be accepted as valid as it is but a transfer of authority from one official to another without affecting the interests of the social sector concerned.
Thibaut interprets the next epigram 3-3-47 (vidya eva tu nirdharinat) as But (the agnis constitute) a vidya, on account of the assertion (made by the text). The commentator says that the agnis built of mind and so on are to be viewed not as complementary to a sacrificial action but as constituting a discipline of study (vidya) of their own. The rational interpretation of this formula is that whether the official presiding over the civil court has jurisdiction over all the commoners or only over some of them and whether he has authority over the entire conduct of a commoner and over all his activities are prescribed in the law-book.
(darsanat ca B.S.3-3-48) Badarayana says that the jurisdictions have been prescribed as shown in different contexts. Thibaut interprets the next formula (sruti adi baliyastvat ca na badha B.S.3-3-49) as (The view that the agnis constitute an independent vidya) cannot be refuted, owing to the greater force of direct enunciation etc. The Vedas and Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads, which are ancillaries to the Vedas (Srutis) have strengthened the above claim that the jurisdiction of a civil authority like Agni has been prescribed and that it can be transferred from one official to another. This authority to transfer the powers of Agni to Aditya or to Soma or those of Indra to Aditya has been granted to the legislators by the Vedas and their ancillaries and is not to be questioned if the new code has used this authority.
Thibaut translates the next formula (parena ca sabdviyam tadvitvidhyam bhuyastvatanubandha 3-3-50) as, On account of the connexion and so on (the agnis built of mind etc. are independent); in the same way as other cognitions are separate. And there is seen (another case of something having to be withdrawn from the leading subject-matter); this has been explained (in the Purva Mimamsa sutras).
The ancillary works like the Brahmanas are connected with the Vedas as addenda and hence they have to be treated as being subordinate to the provisions of the Vedas (Srutis) and not overriding their authority. Similarly the experiences that one are aware of cannot be treated as separate and distinct from one another. In other words ones personality has to be judged by all his main experiences and not from his discrete actions. This has been shown with examples. This pronouncement is made in the new constitution, Badarayana implies.
The commentator has drawn attention to Chhandogya Upanishad in this connexion but has failed to interpret these passages correctly. Narada points out that in the core society, the social world or stratum with a (high) status (loka) that is won by economic activities (karma) decays (in due course); similarly in that academy the status that is won by pious deeds (punya) decays (in due course). Some persons left the academy without having obtained the supplementary knowledge (anuvidya) of the self (atma). That is, they did not complete the discipline known as atmavidya. They did not learn what personal desires (objectives) were within the framework of the code based on truth (satya).
The vipras, scholars, were associated with the social groups like Gandharvas, Apsarases, Vidyadharas, Chakshus, Charanas, Siddhas, Tapasas and Guhyakas who were known as punya-jana, blessed people, and were free to move among all the three social worlds divam, prthvi and antariksham, nobles, commoners and the frontier society. The vipra as a wandering scholar who exhorted the people everywhere to maintain social discipline and honour the codes that were interpreted by the high judicial officer designated as Brahma.
Narada was instructing such vipras on their duty. If they left the academy without learning the discipline of atmavidya (self-restraint) they would be moving about in all the social worlds without desire (to do good acts). But the students, who left the academy after having studied the supplementary discipline of atmavidya, would be moving in all social worlds (loka) with the desire (kama) to do good deeds (in accord with the code based on truth, satya). (C.U.8-1-6)
(na samanyat api upalabdhe mrtyuvat na hi lokapatti B.S.3-3-51) Thibaut explains this formula as, Not also on account of its resembling (the manasa cup can the fires constitute parts of an action); for it is observed (on the ground of Sruti etc. that they are independent); as in the case of death; for the world does not become a fire because it resembles (a fire in some points.) It is not necessary to introduce the concept of the imaginary cup.
The commentator draws attention to the advice given to Gautama by Pravahana, a member of the ruling oligarchy of Panchala. The ruler said that this knowledge had been a privilege of the cadres of administrators (Kshatras) in all the social worlds (lokas). [The teacher implies that every one of the three social worlds, divam, prthvi and antariksham, nobility, commonalty and frontier society, had its own cadre of administrators-cum-warriors.] It had not reached the cadres of jurists (Brahmans). Gautama would be the first among them to learn this science of administration (prasasanam) (C.U.5-3-6,7).
