The Brahmasutras by Badarayana or Veda Vyasa are
also known as Vedantasutras or Vyasasutras. They are the sacred
philosophical book of sutras or aphorisms that summarize the
teachings of the Upanishads. The Brahmasutras have 550
sutras arranged in four parts, dealing with the Ultimate
Reality or Brahman, atman, jagat, maya and mukti or
moksha. The sutras are very short statements, sometimes
consisting of only two or three words. They cannot be
understood properly without a profound teacher of a living
tradition or a commentary (bhashya) of the great, erudite
The Brahmasutras are one of the three most important
works of Indian philosophy, called the Prasthanatrayi. The
Upanishads are called Shrutiprasthana, the Brahmasutras are
Nyayaprasthana and the Bhagavad Gita is Smrutiprasthana.
Prasthana means a treatise.
The Brahmasutras are a work of philosophy based
on logic or Nyaya, whereas the other two are based on
Shruti and Smruti traditions respectively. The Brahmasutras were a part of the ancient oral tradition of the Vedanta system. Their sutras were memorized by students and the meanings were explained by authorized teachers.
The Brahmasutras begin with the sutra, "Athato Brahma
jignasa", which means, "Now then [let us have] an enquiry
about Brahman" and concludes with the sutra, "Anavruttihi
sabdat, Anavruttihi sabdat," which means, "Not returning
back in samsara in the mundane world – which means the attainment of mukti."
In the first chapter (or pada) there is a discussion on
Brahman as the sole and supreme cause of all things and
rejection of other philosophical systems (i.e., Sankhya, etc.)
that do not accept Brahman to be the Supreme Reality.
In the second chapter, arguments for the rejection of
Sankhya continue from the first chapter. The Bhagavata
system is mentioned at the end.
The third chapter deals with jivatma. There is also
a discussion on the state of dreams, dreamless sleep,
meditation and types of knowledge of Brahman.
The fourth chapter continues discussing the topic of
meditation and it ends with the description of conditions of
a knower of Brahman after his death.
The Brahmasutras say that Vedic authority is the highest
in matters of moksha. The Brahmasutras became so popular
that almost all the renowned acharyas wrote their commentaries on them. The first commentary available to us is that of Adi Shankaracharya who wrote the Shankarabhashya to establish his own school of Kevaladvaita Vedanta.
Some of the acharyas who have written commentaries on
the Brahmasutras are as follows:
The above mentioned eight well-known schools of
Vedanta are but a few of the many important ones. Each of
the acharyas explained the most diverse philosophical and
theological views in their interpretation of the very same
aphorisms. They have the liberty to interpret, because the
sutras are brief, containing mostly two, three or four Sanskrit
words which have more than two or three meanings.
Undoubtedly the Brahmasutras have influenced all
important aspects of Hindu philosophy, religion and culture,
including the modern Hindu movements.
Q1. What is written in
The Brahma Sutra is the Nyaya prasthana, the logical
text that sets forth the philosophy systematically. The Brahma Sutra consists
of 555 aphorisms or sutras, in 4 chapters, and each chapter is divided into 4
sections. The first chapter (Samanvaya: harmony) explains that all the Vedantic
texts talk of Brahman, the ultimate reality, which is the goal of life.
The second chapter (Avirodha: non-conflict)
discusses and refutes the possible objections against Vedanta's
philosophy. The third chapter (Sadhana: the means) describes the process by
which ultimate emancipation can be achieved. The fourth chapter (Phala: the
fruit) talks of the state that is achieved in final emancipation.
Q2. What is Brahmasutra
Shiva-Lingas are symbols. Specimens of various types
have been traced at various levels of the archaeological strata all across the
Indian subcontinent. The Hindus worship it as the apex symbol and know them as
religion-related members of archaeology. Many specimens have on them a line
drawn in an angled\circular format called Brahmasutra.
This is considered as Sahara-Linga and the common Shiva-Linga
which have the Brahmasutra engraved on them. The Sahara-Linga; the Siva-Lingas
and the Brahmasutra jointly/severally posit as extraordinary archaeological
members, that embeds ancient engineering, mathematics, and elements of astronomy.
A Brahma Sutra Shiva Lingam is located
at Adhabhi Ramagundam in Peddapalli Telangana.
Q3. What is Brahmasutra in
According to Vastu principles, through the center of
every building runs the central energy axis or the Brahma Sutra. Careful design
of the building, utilizing the Brahma sutra brings prosperity and well-being to
the inhabitants of the home. The ancient Indian row houses (or Agraharam) make
use of this principle where the Brahma sutra acts as a channel for Praana
replenishment for the occupants.
Taking the center, the lines from west to east is
Brahmaputra, the line in the center from south to north is yamasutra, from
southwest to the northeast corner is Kamasutra, that passing from northwest to
the southeast corner, and is mruthyu sutra.
Q4. What does Brahmasutra
The Brahma Sutras distill and consolidate the
extensive teachings found in a variety of Upanishads of
Hinduism, summarizing, arranging, unifying, and systematizing the Upanishadic
theories. This was achieved by Jaimini's Mimamsa-sutra which focused on
externalized rituals as the spiritual path, while Badarayana's
Brahma Sūtras focused on internalized philosophy as the
The text reviews and holds Yoga and Samkhya in high
regard. The text cites and quotes the Kaushitaki Upanishad and the Shvetashvatara
Upanishad in several sutras. The contents of the text also acknowledge,
analyze, and mention the various Vedic schools.
Q5. How many Brahma Sutras
According to some, there are 555 verses. Brahma
Sutras According to Sri Ramanuja, by Swami
Vireswarananda and Swami
Adidevananda, there are 544 verses. This summary of panchayat agamas says
there are 565.
The same Sutra sometimes yields just the opposite meaning
by a mere shifting of the stops. The total number of Sutras differs in the
various commentaries, a single Sutra is split into two, or two Sutras are
combined into one, or a Sutra is dropped, or a new one is added. Some Sutras
convey different meanings at different places. Hence the commentaries interpret
the Sutras according to their predilections.
Q6. Who among the following
was a commentator of Brahmasutra?
The commentary of Sri Nimbarkacharya is known as
Vedanta Parijata Saurabha. Sri Vallabhacharya expounded his system of
philosophy known as Suddhadwaita (pure monism) and his commentary on the Brahma
Sutras is known as Anu Bhashya.
Sankara Bhashya is the oldest of all commentaries.
It upholds Suddha Para Brahman or the Supreme Self of the Upanishads as
something superior to other divine beings. It propounds a very bold philosophy
and declares emphatically that the individual soul is identical to the Supreme
Self. Sankara’s philosophical view accurately represents the meaning of
Badarayana. His explanations only render the intended meaning of Sri Vyasa.
Email a Friend