Vedanta Sutra
(first century C.E.)
   The Vedanta Sutra is said to have been com-posed by VYASA, but it is also known as Vedanta Ramakrishna Temple, in Ramakrishna Math, Belur, Bengal (Constance A. Jones)
   Sutra and as such is attributed to Badarayana, an ancient sage. A SUTRA is a short aphoristic line of text; Vedanta Sutra can thus be translated as “lines relating to the VEDANTA.” There are about 560 lines in this text.
   The work was composed to resolve difficul-ties in the interpretation of the UPANISHADS and to refute the views of certain opposing schools. Chapter I systematically and with great specific-ity discusses the Upanishad passages dealing with BRAHMAN (the universal reality) and AT M A N (the soul or self). Chapter II is devoted to a refutation of the other interpretations, as presented by the schools of SAMKHYA, YOGA, NYAYA, VAISHESHIKA, MIMAMSA, CHARVAKA, Buddhism, and JAINISM. Chapter III dis-cusses the PRAMANAS, the valid methods of obtain-ing knowledge (such as perception, inference, or scripture) in order to understand the brahman and atman. The fourth and final chapter discusses the results of brahman realization.
   The Vedanta Sutra, Upanishads, and BHAGAVAD GITA form the traditional foundational texts for Vedantic philosophy. As a result, Vedanta Sutra has attracted numerous and varied commentar-ies. SHANKARA, RAMANUJA, and MADHVA all wrote extensive commentaries, which strongly disagree with one another, largely because the extremely concise style of the individual lines often admits to varied interpretations.
   Further reading: V. M. Apte, trans., Brahma-Sutra, Shankara-Bhashya: Badarayana’s Brahma-Sutras with Shankaracharya’s Commentary (Bombay: Popular Book Depot, 1960); Swami Gambhirananda, trans., Brahma-Sutra-Bhasya of Sri Sankaracarya (Calcutta: advaita Ashrama, 1965); S. Radhakrishnan, trans., The Brahma Sutra, the Philosophy of Spiritual Life (New York: Green-wood Press, 1968); S. S. Raghavachar, Sri Bhashya on the Philosophy of the Brahma-Sutra (Bangalore: Sri Lak-shmi Hayagreeva Seva Trust, 1986).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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