According to Pravahana the cadres of administrators whether their jurisdiction was confined to the commonalty or to the patriciate or to the frontier society were all Kshatriyas. The issue was whether the judiciary, the Brahmans, had jurisdiction over the executive, the Kshatras.] (Vide Ch.39 of this work for Pravahanas counsel to Gautama.)
Pravahana then explained to Gautama that the social cadre (loka) to whose ranks the trainees from the academy (samiti) of the former were sent for higher studies, could be described as one whose teachers were persons who held the rank of civil judges (Agni). Personages who held the rank of Aditya (and belonged to the governing elite) too were contributory teachers there. Pravahana was using the picture of a sacrifice that went on throughout the day. At the end of the day intellectuals who held the rank of Chandra (Soma) came to give sober counsel. The non-administrators (nakshatras) too came in to guide and their contributions are likened to sparks. These nakshatras could give hints on economy and technology, which were fields mastered by the scholars of the other society. Pravahana was explaining the functions of the royal faculty that had scholars from different social sectors (C.U.5-4-1).
The nobles (devas) tended with sincerity and devotion (sraddha) this royal academy headed by Agni, the chief judicial officer who had jurisdiction over the commonalty and all the subjects of that state of Panchala. From this offering of devoted service arose the king (raja) who was an outstanding, influential and sedate intellectual like Soma (5-4-2).
Pravahana told Gautama that the sacrificial fire, that is, the course of studies in the higher royal academy might be compared to the rain that follows winds (vayu), formation of clouds, lightning and thunder and hailstones. He was referring to the knowledge acquired at the end of heated discussions engaged in by the scholars at the academy headed by Soma. The nobles (devas) offered the services of Raja Soma, the intellectual of the other forest society who had the status of a king, for the protection and smooth conduct of the discussions at the royal academy that preceded the return of the trainees to their posts among the commonalty (5-5-1,2).
The commentator was off the mark when he translated the term, mrtyu, as death. It was a reference to the social world (loka) of commoners who were noted for insentience, ignorance and inertness. Badarayana would expect them to become aware of their potential and this required proper education.
Thibaut interprets the formula (parena ca sabdasya ta advidhyam bhuyastvat tu anubandha B.S.3-3-52) as, And from the subsequent (Brahmana) it follows that being of that kind (i.e. injunction of a mere vidya is the aim) of the text. The connexion (of the fanciful agnis with the real one) is due to the plurality (of details of the real agni which are imaginatively connected with the vidya.) Badarayana points out that in an annexure to the main declaration, that is, to the Vedas, it becomes obvious that one who pursues the path of knowledge as well as one who performs his duties attains that high level.
It is not rational to presume that the real fire-altars signify performance of the prescribed religious rites and that the imaginary ones signify mentally identifying oneself with the purpose of those daily rites. The duties to be performed were related to the obligations that were pointed out in the Vedas that one had to other members of his family, clan and community and also to the three non-economic cadres, nobles, sages and elders, of the social polity of which he was a member. Whether he carried out those duties daily or not, he was required to acknowledge in mind his duties. The instructions whether they were a part of the main text of the Veda to which he owed affiliation or to an annexure to it were binding on him.
(ek atmana sarire bhavat B.S.3-3-53) Thibaut interprets this epigram as Some (maintain the non-existence) of a (separate) Self, on account (of the existence of the Self) where a body is (only). Some hold that every body must have a separate soul as every one has an aptitude (bhava) distinct from what others have. The commentator is off the mark when he says, At present we will prove the existence of a Self different from the body in order to establish thereby the qualifications (of the Self) for bondage and release and comes to the conclusion that this formula means that the Self is not different from the body.
(vyati ekastat bhava abhavitvat na tu upalabdhivat.3-3-54) Thibaut interprets this formula as, There is separation (of the Self from the body) because its existence does not depend on the existence of that (viz. the body), but there is not (non-separation); as in the case of perceptive consciousness.
Some others refute the above claim and hold that the soul is different from the body, as the body has a particular aptitude while it is not so with the soul. The soul can obtain union with the great soul while the body cannot. It is not sound to introduce the concept of perceptive consciousness while explaining the intent of this formula.
This formula and the previous one are a prelude to the establishment of the concept of vaisvanara as a free man who could represent all the sectors and ranks of the larger society and rise to the highest social position, that of Brahma. As every individual has his own aptitude and outlook and interests it is not possible to envisage a person who has no personal interests. The opposite view is that it is possible for an individual to be free from his social bodies and to be free from the attitudes resulting from social relations.
