The ancient Indian Sanskrit literature enjoys many unique features, the most significant among them being the works in the form of sutras. The natural language like the classical Sanskrit is presented by Panini using meta language in his famous grammar sutras. So too, the Astanga yoga is unfolded through sutras by Patanjali. There are many other sutra works covering various topics like logic, ethics and liturgy. While these works are descriptive in nature, we have two analytical sutra works, namely, the Purvamimamsa of Jaimini and the uttara-mimamsa of Bhagavan Vyasa. The Sutras of Jaimini and the analyse and present the karma-kand of the Veda. The work of Bhagavan Vyasa analyses and presents the subject matter of jnana-kanda of the Veda, popularly known as Upanisadas. The work of Vyasa is an important part of the study of Vedanta. The vision of the Veda unfolded in the Upanisadas is analysed thoroughly by the sutras. Being an analytical work, it moves methodically through a binary method of pruva-paksa, objection, and siddhanta, the conclusion.
The tatparya of the Vedanta is arrived at answering all objections as identity between the individual and the Lord, the cause of the world. That this oneness is the vision of the Veda is proved by analysing the relevant sentences of the Upanisadas. Some of these sentences are unequivocal while some others are not. That event he equivocal sentences are of the same vision is proved by looking into the context, results, etc.
In the second chapter, Vyasa discusses very thoroughly all possible objections with regard to the vision of oneness. It looks as though the various schools of philosophy propounded by latter Buddhists like Nagarjuna and others were expected by Vyasa, for he had dealt with all of them. A thorough study of this work does not leave anything to be desired in arriving at the tatparya of the Upanisadas. All possible doubts also resolve for good.
The bhasya of Sankara is a blessing inasmuch as it gives a new lease to the tradition of teaching sampradaya. Following the style of patanjali, the author of Mahabhasya, Sankara is crisp and convincing. There are many people who annotated the commentary of Sankara, sentence by sentence; but for a seeker, the Ratnaprabha of Govindananda is a source of unfailing light. The foot notes, tippani, of the late revered Sri Swami Visnudevananda are also a great help in one’s understanding of some crucial logical, grammatical and philosophical topics.
Here is another blessing for those who have no easy access to Sanskrit in the Hindi translation of Mahamandalesvara Sri Swami Vidyanandagiri. Keeping the Ratnaprabha in view, he was ably translated the bhasya. In the tradition of the study of Brahmasutras, the first four sutras are studied very thoroughly inasmuch as the entire sastra is covered by these four. Keeping this is view, the Kailash Ashram has brought out a separate volume covering the first four sutras with the introduction of Sankara, popularly known as Adhyasa-bhasya. Mandalesvar’s experience in teaching the Vedanta Sastra for years and his thorough knowledge of the various schools of Indian philosophy makes his translation lucid, authentic and thorough.
I invoke the grace of Lord Gangadharesvara with a prayer for this work to find its fulfillment by reaching the deserving jijnasus.
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