CHAPTER 4 SECTION 4
Thibaut interprets the opening formula of this section as (On the souls) having entered (into the highese light), there is manifestation (of its own nature; as we infer) from the word own. The (Vedic) texts say that on reaching the level aspired for ones personal nature becomes manifest.
Badarayana implied that on entering the cadre of the aristocrats on the basis of ones efforts and suitability, the social leader who is also an intellectual reveals his calibre. It is understood that his potentials remained hidden and unmanifest at the lower levels where he stayed for short durations during his social ascent.
The commentator refers to Chhandogya Upanishad 8-12-3 in this connexion. The chief of the people, Prajapati, told Indra who headed the house of nobles that the new compact on social integration had permitted the admission of certain plutocrats and technocrats to the membership of the nobility (as devatas). Hence, the scholars too may be admitted to the aristocracy if they were selfless and impartial.
The Prajapati, who was the convener of the two social legislatures, sabha and samiti, was encouraging Indra to approach the other nobles with this argument in favour of admitting these scholars who had the right to move among all social worlds. The terms, upasampada and abhinishpadya, indicate that the new entrants are not given a status equal to the one enjoyed by the nobles and that they are required to maintain their separate identity though they were superior to commoners. [This aspect of social polity has eluded the medieval and modern commentators.] (Vide Ch.44 of this work on Naradas interpretation of the features of the Academy of Scholars, Brahmaloka.)
The scholar who is to be elevated to the level of the cultural aristocracy is endowed with placidity (samprasada). He rises from the (social) body (sarira) to reach the level of the supreme enlightened guide (param jyoti). He is placed at a level (upasampada) marginally lower than that of the nobles but is allowed to appear in the form (rupa) of an autonomous noble (sva) by the process of evolution or emergence of high ranks (abhinishpadya).
He is treated as the best of social leaders, uttama purusha (high personage at the threshold of the aristocracy). There, in the social world of aristocrats, he may move about enjoying all its comforts, not remembering his (past) association with the social body (of commoners).
Even as a method is connected with the use it is put to, the living being (prana) is connected to the (social body). [The explanation that the word prana here signifies the individualized soul, also called the conscious self or prajnatma, associated with the aggregate of body, sense-organs and mind and endowed with the power of knowing and acting is too far-fetched.] The Prajapati seems to imply that the aristocracy might avail of the services of the uttama purusha for its own purposes, without losing its identity. (8-12-3) (sampadyavirbhavi svena sabdat.4-4-1)
Thibaut translates the next epigram (4-4-2) as (The Self whose true nature has manifested itself is) released; according to the promise (made by scripture). The above translation is unconvincing. The cryptogram does not refer to the scripture.
When is a person released from his obligations that he has voluntarily resolved to fulfil? The commentator refers to (8-7-1 of Chhandogya Upanishad). The Prajapati told Indra, Virocana and other students to investigate the thoughts of the individual (atma) who was free from sins, from old age, from insentience (mrtyu), from grief, and from hunger and thirst and whose desires (kama) and resolves (samkalpa) were in tune with the code based on truth (satya). (Vide Ch.44 of this work on Naradas interpretation.)
One should seek to understand (what is not yet known about) his thought and personality. One who had found out that person and understood his traits would be able to gain the approval of all the social worlds (lokas) and (fulfillment of) his desires. The Prajapati was referring to the advantages that scholar (vipra) who moved about in all social worlds (lokas) would have by leading a disciplined life. (C.U.8-7-1) The social leader completes his task when he joins the intellectual aristocracy. He is no longer required to exert himself to rise higher or perform duties imposed by other social bodies. Every member of this aristocracy (sva) governed his conduct by himself and was not governed by obligations to others (para). (mukta pratijnanat 4-4-2)
Thibaut translates the next phrase(4-4-3) as (The light into which the soul enters is) the Self; owing to the subject matter of the chapter. The above stand is taken on the basis of the chapter on atma. (Atma prakaranat B.S.4-4-3)
He interprets the next epigram (4-4-4) as (The released soul abides) in non-division (from the highest Self); because, that is seen from scripture.
Badarayana refuses to treat the human soul (jivatma) as but a part of the higher soul (paramatma). In other words, there is only one soul (atma). This has been shown clearly in several passages. Either one is not aware of his potentials and hence stays at the lower level that he finds in himself or is aware of his potentials and develops his personality to the highest level possible for him. The highest level is that of the omniscient, stoical personage called Brahma.
The commentators draw attention to Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (4-3-20) and (4-3-23). Yajnavalkya was instructing Janaka on the future ahead of the social leader who had entered the aristocracy. The intellectuals are far above the level of the insentient commonalty but are to be on guard while moving amongst the rich and hedonist aristocracy.
The social leader (purusha) of Yajnavalkya's vision was such an intellectual. After having stayed (samprasada) amongst the nobles and tasted their pleasurable ways of life and roaming about amidst them and seen the vices (papa) they are addicted to and the good things (punya) they have done, this purusha should return to his original position and stay as if asleep and reflect on what he had experienced and seen.
While he is thus reflecting on his experiences amidst the (hedonist) aristocracy, these experiences do not affect him, for this social leader (purusha) is not a member of any class and is not attached to either the commonalty or to the aristocracy. Janaka was pleased with this instruction that Yajnavalkya had given him on the role of the independent and stoic ruler as a social leader (purusha). Such a purusha is free (vimoksha) from personal needs and prejudices (B.U.4-3-15).