Thibaut interprets the formula (angavavaddha astu na sakhasu hi prativedam B.S.3-3-55) as But the (meditations) connected with members (of sacrificial acts are) not (restricted) to (particular) Sakhas, according to the Veda (to which they belong). Badarayana took into account the stands of the different schools of thought that upheld the Vedic tradition with respect to the larger social polity and which were like the branches that had sprung from the main body of a tree.
Some commentators have drawn attention to the teachings on the traits of vaisvanara in Chhandogya Upanishad. We notice Uddalaka and other students approaching Asvapati, a Gandharva ruler of Kekaya to learn polity from him. (Vide Ch.40 of this work for a critical analysis of the counsel given by Asvapati of Kekaya to Uddalaka and his companions.)
Asvapati as a prince was concerned with establishment of a social system and principles of jurisprudence that would encourage every individual to identify oneself with every other individual and with the entire society, especially of the region where he lived. [Commentators of the medieval times wondered whether he was interpreting the concept of Visvarupa.] He corrected the wrong notions that his students had about the traits of Vaisvanara, the ideal representative of the universal society of free men.
The head of this society (about whom Prachinasala spoke) would be one who was renowned (sutejas) for his influence over all. He would perceive (chakshu) it as having a form (about which Satyayajna asked) comprising that entire large society (Visvarupa). Its basic members (pranas) would be following diverse careers (as Indradyumna noticed). Its unified body would reflect the mega society (bahula) as Jana expected. It would treat wealth as unwanted accretion like the liquid collected in the bladder, as pointed out to Budila. It would be firmly established in the commonalty (prthvi) as desired by Uddalaka.
The issue was what traits should a person have developed to be able to represent the entire larger society and which stratum of that society was most likely to throw up such a person from within its ranks. The commentators of the medieval times had failed to grasp the facets of this issue and the solution revealed by Asvapati.
(mantradivatva avirodha B.S.3-3-56) Thibaut translates this epigram, as Or else there is no contradiction (implied in our opinion); as in the case of the mantras and like. If a particular instructive formula (mantra) given in one of the different branches or schools of thought was valid and relevant for the subject-matter dealt in by that branch of study it should be treated as not being in contradiction with the other instructions in that branch and in the entire body of Vedic literature.
(bhumna kratuvat jyayastvam tatha hi darsayati B.S.3-3-57) Thibaut interprets this formula as, There is pre-eminence of the (meditation on) plenitude (i.e. Agni Vaisvanara in his aggregate form); as in the case of sacrifices; for thus scripture shows. The term, meditation, is not to be used unless it is intended to refer to deep concentration intended to discover the hidden meaning of a statement or action or process.
By the term, bhumi, all the lands that are inhabited by people engaged in economic activities are meant. Their deeds are like those, which partake the character of sacrifice, that is, offering for the benefit of all others what one needs for his personal use. This has been indicated in various contexts. The commentator draws attention to the discussion about Vaisvanara, especially to the views expressed by Prachinasala, son of Upamanyu. But he is unable to explain what is meant by the expression, the aggregate form of Vaisvanara. The theme of that discussion has been brought out in Ch 20 of this work which presents a critical analysis of the discussion between Asvapati of Kekaya and Uddalaka and his companions of whom Prachinasala was one.
In Chhandogya Upanishad (3-14) the teacher draws the attention of his students to the statement, All this is Brahma (Sarvam idam Brahma). [Commentators have interpreted that it means that the whole world is Brahma, the highest God (of creation) and that every thing has emerged from Him and that every thing later gets merged in Him.] He asks them to calmly meditate on it, that is, think of the implications of this statement.
The teacher was dealing with the calibre of the members of the judiciary, Brahma. Why was a social leader, purusha, finding it difficult to gain entry to it despite his immense popularity? A social leader (purusha) is a talented person and has a plan and purpose (kratu). He is committed to a cause and represents certain interests. But an intellectual who is a member of the judiciary (Brahma) has no such purpose and is not committed to any cause.
