BADARAYANA AND UPANISHADS
NEO-VEDIC SOCIO-POLITICAL CONSTITUTION
Badarayana embarks on a scrutiny of the constitution (Brahma). He proposes to examine the course of the emergence and development of the social world according to the stand adopted by the constitution. He warned the editors of the codes against departing from the Vedic conventions.
He concedes that it is not explicitly stated that the new code is based on the earlier constitution, Brahma. The new code like the earlier constitution permits the individual (atma) to pursue a course of life that accorded with his aptitude. He rejects the argument that the new code does not deal with the free individual. There is no statement in the new code that the concept of liberated individual (atma) has been set aside. He is required to explain why the new code dealt only with dharma and artha and not moksha. He says that it promises the individual the right to rise to the level of the self-governing noble (sva).
He asserts that the two approaches, Vedic and neo-Vedic are similar. The new code gives the individual rights on par with the ones granted by the Vedas. The concept of privileges and immunities and consequent joy (ananda) in the new code is similar to the one in the Vedas. Of course there was no uniformity in the privileges of the different ranks and different authorities. But it promises these to every sector.
The common feature between the earlier constitution, Brahma, and the new code is incorporated in his counsel. It is not logically possible to arrive at any other conclusion. He however takes into account the difference between the earlier social stratification and the new one. There can be no perfect uniformity in happiness (privileges and immunities) as desires of men are not identical.
There is an intrinsic relation between what is desired and how it is striven for as explained in science of yoga.He draws attention to what has been said while counselling the trainee on the provisions of Dharmasastra.
In the case of the open society (akasa) without classes, there would be distinction only on the basis of sex. The same principle would be applicable to those who are at the bare subsistence level (prana). The luminaries (jyotis), social guides, ranked above all.
Some argued that the Chhandogya did not extol the supremacy of the constitution, Brahma. Badarayana pointed out that it did mention which authorities were to be honoured. It did mention that the discrete individuals (bhutas) were the base of the society. The teacher refuted that there were contradictions in the counsel.
The essential individual, adhyatma, who was not part of a social body but had liquid assets, could claim for his property and life and body as much protection as the individual, atma, who did not belong to any social body could or as one, who had no guaranteed means of livelihood as the discrete individual of the social periphery (bhuta) or as a member, prana, of the subaltern could.
The social constitution protected the essential individual, adhyatma.The teacher refutes that his concept of adhyatma, the essential individual without property and social affiliation is irrelevant to the constitution that protects the pranas of the subaltern and the bhutas of the social periphery. He cites Vamadeva in his support. For those at the base level (prana), life (jiva) is primary and not recognizable trait (linga). This was the teaching of the three disciplines (Trayi, varta and dandaniti) and yoga.
Badarayana would scrutinize the contents of the new code as it had been announced that it would be made applicable to all sections of the larger society. Because the traits expected in the jurists were possible the new code was not too utopian. In the body of the code no impossible qualification is included.
There is a distinction between the deed (karma) and the executive (karta). The terms used have specific meanings which distinguish it from the earlier codes.The editors claim that they have incorporated in the new code what they have remembered of the Vedic codes.
Badarayana elucidates that when he refers to jiva (life) as the main characteristic of prana (breath), that is, struggle for continuance of the species through sex for reproduction (linga) is the main theme in the life of the people at the bare subsistence level, he talks of the micro-society occupying the unnoticed depths of the core society as well as of the macro-society whose external areas have not come to the notice of the commoners and to that of even the thinkers and executives.
The school of yoga does not treat interactions between sexes as a social duty. It was against hedonism. It is necessary to distinguish between the life of the settled communities and that of mobile groups. Social interactions are necessary while dealing with the science of work. There has to be internal correspondence between the two individuals or groups interacting. Compatibility in status, sthana, is needed, for beneficial social relations. They should be beneficial to both and not exploitation of one by the other. This interpretation has taken into accountthe stand taken by the earlier scholars who drafted the Upanishads.
It is not feasible for a ruler or judge to observe all events Badarayana agrees. The controller of the core society has to be a member and not an outsider. He has to be superior to all the other members of his social world. The qualifications mentioned for a ruler or official in the smrti need not all be expected in a person who has to uphold dharma, impartial justice. That a member of a social body cannot be impartial is a rider mentioned in the code. Both the social worlds (nobles and commoners) of the core society expect the judge to stand away from all groups and strata.
According to the new code based on the concept of dharma, the influence of that high authority in the society is deep and latent, not obtrusively manifest. The traits of the unattached member of the micro-society are different from those of a member of the macro-society. Badarayana does not recommend either for the post of judge.
He draws attention to the structure of the larger society described in the allegory. Who can stand apart from all groups? Vaisvanara is that authority who guards the interests of all without pursuing his own. He is the representative of the universal society whose structure is denoted by the term, visvarupa. Smrti, the dharma code takes this position. It may be inferred so because of the need for a view to be valid and authoritative for all sections of the larger society.
Vaisvanara can represent the entire society though he is a very high authority. He can lead it as he knows the views and needs of all its sections. The irrepressible and primal urge that the core of the society has to get released from the depths and merged in its structured sections finds expression in the views of the Vaisvanara.
He is an ideal purusha, social leader. He can lead others from within or from the front. An innately dynamic person who emerges from the deep core of the agrarian society rather than from the organized commonalty or the governing elite or from the periphery is best suited to become vaisvanara, representative-cum-leader of the entire society.
According to Jaimini, there is no direct contradiction between the two concepts, vaisvanara and purusha. According to Asmarathya, the great personage, abhivyakta, Visvarupa is an expression of the primal power of Vaisvanara, the representative of the larger society.This was in tune with the stand of the code, smrti, Badarayana agrees. .Jaimini says that the code was only equating two concepts, (visvarupa and vaisvanara). Some heretics (Jabalas) however did not give this view any importance.
The term, sva, indicates that the highest social authority claims jurisdiction over the social worlds of nobles (dyu), commoners (bhu) etc. He is free (mukta) from social bonds, it may be explained. But it is not to be inferred that a monk could be that authority.
It is also not proper to infer that one at the bare survival level (prana) could bear this responsibility. There is a difference between one who is free and one who is at the existence level. The topic is concerned with the highest social authority.
The two stances, vaisvanara as the highest representative authority who has risen from the lowest level and prana as the individual still at that level are different. Vaisvanara, the representative who had to initially struggle to survive had risen to the level of the propertied (bhuma) and contented (samprasad).
The dharma code outlines the rights and duties and requisite traits of individuals at different levels. The personage occupying the permanent position at the top is like a parasol. The administrative structure of the larger polity required such a person at the top. No other interpretation of the above formula reveals itself.
The highest authority has the duty to watch all goings on. He is not visualized as a superman. Like a minute particle of dust (dahara) he moves everywhere. This representative and observer and controller of all activities is always moving like dust in the air, dahara. The teacher was drawing attention to the rapid movement of the considerably small but great personage across all regions as indicated in Vedas. This is widely accepted. He refutes that dahara refers to some other concept.
The conclusion from the above references is that the real and natural form (svarupa) of Vaisvanara the vibhuta, individual with great influence is that of the dust-like dwarf, dahara. No other explanation can be given. There is very little reference to dahara in the Vedas. The officials appointed by such a true representative of the mega society would follow his recommendations while performing their duties.
Badarayana was not suggesting any new method of social governance. Though the nominee to the highest position in the mega society originally belonged to the micro-society at the subaltern, he was highly potent. That potency became manifest when he was appointed as Vaisvanara.
The aspiration of the commoner to be able to rise to the highest position by being a representative of the entire society could be thus fulfilled. This social ascent was feasible according to the scheme advanced by Badarayana.
The duties of the different officials were not mutually contradictory. These officials were not gods. Their roles were not identical. Different officials were present on different occasions depending on the purpose for which a sacrifice was performed. The officials like Agni were not gods. [The commentators overlooked Vedic passages that would indicate positively that the Vedas treated devas as but men.] This alone can be read in this formula which belonged to the last stage of the Vedic era.
It is not rational to suggest that Badarayana claimed that the Vedas were eternal. The Upanishada social constitution did not depart radically from the traditional constitution in the nomenclature of the officials or the sociopolitical structure that may be traced to the Vedas.
The officials of the Vedic polity and also of the post-Vedic polity did not have the right to be members of the judiciary as they had not mastered madhuvidya taught by Yajnavalkya, which dealt with the concept of a common trait underlying all social relations and interdependence. Jaimini who barred nobles from the judiciary took this stand.
Badarayana points out that in the new scheme the earlier officials are retained but are referred to as luminaries, social guides (jyotis) without coercive power. Badarayana maintains that the qualification for pursuing jurisprudence, Brahmavidya, was prescribed for the executive, devas. The new constitution provided not only for a strong executive but also for a wise executive that would guide the peoples.
Brahma-sutras are connected with the scrutiny of the concepts and themes dealt with by Upanishads. He draws attention to the dialogue between Janasruti and Raikva. Janasruti (a rich educated but unanointed chief) could be a kshatriya like Chitraratha, a gandharva. Janasruti could follow the cultural practices (samskaras) of kshatriyas if he desired to rise in social ladder.
Brahma-sutra is to be studied as a guide for a smooth transition to the new system. While the rich and mighty could practise the prescribed cultural practices with the aid of Brahmans, poor Brahmans could not get the necessary guidance. As a son had to hear from and be taught by his father in the absence of a cadre of recognized teachers some were handicapped.
This it was feared might result in destructive social unrest which needed to be averted. The luminaries (jyotis) were expected to provide necessary guidance. Badarayana drew the attention of his students to the deep subaltern that constituted the micro-society where social unrest began and rose to the level of the higher open areas. He distinguishes between the states of social uprising (utkranti) that was characteristic of an industrial society and blocking of peace for the weakest as well as the best of the society. By the term, chief (pati), the Brahmasutra referred to persons like the jyotis.
Some have inferred that the high official has taken over a position where he has to be physically present to carry out his duties. Was the guide (jyoti) required to do so? The implication is that the new incumbent to that high position is suitable for anointment.