Yajnavalkya did not demand that the independent intellectual who had the talent to be a social leader (purusha) should avoid the company of aristocrats. But such association was a period when that purusha would be asleep and not active as a social leader. The purusha should after observing the merits and demerits of the life of the aristocrats, return to the place from where he set forth, that is, to the company of the commoners before he became aware of his talents. Whatever he noticed in that period does not influence his character and way of life for the (ideal) social leader (purusha) is not attached to anything. (Vide Ch.21 of this work for a critical analysis of the discussion between Yajnavalkya and Janaka.)
Janaka was glad to receive this instruction that a stoical leader was expected to be with the (insentient) commonalty and not be away from it though he is aware of his own superiority and has had experiences in the company of the ruling elite. The purusha had a duty to the ranks from which he rose (B.U.4-3-16). The sage calls for a realistic approach. Yajnavalkya expected Janaka to be a realist even while having the status of an aristocrat and occupying the position of a king. [It needs to be remarked here that the interpretation that the place where the two selves unite is the heart and that they have a path in common is irrational and unacceptable.]
The sage pointed out to the ruler that however impartial and objective a ruler may be in his inspection of works carried on by his officials and others, the institutionalized procedure of observing through observers can not be brought to a halt. It is not known to be broken. It is imperishable.
There is no alternative (dvitiyam) to it. No other individual or institution can be recognized as observer and work assigned to him or it partially (vibhakta). Yajnavalkya was engaged in a significant disputation on the function and role of the trained stoical ruler. He was not discarding any established institution though he was not prepared to accept that the Vedas contained all the required knowledge. The instructions on Aham Brahma Asmi (I am Brahman) in (B.U. 1-4-10) and Tat tvam Asi (That art thou) in (C.U.6-8-7) are not relevant here. (avibhagena drshtatvat B.S.4-4-4)
Thibaut translates the next statement (4-4-5) as By (a nature) like that of Brahman (the soul manifests itself); (thus) Jaimini (opines); on account of reference and the rest. Jaimini points out that the highest status that a talented social leader, purusha, was capable of reaching was that of the high judiciary. This ascent was made feasible by the provisions of the constitution, Brahma. This has been vouched for in counsels given by eminent sages and other statements.
Only by conducting himself like an unattached intellectual one could rise to the highest position. Besides only after reaching that highest position by ones own effort one would be able to define his own powers and duties and thereby be an autonomous individual enjoying svatantra, freedom from control by every social group including the judiciary to which he would belong in that position. Then he would be a free individual, atma.
The commentator draws attention to Mundaka Upanishad (3-2-9). This Upanishad describes Brahma-vidya, the Science of the Constitution of the Vedic times. The teacher of the Mundaka Upanishad says that the functions (karma) and the individuality (atma) of Brahma who is essentially an intellectual (vijnana-maya atma) all become one in that jurist who has been freed from all personal and social duties. (Mu.U.3-2-7) Even as the flowing rivers disappear in the sea and cast away their separate identities (nama-rupa, name and form), the above intellectual becomes a divya-purusha, a member of the highest social stratum and a noble performing the role of a social leader. (M.U.3-2-8) (Vide Ch.25 of this work for a critical appreciation of the Mundaka Upanishad with reference to the Vedic social constitution, Brahma.)
The teacher asserts that individual who has mastered the socio-political constitution, Brahma (Atharvaveda in particular, Vedas in general) becomes a member of the cadre of Brahmas (jurists). In this faculty (kula of Brahmans) there can be no one who has not studied Brahma. He crosses the bridge of sorrows and sins. And then he is freed from the knots of secrecy (guha) (that he has been required to observe during the course of his training) and becomes a member of the aristocracy (amrta, immortality in common parlance) (Mu.U.3-2-9). The teacher then cites a hymn (rcha) in which the above stand is iterated.
Only to those persons who perform the rites and who are experts in expounding the Vedas (srutis) and are devoted (nishtha) to Atharvaveda (Brahma) and have volunteered themselves to the cause of the lone sage (ekarshi) with dedication (sraddha), one may declare this science (vidya) of jurisprudence (Brahmavidya). This knowledge may be passed on to such a person by one who has carried on his head this responsibility according to rules. The teacher says that this assertion, which accords with the code based on truth (satya) has been declared earlier by Rshi Angiras (one of the main editors of Atharvaveda). The (later) teacher while offering his respect to the sages bars those persons who have not performed the prescribed acts (of purification) from reading this essay. (Mu.U.3-2-10,11)
The commentator notes that the souls own nature is like that of Brahman and cites Chhandogya Upanishad (8-1-6) and (8-7-1) in support. 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). (Vide Ch.44 of this work for a critical appreciation of Naradas description of the features of the Academy of Scholars, Brahmaloka.)
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)
The chief of the people, Prajapati, who counselled Indra and Virocana, was an eminent social thinker and organizer, and was also the convener of the two bodies of the legislature, the house of the nobles (Sabha) and the council of scholars (Samiti). He told his audience to investigate the thoughts of the individual (atma) who was free from sins, from old age, from insentience (mrtyu), from grief, and from hunger and thirst and whose desires (kama) and resolves (samkalpa) were in tune with the code based on truth (satya).