The teacher does not denounce the traits and limitations of the cadre of social leaders who have definite interests. He permits them to pursue those interests but cautions that such persons would not be eligible to enter other cadres on the completion of their present tenures as representatives and leaders. He would advise the leader (purusha) to draw a plan of action that would help him to rise in the social ladder and not be merely a spokesman and promoter of the interests of the groups he is attached to. The enigma behind this verse and this section has to be thus resolved rationally. (C.U.3-14-1)
The teacher was dealing with the calibre of the personage who had not left his social body but tried to be unattached to it and become eligible to enter the cadre of the high judiciary. This personage had resolved (samkalpa) to adhere to truth (satya). [The laws of the later Vedic times were based on the principles of uncompromising truth (satya).]
The individual (atma) who was getting ready to enter the ranks of the impartial jurists was not a member of the organized commonalty but was a member of the open areas (akasa) whose residents were more independent than the members of organized social groups of the commonalty. He was an expert in all occupations and duties and had already experienced all desires and pleasures and tastes. In other words he was in the stage of a monk who had gone through all that worldly life (sarvam idam) as a married man offered. He is not a spokesman of any particular group. He is not dependent on any group.
The teacher agrees that the soul within ones heart is smaller than a grain of rice or barley or mustard or millet or even of its kernel. But this minute soul is greater than all the social worlds (lokas) the commonalty (prthvi), the frontier society (antariksham) and the patriciate (divam). (C.U.3-14-2,3)
The jurist (Brahma) is a social leader (purusha) who has performed all occupations, gone through all desires and experienced all pleasures and represents all. But he does not speak for them nor is he dependent on them. He goes by the conscience (atma) in his heart and he is fit to become the chief of the impartial judiciary, Brahman. After his present tenure as a social leader he will enter that judiciary. The teacher says that one who believes this will have no more doubts. He claims that this was what his teacher, Sandilya, used to say. (C.U.3-14-4)
In the Brahmasutra (3-3-57), Badarayana notes that the description of the traits of the Vaisvanara places the latter in a position superior to the purusha who had shown his mettle in different high positions as a candidate fit for the post of the chief judge, Brahma.
If one offers tributes to Agni, the head of the intelligentsia of the commonalty (performs agnihotra sacrifice, as described in common parlance), without knowing the purpose behind such an act, it would be a waste of energy and wealth. But if he offers tributes to Agni, knowing well that purpose, he would be pleasing all the organized social worlds (lokas), all the individuals on the social periphery (bhutas) and all the individuals who are not attached to social bodies (atmas). He would be deemed to be, indeed, one performing an act of sacrifice. (C.U.5-24-1,2,3).
A ruler or wealthy person who knows the purpose of this sacrifice may offer what remains after meeting the needs of the organized social worlds, the individuals on the periphery and the unattached persons, to those who have been expelled from the society for serious crimes (to Chandalas). He would be treated as one offering sacrifice to the unattached individual (atma) who represents the universal society of free men (vaisvanara) (C.U.5-24-4).
As all hungry children sit around their mother to be fed, all individuals (bhutas) sit round the sacrifice offered in front of the official designated as Agni. He represents all members of the larger commonalty; it is implied (C.U.5-24-5). Agni, as Vaisvanara, meets the needs of all sections of the larger society including the Chandalas, the outcasts. Such a concept of Brahma, the supreme judge and upholder of the constitution as Vaisvanara, the selfless genuine representative of the entire larger society, is superior to the concept of Brahma as Purusha or Vaisvanara as Agni, the civil judge of the commonalty (bhumi).
In the formula (nanasabdadi bhedat 3-3-58) Badarayana cautions his students to note that the teachings in the works referred to by him were different from one another in the words used, the items enumerated, the direction given, the form in which they were presented and the rewards offered for fulfilment of duties. Nothing beyond this may be read in this epigram.
(vikalpa avisishta phalatvat B.S..3-3-59) Thibaut translates this epigram, as There is (restriction to) option (between the vidyas) on account of these having non-different results.
The instructions given were all not obligatory. The choices were open to all. There was no special reward for performing a particular duty or choosing a particular path. Some interpreted this epigram to imply that this formula did not entitle one to exercise the choice of not performing any of the duties, to be precise, the choice of not following any of the alternative ways of living permitted, for such abstention would not give him any reward. One of the prescribed or permitted duties must be performed.
(kamyastu yathakamam samucciyeran na va purva hetutva bhavat B.S.3-3-60) Thibaut interprets this formula as, But (vidyas) connected with wishes may, according to ones liking, be cumulated or not; on account of the absence of the former reason. The duties prescribed with respect to the fulfilment of ones desires may be performed and the rewards secured as intended, may be collected. The purpose must have been already approved. What is gained without intent, that is, by chance, one may not retain. The commentator refers to an instruction in Chhandogya Upanishad with respect to the treasure-chest that the host at the sacrifce sanctified (C.U.3-15).