Badarayana clarifies that his use of the term was meaningful. Even if the new appointee is a probationer he can take over the responsibilities. He will learn while carrying them out. There is no pronouncement barring the probationer from being elevated. Other conditions to be fulfilled are yet to be learnt he tells his students of jurisprudence.
The new code does not mention all the conditions. The ones mentioned are to be understood by them. They can infer the other conditions from the overall duties prescribed for that high position (of a jurist). The code dealt only with some issues and provided explanations for them.
The term, 'mahat', referred to a great and powerful legislative authority. He was outside the jurisdiction of the civil authority and was the head of the social polity. His influence depended on what he pronounced.
The officials of the new polity are described as luminaries (jyotis). Their guidance has to be discerned and grasped. This is not contrary to reason even as madhuvidya is based on logic. The student wonders whether the new scheme for administration of the larger social polity can provide a holistic picture without creating an unmanageable chimera and a governing body with no common objective. He was referring to the concept of a huge judiciary of twenty-five members, panca-pancajana.
Badarayana said that it was one of the additional systems and not the main dealing (with five pranas, prana, vyana, samana, apana and udana). According to the scheme of five jyotis, food, life, sight, hearing and mind were important.
The teacher does not agree with the stand that there has to be some power that causes the emergence ofthe five sectors, akasa, etc. The five aspects of social polity and the basic feature that is common to them exercise mutual attraction, he says.These pertain to the social universe (jagat) of persons constantly on the move.
The concept of the individual, jiva, who follows his own course of life, is distinct from 'prana' who is at the bare subsistence level and needs food for survival. Badarayana is asked to notice that Jaimini gives a different interpretationon the issue raised.
It was a discussion on the distinction between two statuses, jiva and prana, one who has not extricated himself from his social body and one at the lowest level of the society who is struggling for food for survival.
According to Asmarathya, ability to stand on one's legs is not expected of those who are struggling to exist. Audulomi draws attention to the concept of free social ascent that has come to fore even during the later Vedic times. Kasakrtsna notes that natural aptitude and natural talents and hence the original status cannot be altered. Social ascent is not feasible.
Badarayana points out that traits of nature do function as limiting factors with reference to modifications in human talents and aptitudes but one can vow to rise above them The social codes have called upon everyone to exert to rise to the highest level possible for him.
The manifest features of the new code are not to be neglected. As one is able to form oneself through mutation or alteration in one's habits, outlooks, talents and social relations, rise in social status results. One's ability is decided even when he is in his mother's womb. With this explanation the teacher concludes the first session.
Badarayana was presenting the guidelines for the composition and exposition of the messages known as Upanishads rather than defending any particular statement of an Upanishad. He held that all social codes (smrtis) were faulty. They had not adopted a holistic approach.
They did not deal with the theme of an impartial judiciary (Brahma) headed by a true representative of the entire society who had risen from the lowest ranks and had a thorough acquaintance with the ways of life of all its ranks and sectors, as vaisvanara.
His concept of the perfect judge is the ultimate level that a free man can reach. This is not traceable in either earlier works or in the other new codes as they are not holistic. Yet his suggestions are not to be treated as not being in accordance with the Vedas and the earlier Brahma code.
The first man from whom the entire human species and culture and civilization emerged might have been aware of his identity as a person with special talents. There is no contradiction between the non-differentiation in the beginning and the one that should be present in one who reaches the highest level at the end. The Vedic chronicles cite instances where a dynamic purusha emerged from the mass, inactive prakrti and where prakrti was created by a purusha,
Badarayana expected his students to be rigorously rational and not to resort to negation for the sake of negation. He rejects the claim that men were in the past perfect and equal and that differences emerged later and that somehow they would become an egalitarian and ideal society.
The sages of the past too had this objective while calling for ensuring unrestrained growth of the talents of everyone. Badarayana's critics could not disprove his claim that the latter took his stand on a defective postulate. He was rigorously rational and noticed that they could not resolve the fallacies and got entangled in the endless cause-effect-cause cycle. His formulas explained why the arguments not accepted by the competent authorities were rejected.
The talk of man withdrawing or escaping from social relations and bonds is not rational. Every social world treats its member as having been so from the very beginning and contributing to its orientations. He was not claiming that all beings and all objects were created by Brahma and that they were imbued with divinity. Every individual contributes to the distinct attitude (bhava) of his social world and it influences him and thus his aptitude (svabhava) is formed.
The later Vedic society was based on the laws of truth, the reality of the existence of a common trait among all and abiding by it to develop one's personality without seeking material goals. There was no difference between dharma and satya. Dharma code was not honouring the impermanent and the unreal. Both emphasized ethics.
Badarayana said that the formulas were interconnected and not to be taken out of context. He called for a holistic approach. He took into account the needs and desires and practices of every social sector. He drew attention to the neglected and isolated sections at the bare subsistence level, pranis, bhutas etc. Their cultural development and material needs too should be ensured.
Some schools did not advocate the concept of a fully integrated society. They were for a composite federal society with no common code and some had faulty structural and functional systems. Badarayana did not overlook them.The new code however condemned the concept of existence of an intrinsic difference between man and man. He asked his students to acceptthe stand that that there was something common to all living beings. The new code brought benefactor and beneficiary together.
He explains that the social cadres belonging to the commonalty have the same traits as the nobles (devas) and other cadres. The new Brahma code envisages a holistic society all members of which are striving in the same manner for achieving a common goal, the status of the unattached and impartial intellectual (Brahma).
Badarayana would not concede that the new code is not based on the Vedic tradition. Of course the individuals are not all alike. There are social and cultural practices which are common only among some. Badarayana does not advocate social uniformity. The diversities too do not remain of the same type for all times.
In all assertions of one's point of view there are some defects. Other points of view too have their merits, many fail to note. He has called for a holistic outlook overcoming the limitations imposed by the existence of variations. The detractor notices that the independent intellectual could not enforce his verdict as he did not have the executive machinery under him.
Badarayana points out that as Vaisvanara, the representativewas also the supreme judge, Brahma. This independent intellectual authority had been created by the new code. The detractors pointed out that this personage should have no personal or social objective if he has to be truly impartial. They wanted to know what specific public purpose lay behind raising the impartial but powerless judiciary to the highest position.
Badarayana conceded that the existence of the three distinct innate traits was bound to result in an iniquitous and even inhuman social system. But the constitution should not be blamed for it. The judge had to be objective and impartial.
Badarayana did not claim that there were only individuals and no society before the system of duties in tune with personal aptitudes was introduced by the constitution. This conclusion can be reached by a perusal of the Vedic hymns.
All (sarva) social orientations, rights and duties, dharmas, prescribed in the new constitution, Brahma, for the different classes formed on the basis of innate traits emerge as being rational. Such rules of the past codes that are in tune with the provisions of the new dharmasastra are to be followed.
The earliest stage of civilization could not have been a planned and systematic one and the earliest society could not have visualized the development of a systematic civilization. Neither the men of that remote past could have visualized what should be the features of an ideal society or of a future, imperfect but advanced, social order. What they could have visualized too cannot be inferred by us of later generations. This was the rational and realistic stand that the students of Badarayana were expected to take note of. He also ruled out the possibility of the people of the ancient times having been consciously engaged in economic activities of a type that would have led to gradual development of a social order that despite its diversities had a common goal and objective.
Every cause naturally leads to a particular result. Badarayana holds that even in these cases there is a definite direction given by the planner. There can be no unplanned social progress. The social system whose operation we notice could not have been envisaged by an earlier idealistic and egalitarian constitution. This conclusion becomes necessary, as we do not have evidence of their having existed or any event having occurred to bring about a major social change.
All the later happenings must have been the product of the diverse interactions within the society that has been unstable since the times it was in the formative stage. The stand that the course of social dynamics had a high purpose does not arise as a corollary to any major theorem advanced by Badarayana.
A visionary cannot take forward a large social group that has no internal dynamism or perception of a purpose, unless he is also a strong leader, purusha. The existence of social diversity because of the unregulated innate traits, gunas, precluded the possibility of emergence of leaders with integrated personality
The teacher says that it may be inferred that the chief impelling personage does not know what he has to do. The leaders may have dynamism but lack the power of knowledge. The contradictions leave the dialectic confounded.
It is unsound to assume that concepts that were not developed by the Vedic sages were not acceptable. Vedas were not treated as scriptures before the later medieval times.
The reality of the existence of a vast thinly spread unorganized society needs to be recognized. According to Badarayana it was there though we may not know since when. The Upanishadic concept, open space (akasa) surrounding and above the core society of the agro-pastoral plains is akin to the Vedic concept of the frontier society (antariksham). The Atharvaveda, Brahma, used the same word to indicate both horizon and the open space.
Badarayana would however draw a distinction between the two. Antariksham referred to an organized social world of the frontier and distant regions while akasa referred to the thinly populated wide space with no organized society.
The assurance given by the Vedas that the separate identities of the social worlds would be protected is not harmed by the declaration that the people of the open space are not different from those of the social horizon. Badarayana was interested in establishing that the provisions of the new social constitution did not supersede those of the earlier Vedic constitution
Wherever there is lack of uniformity in social structure there would be divisions in the ways of life of the members of a social world. There were internal differences in control systems, ranks and groupings in each of the three social worlds. The jurisdictions of Matarisva and Vayu overlapped, some students noted.
The social constitution (Brahma) notes that undivided agrarian society is the product of a conscious effort and so too the industrial society. But the thinly populated open society could not have been the product of planned efforts. ('Teja' denotes any highly influential social authority.)
The class of Gandharvas and Apsarases were not part of the commonalty. The term, 'apa' referred to this fluid society. There was a similarity between the nomads of the moors and this fluid society.
The term, prthvi, referred to the agrarian commonalty of the plains which had a definite authority over its members and a definite structure. The constitution distinguished it from the fluid society.
The teacher asks the students to pay high attention to the distinctive traits of the different social cadres and officials. The more fluid a social stratum is, that is, the more free its members are, the greater is their dependence on the lower cadres and classes. This anomaly should not be bypassed.
The social code places the intellectual who seeks to know what is yet not known and the planner who thinks at a high level in the social hierarchy, but distinguishes between the two.
The direction is to classify on the basis of mobile and non-mobile sections. It leads to sections imbued with distinct orientations. These are taken into account by the constitution, Badarayana says.
