vikāraśabdānneti cenna prācuryāt विकारशब्दान्नेति चेन्न प्राचुर्यात् (I.i.13)

This Brahma Sutra can be split like this: vikāra śabdāt na iti cet na prācuryāt विकार शब्दात् न इति चेत् न प्राचुर्यात्

vikāra śabdāt – word denoting modification (as explained in the previous Brahma Sutra, modifications such as bliss); na iti – not this; na cet – if said like this (Brahman is subject to modification, etc), then it cannot be accepted (because); prācuryāt – present in abundance (Brahman is full of abundance).

The cause of this aphorism is the usage of “maya” (not māyā) in the previous aphorism. For example, previous aphorism said ānandamaya, which means blissful state. This Brahma Sutra clarifies that usage of “maya” does not mean a state that denotes a modification. Such states do not apply to the Supreme Self, also known as Brahman, who is beyond any modifications. In the first place, it is not even correct to say that He is beyond modifications. It is like calling a university professor saying that he has passed his high school. We say that Brahman is beyond all modifications, merely to understand His Supremacy and Grandeur. That is why we say, He is beyond time, space, modifications, bliss, etc. In reality, everything originates from Him. When sea water vaporises to cause rain, the level of sea water does not decrease; nor the sea level increases because of the rain. The level of sea water always remains the same. The same logic applies to Brahman. Though everything originate from Him, He does increase or decrease either due to creation or due to merger – like the sea.

When the previous Brahma Sutra said, “ānandamayaḥ (ānandamayāt), it simply said that Brahman is in the form of Bliss in abundance. This abundance does not get depleted when individual souls attain the state of bliss. How the individual souls attain the state of bliss? It is by becoming closer to Him. Suppose we move closer to the sun, we feel the intent heat of the sun. Because, the sun shines on us, the sun does not lose its heat, even by a fraction. Similarly, when the individual soul is about to attain Brahman, it begins to feel His Bliss.

In fact, there is no difference between the Self and the individual soul. Both are same. The Self is called individual soul, when it is covered by ignorance of māyā.

taddhetuvyapadeśācca तद्धेतुव्यपदेशाच्च (I.i.14)

ca – and; tat hetu – that cause; vyapadeśāt – (because of the) statement (aphorism I.i.12 – ānandamayāt)

Further argument is advanced in support of the previous aphorism (in fact, in support of Brahma Sutra I.i.12). This sūtra says, because the cause of Bliss is Brahman, there cannot be any modification in Brahman by saying that He is in the state of Bliss (ānandamaya). But, what is the authority for this? The authority has already been discussed in sūtra (I.i.12). The authority is Taittirīya Upaniṣad, which says, “The Self within each of us is the source of Bliss.” Therefore, Brahman is only the source of Bliss, like He being the source of everything else. By giving to someone what He has, He is not modified, just like waters of the ocean (these examples are drawn only to make us understand and Brahman can never be explained through these examples, as He is inexplicable).

Thus, after having established that Brahman is beyond modifications, now Brahma Sūtra proceeds to elucidate Him further.

mantravarṇikameva ca gīyate मन्त्रवर्णिकमेव च गीयते (I.i.15)

mantra varṇika eva – the same (Brahman) is described in mantra-s (Vedas); ca – and; gīyate – chanted.

Brahman is praised as the Supreme Self in Veda mantras. Vedas are considered as Supreme, as they are revealed to ancient sages and saints during their deep meditative stage, by means of subtle sound from Cosmos. Vedas cannot be directly understood, as they have too many intricate and subtle conveyances. In order to make them understandable, essence of Vedas are extracted and conveyed through Upaniṣad-s. Taittirīya Upaniṣad (III.6) asks, “Brahman is your own Self. Can you deny your own existence? It is like saying, ‘I do not exist’.” Such revelations are sourced from Vedas. But for the revelations of these Upaniṣad-s, there is no other way to understand Vedas.

This Brahma Sutra says that mantra part of Vedas talk only about Brahman, who is the source of Bliss. Vedas talk about Brahman alone, as there is nothing supreme to Brahman. As Vedas are considered supreme, it is but natural that they ultimately elucidate only Brahman, though subtly. Supremacy of Brahman is gradually being established.  