The sacrificer who follows the Vedic tradition of treating this population on the move as having a godfather in Vayu does not weep for a son (to perform his last rites). He knew that the official designated as Vayu would protect his interests (C.U.3-15-2). It may be remarked here that the trainee in this case was required to officiate as priest for a ruler who had no sons of his own. The teacher took succour in the wealth that never dwindled (arishta). It was in the form of support that the three social worlds, bhu, bhuva and sva, commonalty, frontier society and patriciate gave the sacrificer.
He implies that he does not regret that he has no sons of his own who would perform his last rites and inherit his wealth. He explains that he had said that he identified himself (that is, his soul) with breath (prana). He had meant that he had identified himself with that invisible but vital breath which blew over all the areas, that is, which was common to all living beings, even to those who were just at the subsistence level and had no wealth of their own.
The teacher wanted his students to recognize that he was identifying himself with the individuals (bhutas) who were on the social periphery and who were at the subsistence level and who were not part of any of the three organized social worlds. But at the same time he belonged to all the three worlds. One who went along with the commonalty attached to the soil (bhu) or with the frontier society (bhuva) or with the nobility (sva) was hence associated with prthvi, antariksham and divam and the officials (Agni, Vayu and Aditya) who were in charge of them. He went along with the directions given in the three Vedas, Rg, Sama and Yajur (C.U.3-15-3 to 7).
In Chhandogya Upanishad, Narada was advised to follow the codes outlined in those sciences he was already acquainted with. He who meditates on the title (nama) and reveres it as suggesting the socio-political constitution (Brahma) of the social sector concerned goes on his own volition (kama-chara) up to the extent or field indicated by that title.
Sanatkumara meant that a student did not obtain a holistic picture of the social constitution from these works studied independent of one another. He agreed to teach Narada the field that was not covered by any of the titles of the studies mentioned by the latter (C.U.7-1-4,5). The concept of desire, kama, here is associated with scholarship that Narada sought unlike the longing for sons mentioned in the previous context. The commentator brings this difference in purpose to the notice of his students in this epigram.
Thibaut interprets this epigram (angeshu yathasraya bhava 3-3-61) as With the (meditations on) members (of sacrificial acts) it is as with their abodes. There is no need to interpret the term, anga as member or to introduce the concepts, meditation and sacrificial acts. One of the commentators draws attention to Chhandogya Upanishad (5-2-4 to 8). What this section meant has to be read along with the concept of desire that was to be fulfilled according to the allegory of the treasure-chest explained while explaining the previous epigram.
In Chhandogya Upanishad (5-1) the scholar put forth the importance of prana, that is, the individuals who are at the bare subsistence level are more important for the body politic than the cadres that were engaged in imparting knowledge. They were more important than the cadres engaged in teaching what had been learnt by the people of the earlier times as recorded in the chronicles known as Vedas or Srutis, or in acquiring knowledge through empirical observations. They were more important than the cadres engaged in mental planning. These individuals did not consider themselves as superior to the animals (dogs) and birds (sparrows) and were fed only pittance. They had no clothes and were satisfied with drinking water, a bare necessity. (C.U.5-2-1,2).
Upakosala, son of Kamala, claimed that if this knowledge was conveyed to a person who had lost all interest in life, that person would benefit and lead a new life of optimism, even as new leaves sprout in a dried up stump (5-2-3). The teacher advises his student that if he desired to become great, he should perform the initiation rites on the new moon night and on the full moon night (indicating height of pessimism and that of optimism respectively).
The trainee should hail the official, Agni, as the eldest (jyeshta) and greatest (sreshta), as the most honoured (vasishtha) and the best-established (pratishtha), as the most well organized and hence valuable (sampada) and as the well-restrained (ayata) official (of the social polity). The other attributes are not to the mark and should be discarded as residues that are to be cast in the mash. (C.U.5-2-4,5)
The teacher advises the trainee to then move a little away from Agni and address the representative of the individuals at the bare subsistence level. The teacher implies that what is called the will of the multitude has no validity or identity or authority. The trainee to the post of the king has to be aware that he has to instead honour Agni, the Vedic official, who is the eldest (jyeshtha) and the best (sreshtha) of all the officials and holds the position of king (raja) and is also the overlord (adhipati).