The Vedas do not deal with the concept, atma, according to Badarayana. They do not view atma as eternal and do not deal with the relationship between jivatma and paramatma. One who follows the Vedas considers that great soul as eternal and also as 'knowing'.
One who is aware of his identity and is also an intellectual knows what would facilitate his rise to a higher social rank and what would result in his return to the original position as a commoner and has the innate power to rise to higher levels.
This intellectual who had no personal interests was elevated to the highest position, Brahma, would return to the level of an ordinary scholar after his tenure was over.
If it is argued that the Vedas treat the individual as being insignificant like an atom, Badarayana denied that. For, there were passages that vested him with great importance. He was required to explain how an insignificant person could rise as vaisvanara and then to the highest position as Brahma. Only an individual (atma) who is autonomous (sva) can rise to the highest position in the socio-political hierarchy. Badarayana says that there is no inconsistency in his stand.
All the ranks and sectors of the larger society can be influenced by Vaisvanara whatever might have been his original position. Some objected to distinguishing between Vaisvanara and Brahma. Badarayana rejects this criticism for the social constitution, Brahma, had acknowledged that the highest authority had his seat in the core of the large society and was not a personage not connected with the social polity concerned. The society was not controlled by an external agency. The chief representative and arbiter would have the trait that the social world had.
Badarayana calls for transmission of knowledge not limited to any particular territory and social representation by the intellectual as the cadres included under the class punya-jana did. The new code advocates such extension of the influence of the intellectual to all areas in the open space. This counsel is given in a separate statement.
Badarayana holds that the highest intellectual, Brahman, is the essence of that trait (guna) of unity in diversity as he represents and looks after the interests of all social ranks and sectors. He is constantly and knowingly spreading this trait of his amongst all. He adopts a holistic rather than a sectarian outlook.
Any objection to this view is invalid. One can have the ability to be impartial and be imbued personally with the ability to get identified with all beings it has been shown. Badarayana says that as one's latent talents like manliness become activated through methods recommended by yoga, one's great personality and individuality become manifest.
On some occasions a social unit gains from its activities or fails to gain from them. This is a constant feature. If there is no relation between effort and achievement there have to be other prescriptions intervening between effort and result.
According to Arthasastra every doer (karta) or head of a family has to be engaged in a meaningful activity. The teacher also draws attention to the counsel on the concept of activity without any purpose, economic or social or cultural, and movements for purposes of entertainment. He does not advocate these movements which are against sastras. He also counsels against receiving any gain which is not a result of the effort one has put in for achieving it.
The directions regarding who is a worker and what are valid activities are to be followed. What is not inn accordance with these explanations or is counter to them will not be a valid act. Where there are no prescribed rules on what would be treated as valid gain from exertion or systematic labour, yoga, whatever gained by chance may be retained by a person.
The ruler may lose his power and authority and these may revert to the earlier ruler. This reversal is a valid gain though the new incumbent might not have exerted to regain power.
The teacher was pointing out the new sociopolitical code that it was not possible for one to be totally indifferent to the happenings around him. If he is not an active participant he has to be at least an observer. Yoga does not require everyone to enter the state of samadhi.
The arguments against Samika were twofold. He was not engaged in any work and was pretending to be meditating on how to work and what to work on. [Takshaka and others who supported him were charged with disobeying the ruler.] Takshaka was a worker but was also an intellectual and as a technocrat was admitted to the aristocracy. Yoga required adherence to procedure.
Badarayana was defending the new code that gave immense freedom to choose one's economic activity including intellectual effort from the many available and approved alternatives. There has to be a purpose behind activity and it has to be organized and constructive effort.
The different declarations on what are the units recognized as being part of the proletariat of the larger society and what are not have to be taken into account. Badarayana implies that Parikshit was wrong in treating them on par with dasas and kitavas who were not free citizens of the larger society
The formula pertaining to the four classes places all who are not Brahmans or Kshatriyas or Vis in the class of Shudras. Carpenters too belonged to this class. This position is taken in the smrtis, dharmasastras too. The debate on who were to be counted as not belonging to the society of four classes was not to be pursued, according to Badarayana. The four classes created by the new code, smrti, have their roots in the recommendations made by Vedic sages.
It prescribes the activities to be followed consciously and the corrective steps. It is not authoritarian or too puritanical. The leading guides like jyotis and siddhas are governed by these provisions. They are binding on the independent judiciary too. A member of the judiciary cannot bring to bear sober influence over other members of the larger society if he is connected with his own social body.
The supreme judge is not to be a mere reflection of the diverse and even contradictory aspirations of its units. The social ethos that influences the conduct of every individual is a latent force and not easily identifiable. It makes one identify oneself with others. It is behind the concept, Vaisvanara. The earlier code had no rules to regulate his conduct.
He has to resolve the conflicts in the society and arrive at a high level of agreement, abhisamdhi amongst all. Similarly there has to be no conflict between the independent individual, sva, and his social group. Even regional conflicts are to be solved by him. There is an inner attitude in all that helps to discover the common ethos and spread it among all sections.
The larger society can be classified on the basis of mobile populations (jagats) or settled communities (lokas) or affinity to the new classes (varnas) who were not confined to any specific region. Badarayana dealt with the relation between the specific ethos of a class and that of a particular region.
Here the living beings, pranas, who are individuals, are categorized as new entrants (prana), social rejects (apana), active persons (vyana), individuals who maintain social balance (samana) and individuals on social ascent (udana). These individuals playing diverse roles are located in different areas and it is not possible to herd them together.
Badarayana's social code distinguished among the different types functioning as individuals, pranis at the bare subsistence level, residents of the social periphery, bhutas, intellectuals, vipras, free men assisting the state, naras, members of the judiciary, Brahmans.
He refutes the charge that his code was introducing new features. There were seven social cadres, bhu, bhuva, sva, maha, jana, tapa and satya. It was possible for an intellectual to move from one level to another. Badarayana advised the students to follow the settled position and not get diverted on how many cadres were there.
The existence of human beings at the bare subsistence level, small but potent like atom, is not to be overlooked. Badarayana welcomed the rich, sreshtas, of the other society. They were to be honoured. The new entrants at the lowest level or from the open society were pure and free from social obligations. They were capable of raising the body politic to the highest level.
These were all taught along with those who were trained for specific administrative roles in the social polity. Their roles are compared to the roles of the different organs of the human body.
The highly talented and trained counsellor who represented the entire larger society might have belonged to any stratum.
But he was not a member of the executive. For no member of the executive was a truly selfless representative of the society. The ideal representative is able to perform the roles of all the five sectors, pranas. He was not one of the five members heading the five organs of the state but could supervise all of them. This thinker is highly powerful like an atom.
The new code created the position of jyotis, luminaries, who were social guides and were not executives. Badarayana explained to his trainees where these jyotis had their seats. He drew attention to the counsel given by Prajapati (Kashyapa) to Sakra Indra on the five pranas as explained in Taittiriya Upanishad.
He dealt with the issue of the permanence of the distinction among the five sectors of the larger society of the Vedic times. He did not modify it. According to the teacher except for the mind the other ten indriyas pertained to five organs of perception and five of action. Mind is superior to them. These distinctions were made in the Vedas. He was not introducing them anew.
The executive is to be distinguished from the thinker who notices what has been done by them and recommends what has to be done next. He was outlining a new code of administration of the social polity. The principle of classification on the basis of the three traits, sattva, rajas and tamas, has been introduced anew (along the lines suggested by Krshna).
The social thinkers had developed the concepts of three social worlds (lokas), divam, prthvi and antariksham, three classes, devas, gandharvas and manushyas, or rajanyas, vipras and manushyas. They were classified on the basis of the three traits. All these were human beings belonging to the commonalty (bhumi) as the Vedas imply. He set at naught the objections raised by some trainees.
Badarayana drew attention to the question and explanation session recorded in the previous chapter.As one goes from one social world or cadre to another he goes enveloped by the basic traits of a commoner. He did not claim that an individual had only one of the three traits, satya, rajas, tamas. Every individual had all the three traits but was assigned to a particular class on the basis of the preponderance in him of a particular trait.
The pranas who were at the subsistence level too were moving from one social cadre to another. All the individuals including the sages whose words were highly valued were under the jurisdiction of Agni who was in charge of the commonalty and was the civil judge. Who should be honoured first was determined by the sociopolitical code but the administrator could exercise his discretion.
Badarayana defended Pravahana's recommendation to the students of his royal academy on the ground that everyone was free to honour the leader-patron, ishta-devata of his choice. The new code, Brahma, did not prescribe uniformity and did not hinder freedom of the individual.The issue, who thrives on whose work, is raised. No individual can thrive without trying to meet his physical needs. The duties prescribed for the members of the different classes and the wages do not come under the framework of personal choice. Freedom of the individual was thus circumscribed.
Badarayana was presenting succinctly the theme of rise and fall of the intellectual. The terse epigrams were to be followed by the editors of the Upanishads while presenting the features of the ideal social polity.
He drew attention to the views of the school of Krshna (and) Arjuna. It held that movement northwards (devayana) and southwards (pitryana) were not to be objected to as they had specific additional characteristics connoting the prescribed conduct of the individuals concerned.
All works have effects and purposes though the effects may not be in tune with the purposes. Badarayana denies the possibility of disconnect between the two. Nothing can be expected of one beyond what he is capable of. The new code kept this in mind as underlined by the school of Krshna Arjuna.
The school of Badari classified an act as good or bad. He did not follow the lines of Krshna Arjuna, some pointed out. Badarayana did not exclude the possibility of some insincere persons and agnostics not committed to any theory of action being admitted to the social cadre of intellectuals.There were acts that had no purposes, good or bad, he conceded.
At the stage of regulation, striking a balance between good and bad acts, and setting at naught all doubts about the future course of life, social ascent may be permitted or social decline pronounced.
The earlier scheme of three social worlds held attainment of the status of a noble (deva) to be the highest achievement possible. But now it requires one to experience all the sevensocial cadres (lokas) before being admitted to the highest social cadre, the academy of jurists, Brahmaloka. Badarayana implies that there can be no contradiction between what one deserves and what he earns at the time of reckoning as in trade.