{Further reading: The Veda-s (वेद) are the most important treatise to the humanity.  They are in classical Sanskrit language that was widely used in ancient Aryan times.  The Vedic verses can be interpreted from various angles like literature, spiritual, religious, grammar, philosophy etc.  Though there are interpretations on Veda-s available today, it is doubtful whether they truly convey the intended meaning.  This is not because of defective interpretations or lack of efficiency of the interpreters, but mainly due to the abilitie-s of Veda-s to communicate both gross and subtle renditions.  A careful reading of Vedic verses reveals that they deal with symbolic separation of bodily organs of the performer and offered to higher energy fields for purification.  Veda-s never advocated physical slaying of animals. But it is wrongly interpreted that various organs of an animal are offered as oblations.  Veda-s originated from divine commune.  For a long time, they were not penned down as the verses and were channeled from a master to his disciples.  The sages have chosen the oral path for communication as these verses relied more on orthoepy to prevent any distortions.   Most of the texts of Veda-s are in the form of verses.  These are called mantra verses and their oral delivery largely depends on phonics and rhythm.   There are portions of prose as well and they are known as Brāhmaṇa (ब्राह्मण) passages.  These passages explain the procedures for rituals and dwell more on the practical side.

There are four Veda-s, Rig, Yajur, Sāma and Atharva (ऋग्, यजुर्, साम, अथर्व).  The first three are known as trividyā (त्रिविद्या) (literal translation – three types of knowledge).  Atharva Veda is not included here because of its late origin.  The origin of the other three Vedas is not known.  But the fact remains that they defied Nature’s fury and continued to guide even in this contemporary world.  Vedas are also known as Śruti-s (श्रुति).  Veda-s in their original form is too difficult to comprehend as they are considered to have been delivered by God Himself to the ancient sages and saints.  The sages conglomerated the speech of God, by colligating their highest level of cosmic intelligence with the Supreme Consciousness.  They memorized these verses and imparted them to their disciples orally.  If the sages had chosen to contrive the Vedas into manuscripts, they could have been destroyed or modified, unable to stand the vagaries of the Mother Nature.  It is beyond the human power to decrypt the speech of God.  To make it possible to some extent, the study of Vedas were divided into various categories and each category was analyzed by the experts in the respective fields.  This study is known as vedāṅga (वेदाङ्ग) that integrates study of phonetics, ritual injunctions, linguistics, grammar, etymology, lexicography, prosody, astronomy and astrology.

The elaborate study of Veda-s would not have been initiated, had it been easier to understand them.  Vedāṅga attempted to corroborate various expert interpretations, thereby making it possible to first understand the gross interpretation and later its subtle conveyance.    It was concluded that Vedas discuss about every act of a human being, from birth to death.  This conclusion was divided into three broad categories known as jñāna, karma and upāsana.  Jñāna means wisdom.  It is not the knowledge of literacy.  This knowledge is known as wisdom.  Knowledge is of mundane type, the psychological result of perception of learning and reasoning.   Wisdom has the ability to apply knowledge gained for the purpose of practical judgment, discrimination and insight.  This is the reason why wisdom is considered superior to knowledge.  The Veda-s both directly and indirectly advocate acquiring of wisdom.  As wisdom can be acquired only through experience, they prescribe karma-s.  Karma-s mean actions.  By repeated actions, experience is gained and by such experience, one is able to discriminate between good and bad.  Next is upāsana which means performance, performance of rituals.  Upāsana differs from karma.  Karma means actions for sustenance.  Upāsana means actions performed to realize God.  The Veda-s give innumerable interpretations to the concept of God.  The basic idea of the Veda-s is to make one realize God, which they call as the Brahman.  To realize the Brahman, the Veda-s insist that one should be proficient in all the three categories.  Therefore, it is made imperative to understand the Veda-s, in their archetypical form, as the verses of Veda-s have deeper implications.}

netro'nupapatteḥ नेत्रोऽनुपपत्तेः (I.i.16)

na itaraḥ - not the other one (individual soul); anupapatteḥ - due to lack of adequate proof;