The trainee has to seek the favour of this official to gain control over the state (rajyam) and attain that position, authority, rank and status (which Agni held) so that he might be able to identify himself with this multitude of anonymous individuals at the bare subsistence level (C.U.5-2-6). [Agni was an intellectual who spoke for the commonalty, manushyas, who had no individual identity and led a very simple life.]
After making the above prayer to the official designated as Agni, the aspirant is required to sanctify (take a sip after) every one of the feet of the Rg verse. Savita was held to be the best of the nobles (devas). What the aspirant and his guide, Agni, offered was food that was to be consumed by the nobles as a sign of conceding the prayer made. In other words, the aspirant who had gained the approval of the intellectuals (Agni, the head of the samiti) was able to gain the support of the nobles (devas) whose head was designated as Savita. [The Upanishad refrains from granting the status of the head of the nobility to Indra. The sage treats Savita as the spokesman of the universal cultural aristocracy and Aditya as the head of the political aristocracy.]
Savita was also the highly respected (sreshta) authority to grant all prayers (sarvadhata). He was also addressed as the great, discerning patron (bhaga dhimahi). The water that the aspirant and his counsellor, Agni, sipped was an offering made to this great noble (who has been later presented as the god symbolizing the prayer known as Savitri or Gayatri). Having drunk all the water in the cup, he cleanses it and sits down behind the fire, with speech (vacham) muted and conquered. In this state, if he sees his wife (stri), he may infer that his duty (karma) has been fulfilled (C.U.5-2-7). The explanation that meditation is subject to what it rests on does not convey the intent of the cryptogram that gave a direction to the social polity of the later Vedic times.
(sishteca 3-3-62) Thibaut translates this as: And on account of the teaching. The commentators draw attention to Isopanishad (9-11). According to the teacher of this Upanishad, Sukra (Kavi) had of his own accord defined the pursuits of the different individuals and social sectors. [Sukra or Usanas was the political guide of the feudal warlord, Bali, who had taken over Janasthana. He placed severe restraints on the rights of the individuals.] The teacher points out that while assigning the individuals according to their personal traits to different functions and means of livelihood, those persons who follow vocations that do not require formal schooling (avidya) are visualized as entering blinding darkness (tamas).
In other words they are treated as ignorant persons and assigned to classes marked by the trait, tamas. He adds that those persons who are proud of their studies, vidya, and delight in theoretical studies (and do not apply their knowledge to constructive works) would be assigned to classes marked by inertness (tamas). He was bringing to the notice of his students the principle adopted by Kavi (Sukra) to ensure that talented and constructive thinkers and scholars were rewarded and not the uneducated or pedants. (I.U.9)
The social periphery had scholars who did not contribute anything to social welfare and progress. They formed a counter-intelligentsia. The teacher was not involved in the issue of which path was the best, Karmayoga or Jnanayoga or Bhaktiyoga. The teacher does not appear to endorse the approach of Kavi (Sukra) with respect to the pedants. He pointed out that scholars held the result (benefit) accruing from formal education (vidya) to be different from the result accruing from non-formal education (avidya).
He was not treating the two terms as meaning knowledge and ignorance or as spiritual knowledge and non-spiritual knowledge. He was not for assigning either group to the classes marked by ignorance and inertness (tamas). He was drawing attention to what he and others had heard as explained by the wise (dhira) who could discriminate correctly between good and bad. (I.U.10)
The teacher would stand by the traditional approach with respect to vidya and avidya and their effects. According to this approach both formal education (vidya) and non-formal education (avidya) are helpful. Non-formal education (avidya) helps one to cross the river or stage of insentience (mrtyu). Only those who are yet at that stage deserve to be treated as being characterized by ignorance and inertness (tamas).
The teacher distinguishes between the non-formal education (avidya) that was available to the commoners who were inert (tamas) and the lack of knowledge that marked the lives of those who were insentient (mrtyu). Formal education (vidya) however aids one to attain the abiding status of intellectual and cultural aristocracy (amrtam). (I.U.11)
Badarayana called for discipline in the performance of ones duties. The interpretation that this epigram means that, also as far as the mode of information is concerned there is no difference between the members (steps) of a sacrificial act and the meditations referring to them is unacceptable. It was intended to make the independent individuals and scholars of the social periphery fall in line with the organized commonalty and its intellectuals. The new code though it kept the options open and did not enforce the rules strictly as Sukra would have liked to, did call for conformity to the normative pattern of social conduct.