Those who were highly educated and performed functions expected of such scholars were eligible to be admitted to the social world headed by Soma. These would have been technocrats rather than priests by profession. Their works were connected with transformation of raw matter into objects of utility. Such a technocrat cannot obtain the status of an aristocrat (deva). (The discussion on the five fires and the fate of the sinner is irrelevant.)
The technocrat was at the second level and was superior to the common worker. But the status of a noble was attained only by traits other than work and study. He had to be either born in an aristocratic family and nurtured as required to function as a liberal noble or been elevated to that status from the ranks of the upper strata of the commonalty of the core society. There was no third alternative, some said. The social world of intellectual aristocracy ranked lower than the political and cultural aristocracy.
How the aristocracy recruited new members to its fold and how an individual could move into other and higher social worlds were taught to Gautama by Pravahana.
The process of rise and fall in status on account of development of one's potentials and his inability to stay at the higher levelmay be noticed in every walk of life. Some held that there were only three classes, rulers, scholars and commonalty. [Disputes arose later.]
The rich villager who has performed his duties may go to the forest to get educated by the senior citizens residing there or to the city to experience the ways of life of the patriciate and return to his original place. He may opt to join the administrators or the company of the scholars or merge again in the commonalty.
It was not necessary that the trained person should be an administrator or a teacher. He might return to worldly life and continue his earlier occupation or be but a landless worker. The enlightened commoner may enter the company of other social cadres also.
The frontier society opted for wealth and the feudal lords for power. But the core society valued pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, jnanam. It declared that all who had acquired true knowledge were pure and should enjoy immunity against coercion by others, including the state.
A trained rich commoner would impart his knowledge to his sons and other villagers and sow the seeds for the rise of a new culture-rich generation. His return and interaction with his earlier clan and community and cadre may mark the emergence of a new superior social cadre, intermediate between nobles and commoners.
Badarayana and other scholars were discussing his directions to the editors of the Upanishads and how far they had complied with these.
The discussion between Yajnavalkya and Janaka was on an intricate sociopolitical issue veering round the dilemma that a social leader, purusha, who was also anintellectualfaced when he was elevated to the position of a ruler.
He had two statuses, that of a commoner and that of a noble. There was a status in between, when he had not brought his leadership traits into activity. In that status of purusha he became self-illuminated. The way of life of this cadre of talented and trained leaders who were intellectuals had to be defined de novo.
The concept of creation of new and superior social cadres through interactions between different social ranks facilitated by the return of the trained social leaders (purushas) as unattached individuals (atmas) to their original cadres is disputed by some thinkers. They argue that it is only inherited talent can be passed on to the new generation and not the newly acquired one and hence no new and higher cadre can be created. .
The teacher draws attention to the limits of creation of a new and superior social structure through trained social leadership. Emergence of a higher social cadre requires it attaining through its inner power a definite structure and a stable position in a reconstructed social hierarchy. Else it will have only an ephemeral existence with vain hopes and dreams.
The purusha should after observing the merits and demerits of the life of the aristocrats, a leisure class, return to the commonalty before he became aware of his talents. He has a duty to the ranks from where he rose. Badarayana was dwelling on what should be considered as a definitive contribution of the trained social leader.
The Vedic sages might not have developed the concept and theory of social uplift through trained social leadership. But there were suggestions about it, according to Badarayana. Some had presented in unequivocal terms the ways in which such uplift could be achieved.
As one pays constant attention to the role of the higher moral authority and follows its directions he secures freedom from social bonds. He is not required to be always bound by the codes of his social groups. He is able to function independently and develop his personality.
The activities of one who is not aware of his potentials cannot help in his developing his personality. He cannot provide leadership. What he does is only physical exercise. One who is not aware of his potentials experiences torpor in his veins according to the Vedas.
What one has to be aware of was explained to Svetaketu by Uddalaka through his counnsel, 'Tat tvam asi', 'That art thou. Badarayana was referring to the above counsel that awakened the inherent potential of the intellectual-cum-leader and induced him to rise to the highest position.
He was discussing the issue whether there was a radical difference between the traits that an individual had when he commenced his journey to the abode of the intellectual aristocracy, Brahmaloka,and those he had when he returned from it.
This association had given him only personal happiness for that duration and not lasting benefit that he could transmit to his original stratum. This union with the high and noble intellectuals cannot be deemed to be of any social use.
The trained leader who has returned to his original cadre from the academy of intellectuals does retain whatever knowledge he had gained there. He can contribute to the cultural development of that cadre effectively.
The training received by temporary stay in its midst wherever it was located was beneficial to that social leader and he could impart those benefits at least partly to any cadre that he may be associated with as explained in Chhandogya Upanishad. The teacher would advise the leader 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 unattached individual (atma) who was getting ready to enter the ranks of the impartial jurists was a member of the open society (akasa) whose members were freer than others. He was an expert in all occupations and had already experienced all desires and pleasures.
The students noted that the explanation given by Badarayana was contrary to what had been described about the status and role of Brahma in other works and in the earlier constitution, Brahma. He said that the different Upanishads had presented the new constitution in different ways. But they were all agreed that Brahma was the highest intellectual and social authority. He agreed that some spoke of saguna Brahma and others spoke of nirguna Brahma.
He would however deal with the spirit and purpose behind the concept, primordial, rather than with the Purusha who has different 'forms' as presented in the statuettes exhibited. If the purusha failed to enlighten, there is no use in a social leader coming in close contact with the cultural and intellectual aristocracy and getting trained by it.
Badarayana asserts that the soul has no physical traits or ability to experience feelings or judge things and is not affected by merits and demerits but is eternal and is aware of its identity and as a power not attached to any social or physical body. This position is accepted by both Srutis and Smrtis.
He was drawing attention to the total detachment from worldly bodies and worldly activities that characterised the independent intellectual that Brahma was.
Badarayana was interested in explaining the relation between the ancient social constitution, Brahma, and the one he was advocating. The former was too tough to be adhered to and the latter was mild. If the former was hot like Surya (sun) the latter was like its reflection (Suryaka). Water is the reflecting medium. He was dealing with the role of Aditya (Surya). The new polity is humane and its cultural aristocracy and govening elite headed by Surya (Savarni) is accessible to the commoners.
Those who have developed their personality as required may be admitted to this new intellectual aristocracy and as their talents wane they have to return to their original cadres. Badarayana says that the above note is brought out in the new code
Badarayana was dealing with the traits expected of the personage who was to be at the apex of the larger social polity that was envisaged in the new constitution outlined by him. He was imbued with a high level of wisdom and knowledge. Such a scholar emerges, manifests his knowledge and power because he has honed his talents. He is not the product of mutation of nature.
From the extant works it may be inferred that the talents become manifest as the contradictions between the personage (purusha) who wields authority and the invisible intellectual and moral authority (Brahma) are annulled and reconciled.
Badarayana was expected to explain whether there was any distinction to be made among those who guided the people in their capacity as officials designated as Surya, Agni, Vayu, Soma, Varuna, etc.
He told them that the distinction was in the type of duties that they carried out through constant practice like enlightening. He was not prepared to distinguish them on the basis of which social sector an official represented. Whether he was trained enough to perform his assigned duty was what was important.
There are distinguishing marks that indicate some of the officials held permanent positions though social positions were ordinarily assigned only for limited duration in the then social polity.The explanation that 'infinite' and 'finite' are not distinct from one another indicates ignorance of the theme of this treatise.
Badarayana advised his students to treat the higher authorities like Aditya who were members of the governing nobility in the Vedic polity as being endowed with charisma (tejas) while the new incumbents who had risen on their own merit from the lower ranks on the basis of their intellectual training as guides who did not use awesome power.
If anyone objected to conceiving a new authority as being with no power to punish or deter deviants, Badarayana would advise that the executive should seem to deter them though he would have no power to harm.
Yajnavalkya had refuted that the new social code that placed the supreme power necessary to regulate the entire society in the judiciary had failed in its objective.
Badarayana explained that the new social code proposed by him was an extension of the earlier one, outlined in the Atharvaveda. There was a bridge between the two and there was also a gradient that placed the new one at a higher plane. He cautioned his students not to read more than an ordinary simile about the two levels of social organization that the two constitutions dealt with. The trainees should note the purpose behind this simile that could be grasped through application of intellect.
Badarayana in his cryptogram called upon his students to keep the implication of the term, buddhi, in mind.Whatever reference is made to the officials of the new social polity who enlighten etc. its members are distinguished on the basis of where they are stationed in it. He would not grade them on any other basis
Badarayana insists that only the interpretation about the statuses and roles of the officials of the new polity is valid.
The teacher of the Chhandogya Upanishad explained that the jurist, Brahma, who protected the interests of those who were outside organized social groups through the sociopolitical constitution, was a complete scholar and did not pursue personal or sectarian interests.
He adopted a holistic approach while performing his constant duties. The inner conscience too is similarly impersonal while guiding the social leader, purusha. Badarayana would advocate a rational approach while resolving the contradictions.
The new constitution brought under its fold all regions and all sectors of the larger society. Even isolated and discrete individuals were under its purview. The academy that was located in the social periphery brought the students in contact with the bhutas, individuals of that sector. By reflecting on their life the student would be able to discriminate between good and bad and to finally join that academy, (loka).
The deeds of a person are requited because there are witnesses and judges. Badarayana takes this stand to warn the students against concluding that one is not free to do any duty as he is asked not to expect any reward for his\work. There can be no act done without a result. According to him this was the stand of the Vedas.
Jaimini could not endorse this stand that the concept of performance of duty without personal gain was within the framework of traditional thought of the Vedas. He would treat it as one within the framework of Dharmasastra.
Dharmasastra was aware of the nuances in the stands taken by the Upanishads and their interpretations of social concepts. Badarayana holds as valuable the purposes behind the performance of the duties.
According to Badarayana all the Upanishads (which belong to the final stages of the Vedic era) convey identical stands, as there are no directions to the followers of any of the Vedic schools to adopt an approach distinct from others.
His formulas meant for interpretation of the social constitution, Brahma, and recommended by him were to be adhered to by all. Some argued that there were differences between one Upanishad and another.
