Śāstrayonitvāt शास्त्रयोनित्वात् (I.i.3)

All Śāstra-s originate from Brahman. Śāstra-s here do not mean the śāstra-s of recent origin, compiled and modified to suit convenience. It is not about dos and don’ts. Śāstra-s here mean Vedas, Upaniṣad-s (including Brahma Sūtra), etc. Yoni means the cause. Brahman is the cause for these śāstra-s, which impart higher spiritual knowledge. This also goes to prove that Brahman is the source of everything. Śāstra-s have come into existence because of Brahman. Śāstra-s are too tough to understand in their original forms. Let us take as the example of Brahma Sūtra I.i.2, which says, janmādyasya yataḥ. Nobody can understand what this means unless this aphorism is explained. Aphorism is like a tiny seed, the value of which cannot be understood, unless the seed sprouts, grows and begins to yield. Sprouting, growing and yielding are different types of knowledge Therefore, Sūtra-s as such have no value unless, they are explained. Hence the need for commentary was felt and sages and saints have written commentaries on these Sacred Scriptures for common man like us to understand and follow. It is also said that sages and saints of ancient times could listen to subtle sound, which is considered as the breath of Brahman and could decipher these subtle sounds and compiled them as Vedas. The origin of Vedas and their relevance in the present day world is entirely a different subject that needs significant and detailed deliberations.

This sūtra says that all such great Śāstra-s have originated only from Brahman. This also goes to prove that there is no other source other than Brahman that can create. Therefore, Brahman is not only omnipresent, but also omnipotent. This is authenticated in Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (II.iv.10) which says, “Vedas, history, arts, Upaniṣad-s, verses, aphorisms (like Brahma Sūtra), and explanatory notes on these (Upaniṣad-s, etc) are the breath of Brahman.” Going by this, every shape and form is only illusionary in nature and is susceptible to decay and death. Upaniṣad-s always insist that we should meditate on the formless form of Brahman. The same Upaniṣad insists this point forcefully (I.iv.7) says, “Brahman alone is to be meditated upon, for all these are unified in It.” But due to the inherent māyā, we continue to remain in dualism and follow the path of dvaita philosophy, falsely believing that we are practicing Advaita or non-dualism.  The main reason for this deceptive knowledge is lack of spiritual insight. That is why, Vivekacūḍāmaṇī says in the beginning itself (verse 7), “Let people quote Scriptures, make sacrifices, perform rituals, let them worship different gods; but without indentifying the Self within, liberation is not possible.”

This sūtra says that all Śāstra-s originate from Brahman alone. But how we can realize Brahman through Śāstra-s? First we should know what Śāstra-s are. Śāstra-s are explained as commands, compendium of rules, manual of dos and don’ts. One of the verses in a śāstra says that one should brush his teeth using a twig facing east. There is another verse which says if the twig is not purified with a particular mantra, then the effect of brushing is lost. The question is whether it is possible to follow these dos and don’ts in the present day world. Another verse says that if one eats without performing daily fire ritual and without doing charity, his food becomes poisonous. On the contrary, Vedas never advocate dos and don’ts. Therefore, the usage of śāstra in this aphorism is not the śāstra-s that have originated in later times based upon time, convenience and circumstances.  These śāstra-s have no role to play in realising Brahman. Śāstra-s referred in this aphorism is of highest spiritual knowledge in the form elucidations to various Scriptures like Upaniṣad-s, Brahma Sūtra, etc. Śāstra-s here mean Vedānta. Vedānta is made up of two words Veda and anta. Veda means the four Vedas and anta means the end of Vedas, the boundaries of Vedas, etc. Vedānta begins where Vedas end. Vedānta carries forward the subtle messages conveyed through Vedas, the complete knowledge of the Self. Based upon these realities and practicalities, this sūtra says Śāstrayonitvāt.