One should seek to understand (what is not yet known about) his thought and personality. One who had found out that person and understood his traits would be able to gain the approval of all the social worlds (lokas) and (fulfillment of) his desires. The Prajapati was referring to the advantages that scholar (vipra) who moved about in all social worlds (lokas) would have by leading a disciplined life (C.U.8-7-1). These statements dealing with the calibre of the supreme judge and intellectual, Brahmana, to which Jaimini drew attention, do not speak about the Ultimate as omniscient or omnipotent. (Brahmena Jaimini upanyasadibhya 4-4-5)
Thibaut interprets the next formula (4-4-6) as By the sole nature of intelligence (the soul manifests itself), as that is its Self; thus Audulomi (opines). The son of Uduloma argues that what one intends one becomes. The subtle ability to become a person with an identity of his own is traced to the intent that a person has. The commentator refers to the phrase, loving the Self in Chhandogya Upanishad (7-25-2), but he does not follow the meaning of the advice on polity given by Sanatkumara to Narada.
Narada seems to have wondered where such an el dorado as Sanatkumara presented could be found. Sanatkumara points out that it is possible to have such a prosperous egalitarian society established everywhere, in all regions. He was proposing the concept, bhuma, for adoption in all areas. Would not possession of personal property lead to egotism (ahamkara)? On this issue he had to give the following instruction. Sanatkumara would extend the rights of the individual to have his personal identity (aham) to all strata and to all regions. Egalitarianism would not annul or stifle individuality. (C.U.7-25-1) (Vide Ch.43 of this work for a critical analysis of Sanatkumaras recommendations for an ideal social polity.)
Then he instructed Narada on the concept, atma, the individual who was functioning as a member of a social body but yet kept his identity intact. Every one, everywhere would have this individual identity even if he was functioning as a member of a group. The concept of svaraj (self-government, as it is imprecisely translated) meant that one should be able to get sensuous delight of his choice (atma-rati), have sport of his own (atma-krida), have a companion of his choice (atma-mithunam) and bliss (atma-ananda) of his own. He would be free to move in all social worlds (lokas).
The social and political barriers existing till then among the different economic sectors were no longer recognized. But those persons who know about (and follow) social systems other than this one are under systems of governance (rajana) other than svaraj (as described above). They live in decadent (kshaya) social worlds (lokas). They do not have the freedom to move in all social worlds at will, Sanatkumara points out. (C.U.7-25-2) Sanatkumara thus explained to Narada the concept of svaraj by which every individual (atma) ensures for himself self-governance. The concept of rights of an individual emerges from the concepts that were developed step by step.
The innate ability to survive and retain ones identity and individuality even while being a member of a social group was referred to as prana. This was preceded by the concept of hoping (asa) to be remembered and followed by ones progeny, the concept of remembering (smara) the heritage and following the footsteps of the ancestors and the concept of an open society (akasa).
This open society was preceded by the tapping of the sources of nature (tejas) and establishing an industrial economy that would facilitate providing irrigation facilities (apa) to increase agricultural production and provide food (anna) for all. These steps were included in the objectives set forth in the socio-political constitution recommended by Sanatkumara. The sages of the Upanishadic times nust have all been aware of his socio-political philosophy. (cititanmatrena tad atmakatva Audulomi B.S.4-4-6)
Thibaut interprets the next formula (4-4-7) as, Thus also, on account of the existence of the former (qualities, admitted) owing to reference and so on, there is absence of contradiction, as Badarayana (thinks). Badarayana did not find any contradiction between the above two stands. Jaimini meant that only when one reached the highest level, Brahma, that is, became a member of the truly independent judiciary that expected every one of its members exercise his powers unfettered by any social restraints and free from personal objectives ones individuality could find expression. Audulomi however held that every one from the very beginning had the intent to develop his individuality. The two views are two aspects of the same objective. (evam api upanyasat purva bhavat avirodham badarayana 4-4-7)
Thibaut interprets the next epigram (4-4-8) as But by mere will (the released effect through their purposes); because scripture states that.
Sanatkumara points out to Narada (in Chhandogya Upanishad) that what we describe as atma, individuality, is indeed the mind (manas) by which one thinks oneself to be different (from things and persons around him). It is the mind wherein he thinks about and identifies himself with his social world (loka). It is in his mind that one identifies with the cadre of intellectuals (Brahma). Narada was asked to thus deem the mind to be more important than speech and revere it as such (C.U.7-3-1). When he thus deems his mind as what enables him to be an intellectual (Brahma), he is able to reach the limit up to which his mind leads him as an intellectual. Narada wanted to know what was greater than mind and Sanatkumara consented to teach him that too. (C.U.7-3-2)
The resolve (samkalpa) to reach a particular goal is more important than thinking (manas) about that goal. When one resolves (samkalpa), he thinks (manas) about what he has to state (vacha) and on what topic (nama). The formulas (mantra) come within the field that has a specific name (nama). The duties to be performed (karmas) are included in those formulas (mantras). All these, topics, formulas and thoughts are centred in the resolution that one makes. (Vide Ch.43 of this work for a critical appreciation of Sanatkumaras counsel to Narada.)
The specific traits and identities (atma) of the scholars and their training and talents are noticed in that resolve to act in a particular way. They are established (pratishthita) in that resolve. Sanatkumara tells Narada that it was a conscious and deliberate decision (resolve) (of the sages) that led to the establishment of the dichotomous social structure, dyau-prthvi, patriciate and commonalty (as the two major strata of the core society). [Who had willed this dichotomy?] Similarly, the third social world (open space, antariksham or vayu and akasa, loosely interpreted as wind and ether or atmosphere and stratosphere) too was constituted by this deliberate will of the planners (manas, mind).
This deliberate planning noticed the need for causing rain (varsha) and by rain producing crops meant to meet the food (anna) needs of all beings (prana). Resort to agriculture was a conscious effort. In order to meet the organizational requisites of these men, who were at the bare subsistence level, the ancients resolved to outline the formulas (mantra).
