[Advaita-l] Chatusutri

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Apr 19 04:56:00 CDT 2011

On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 1:03 PM, Ramakrishna Upadrasta <
uramakrishna at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2011/4/19 Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>:
> > [Changing the topic to something more suitable.]
> >
> > On Mon, 18 Apr 2011, Venkata sriram P wrote:
> >
> >> It is also interesting to note that for Brahmasutra,
> >> there is also a short treatise by Sankara called "chatusutri" which
> >> is a short commentary on 4 Sutras of BS.
> >>
> >
> > Chatusutri refers to the first four brahmasutras  and Shankaracharyas
> > bhashya on them is referred to as adhyAsabhAShya.  It may be studied
> Isn't adhyAsabhAShya just the bhashhya of introducton to brahmasUtra-s?
> namaste
> Ramakrishna

Yes. The  very name 'adhyAsabhAShya' is  of a later origin.  The
'introduction' by Shankara to His own BrahmasUtra bhAShya is called
'upodghAtaH' which name too Shankara has not given.  This portion starting
with the sentence 'yuShmadasmat....' and ending with the sentence
'yathAchaayamarthaH....pradarshayiShyAmaH' is what is popularly termed '
'adhyAsabhAShya'.  The actual bhAShya for the first four sutra-s along with
this 'adhyAsabhAShya' may be collectively called the 'chatussUtrI'.  In any
case the study of the bhashya for the first four sutras is not without
studying the upodghAtaH.  Commentators like for example the author of the
RathnaprabhA have written elaborately on the adyAsabhAShya, especially the
very opening sentences, and shown how the very first sUtra 'atha ataH
brahmajijnAsA' itself lends to the incidence, sambhAvanA, of adhyAsa and
thereby shown the 'adhyAsabhAShya's need and relevance to the first sUtra.

This is the last sentence of the upodghAta ('adhyAsabhAShya') :
यथाचायमर्थः सर्वेषां वेदान्तानां तथा वयमस्यां शारीरकमीमांसायां
प्रदर्शयिष्यामः ।
Here Shankara declares that all the Upanishads have this avowed purpose of
eradicating the samsaara-causing ignorance, adhyAsa, root-and-branch by
bestowing the knowledge of the One Atman.  The word 'prahANAya' suggests
this removal of adhyAsa along with its cause.  This last is the opinion
expressed by Vidwan Dr.Mani Dravid ShastrigaL recently at the Holenarasipur

After so saying, Shankara commences the sUtrabhAShya proper with the
following sentence where the connection between the upodghAta and the next
sentence is clear: the words शारीरकमीमांसायां and वेदान्तमीमांसाशास्त्रस्य
being very prominent.

The bhashya for the first sUtra commences with this sentence of Shankara,
introducing the sUtra:

वेदान्तमीमांसाशास्त्रस्य व्याचिख्यासितस्य इदं आदिमं सूत्रम् -

Of course one might argue that Shankara did not make any distinction between
the upodghAtaH and the sUtra bhashya proper; He would have written one full
length essay.  Yet the available edited material we have today makes a
distinction on the above lines.  Shankara has indeed written such
'upodghAtaH' for the Kathopanishad, for instance.  Here He has chiefly
deliberated on the etymological meaning of the word 'upaniShat' and stated
the anubandha-chatuShTaya (adhikaari, viShaya...).  Even here,  He ends this
short essay with the words: .......एता वल्ल्यो भवन्ति इत्यतः ता यथाप्रतिभानं
व्याचक्ष्महे । [....to the best of our capacity we shall
elucidate/explain.]  One can notice the* first person plural *expression
प्रदर्शयिष्यामः  in the Brahmasutra instance and the  व्याचक्ष्महे in the
Kathopanishat instance.  This kind of usage just before taking up the main
original work for commenting must have prompted the traditional editors to
think that there is a portion which could be designated the 'upodghAtaH' and
differentiate it from the main body of the bhAShya.  However, bhAShya pAThaH
covers all these portions without distinction.


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