Kāmācca nānumānāpekṣā कामाच्च नानुमानापेक्षा (I.i.18)

kāmāt – (due to) indulgence in desire or due to desire; ca – and; na – not (negation); anumāna – inference; apekṣā – consideration.

This Brahma Sutra also continues with the elucidation of sūtra 12 (Brahman alone is Bliss). Blissful state can be attained only from Brahman and not from any other sources like Prakṛti, which is insentient in nature or from prādhana, as said in Sāṁkhya philosophy. Bliss can be attained only from Brahman, as this fact has been repeatedly explained in Upaniṣad-s. Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.6) says, “Brahman willed to create and created everything that exists.” This means it is only Brahman who decided to create and having decided to create, He Himself became many. The question is, when He has become many, how Bliss alone can originate from someone else? Therefore, going by Upaniṣad-s, we can conclude that Bliss also originates from Him, like everything else.

It is also important to note that Brahman alone is Ānandamaya (made of Bliss). Individuals cannot be ānandamaya; they can only enter into the state of ānanda but cannot become embodiment of ānanda (Ānandamaya).

Asimannasya ca tadyogaṁ śāsti असिमन्नस्य च तद्योगं शास्ति (I.i.19)

asmin – the Blissful state of Brahman (Ānandamaya); asya – an individual (jīvātman); ca – and; tadyogaṁ - that union (union between the Self and self); śāsti – directions (teachings of Upaniṣad-s).
Upaniṣad-s say that liberation means, union of jīvātman with Brahman, who is Ānandamaya (embodiment of Bliss). Brahman is omnipresent and when the individual soul gets itself identified with Brahman, naturally the individual soul, which has become part of the Self, sees through the eyes of the Self (not in literal sense). How Brahman sees the world? According to Īśa Upaniṣad (7), It sees “ātmā eva” (the Self is one) and “sarvāṇi bhūtāni” (all beings are Brahman; Brahman is implied here).

Blissful state can be experienced by an individual soul. But the ndividual soul cannot become ānandamaya, until the individual soul becomes one with Brahman, who alone is Ānandamaya under all circumstances, as Brahman alone does not undergo modifications.

Antastaddharmopadeśāt अन्तस्तद्धर्मोपदेशात् (I.i.20)

antaḥ - within (refers to Brahman, the Self); tat (tad) dharma – essential attributes; upadeśāt – teachings.

Brahman is within and His essential attributes are being imparted.  This aphorism categorically endorses the essence of the teachings of Upaniṣad-s. What is the essence of teaching in all Upaniṣad-s?
The essence is “You are Brahman” or “You are that”, where you refer to a place within, as described in Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.i.13), which says that Brahman is in the size of a thumb, shines like a smokeless flame in a cave, situated in the heart. Cave in the heart, size of the thumb, smokeless flame, etc are only mental abstractions, for the sake of understanding (Brahman (Brahman can be understood only through mind).  Chāndogya Upaniṣad (III.xiv.3) also endorses this point of view. It says, “My Self within my heart is smaller than a grain of rice, barley, mustard seed…The Self in my heart is largen than the earth….” Without these examples, the Grandeur and Supremacy of Brahman cannot be explained. If He has a shape or form, He can be explained; since He is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest and is beyond normal human contemplation, such examples are given. The same Upaniṣad (I.iii.15) describes Brahman; “The Self is soundless, touch less, formless, un-decaying, tasteless and eternal without beginning and without end” a perfect ‘description’ of Brahman. Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VII.xxiv.1) explains Brahman in a more subtle manner. It says, “Brahman is that, in which one sees nothing else, hears nothing else and finds nothing else.” This saying refers to Infinity, an exclusive attribute of Brahman made known to us. Known to us, because, He cannot be seen and can only be understood and realized.

These are the essential ‘qualities’ of Brahman. We are not talking about nirguṇa Brahman (without attributes). We are only talking about saguṇa Brahman (with attributes). Nirguṇa Brahman is beyond any logical explanation.

Bhedavyapadeśāccānyaḥ भेदव्यपदेशाच्चान्यः (I.i.21)

bheda- difference; vyapadeśāt – statement; ca – and; anyaḥ - different.

Because of the differences mentioned in Upaniṣad-s, Brahman is different (from others).

Brahman, who is the Self, is different from others such as individual beings because, the differences are brought out in Upaniṣad-s. The question is whether the Self and self are different? Yes, say Upaniṣad-s. What is the difference? Brahman is Ānandamaya. Why individual soul is not ānandamaya? It is because the individual soul is veiled by māyā. It is like dark cloth covering a bright light. Because of the thick veil, the bright light cannot be seen. But, at the same time, the bright light continues to shine. The quality of the light does not change. It continues to be the same. Same is the case with Brahman.

Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad quotes several examples in chapter III.vii. Let us take one example from this chapter. The Upaniṣad says (III.vii.9), “He who inhabits the sun is within it and the sun does not know this, and whose body is the sun and who controls the sun from within, is the Internal Ruler (Brahman), your own immortal Self.” It is one of the examples. Brahman pervades the sun and by pervading the sun, Brahman occupies the sun and sun is not aware of the presence of Brahman within. Not only Brahman is within, by remaining in the sun, Brahman’s body has now become the sun (every body is the manifestation of Brahman). This means, if Brahman is not present in the sun, the existence of the sun itself is not possible. Now, we understand that Brahman, by being present within, causes the gross body. Without the presence of Brahman, gross body is not possible. Now, the sun has a gross body. But, how the activities of the sun are controlled? Brahman by being present in the sun, Brahman Himself controls the activities of the sun. One of the Upaniṣad-s say that due to fear for Brahman, every object like sun, moon, fire, air, etc function properly. For them, Brahman is a terror. Concept karma does not apply to these elements. This Upaniṣad (III.viii.11) again says, “This immutable is never seen, but remains only as Witness. He is never heard, but He is the hearer (as a witness). There is no other witness and there is no other hearer.” Omnipresence and omnipotence of Brahman are being established gradually. This aphorism says that the individual soul is different from the Supreme Soul. Upaniṣad did not say that the sun is Brahman. The sun is known as sun, only because of the presence of Brahman within, who not only gives an outer shape and form to the sun, but also determines its activities, such as its heat, light, etc. Same is the case with human beings.

ākāśastalliṅgāt आकाशस्तल्लिङ्गात् I.i.22)

ākāśa – space; tat liṅgāt – (because of the presence of) special symptoms.

Space is also Brahman due to the presence of certain special characteristics.  What are those special characteristics of space? Chāndogya Upaniṣad (I.ix.) says, “Everything that exists arises from the space and goes back to space. Space is superior to everything.” Contextually, ākāśa is not the sky that we see. Sky cannot be Brahman, simply because we are able to see the sky. Here ākāśa refers to Infinity. We say that Vedas originated from ākāśa; this does not mean that Vedas originated from the sky. Vedas originated from Infinity, in the form of subtle sound.

There is another ākāśa referred in Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.1) which says, “tasmāt vai etasmāt ātmanaḥ ākāśāḥ saṁbhūtaḥ”, which means From Brahman came space. Therefore, ākāśa referred in this Brahma Sutra does not mean the sky, but Infinite Brahman. But why ākāśa is drawn as reference? It is absolutely appropriate to draw this reference as ākāśa literally means vacuity (vacuum), supposed to fill and pervade the universe and to be the peculiar vehicle of life and of sound. This is what Vedānta says.

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