Through these formulas the duties of the individuals and the cadres were determined. These duties led to the creation and arrangement of the social world (loka) (that has a definite orientation of its own). As the social world is brought about all individuals and cadres get definite roles and structures. By samkalpa, Sanatkumara means all these steps necessary to create an organized society.
Will includes all these steps; it is not merely longing to get some object or advantage. He asked Narada to deem samkalpa or resolve as a series of logical decisions and revere and adhere to it. One who meditates on and honours that decision (samkalpa) as (part of) the socio-political constitution (Brahma) carves for oneself the central place (dhruva) in the social world (loka) (of his choice).
He gets himself established there (pratishthita) (permanently). Having so established himself he does not waver while he is in a social cadre that does not waver (in its purpose). His role and jurisdiction as a permanent member of that permanent cadre extends to the limit to which it had been decided upon. [Sanatkumara must have been aware of the great resolve that the Vratya Prajapati, Mahadeva, had made to bring all the regions in the subcontinent under a uniform political structure.]
Sanatkumara was drawing attention to the place of the intellectual (who has resolved to abide by the above constitution) in the high judiciary (Brahma) that had been instituted. Narada wanted to know whether there was anything superior to (human) will (samkalpa). Sanatkumara offered to teach him what was superior to resolve. (C.U.7-4-1,2,3) Considered thought is superior to the resolution to take a particular course of action. When one thinks taking into consideration whether that action would lead to the fulfillment of the purpose behind that action and whether the purpose itself is worth being pursued, he does not resolve in haste. Such considered thought (chittam) is superior to the process of resolving (samkalpa) to do a particular act, entertaining in the mind (manas) a particular idea, following a particular course prescribed in the codes (vacha) and perusing the codes one is attached to (nama).
Their identity (atma) may be traced to what was thought deeply about (chittam) and given a definite purpose and course. The considered thought (chittam) was not a fleeting vision but had a definite ideological stand from which it could not thereafter fall down (pratishthita). Sanatkumara pointed out to Narada that hence even if a person had learned many subjects, if he lacked in considered thought chittam he is said to be one ignored. (Other members of the group in which he is present do not take into consideration his views.) If he had really been a scholar he would not have been so lacking in the ability to arrive at considered thought and suggestion for action.
On the other hand if he has considered thought, which he can contribute to his group of scholars, even if he is not a great scholar, people would love to listen to him. Hence Narada should deem chittam (considered thought) to be more important than the other aspects, resolving (samkalpa), forming an idea (manas), the oral codes (vacha) and the titles of the disciplines (nama).
Sanatkumara advised him to deem and honour considered thought as a requisite in one who sought to be in the midst of the highest judiciary, Brahma. He would then be in the centre (dhruva) of the social worlds (lokas) and unwaveringly established (pratishthita) there. Narada sought further guidance from Sanatkumara. (C.U.7-5-1,2,3) The students of Badarayana must have cited the view that the will to survive and develop ones talents was more important than chittam. (kalpat eva tu tat srute B.S.4-4-8)
Thibaut interprets the next statement (4-4-9) as And for this very same reason (the released soul is) without another lord. The interpretation that even an ordinary person when forming wishes will, if he can help it, not wish himself to be subject to another master. fails to bring out the intent of this formula. There is no reason to introduce the concept, soul. The teacher only means that every individual would like to be master of his destiny and not allow others to dominate him.
The Prthu Constitution that was outlined under the guidance of Manu Vaivasvata guaranteed this freedom of the individual and enabled the people to pool their individual wills (kalpa) and resolve (samkalpa) how and who should be their overlord. Ch. Up. Bk.7. outlines the principles on which that constitution was based. Prthu was elected under this democratic constitution. Sanatkumara among others guided him. [C.U. Bk.8 has a different theme, atmavidya, Science of knowing oneself.] (ata eva ca anya adhipati 4-4-9)
Thibaut interprets the next statement (4-4-10) as The absence (of a body and sense-organs, on the part of the released) Badari (asserts); for thus scripture says. Badari points out that the new socio-political constitution while honouring the freedom of the individual to express his thought and pursue his will (kalpa) and come under the rule of a person who belongs to the local populace and fulfils the common will (samkalpa) does not take into account the concept of natural aptitude (bhava) that determines how far one will be able to ascend in the social ladder and what will be his social orientation. It is not sound to hold that the soul (atma) is released from the physical body and the influence of the sense organs is meant by Badari. (abhavam Badari aha hi evam B.S.4-4-10)
Thibaut interprets the next statement (4-4-11) as The presence (of a body and senses), Jaimini (asserts); because the text records option (of the released person multiplying himself). Jaimini refuted that the new code that honoured the will (kalpa) of the individual did not honour the aptitude and orientation of the individual. He pointed out that the code presented several options (vikalpa) that an individual could choose from.
It did not merely advocate a regime that would honour the individual will and would reflect the common will of the populace but would also keep open different channels of ascent in tune with the aptitudes and orientations of the individual citizens of that state. In other words it would not be a state streamlining all its subjects in the name of reflecting the common will of its populace. It would honour the presence of diverse talents and aptitudes and orientations. (Vide Ch.43 of this work on Sanatkumaras counsel to Narada.) This was an issue that Sanatkumara had to take into account while endorsing the Prthu constitution that replaced the Rajarshi constitution that Vena had distorted. (bhavam Jaimini vikalpamanat B.S.4-4-11)
Thibaut interprets the next statement (4-4-12) as For this reason Badarayana (opines that the released person is) of both kinds; as in the case of the tweve days sacrifice. The text does not use the term sacrifice.