Badarayana points out that there were different approaches even in the same Upanishad. In other words, every major Upanishad was the work of a group of scholars and they could not have all taken identical views on all matters. Even if the same author had drafted it, he too might have taken different stands at different times.
Badarayana was not for unanimity among the scholars and adoption of all his recommendations irrespective of whether they were appropriate to the themes discussed in the Upanishad.
The student after completing his training in the academy was expected to continue his studies by himself and practise the duties assigned to him in accordance with his status and post in the society. He was required to adhere to the privileges attached to the post and their limits as prescribed in the constitution. This was so when the Atharvaveda was in force and would be so when the new constitution for the larger society would come into force.
Badarayana only says that there are various references to the above rule directing the graduate how to behave after completing his formal education. Taittiriya Upanishad presents a convocation address recommending what a social administrator was expected to do. The student is directed to speak the truth (satyam vada).
He was warned against violating the civil laws, which were based on truth, that is, which gave credence to the evidence given by one who always spoke the truth and was conscientious. The graduate is advised to go along the path indicated by the code based on dharma, righteousness (dharmam cara).
Badarayana advises all schools of thought to accept the provisions that are common to all while dealing with duties and privileges and orientations and treat the practices that are contrary to these rules as exceptions. This is stated for purposes of summarizing the intents of the previous formulas.
This formul does not mention either of the Upanishads to which the commentator draws attention. Yet the two references may be taken into account. Was the new constitution that Badarayana recommended identical with or in broad agreement with the earlier constitution, Brahma or Atharvaveda? What were the objectives of the two?
The interpretation that Upanishads have all adopted the same approach though each of them has a special note does not bring out the import of the formula. Badarayana argues that one has to accept that the Upanishads have all a common theme despite the special stress given by each of them on a specific issue or come to the conclusion that there is nothing common amongst them.
Badarayana was not dealing with the distinct disciplines of study, vidyas, the three Vedas, Anvikshiki, Varta and Dandaniti.
What the term concerned meant and how it should be understood had already been explained. Hence in every context the term, udgitha, has to be understood in an identical manner. Everyone realises that there is a common spirit that pervades the entire larger society, cosmos. It is represented by omkara and is chanted aloud by all as udgitha. It is unnecessary to resort to logical systems to establish that all Vedic hymns express this concept.
Badarayana was appealing to his students to similarly set aside everywhere the contradictions in the text and arrive at unanimity of approach. Terms like vasishtha, Brahma, Ananda too were to be interpreted in an identical way. The doubt arises whether in each context we have to understand that the term, Brahman, has all these qualities or only those traits mentioned in that particular context.
It needs to be stated that most commentators have failed to present the concept, Ananda, correctly and so too the concept, Brahman. separately ascribe to it various qualities such as having bliss for its nature, being one mass of knowledge, being omnipresent, being the Self of all and so on.
Brahma headed the judiciary whose verdict was superior to the will of the larger populace as voiced by the charismatic chief of the people, Prajapati.
A commoner who has developed his talents can reach the level of Aditya. It is implicit that he cannot however become a member of the 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.
The Purusha ranked far lower than Brahma, the supreme judge and interpreter of the sociopolitical constitution. None of the three terms, Purusha, Prajapati and Brahma indicated the status of the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God.
He could become a member of the (council of) planners (for the future). Finally he will rise to become a member of the highest judiciary and enjoy the unlimited privileges and immunities (ananda, bliss) open to its members. The members of the high judiciary ought to have earlier functioned as members of the council of social planners (manas).
The attention of the reader to the concept of ananda, as happiness resulting from exercising and experiencing special privileges of ones cadre is drawn in this elaborate account of what the teacher told his students as they left his royal academy after graduation.
Badarayana was drawing attention to the figure, which had pleasure as its head, as noted in the above account of the Taittiriya Upanishad. That was with reference to the happy extrovert, which the ideal purusha was. All could be joyous like that but later the teacher dwelt on how not all had the same privileges and how those who were in the higher levels of the sociopolitical hierarchy enjoyed more privileges and more happiness while those who were in the lower levels had less privileges and hence less happiness.
Badarayana recommends that the then commonplace meaning should be accepted while dealing with the terms, Brahma, Prana, Ananda and Atma. Badarayana was taking a pragmatic stand.
The sage held that the purposes (artha) to be served were to be given more importance than the means, the senses (indriyas) or organs by which the deeds having those objectives were to be carried out and the purposes accomplished.
The thinkers (manas) who plan how to secure those purposes are to be given more importance those purposes themselves. The intellectual (buddhi) is more important than the thinker who has defined those purposes (artha), which are to be accomplished by the organs (indriyas) of the state or the social polity.
The (great) unattached individual (atma), who belongs to the council of sages (maha) is more important than the intellectual. Badarayana draws attention to the implications of the term, atma, It is used to denote one who is not functioning as a member of a social body and is hence eligible to be a legislator.
More important than depending on a guide is to be guided byone's own conscience (atma). Hence the atma is considered to be great. The council of suchlegislators is superior to the state and to the aristocracy.
A scholar who introspects and also retrospects distinguishes identities developed by the members of the larger undifferentiated society. This assertion is not to be lost sight of according to Badarayana. He defends the introduction in the new constitution, Brahma, of new features like duties with specific purposes which are not social duties but duties that would raise the level of the individual, atma.
A term should be construed as denoting the same concept if there are no differences in the contexts where it is used. This holds good in the case of the two constitutions, the Vedic and the post-Vedic. He points out that with reference to totally different and distinct situations too if there is an inter-connection, the term should be accepted as conveying the same concept.
As there is an essential difference in the contexts, the two concepts, ahar and ahamcannot be construed as referring to the same person. He was not citing scriptural authority in favour of his argument to silence his detractors. He was citing instances from different Upanishads to press his claim above.
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 says that this was what his teacher, Sandilya, used to say. [The sceptics were thus silenced.] Badarayana endorses the Sandilya doctrine as pointed out above.
Badarayana was aware of the distinct approaches. He was drawing attention to the elaborate allegory of purusha statuettes when he referred to purusha-vidya rather than to purusha-medha sacrifice as described in the Aranyakas and Brahmanas. .
The approaches regarding purusha varied from one Upanishad to another though he recommended a common approach while interpreting the term, Brahma. It is unsound to give the impression that Badarayana was referring to the 'mantras' of Atharvaveda and its subsidiaries and allied disciplines. He was referring to the objective that a trained social leader should have.
The trained leader aims at arriving at the level of the officer of the judiciary which is a bridge to cultural aristocracy. He exercises the powers and performs the duties attached with that status. This aspect is brought out by Sandilya.
The statement about the means to be employed to obtain the gains that are meaningful through honing ones talents and by succeeding in reaching the target and achieving the target had in mind while setting forth on ones mission is incomplete. The rest of that formula helps one to be free from the attachments, which one may develop to his objective and thus be truly objective.
As the student leaves the academy he has no higher personal goal to be reached according to some. Badarayana points out that the training in that academy makes him stay stoical at all times.
He clarified that in the social constitution, Brahma, that he had outlined there was no clause that was against the right of the individual to act as he pleased. It is not sound to claim that absence of choice between the two paths, northern and southern, is contradictory to scripture. It would be contradictory to the provisions of the new social constitution, Brahma, which Badarayana had outlined.
One might follow the traditional path that the senior citizens who had retired to the forest advocated and return to ones original position in his family and social group and implement the teachings of those elders, reifying the traditional practices, kuladharmas and jatidharmas. This is known as pitryana.
Or one might improve his personal talents and rise to higher levels in the social hierarchy including the judiciary and the intellectual and cultural aristocracy and remain uninfluenced by the orientations of the commonalty. This path is known as the path of the nobles, devayana. Every individual was given freedom to choose between the two.
Even after staying with that aristocracy the social leader (purusha) may opt to return to the commonalty from which he had risen. Badarayana was explaining that his code had not closed any path. One who went to the forest might stay there as a senior citizen not interested in worldly activities any more or return to his original position in his family.
Similarly one who joined the governing elite or the judiciary and the intellectual aristocracy might return to the commonalty to lead it to higher levels of culture and civilization.
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. 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 learned 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 implications of the formula (32) 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 sociopolitical 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 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.
Badarayana 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 the 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 constitution, Brahma that he proposed and that was superior to Dharma.
Yajnavalkya was presenting the jurisdiction of the conventional state as presented by the Atharvaveda and pointed out that it did not cover certain sections of the population. Since a common approach is adopted in many of the Upanishads it is advisable to accept it without dwelling deep on the issue whether Brahman (akshara) is saguna or nirguna.
Yajnavalkya envisaged the presence within the permanent cadre of nobles, of intellectuals, everyone of whose intellectual calibre as representative of a particular social stratum or sector could be recognized correctly and respected by the other members of that internal and high governing body.
Bhutagrama referred to a unit of the social periphery whose individual members, bhutas, lived in close proximity but without coming in conflict or developing common orientations or objectives.
Such residential units were developed during Badarayana's times. Its members enjoyed freedom and were autonomous like the nobles. Badarayana says that the traits of Vaisvanara described placed him 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. Badarayana rejects the claim that this instruction was contradictory to other ones in the Upanishads.
Uddalaka's instruction to Svetaketu on Tat tvam asi, That art thou, was different from the above stand.
Did the Upanishadic scholars mean the same zone by akasa and antariksham? In the codes based on satya, truth, the two concepts, Prajapati and Brahma were used as identical.Were the two codes, Rta and Satya identical? Were the two concepts ahar and aham identical? What the audience was asked to honour was the spirit of the academy and not the person who was heading it.
The statuses and roles of the different sections of the larger society who respected the great official Agni, during agnihotra sacrifice need to be understood. During the Vedic times, nobles, sages, elders and other guests were present to witness the sacrifice (yajna) where the householder set apart one-fourth of his earnings to meet his obligations to them.
Some students wondered whether yajna was a statutory obligation. Badarayana pointed out that there were such clauses. Who had to be honoured first was also prescribed.
Some hold that every body must have a separate soul as every one has an aptitude (bhava) distinct from what others have. Some others refute this claim.
These two formulas 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 position, that of Brahma.
Badarayana took into account the stands of the different schools of thought that upheld the Vedic tradition with respect to the larger social polity. This aspect was discussed by Asvapati and Uddalaka.
