BADARAYANA—the author of the Brahmasutras, one of the fundamental texts of Vedanta. Other titles of this work: Sharirka- sutra, Shariraka- mimamsa-sutra, Vedanta- sutra, Uttara-mimamsa-sutra, and Bhiksu-sutra. We know nothing about Badarayana and it is difficult to establish the exact dates of his life. Most likely the sutras were written more or less at the same time as Jaimini’s Mimamsa-sutra because the works refer to each other. Badarayana’s first sutra (“athato brahma-jijnasa”) is like a paraphrase of the first sutra of Jaimini’s work (“athato dharma-jijnasa”). Thus the writing of the Brahasutras may be assigned, albeit with great caution, to the third or second century BC (according to K. Potter, around 50 AD).

Badarayana’s work enjoyed great respect among the Vedantists, almost equal to the Shruti, because it was more than once commented upon in whole or in fragments by philosophers of various schools of Vedanta. With the Bhagavadgita and the Upanishads it became part of what is called the prasthana-traya (the triple canon) of Vedanta. The text is divided into four great parts, called adhyaya, each of which is divided into four padas. Each pada is composed of still shorter sections (adhikarana) that are grouped from one to several sutras. The title of the first adhyaya is Samanvaya (harmony). Badarayana trys in it to show the internal coherence of the Upanishads. The second adhyaya is called Avirodha (absence of contradiction) and compares Vedanta with other systems. The third adhyaya, called Sadhana, speaks of the way of liberation. The fourth, Phala, discusses the purpose of Vedanta. As in many other collections of sutras, the continuity of tradition in their interpretation has not been preserved. For this reason the authors of commentaries on the Brahmasutras can be thinkers as different as Shankara (the best known author of the Brahma-sutra-bhasyi, often called by Advaitists “bhasya-kara”, or the “author of the commentary”), Bhaskara, Yadava, Nimbarka, Ramanuya (the second most important commentary Shri-bhasya), Shrikantha, Madhva, Vallabha, and Baladeva. The Brahmasutras do not form a distinct school of Vedanta but allow various Vedantic systems to call upon it and recognize it as a fundamental text.

Brahma-Sutra Shankara- Bhashya, Bom 1960; Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, I Delhi 1970, 19832, I Delhi 1970, 19832, II Delhi 1977, III Pri 1981; P. Deussen, Das System des Vedanta nach den Brahma-Sutra des B. und dem Kommentar des Çankara über dieselben als ein Kompendium über die Dogmatik des Brahmanismus vom Standpunkte des Çankara, L 1883; Complete Works of Sri Sankaracharya in the Original Sanskrit, VII, Madras 1983.

Paweł Sajdek

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