Badarayana held that the provision of the tenure of a government or of an official or of an individual under a particular obligation was fixed as twelve years. That indicated that there could be a new order after that period (kalpa) was over depending on the modified aptitude or new orientation that came to the fore then. The exercise of a new option would be only after twelve years. When he and his companions are under a state that reflects their outlook it would be treated as svatantra from his point of view and when he and his companions are under a state that does not reflect their outlook it would be termed paratantra. (dvadasahavat ubhayavidham Badarayana B.S.4-4-12)
Thibaut interprets the next formula (4-4-13) as When there is no body, (the process) may take place as in the dreaming state. Badarayana suggests that during the interregnum (samdhyavat) when a suitable representative of the new common will of the people as per the options exercised by the populace is not available, a small object or person (tanu) may be installed as the head of the state. Such instances have been recorded. (Krshna offered to aid those persons who worshipped such insignificant objects or persons as gods.) There is no need to translate the term, samdhya, as dreaming state. Brahma-sutras dealt not so much with theology as with socio-political theorems.
The commentator has not adopted a rational line while examining this formula. He has referred to some passages in the Upanishads to support notions similar to those in the above transliteration. What the sages of the Upanishadic times implied has to be understood correctly. In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (4-3), Yajnavalkya was advising Janaka of Videha on how to select the suitable candidates for the high judiciary. Yajnavalkya points out that when that personage (purusha) is born, that is, when the unattached individual (atma) becomes a purusha, a social leader, he enters a higher social body (sariram) and gets traits, which make him a sinner.
[It may be noted here that in the Gita Arjuna confronted his mentor, Krshna, with the question why a Purusha went astray. Krshna said that the Purusha concerned had fallen prey to lust and hence he had strayed from his duties.] But when he leaves that (social) body and rises to a higher status, the evils committed by him as a commoner (as one who has to die) are left behind (B.U.4-3-8). (Vide Ch.21 of this work for an analysis of the discussion between Yajnavalkya and Janaka.)
This personage (purusha) with leadership traits has only two statuses, that of a commoner (idam lokam) and that of the patriciate (para lokam). There is a third status in between; that is when he is asleep but not insentient and when he has not brought his leadership traits into activity. As he awakes he sees both the statuses (idam and para), that of a commoner as well as that of a noble. That is, he is able to meet the expectations of these two social worlds of the core society.
The social leader (purusha), having ascended to the status of the aristocracy and adopted its way of life, sees its vices (papa) as well as its happiness (ananda). The life of an aristocrat is marked by both aspects, vices and noble and innocent pleasures. When the personage (purusha) who has been permitted to enter the aristocracy (for a limited period) goes to sleep (that is, is not functioning as a noble but is only reflecting on its weaknesses and strength), he takes along with him all the minute impressions he had gained of it. He personally dissects them (during the period of reflection and non-activity) and then builds them up by himself.
In other words, he does not try to make the cadre of social leaders (purushas) a replica of the aristocracy. During that period of reflection he endows it with its own brightness and light. In that status of purusha, which is in between that of a commoner and that of a noble, he becomes self-illuminated. (B.U.4-3-9)
Yajnavalkya describes the status of the social leader who has come out of the social groups belonging to the commonalty and has experienced both the good and the bad aspects of the life of the ruling aristocracy and reflected on them. The social leader (purusha) finds that he is but in a wilderness as he returns to the middle status after a brief stay among the rich aristocrats known for the hedonist nature of their life of conspicuous consumption.
The social leaders, purushas, who had returned to the commonalty, had now no chariots and no steeds yoked to them or paths where they could drive those chariots. They had to obtain these by their own efforts. They belonged to the middle class of the society. (B.U.4-3-10) [Modern commentators have allowed the mysticism of the medieval times to obscure the purpose Yajnavalkya had in instructing Janaka.]
In Chhandogya Upanishad, Uddalaka asked his son, Svetaketu, to learn from him what the meaning of the expression, end of sleep (dream, as often interpreted imprecisely) was. When in this world, a social leader (purusha) who is expected to be aware of his personal talents, sleeps, (as it is termed), he has become endowed with (sampanna) his true (sat) traits. He has reached the status that is his own (that is, he has become a noble, sva, who is not subordinate to any other person). Therefore in common parlance it is said when one sleeps, that he has gone to his own. [It is not sound to introduce the concept of dreamless sleep. It is not necessary to fall back on the concepts of jiva and buddhi, life and intellect to explain the theme of this verse.]
The social leader (purusha) is at a stage between ordinary men who are not aware of their talents and are therefore inert and nobles who refrain from mingling among men and playing the roles of ordinary persons. (C.U.6-8-1) (Vide Ch.41 of this work for a critical appreciation of Uddalakas counsel to Svetaketu.)
In Prasna Upanishad, Pippalada describes the role of the noble (deva). The noble (deva), a member of the integrated aristocracy, who dreams, experiences greatness (mahima). The sage was referring to the Vratya Prajapati, Mahadeva, who had during his repeated circum-ambulation of the subcontinent seen and heard whatever had been seen and heard (by others) and had varied experiences in the different areas and countries and directions he had visited.
He had seen and heard and experienced not only what others had seen and heard and experienced but also what others had not seen or heard or experienced. He had experienced the lives of those individuals who were at the primitive stage and led the simplest of life (anubhuta) and those who did not lead such a simple life (an-anubhuta). He had known the reality (sat) and the unreal (asat). He hence sees all things and all peoples, as he is the representative of all sections of the society. [This analysis is based on a critical appreciation of the Vratya section, Atharvaveda Bk.15.] (P.U.4-5) (Vide Ch.45 of this work for a critical study of Pippaladas instructions to his students from Kosala.)