Ānandamayaḥ does not mean the individual soul. Why? Because, there is no adequate proof. What is the proof that Brahman is ānandamayaḥ? Because, Upaniṣad-s say so. What is the difference between Supreme Soul and the individual soul? Frankly speaking, there is no difference. What is the authority? Again we go back to Upaniṣad-s. Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.1) says, “Brahman decided to become many (manifestation) and He became both sentient and insentient beings. After having created them, He entered into them…..Brahman manifested Itself as everything around us.” This saying of Upaniṣad conveys two things. Without Brahman nothing can exist, as He has to enter into that being (this is known as cause and effect; cause is always Brahman and effect is His manifestation). Secondly, this goes to prove His omnipresence, as whatever we see are only the different shapes and forms of Brahman. Only the outer shapes and forms are different, yet the essence (Brahman) is the same.

Individual soul is being separately explained to enable us to understand the difference between the Self and self. Though the soul always refers to Brahman, the difference between the Self and self is purity of the former and impurity of the later. Let us take a pure diamond stone as an example and let us call this diamond stone as Brahman. This diamond when placed on a palm glitters, as glittering is the natural quality of diamond. Suppose, we put this diamond in a semitransparent cover, and what we see is only a fraction of original lustre of the diamond stone. Though, we have put the diamond in the cover, original lustre of the diamond is not lost and it continues to shine. But the original shine is hindered by the translucent cover. Diamond is Brahman and the translucent cover is māyā.
Therefore, when Brahman (diamond stone) is un-afflicted by māyā, It retains Its original Grandeur, but when encased by māyā (semitransparent cover), It loses Its splendour and appears dull (individual soul). When the Self is present in a body as an individual soul, it is known as jīvātman, as opposed to Paramātman or Brahman. Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.7) confirms this by saying, “If one (jīvātman) thinks that he is separate from Brahman (Paramātman), then Brahman Himself becomes a source of fear for him (jīvātman).”

Therefore, ānandamayaḥ discussed in (I.i.12) refers only Brahman and certainly not the individual soul (because, it is covered by māyā). For those who are not convinced, Brahma Sūtra reaffirms the superiority of Brahman in the next sūtra too.

bhedavyapadeśācca भेदव्यपदेशाच्च (I.i.17)

ca – and; bheda – the difference; vyapadeśāt – (because of) designation (as different from Brahman – difference between the Self and self).

This Brahma Sutra continues to say that ānandamayaḥ refers only Brahman and not the individual soul or jīvātman. Though there is no difference between the two, Brahman is the giver and jīvātman is the receiver. Brahman gives a tiny portion of His Bliss to an individual soul and in spite of having given a tiny portion of His Bliss to the individual soul, Brahman remains the same; He is not depleted after giving a portion of His Bliss to the individual soul.

When the individual soul enters the state of bliss? Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.7) says that Brahman is Blissful and is compared to sweetness. The one, who is able to identify the source of this sweetness and has this sweetness, becomes happy (bliss). Let us look at this through an example. We have milk in a cup. Milk is sugarless. If we want to drink sweetened milk, we need to add sugar. If we need to add sugar, in the first place, we need to know where the sugar is. In other words, we first need to explore and identify sugar. After confirming that it is sugar only, we need to mix this sugar with the milk and the milk gets sweetness. Sweet milk would not have been possible without our efforts in exploring and identifying the sugar. Similarly, if Brahman is explored and identified and is made to pervade the mind, His Bliss will begin to pervade us.

When everything is Brahman, then what is the need to explore and identify Him? Yes, everything is Brahman, but He is sheathed by the veil of māyā. Exploring and identifying Him means the ways and means of removing the veil of māyā, which will be discussed later.

The point highlighted in this aphorism is that the one who gives cannot be identified with the receiver. Brahman is the giver and the individual soul is only the receiver. Hence, ānandamayaḥ refers only the Brahman and not the jīvātman or the individual being.

More related articles:

Brahma Sutra - I.i.12

Brahma Sutra - I.i.18 - 22