Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 3-1-3

Topic 3 - The fate after death of those souls whose actions do not entitle them to go to the lunar world

Sutra 3,1.12

अनिष्टादिकारिणामपि च श्रुतम् ॥ १२ ॥

aniṣṭādikāriṇāmapi ca śrutam || 12 ||

aniṣṭādikāriṇām—Of those who do not perform sacrifices etc.; api—even; ca—also; śrutam—is declared by the Śruti.

12. The Śruti declares (the going to the lunar world etc.) also of even those who do not perform sacrifices etc.

Now the question of those who do not perform sacrifices etc. is taken up for discussion.

The opponent holds that even they go to heaven, though they may not enjoy there like the performers of sacrifices etc.,

because they too require the fifth oblation for a new birth, and also because the scriptures directly say that all go to heaven: “All who depart from this world go to the moon” (Kau. 1 . 2).

Sutra 3,1.13

संयमने त्वनुभूयेतरेषामारोहावरोहौ, तद्गति दर्शनात् ॥ १३ ॥

saṃyamane tvanubhūyetareṣāmārohāvarohau, tadgati darśanāt || 13 ||

saṃyamane—In the abode of Yama; tu—but; anubhūya—having experienced; atareṣām—of others (than the performers of sacrifices etc.); ārohāvarohau—the ascent and descent; tadgati darśanāt—such a passage being declared by the Śruti.

13. But of others (i.e. those who have not performed sacrifices etc.) the ascent is to the abode of Yama, and after having experienced (the result of their evil works) the descent (to the earth again takes place). On account of such a passage (for the evil doer) being declared by the Śruti.

This Sutra refutes the view of the last Sutra and says that evil-doers go not to heaven, but to the world of Yama, where they suffer and then descend again to earth.

The hereafter never rises before an ignorant person . . . thus he falls again and again under my sway” (Kath. 1 . 2 . 6).

The ascent to the moon is only for the enjoyment of the fruits of good works and not for any other purpose; so the evil-doers do not go there.

Sutra 3,1.14

स्मरन्ति च ॥ १४ ॥

smaranti ca || 14 ||

smaranti—The Smritis declare; ca—also.

14. The Smṛti also declare (thus).

Manu and others say that the evil-doers go to hell and suffer there.

Sutra 3,1.15

अपि च सप्त ॥ १५ ॥

api ca sapta || 15 ||

api ca—Moreover; sapta—seven.

15. Moreover there are seven (hells).

There are seven hells mentioned in the Purāṇas, to which the evil-doers are cast to expiate their sins through suffering.

Sutra 3,1.16

तत्रापि च तद्व्यापारादविरोधः ॥ १६ ॥

tatrāpi ca tadvyāpārādavirodhaḥ || 16 ||

tatra—There; api—even; ca—and; tat-vyāpārāt—on account of his control; avirodhaḥ—there is no contradiction.

16. And on account of his (Yama’s) control even there (in those hells), there is no contradiction.

An objection is raised that since according to the Śruti the evil-doers suffer at the hands of Yama how this is possible in the hell called Raurava, where Chitragupta is the presiding deity.

The Sutra says that there is no contradiction, as Chitragupta is directed by Yama.

Sutra 3,1.17

विद्याकर्मणोरिति तु प्रकृतत्वात् ॥ १६ ॥

vidyākarmaṇoriti tu prakṛtatvāt || 17 ||

vidyākarmaṇoḥ—Of knowledge and work; iti—thus; tu—but; prakṛtatvāt—on account of their being the subject under discussion.

17. But (the reference is to the two roads) of knowledge and work; thus (we have to understand) on account of their being the subject under discussion.

Now those who go along neither of these ways become those tiny, continually rotating creatures of which it may be said, ‘Be born and die.’ This is the third place. That is why that world (heaven) never becomes full” (Chh. 5. 10. 8).

The two ways mentioned in this text we have to take as referring to those of knowledge and work, on recount of these being the subject under discussion.

Knowledge and work are the mean: to go along the Devayāna and Pitṛyāna routes.

For those who are not entitled to go through knowledge along the Devayāna, the route leading to the gods, or through sacrifices etc. to the Pitṛyāna, the route leading to the fathers, the Śruti declares a third place, distinct from the Brahmaloka and the Chandraloka.

That the evildoers, who form a separate group, go to this third place, and not to heaven, is made all the more explicit by the words, “That is why that world (heaven) never becomes full” (Chh. 5. 10. 8).

The word ‘but’ refutes a possible doubt arising from a text belonging to another Śākhā; vide Kau. 1.2.

So the Kaushitaki text which says that all go to the sphere of the moon, means all those who have performed good Karma of whatever kind, and does not include evil-doers.

Sutra 3,1.18

न तृतीये, तथोपलब्धेः ॥ १८ ॥

na tṛtīye, tathopalabdheḥ || 18 ||

na—not; tṛtīye—in the third; tathā—so; upalabdheḥ—it being seen.

18. (The specification about five oblations does) not (apply) to the third (place), for so it is seen (from the scriptures).

It has been said in Chh. 5.3.3, which is quoted in the first Sutra of this section, that the Jīva attains a new birth after five oblations.

So at least for getting a new body the evil-doer will have to go to the moon, to complete the five oblations that cause the new birth.

This Sutra says that the rule about the five oblations does not apply in the case of evil-doers, for they are born irrespective of the oblations, because the Śruti says, “‘Be born and die.’ This is the third place.”

That rule applies only to the performers of sacrifices etc.

 Sutra 3,1.19

स्मर्यतेऽपि च लोके ॥ १९ ॥

smaryate’pi ca loke || 19 ||

smaryate—Are recorded; api—also; ca—and; loke—in the world.

19. And moreover (cases of birth without the completion of the five oblations) are recorded in the world.

A further argument is given to show that the five oblations are not absolutely necessary for a future birth, and hence the evil-doers need not go to heaven just for conforming to this rule.

For in cases like that of Droṇa, who had no mother, and of Dhriṣṭadyumna, who had neither father nor mother, the last two oblations respectively were absent.

Hence the rule about the five oblations is not universal, but applies only to those who perform sacrifices.

Sutra 3,1.20

दर्शनाच्च ॥ २० ॥

darśanācca || 20 ||

darśanāt—On account of observation; ca—also.

20. Also on account of observation.

That this rule about the five oblations is not universal is also seen from the fact that of the four kinds of life, viviparous, oviparous, life springing from moisture, and plant life,

the last two are born without any mating and consequently there is not the fifth oblation in their case.

Sutra 3,1.21

तृतीयशब्दावरोधः संशोकजस्य ॥ २१ ॥

tṛtīyaśabdāvarodhaḥ saṃśokajasya || 21 ||

tṛtīya-śabda-avarodhaḥ—Inclusion in the third term; saṃśokajasya—of that which springs from moisture.

21. The third term (i.e. plant life) includes that which springs from moisture.

There are four kinds of organic beings as described in the last Sutra. But the Chāṇḍogya Upanishad 6.3.1 mentions only three kinds.

This Sutra says that it makes no difference for that which springs from moisture is included in plant life, since they both germinate, one from the earth and the other from water etc.

Hence it is a settled fact that the evil-doers do not go to heaven but only those who perform sacrifices.