When the Prajapati who has had wide experiences becomes a great individual (abhibhuta) endowed with charismatic brilliance (tejas), that is, becomes fit to be a representative of all the sections of the larger society, and has gained entry to the nobility as a deva, he sees no dreams. He knows what he has to do and what has to be done. He is a pragmatist and not a dreamer. He is a human being and functions within the framework of the body politic (sarira) and is happy to see that his plans for it are executed (P.U.4-6). (tanu abhavet samdhyavat upapatte B.S.4-4-13)
The translation of the next phrase (4-4-14) as When there is (a body, it may be) as in the waking state is not to the mark. The aptitudes and orientations (bhavas) of the different individuals and social groups are always awakened, and alert and hence active. The teacher refutes the suggestion, that the masses are insentient and are victims of anomie and that their aptitudes are never made manifest. The interpretation, When the released person has a body, then the objects of his wishes, fathers and so on, may have real existence, as in the waking state is not a rational one. (bhave jagratvat B.S.4-4-14)
Thibaut translates the next formula (4-4-15) as The entering (of one soul into several bodies) is like (the multiplication of) the flame of a lamp; for thus scripture declares.
The will of an individual as it enters the views of many, that is, of the masses, lits their wills and becomes a shining flame. This has been shown in many cases. Badarayana was indicating how mass opinion was formed and how it exhibited itself as a bright and brightening flame of direction to the society as a whole. The commentator refers to some passages in the Upanishads. These have to be put across correctly.
In Mundaka Upanishad we find that the teacher was not for admitting to the judiciary any individual who had no social power or did not take seriously his duties or was an aimless tapasvi. The jurists were drawn from the ranks of activists known as Brahmavadis and not from those of Brahmarshis who were not committed to any ideology. As socio-political ideologues, the jurists could resort to all the four means (sama, dana, bheda and danda, conciliation, gift, rift and coercion).
The sages (rshis), who have obtained the qualifications necessary (samprapta) for a place in that judiciary, are satisfied with the knowledge (jnana that they have acquired through formal studies in the academy) and have become perfected individuals (krta-atma). [They have received the training needed to become jurists.] They are also free from personal desires and have become tranquil (prasanta). Having obtained all the things present (sarvagam) on all sides (sarvata), these wise men (dhira) who can discern between good and bad, as trained and qualified (yukta) individuals (atma) enter into all this (that is, all the roles, privileges and immunities associated with the status of a high jurist). [The teacher clarified that he was not debarring the rshis, sages, from becoming members of the impartial judiciary.] (Mu.U.3-2-5) (Vide Ch.25 of this work for a critical study of this Upanishad with reference to its teachings on Brahmavidya.)
In Prasna Upanishad we find that Gargya must have wondered whether this great chief of the people who moved about among the different sections of the larger society and was granted a place in the high integrated aristocracy as the representative of its collective will was originally a commoner or a noble. (He was curious to know more about Mahadeva, the Vratya Prajapati.)
Pippalada says that that individual (atma) who was indeed a member of the permanent and high aristocracy, returned to it (after accomplishing his mission of establishing small nation-states capable of meeting the needs of all sections of the society). He was not a person (father) who was followed by his shadow (son). He was not a member of any social body (sarira) and was not a rajanya, not red in colour as rajas is said to be (alohitam). He was pure white (subhra), the colour of sattva (the trait of the pious). In short he was a member of the gentle aristocracy and he returned to its fold. A person who knows this process becomes one who knows every thing (sarvajna) and identifies oneself with all. (P.U.4-10) (Vide Ch.45 of this work for a critical appreciation of Prasna Upanishad)
In this connection the teacher cites a popular verse. He who knows this (talent) that does not decay (aksharam), in which are established (sampratishthita) not only the scholars (vijnana-atma) and nobles (devas) but also all living beings at the bare subsistence level (prana-bhuta) is said to be one who knows all (sarvajna). He has access (avivesa) to all (sarva) fields of knowledge (P.U.4-11).
In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajnavalkya distinguished this personage who played the roles of Indra and Virat from the individuals (pranas) who inhabited the different regions, east, west, south and north and occupied positions, higher and lower. He stressed that the atma or the individual with an identity of his own can be described only by the process of exclusion or the method of null hypothesis, as in the terms, neti, neti (not this, not this). It is incomprehensible (by this or any other method) for it cannot be comprehended (by senses). It is indestructible. He stays unattached and cannot be fettered. He does not suffer for he is not injured.
Janaka had become fearless (abhayam), as he had become an atma, an individual not belonging to any social body or group (and with no personal needs or ambitions or desires). Janaka then offered Yajnavalkya protection (abhayam). Yajnavalkya might consider the people of Videha as his friends and protectors. Janaka was then imbuing the insignificant masses whose members had no property or individual identity with his spirit of benevolence and enlightenment. He was not a mere administrator or political functionary. (B.U.4-2-4) (Vide Ch.21 of this work for a critical analysis of the discussion between Yajnavalkya and Janaka.)
Badarayana was explaining to his students the concept of an enlightened and enlightening ruler who represented the wills of all and kept options open to all and did not streamline the wishes and activities of the people. (pradipavat avesa tatha hi darsayati 4-4-15)
Thibaut translates the next formula (4-4-16) as (What scripture says on absence of all specific cognition) refers either to deep sleep or union (release); for this is manifested (by the texts). The commentator refers to Brhadaranyaka Up (2-4-12), (4-3-19) and (4-4-6), and Chhandogya Up (6-8-1) in support of the above interpretation.