If a particular instructive formula was valid for the matter dealt in by a branch of study it should be treated as not being in contradiction with the other instructions in that branch and in the entire Vedic literature
The term, mrtyu, refers to the social world of commoners noted for insentience, ignorance and inertness and not to death.
Badarayana expects them to become aware of their potential and this required their getting educated. One's personality has to be judged by all his main experiences and not from his discrete actions. This pronouncement is made in the new constitution, Badarayana implies. Which of the three innate traits, sattva, rajas and tamas, is dominant in one determines the characteristic distinguishing a member of a given social cadre.
The social activities prescribed were expected to bring about a change in the outlook of the person performing them and also social change. The implication of the submission by the commonalty to the new authority is to be accepted as valid. It transfers authority without affecting the interests of the social sector concerned.
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 as prescribed in the law-book are to be clarified.
Badarayana says that jurisdictions have been prescribed as shown in different contexts. The jurisdiction of a civil authority has been prescribed and it can be transferred from one official to another. This authority to transfer 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. Agni as vaisvanara meets the needs of all sections including the outcasts. The 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.
Badarayana cautions his students that the teachings in his works used different words and differed in enumeration and direction given and the rewards offered for fulfillment of duties. Nothing beyond this was to be read behind these differences.
The instructions were not all obligatory. One of the prescribed or permitted duties must be performed. The duties prescribed with respect to the fulfillment of one's desires may be performed and the rewards collected. But the purpose must have been already approved. What is gained without intent one may not retain. The ancillary works have been treated as being subordinate to the provisions of the Veda and not overriding their authority. Badarayana was referring to the instruction that was given to the prince of Kosala by his teacher.
In Isa Upanishad, Sukra defined the pursuits of the different individuals and sectors. Badarayana calls for discipline in the performance of one's duties. The new code was not as strict as Sukra's was. Though it provided options, it did call for conformity with the normative pattern of social conduct.
Badarayana suggests that the wide options and the disciplinary rules have been called for as the aim is to bring together all the social sectors. The scholar pointed out that Aum indicated the traits and aspirations common to all social sectors, especially of the unclassified masses.
It is however not proper to presume that all the duties (and vocations) presented in the list of wide options based on personal aptitudes are permitted for or are required to be performed by every individual. He cited the Vedic authority for this.
Badarayana gives his views on the concept of purusharthas as presented in the Vedas and their annexures.
While a social leader, Purusha, who rose from the commonalty could occupy (without being accepted as a member of that aristocracy) some of the high positions that were earlier the exclusive privilege of the aristocrats, even one who belonged to the subaltern of the mass society could acquire the right knowledge and wisdom and rise to become the supreme intellectual and judge, Brahma.
The judiciary was superior to the executive and all the ranks of the larger society including the aristocracy. Devas were nobles and not gods. Neither concept, Purusha and Brahma, signified God.
What did Badarayana, a pragmatist have to say about the concept of Purusha and what are to be the pursuits of this dynamic individual? Not everyone can realize his potentials. One can realize them only when his special privileges are challenged. This was Jaimini's argument about the concept of purushartha. He was Badarayana's deuteragonist aiding the latter to set at rest the doubts voiced against his views.
Everyone has to abide by the code of conduct prescribed for him. Hence one cannot recognise and realise his potentials it was argued against Badarayana's claim that his code did not suppress man's longing to rise up above the level of commoners. Jaimini had argued that only by resorting to subsidiary provisions in the code one could so rise.
Agni, as Vaisvanara meets the needs of all sections of the larger society including the outcasts it has been said while explaining the prescribed code of conduct. The interpretation that knowledge alone cannot carry out the purpose of work fails to bring out the significance of the orientation behind the loud utterance of aum.
Jaimini cautions the scholars against promoting any new orientation in the garb of vaisvanara, the representative of the entire society, as the unattached intellectual and jurist, Brahma.
Jaimini did not endorse the stand of Badarayana that the ideal intellectual too could be one who had mastered only some fields and not all and that he should be assessed on the basis of what he knew and what he had done.
What was prescribed in the Vedic constitution is the rule of holistic attitude in assessing one's contributions while appointing him to the judiciary and while honouring him on his death or when accepting his retirement for purpose of pursuit of further knowledge.
Jaimini was more liberal than Badarayana. Jaimini would not permit anyone who had to be engaged in domestic and social duties to opt for pursuit of knowledge of the Absolute as the only objective. While discouraging accumulation of wealth, he drew attention of the scholars to the rule that refused permission to workers and others to abstain from duties.
Jaimini's arguments that pursuit of knowledge or liberation from worldly life cannot be permitted to override the rule that everyone must perform his assigned duties whether he is permitted to amass wealth or not, are not accepted by the supporters of Badarayana.
They were not advocating as the only purpose of the Brahma code the ensuring of everyone performing his duty. This is indicated in different Upanishads. The teachings of the Upanishads have to be interpreted rationally and in the light of the direction given by Badarayana to the scholars who were drafting a new constitution.
He denies that the new constitution based on dharma was not so rational and binding as the older one of the Vedic times based on the principles of truth (satya). Yajnavalkya adopted a holistic approach and did not claim any particular work or stand to be the only correct one.
Jaimini and others objected that the sages and works that Yajnavalkya had cited had not enumerated all the fields of knowledge which one should have mastered to be entitled to elevation to the position of the best scholar and jurist, Brahma.
Badarayana explained why the Upanishads had not enumerated all the relevant works. The last unit of the wealth of knowledge would be of oneself through introspection, atmavidya. There is a limit to formal education however intense and discursive it may be. The student who learns as supplementary knowledge, anuvidya about this benefit of functioning as an unattached individual, atma, will gain access to all social worlds for all purposes.
As long as a particular rule is not said to be applicable to specific classes or cadres it cannot be presumed to be a special rule. It will be applicable to all sectors. An instruction has to be for a special group or for a special purpose or has to be binding on all and valid for all purposes, Badarayana and Jaimini held. They took a realistic position while interpreting the Vedic hymns.
They agreed that the rules of permission should recognize that the purpose of one's action is related to what he longs for in the laudatory hymn. The formula deals not with the fruits of one's action but with the desire and purpose that he had before embarking on an action. The individual wanted permission of the official under permitted acts and not under prescribed duties.
Destruction of the effects which were bi-products of such acts is not related to union with the ultimate. All except those in the stage of householder were required to practise celibacy. Badarayana advocated studying as the duty of all. But he did not make it obligatory. For those in householdership it was only recommended.
Jaimini refuted that it was recommended by the older code. Jaimni envisaged a cultural aristocracy that was superior to the intellectual aristocracy. The latter would be superior to the governing elite of nobles (karmadevas). It was only after they had attained the level of that higher cultural aristocracy the sages could be freed from their duties. Badarayana agreed with this but only partially.
According to Badarayana the Vedas held on par the three stages of life (when one had to observe celibacy). This was with respect to the three domestic fires.
Jaimini and others were worried about procedural rules rather than the main responsibilities pertaining to the stage of life. Neither Jaimini nor Badarayana objected to these.
The Upanishads honour some of the Vedic officials while presenting the features of the traditional sacrifices. But their approach varies from that of the Vedas and is new, Badarayana explains.
He points out that one who attains the status of a highly educated and impartial jurist (brahma-samstha) is entitled to become a member of the cultural aristocracy (amrtatvam, devas).
Badarayana clarifies that his insistence is that the new code is to be adhered to not only literally but also in spirit. Mere lauding of the officials whether old or new is not enough. Yheir directives are to be obeyed.
Some students objected to resorting to fables to circumvent or skip over the main instruction. Badarayana refuted that this was a weakness. They were used for specific purposes. They did not undermine the status and authoritativeness of a upanishad. Those episodes could be placed in an annexure to avoid being obtrusive.
The Upanishads have not been granted the status of the Vedas whose hymns lauded Agni and sought his permission for every act. But they helped him to realize his powers and his relations with the other members and sectors of the larger society.
Badarayana does not approve the suggestion that all are expected to perform sacrifice and other rites.
The traits mentioned were to be acquired by all trainees whether they are interested primarily in theoretical studies or in administration. This has been specified in the rules pertaining to the unit (anga) of the office concerned. Badarayana did not impose diet restrictions unnecessarily. The individual trainee was free to choose on what he wants to survive. Badarayana was not referring to Manusmrti or other Smrtis on these.
Badarayana agreed that in the Vedic code there were restrictions. He said that vipras were bound by the duties assigned to the asrama stage of life they were in. Those who failed to perform these duties were declared as Vratyas.
Badarayana's formula recognized the groups of vipras and their collective action in performance of sacrifices by their hosts and cooperative endeavour in earning their livellhood. The graduate had to perform all the prescribed duties whatever way of life he opted to follow. He should wear the marks that distinguished him from others.
What is called as the period of collective life of classmates (sattrayana) has its discipline. The student is trained to become a true individual, satatma.
Badarayana points out the passages which help one to remain non-overcome by their weaknesses and by the detractors. The new code has classified the larger population and instituted the duties one has to perform in accordance with his class and stage of life. It recognizes that all do not fit in those classes perfectly.
Who fall in the intermediate classes has been shown in the new code, Brahma. Hence the social administrators need not be bewildered.The next epigram defends the smrtis on this aspect.
The new code does grant special benefits to some sections and to some stages. Badarayana however does not favour creating special cadres who would be on the threshold of major classes and permitted to enjoy special benefits without being absorbed in those classes. They might be placed on probation in those classes
The discrete individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery who were not born in a specific class (varna) might be admitted to it on the basis of their natural traits. The individual and not his family would be admitted to that class or stage of life. The social periphery lacked the form of an organized society based on varnasrama orientation. Badarayana was dealing with the conduct of Vipras and Vratyas.
If it is inferred that one has fallen from his status as a Brahman or a Kshatriya no chapter of the new code would restore him his status. He would be declared unfit for that class and stage.
Rules of expiation were only for members of the core society who were under the disciplinary control of their clans and communities. The state could not handle these rules which were under social laws rather than economic laws or civic laws. Badarayana had not placed any diet restrictions but he could not have his way in full. He had to include expiatory rules to protect the studentfrom the periphery by distinguishing him from a vratya as a viprs.