The interpretation of the next epigram (samaharat B.S.3-3-63) by Thibaut as, On account of rectification does not seem to fit in the context in which the above instructions were given. Badarayana suggests that the wide options thrown open and the disciplinary rules enforced have been called for as the aim is to bring together all the sectors of the larger society.
The commentator draws attention to Chhandogya Upanishad (1-5-5) but fails to notice its implications. With reference to the adhyatma, the essential individual who is not a member of social bodies and does not belong to any social rank, the sage says that the breath (prana) in his mouth is likened to Udgitha, the loud chant. For, he is continually tuning that loud chant (Udgitha) (C.U.1-5-3). Kaushitaki sang paeans to that essential individual and called upon his only son to emulate that individual who (always) uttered the loud chant, Udgitha, Aum, to indicate that his life was oriented to the concepts that syllable stood for.
Kaushitaki told his son that he should identify himself with the beings (pranas) who belonged to the masses (bhumana) of the larger society, and thereby he would have many (whom he would treat as his) sons (1-5-4). Earlier he had asked his son to identify himself with the orientations that the nobles (devas and devatas) upheld. The sage expected the hotr priest who was conducting the sacrifice to correct the errors in the pronouncing and chanting of Aum, the Udgitha (C.U.1-5-5).
(guna sadharanya srute ca B.S.3-3-64) Thibaut translates this formula as, And because the text states a quality (of the vidya) to be common (to the three Vedas). The commentator explains that the instruction regarding the loud utterance (udgitha) of aumkara is necessary as it is common to all the three Vedas. Aum indicates assent to the action proposed or the prayer made. Whenever one assents to anything he merely says Aum. The assent leads to the fulfillment of the desire (kama) entertained. One who knows this aspect and reveres and meditates on this syllable, Aum, gets his desires fulfilled. (Chhandogya Upanishad 1-1-5 to 8)
The teacher asserts that by this syllable, Aum, one proceeds to master the three disciplines of study (vidyas) (the three Vedas, economics or Varta and science of polity or Dandaniti). Uttering this syllable one complies with the direction given. One gives the order as he utters this word. [In other words, neither the order nor intention of obedience is said to be legally binding when this syllable is not uttered.] He utters this syllable aloud (udgitha) knowing this implication, its greatness (mahima) and its essence (rasa) (C.U.1-1-9).
The sage says that utterance of this syllable is obligatory for all whether they realize its implication or not while performing a duty. This rule was applicable not only while performing religious rites but also while performing any deed like entering a contract, but only to those who were educated and had mastered the disciplines of study (vidya) (which pertained to social and cultural duties, economic transactions and political rights and obligations).
Of course those who received only non-formal education (avidya) might be treated differently. One who performs a duty according to the rules prescribed in the sciences (vidya) knowing fully well its implications (that is, of this syllable) (upanishad) with devotion (sraddha) becomes more potent (virya) than others. Thus the sage explains the meaning and importance of this syllable (C.U.1-1-10). Aum indicates the traits and aspirations that are common to all sectors of the population, especially of the unclassified masses.
(na va tat saha bhavasrute B.S.3-3-65) Thibaut reads this epigram as (the meditations on members of sacrificial actions are) rather not (to be combined), as the text does not state their going together. While there is a common factor in the duties prescribed in the Vedic texts for all sections of the larger society, it is not proper to presume that all the duties (and vocations) presented in the list of wide options based on personal aptitudes are permitted for are required to be performed by every individual. The classification of duties assigned to different sections may not be perfect. There has to be a correlation between the innate traits of the individual and the specific duty assigned to him. These duties are not to be construed as referring to facets of sacrificial actions or the mantras connected with them.
Thibaut interprets the last statement of this section as, And because (scripture) shows it. If the options for the different classes are mentioned in the code and are explicit one should opt for the performance of a duty that is open to his class, which is based on his innate traits. If there is no specification one may perform a duty or exercise a right open to the masses who come under the jurisdiction of the udgitha or aumkara. One may seek in the prescribed manner the permission of his deity or patron and guardian to pursue a course of action that is beneficial to the former and also not harmful to any other person. The Vedic texts and their annexures have dealt with this aspect. (darsanat ca 3-3-66)