What did the sages say? Maitreyi wanted to know whether the unidentified and anonymous individual who was knowledge (vijnana) incarnate had left behind any thing. Yajnavalkya would hold that after death nothing remains. Those were times when the knowledge that one had acquired too was lost on ones death. It could not be transmitted or legated to another. In other words every individual has to acquire that further knowledge (vijnana) by his intellectual endeavour. What has been transmitted is jnana as incorporated in the systematized works, vidyas. (B.U.2-4-12) (Vide Ch.18 of this work for a critical appreciation of the Honey-doctrine, madhuvidya, expounded to Maitreyi by Yajnavalkya.)
The purusha should deliberately take part in the sports of the elite and move about amongst them and observe their noble deeds (punya) as well as sins (papa). Then he should return to his original group, that of the commonalty which is insentient. He has to move about freely from one state to the other, from insentience to awareness, even as a fish swims from one bank to the other (B.U.4-3-17and18). Yajnavalkya then likens the movement of the purusha to that of a bird of prey and also to that of a gentle bird, which tired after flying about in the sky folds its wings and comes down to its nest. He reaches that state where he entertains no personal desires and being fatigued sees no dream. [This comparison might have been a later interpolation.] (B.U.4-3-19) (Vide Ch. 21 of this work for a critical analysis of the discussion between Yajnavalkya and Janaka)
A jurist who had retired and gone back to the level from which he had risen to that high position might return to his post in the judiciary. It was not to be faulted, Yajnavalkya implied. Only some desired to return to the judiciary. But there were some who did not desire to be back in it. There were some who had no desires (akama) and some who worked without personal interests (nishkama).
Some had got their favourite desires (apta-kama) fulfilled. Some were enamoured of their personal status (atma-kama). The lives (pranas) of such persons are not elevated. One who is a scholar and has no personal ambitions or desires and has no attachments is eligible for the post of a judge (Brahma). He alone can get entry to the judiciary (Brahma). Yajnavalkya implies that while one might not be debarred from rejoining the judiciary after retirement, one who aspires to return is not to be taken back. (B.U.4-4-6)
In Chhandogya Upanishad Uddalaka asked his son, Svetaketu, to learn from him what the meaning of the expression, end of sleep (dream, as often interpreted imprecisely) was. [Some have interpreted the expression svapna-antam as central portion of the dream vision.] When in this world, a social leader (purusha) who is expected to be aware of his personal talents, sleeps, (as it is termed), he has become endowed with (sampanna) his true (sat) traits. He has reached the status that is his own (that is, he has become a noble, sva, who is not subordinate to any other person). Therefore in common parlance it is said when one sleeps, that he has gone to his own.
The social leader (purusha) is at a stage between ordinary men who are not aware of their talents and are therefore inert and nobles who refrain from mingling among men and playing the roles of ordinary persons. (C.U.6-8-1) What one desires to acquire is exhibited in sleep or in other ways and enters into activities and gets manifested. Just as a bird tied by a string to a particular place settles down there after futile attempts to find a resting-place elsewhere, the intellectual (mind, manas) after wandering in various directions without settling anywhere in those regions settles down as an ordinary living person (prana) in this world. For the mind is bound to earth, that is, the thinker too is but an ordinary human being and his first desire is to live (6-8-2). Badarayana must have had in mind revolts like that against Vena.
The formulas of Brahma-sutra have to be interpreted in the light of the events of his times. (svapyayasampattyo anyatara apeksham avishkrtam hi B.S.4-4-16)
Thibaut interprets the next formula (4-4-17) as, With the exception of world-business (the released possess all lordly power), (the Lord) being the topic (where world-business is referred to), and (the souls) not being near (to such business). There is no need to bring God (the Lord) in this context. The formula does not refer to him nor to world-business.
In the previous formula it was pointed out that the desires of one come to be exhibited somehow. It is not possible to suppress them or wise to ignore them. Brahma-sutras, the guide to the study of the new social constitution, Brahma, would hence dwell on all issues pertaining to the individuals and organized social groups (lokas) and to those on their social periphery. It would however not take into account the issues pertaining to the larger unorganized social universe (jagat).
It is not rational to presume that the expression, jagat vyapara might have been a reference to the creation, preservation and dissolution of the universe. The social universes (jagats) of the later Vedic period were not brought under the new scheme of distribution of work and duty according to ones natural aptitude (svabhava). The three social worlds (lokas), agro-pastoral commonalty (prthvi), urban patriciate (divam) and the frontier industrial society of the forests and mountains (antariksham) came under the purview of the constitution. But the vast free society that was not engaged in productive economy did not fall within the ambit of the formulas known as Vedanta Brahmasutra. (jagatvat vyaparavarja prakaranat asamnihitatvat B.S.4-4-17)
Thibaut translates the next formula (4-4-18) as (Should it be said that the souls must possess unlimited power) on account of manifest teaching; we reply No; because scripture states him who, entrusted with office, abides in the spheres (of the sun and so on, to be that one on whom the souls obtaining lordly power depends).
The code defines the jurisdictions of the officials of the state and these do not permit any one of them to interfere with the worldly and other activities of those who come under the concept, jagat. This advice not to interfere in their affairs is obvious and not tacit, Badarayana points out. The concept of lordship has no relevance to this formula.