The rules interpolated however excluded the bhutas fromsacraments and privileges. Even well-meaning Vratyas had to suffer. The priest is advised by Atreya to adopt a stoical, rather than an indifferent attitude while officiating at a sacrifice for a host who was not entitled to perform the sacrifice.
The official should not resort to unethical methods to help that host. He had to set aside the dilemma and carry out his duty so that his master (svami) benefited. Unlike Atreya, Audulomi does not exonerate the official for the faults committed while carrying out his duty to his charismatic master. The onus for not providing all with their share of food and other necessities had to be borne by such officials.
According to the Vedas, both the host and the priest, the ruler and his officials, were obliged to share the responsibility for meeting the requirements of all sections. None of them could remain free from the blame for the bad results.
All social activities have to be co-operative endeavours. Only this much is said. There are no rules permitting any guilty person to escape blame for a wrong action. On having fulfilled all his duties that are constructive a householder should destroy all his desires and leave for his forest abode.
The code gives counsel on the code of conduct of the vanaprastha stage. A silent monk, muni, who is not fully conversant with it does not take sides on any issue. Samnyasis too should conduct themselves like him. The reticent elder is advised not to perform any unnecessary duty. He is to remain anonymous. Badarayana would advise others too to do so.
A student wanted to speak on this point. Badarayana pointed out that there was no bar on his expressing his view. But he should be humble and not flaunt his wealth or knowledge. There are no definite rules on how one can through activities obtain fruits that would imply total discharge from social obligations.
Brahmavidya meant the principles of jurisprudence that were to be understood by a member of the high judiciary that was to enforce the provisions of the sociopolitical constitution enshrined in the Vedas, especially in the Atharvaveda (Brahma).
Badarayana presented his new code without overlooking the directions given by the Vedic constitution that called upon everyone to be aware of himself and his duties.
Which word was to be repeated by the teacher and which one by the students was shown separate. The notion that Badarayana and his contemporaries had about 'atma' and 'brahma' was different from the ones entertained by the scholars of the Middle Ages.
Badarayana unlike his detractors was for everyone to attain the level of a free individual who was not attached to any social body or to personal desires. The Upanishads aided one in this direction which is secondary to the main direction of being engaged in developing one's personality.
Badarayana wanted his students to note that the two constitutions, the Upanishadic as guided by him and the Atharvan as explained by Ghora Angirasa (whose student Krshna was) were not identical. In the new one, the highest socio-political authority was the head of the highest judiciary, Brahma, who was not associated with any economic body.
Atma indicates one who is similarly free from control by any social body and is able to think and function without being restrained by personal needs or desires.
The Vedic constitution did not have such an authority. It provided for Viraj as the head of the federal social polity. It did not provide for an intellectual aristocracy independent of cultural aristocracy. Badarayana had brought out that the view taken by the chief judge, Brahma, was superior to the views of any other sociopolitical authority according to the new social code.
The later Vedic social polity was headed by Viraj assisted by the chief of the people, Prajapati. The post-Vedic polity was hesded by the chief of the people, Prajapati who was assisted by Indra. in the new set-up, the head of the judiciary, Brahma, could overrule the Prajapati and the legislators under him.
Aditya, Indra, Agni etc, were officials of the Vedic polity. During the early post-Vedic times they could function independent of Indra who headed the eight-member cabinet. Their roles too were different from those they played during the later Vedic period.
They represented different sectors (angas) of the new larger social polity and the state. The views of these officials were available to the head of the judiciary, Brahma, who honoured them.
During discussions on political affairs, the political authorities, Rajanyas, occupied a higher position and at a discussion on academic matters, Brahmans occupied seats on the higher platform. On academic issues pertaining to the constitution and judicial verdicts the Brahmans were given an exalted position and their authority upheld.
While the different officials might have been active, the chief judge, Brahma had to pay careful attention to their activities and ensure that these did not violate the provisions of the constitution but were functional to the needs of the polity.
It was expected that the supreme judge though a meditator would not be wavering (acala) in his purpose or in his view about what the verdict should be. The judge who was required to sit on an exalted platform was expected to pay careful attention to the issue on hand and not waver. This has been indicated not only in the constitution (Brahma) but also in the Smrtis whose editors have remembered and recorded the practices that were in vogue during the early Vedic times.
The judge has to adopt a holistic approach while considering any issue by bringing together all the relevant factors wherever it was not a special case characterized by a peculiar situation or consideration.
He was a member of the intellectual aristocracy, which had to sit along with the members of the cultural aristocracy when considering issues of great significance for the society as a whole. [The discussion when one should be engaged in meditation and facing which direction is irrelevant.]
Up to what time was a person required to occupy the position of a judge meditating on the various aspects of the issue being debated has been shown in the constitution. He had no definite tenure. He could hold his position till his death or might withdraw earlier.
Badarayana was counselling the students who after completing the course of education were proceeding to take their place in the intellectual aristocracy. As the student completes his course whatever remains as effects of the harmful errors that he has committed before or after he joined the academy are destroyed as described.
The activist intellectual who occupies the position of Brahma, the jurist, has in fact been a charismatic social leader (and not in need of riches) who is eager to know more than what he has learnt in the formal school. The emotional attachments between him and his erstwhile associates in social life are cut before he assumes his new position and he becomes free from all doubts.
The effects of the earlier deeds become less potent. He becomes one belonging to the other higher rank as well as to the lower ranks of the society. Even as he is exonerated of his earlier misdeeds, he will not be eligible to reap the fruits of his earlier good deeds.
These would however keep him in good stead when he happens to commit an error while being a member of the judiciary. The purpose that one has before he began a particular work is not put an end to with his passing out of the academy and joining the judiciary.
Badarayana was asking his students to remember the task that they had undertaken when they joined the academy. It did not end with their passing out as persons trained to be impartial judges.He had to remember the implications of Uddalaka's exhortation to Svetaketu to realise his high potentials, tat tvam asi, that art thou.
Badarayana agrees that the performance of the daily rites like agnihotra do lead to the fulfillment of the task that a person has been assigned when he comes out of his primary school and becomes a householder performing his duty to his family and to his society.
He however does not agree that the training in that school when one was innocent at the time of admission was the same as that in the senior academy which he had entered bringing along with him high aims and aspiration both merits and demerits earned during his worldly life.
Badarayana does not consider these rites to be on par with the final ones one had to perform as he ended his tenure as a jurist of the Brahma category. Both Jaimini and Badarayana held that there were works that did not fall in the category of good acts, which affect the career of the student. These were born of societal duties, like contributing to the maintenance of cadres like nobles, sages and elders. Other authors held these to be distinct from the tasks undertaken for fulfilment of some special wish.
Whether these duties have been fulfilled or not was noted while assessing the career of an intellectual who graduated from the academy. What one does with the knowledge he has gained by mastering the disciplines of study taught in the academy was recorded and if he had put them to use they would stand him in good stead. This is implied, Badarayana tells his students.
Badarayana was pointing out that one could become perfect only after he had enjoyed the immunities of one who belonged to the intellectual aristocracy and had retired to isolation as a satisfied person with no pursuits whatever.
What one says has its base in his mind as underlined by Uddalaka in his counsel to Svetaketu. Hence all the other organs of the social polity follow the thinker.
Pippalada while expounding the Purusha constitution followed by Kosala, referred to the sociopolitical approach of Prajapati Mahadeva whom the masses, the chieftains and all the institutions followed. Pippalada also dealt with the theme of the relation between the thinker and the five sectors of the population denoted by the five pranas.
Badarayana referred to the theme of dependence on water and irrigation by the different sectors that ran through the earlier Upanishads.
On Yajnavalkya's counsel to Janaka, Badarayana pointed out how one who presided over a bench of the judiciary or a unit of the state should conduct self to merit honour from his companions and former colleagues on his retirement.
While dealing with the five sectors of the populace (pranas) who are at the base level many scholars overlooked the interests of the discrete individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery. The latter were not organized as social groups but yet could guard their interests and identity. The Vedas viewed them so, according to Badarayana.
The teacher claims that the prana, individual at the subaltern engaged in a struggle for survival was on his entry into the periphery, not able to identify self with its culture. He was expounding the principles on which the new constitution was based.
These weak elements, pranas, needed social support and could not be expected to stand on their own legs, like the bhutas. Resettlement in a new environment had its peculiar problems, the Upanishadic sages were aware of. There were significantly different but not contradictory approaches on the issue of social leadership among the sages who contributed to the Upanishads.
Badarayana had this in mind when he dealt with the issue of equi-distance maintained by an intellectual and social leader. Drawing attention to Uddalaka's famous counsel to Svetaketu, Badarayana commented that everyone including an intellectual would be concerned with worldly social life(samsara) even when he was on social ascent.
This link would end only after the individual had developed his personal (purusha) talents and joined the highest cadre of intellectuals (Brahma). Badarayana held that different sciences had vouched for the existence of the subtle soul which could escape from the cycle of births and deaths. He agreed with Krshna that the soul does not die with the body.
The body alone has heat which is absent when it is dead. The different abilities must have come from the soul and cease when the soul leaves the body. But this argument was refuted by many scholars. They held that there was no proof that the soul had these qualities and withdrew them on the death of the body.
Proper appreciation of the theme of the intellectual returning to his original place in his social world or community after a brief stint as a member of the judiciary or to withdraw from all social activities is necessary.
On Yajnavalkya's counsel to Janaka Badarayana pointed out to his students that the concept of attaining the level of Brahma, the highest intellectual, need not be discussed again as it had been clearly explained by that scholar. But he did not say where the Vedas had explained it. He did not cite any Smrti either on this aspect.
Badarayana had in his view the stand of the monks of the Mundaka Upanishad who visualised an aristocracy superior to the cultural aristocracy and even the intellectual aristocracy.
The functions and the individuality of Brahma who is essentially an intellectual who knew more than what others knew (vijnanamaya atma) all became one in that juristwho had been freed from all personal and social duties. He was referring to the concept of Para Brahma.
The state can be viewed as having a certain number of units but none of them may go away from the hub, the central authority, Purusha, according to the Kosala constitution. Dealing with it, Badarayana expresses his reservations.
He does not favour a social polity devoid of a central political authority or a high judicial authority that could be exercised when needed. This was in contrast to the Atharvan social polity that had autonomous subordinate units and a weak central authority.
Badarayana draws attention to the picture of the dark cave where a fierce flame burns. It lights up the door that would admit the intellectual who had mastered all the disciplines of study and acquired the ability to take over control of the social polity and the remaining path to power through the methods of yoga prescribed in the Smrti.
He is favoured by the authority in the centre of that polity with a hundred and one benefits, that is, the benefits that would last him even after he had completed his assigned life of a hundred years. The vipra whom Narada met was describing the sanctum sanctorum of the academy of scholars headed by Brahma. Bright rays led the visitor to his chamber.
Is it necessary that an individual who is educated and is capable of putting his knowledge to proper use should be guided to enter the sanctum of the chief of the academy by the flame that lit up that dark abode? Can he not enter it by his own merit? What will be his position when there is none or no light to guide him to that place?
Badarayana answers that the social body that intellectual belongs to is imbued with the ability to take him to that level without being required to await the grace of the great Brahman to favour him with proper guidance.
The issue was whether grace of god was necessary to enable a scholar to rise to the level of the eminent jurist, Brahma. He can rise by himself, the sage holds.
While going (northwards) to join the academy of jurists and the intellectual aristocracy after getting the permission of the cultural elite, one need not necessarily have the guidance of any scholar who had been there. He may not even have the permission of the nobles (devas) to proceed (northwards) to join the academy but must have been acquainted with their orientations.
Similarly it was not necessary to secure the permission of any body or the guidance of any individual to go (southwards) to the forest abodes of the senior citizens, pitaras.
Badarayana draws attention to Krshna's stand on Samkhya and Yoga. He covered the early social codes (dharmasastras) and the Bhagavad-Gita and the early Upanishads by the term, Smrtis.
It is well known that one goes by the lit path and not by the dark alley. Badarayana was counselling his students to be guided by the paths shown by the different Upanishads.
Vayu-loka referred to the vast social space with very little population, the desert and semi-desert regions. It referred also tothe no-man's land between the rural plains governed by the civil laws implemented by Agni and the protected areas of the nobles who during the Upanishad times were headed by Aditya and earlier by Indra.
Badarayana drew attention to the Taittirya Upanishad on what Bhrgu was taught by the highly influential Vedic official, Varuna.
Just as the flight of the birds indicate the season, the cadres under the jurisdiction of the officials like Vayu and Varuna guided one to learn what they offered about their respective social sector and go further toward their goal, Brahma.
Badarayana tells his students that it has been established that there are travellers going by the northern path who want to reach the goal, the academy of scholars, Brahmaloka. There were stages of social cadres where they are guided to go ahead. Rising above the level of the nobles also they join the ranks of the enlightened (vidyut).
From there the leader (Purusha) who is also a thinker (manas) is ushered into the judiciary (Brahma-loka). There these enlightened leaders-cum-thinkers stay till the end of their lives. They are not required to return to the commonalty.Pravahana traced thus the new scheme of social ascent and constitution of the judiciary, Badarayana pointed out to his students.
According to the teacher, Badari, the leader, Purusha, who does not belong to the cadre of Manavas (who followed Manava Dharmasastra and Pracetas's Arthasastra), led them to the lower, qualified, Brahman, because he could go only up to that level. The argument that a trained social leader, purusha, can get access to the head of the academy was disputed by Badarayana. But his purpose could be met as Badari claimed, his disciple felt.
The issue was the status of the Brahman who as the supreme judge was the guardian of the socio-political constitution, Brahma, of the larger and inclusive society as envisaged by the sages who composed the early Upanishads.
They were not professional teachers or engaged in meditation or were ideologues. There is no basic difference between the two political thinkers.
Badarayana was distinguishing not between the land known as Brahma and the cadre and status known as Brahma, but between the meditator who was a Brahmarshi and the stoical judge, Brahma, envisaged by the Upanishads.
This term was used to refer to the sage who meditated in solitude and also to the unattached scholar at the helm of the judiciary. The two were closer to each other.
When the officer of the high judiciary has finished his training and his societal objective in accepting that position rather than remain aloof as a meditator in quest of the Ultimate, along with the presiding officer of that state enters the higher council of veterans who would intervene only when required in an emergency to protect the constitution, Brahma, and the social polity functioning under it.
Dharmasastra had not yet been expounded and when it was expounded it was made subordinate to the constitution Brahma. Badarayana submits that the new code, Brahma, outlined by him has provided for this higher council of veterans.
The teacher envisages a cultural aristocracy that was superior to the intellectual aristocracy (brahma-loka), which was superior to the governing elite of nobles (devas).
It was only after they had attained the level of that higher cultural aristocracy the sages most of whom were in the stage of vanaprastha could be freed from their duties to their socio-physical environment.
Badarayana claims that Smrtis too had accepted this principle of elevation of the head of the state and the head of the judiciary on their retirement to the counsel of veterans, para amrta, where they would be members for life.
These veterans would enjoy the maximum immunity and their views could not be ignored by any member of the executive or of the judiciary who had risen from lower ranks. According to Jaimini the properly trained person is led to the highest position.
The concept of Vamana, a Brahman who corrected the distortions effected by bending the constitution to the purposes that the executive had in mind is to be noted. The corrector came to the fore not when law and order broke down but when the objectives of the constitution whether it was the Rajarshi constitution of Anga or that of Janasthana guided by Usanas were undermined because they were not tamper-proof.
Badarayana would only point out that the features of the ideal social polity had been already been dealt with by the authors of the Upanishads (like Chhandogya).
What did Badarayana mean by the expression, 'reunion at the high level'? Did he mean that the soul that was originally a part of the great soul before its entry into the human body was through noble efforts trying to achieve its objective of reunion with that high soul?
Was he rejecting the stand of Jaimini? What was Jaimini's stand? Or was he referring to Badri? The commentator claims that the view of Badri expressed in Sutra 7 above is final and that Jaimini was presenting another opinion that was not acceptable to Badarayana.
The issue was whether a trained social leader who had not accepted the social organization as introduced by Manava Dharmasastra could reach or lead one to the highest level, Brahmaloka, or not.
Badari held he could accomplish this task. Jaimini was referring to a status and role higher than those of the Purusha and the Brahma, the head of the executive and the head of the judiciary. Badarayana who was outlining a new social constitution did not agree with either Jaimini or with Badri.
A trained social leader (purusha) can lead the intellectual to the highest level. He does not follow the provisions of the code known as Manava Dharmasastra, especially its politico-economic theory whose authorship is attributed to Pracetas Manu. The followers of this Manu were known as Manavas. According to the Manavas, there could be no direct access to the head of the State, Purusha. He could be approached only through the Pracetas, a scholar.
The Manavas were citizens of the world and were not subordinate to the authority of any particular state or community.
The Purusha that the Upanishads have been talking of was not one of those Manavas. He had risen from the commonalty, manushyas, who followed the codes of their clans and communities.
He leads those persons who are not satisfied with their existing status or with the symbols of that status. Both Jaimini and Badri were unable to give a constructive plan.
Badarayana had in view the views of Pravahana, Yajnavalkya and other scholars while opining on what course of action was faultless. Badarayana pointed out that the Upanishads had explained the features of special cadres and groups.
According to Badarayana, the social leader (purusha) who is also an intellectual reveals his calibre on entering the cadre of aristocrats on the basis of his efforts and fitness.
He was commenting on Narada's interpretation of the features of the Academy of Scholars, Brahmaloka and the stand of the Prajapati(Kashyapa) that the aristocracy might avail of the services of the uttama purusha, best of the leaders for its own purposes without losing its identity.
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 governed his conduct by himself and was not obliged to others. The chapter on 'atma' deals with this stand.
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 himself in 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. Badarayana drew the attention of his students to Yajnavalkya's counsel to Janaka.
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. Jaimini points out that the highest status that a talented social leader was capable of reaching was that of the high judiciary. This ascent was made feasible by the provisions of the constitution, Brahma. Eminent sages have vouched for this.
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 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. 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. This was underlined by Sanatkumara in his counsel to Narada on the concept of self-governance and self-expression.
Badarayana did not find any contradiction between the stands of Jaimini and Audulomi. Only when one reached the highest level, Brahma, that is, became a member of the truly independent judiciary one's individuality could find expression, according to Jaimini. Audulomi held that everyone from the very beginning had the intent to develop his individuality. The two views were two aspects of the same objective.
Sanatkumara who pruned the Prthu constitution advised Narada to deem and honour considered thought as a requisite in one to be in the midst of the highest judiciary. He would then be in the centre of the social worlds unwavering.
Badarayana's students must have cited the view that the will to survive and develop one's talents was more important than 'chittam'. Badarayana means that every individual would like to be master of his destiny and would not allow others to dominate him.
Badari points out that the new sociopolitical 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.
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. 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 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.
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 aptitudes and orientations 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 will of an individual as it enters the views of many, that is, of the masses lits their wills and becomes a shining flame. Badarayana indicated how mass opinion was formed and how it exhibited itself as a bright flame directing the society as a whole.
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.
Yajnavalkya likened 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 reachesthat stage when he entertains no personal desires and being fatigued sees no dreams.
The formulas of Brahmasutra have to be interpreted in the light of the events of Badarayanas times like the revolts against Vena and Bali. The desires of one come to be exhibited somehow. It is not possible to suppress them or wise to ignore them.
Brahmasutras, 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 the social periphery. It would however not take into account the issues pertaining to the larger unorganized social universe (jagat)
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. 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 says.
He did not disturb the rights of those social universes in the new sociopolitical constitution that he recommended to the scholars. It brings to the open the distortions and the features of a stable social structure as conceived by the earlier code and accepted by the new one. The new generation too is a part of the larger society and is included in the concept 'atma'though its members had not yet developed their individual identities. It too has the traits of nobility, everlasting noble thoughts.
The rules to be applied to the social universes, jagats, have to be inferred from the contexts. They have equal rights to enjoy the benefits of their labour as the members of the organized social worlds have. Nothing beyond this may be read in these formulas. Badarayana concludes that there is no return to the worldly affairs of one who has realized his talents and reached the highest level.