Agni, Indra, Varuna, Soma, Vayu, Aditya, Daksha, Aryaman, Pushan, Mitra, Mrtyu and other officials of the Vedic polity were connected with the organized society (three lokas) and none of them had jurisdiction over any of the social universes (jagats) like those of Gandharvas, whose members were free to go to any place and have social and economic relations with any one. Badarayana did not disturb the rights of those social universes in the new socio-political constitution that he recommended to the scholars. (pratyaksha upadesat iti cenna adhikarimandalasthovate B.S.4-4-18)
Thibaut interprets the next formula (4-4-19) as And (there is also a form of the highest Lord) not abiding in effected things; for thus scripture declares his abiding. The formula does not refer to the concept, the highest Lord and it is not proper to introduce that concept in this context. The new code brings to the open (avrti) the distortions (vikara) and the features of a stable social structure (sthiti) as conceived by the earlier code and accepted by the new one.
The commentator draws attention to Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (3-7-3 to 23). What do these formulae say? Uddalaka asked the sage 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 (it may be pointed out again) 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 kshatras or Adityas, body of administrators appointed by the nobles too had a member, who exercised imperceptible control over the activities of these administrators (B.U.3-7-9). (Vide Ch.19 of this work on Yajnavalkya and his detractors.)
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. 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) (3-7-15).
Yajnavalkya then proceeded to explain the role of the essential individual with an identity of his own (adhiatma). 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. In the passage (B.U.3-7-22) 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. This concept is involved in the sage likening the atma to the semen (retas) in the organ of generation. The semen does not know that a new being is in it and that it influences the traits and activities of that semen from within. This new being is never seen but it sees things around it. It is not heard but it hears the movements and sounds outside (especially after it is cast in the womb, its body). The virile semen (that is cast in the embryo and grows there) thinks (manta) and it alone is the thinker. (The organs do not think.) It is capable of understanding (vijnana) what is not known already.
The new generation too is a part of the larger society and is included in the conceptatma (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) (vikaravarti ca tatha hi sthitimaha B.S.4-4-19)
Thibaut translates the next phrase (4-4-20) as And thus perception and inference show. The directions given in the Brahma-sutra are direct and obvious. Some may be inferred it has been shown. The rules to be applied to the social universes, jagat, have to be inferred from the context. (darsayat ca evam pratyaksha anumane 4-4-20)
The commentator translates the next phrase (4-4-21) as And on account of the indications of equality of enjoyment only. The indications are that the populace of the vast unorganised social universe (jagat) have equal rights to enjoy the benefits of their labour as the members of the organised social worlds (lokas) have. Nothing beyond this may be read in these formulas that deal with the explanations on doubts sought by the students. (bhoga matra samya lingat 4-4-21)
Badarayana concludes that there is no return to the worldly affairs of one who has realized his talents and reached the highest level. Thus he bids his students adieu. (anavrtti sabdat B.S.4-4-22) Thibault translates this phrase as (Of them) there is no return, according to scripture; non-return, according to scripture.
1. Atharvaveda Translation by W.D.Whitney
Text by Dayananda Samstha
2.Rgveda Translation by Griffith
Text by Dayananda Samstha
3.Bhagavad-Gita Translation by Dr.S.Radhakrishnan
Text and Translation by J.Goyandka for Gita Press
Text and Translation by A Kuppuswami Iyer
Text and Translation by B.G. Tilak
4. Manusmrti Text and Translation by G.N. Jha
Translation by Wiiliam Jones
Translation by Buhler
Translation by Burnell
5. Kautilyan Arhasastra
Text and Translation by Shama Sastry
Text and Translation by R.P.Kangle
6. The Upanishads
Text and Translation by Dr.S.Radhakrishnan
Translation by Swami Nikhilananda
Text and Translation by Bhakti Vedanta Trust
Tamil Translation (Sridharan Company 1914 ff)
8. Vedanta Sutra Text By Dr.K.L.Daftari 1943
9. Brahmasutras: Swami Vireswarananda (1977):
10. Vedanta Sutra Max Muller
Translated into English by G.Thibaut 1904
11. Mahabharata Text by Gita Press, Gorakhpur
Text by Pandit Kinjwadekar Pune (1932)
Tamil Translation by M.V. Ramanujacharya (1908ff) (16vols)
12. Valmiki Ramayana
Text by Gita Press, Gorakhpur
Tamil Translation (based on Govindacharyas commentary by
C.R. Srinivasa Iyengar (1984) (3 Vols)
13. Skanda Purana
Tamil Translation by A.V. Sivan (1893)
Works of Dr. V. Nagarajan
Published by Dattsons, J.N. Road, Sadar, Nagpur
1.Evolution of Social Polity of Ancient India (Two Vols) (1992) ISBN-81-7192-004-7
2.Origins of Hindu Social System (1994) ISBN-81-7192-017-9
3. Foundations of Hindu Economic State (1997) ISBN-81-7192-029-2
Aishma Publications, 402 Savitri Apartments. Laxmi Nagar Nagpur
4. Hindu Social Dynamics (3 Vols) (1999) ISBN-901175-0-5
*5. Prologue to Hindu Political Political Sociology (2 vols) (2000) ISBN-901175-1-3
*6. Krshna's Gita as Rajavidya (2001) ISBN-901175-2-1
*7. Manusmrti as Socio-Political Constitution (2002) ISBN-901175-3-x
*8. The Upanishads and Hindu Political Sociology (2004) ISBN-901175-4-8
*9. Brahma-sutras and Neo-Vedic Socio-political Constitution (2005)ISBN-901175-5-6
*10. Transition to Post-Vedic Social Polity, Dharmarajya, Social Welfare State (2005ff) ISBN- 901175-6-4
*Transition to Post-Vedic Social Polity Rajadharma and Dharmarajya (2007)