Srivaishnava Question and Answers – Learners Series – 4

50. What is the importance of Brahma Sutra?

Brahma Sutra is considered very sacred and important. It helps in clarifying and explaining difficult passages in the Upanishads.

51. Who have written commentaries on Brahma Sutra?

This being one of the most important texts, many philosophers have written detailed commentaries. We have the commentaries by Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, besides many others like Nimbarka and Vallabha.

52. How many chapters are there in the Brahma Sutra?

We have four chapters or Adhyayas in the Brahma Sutra. Each of the four chapters consists of four parts or padas. There are 545 Sutras or aphorisms.

53. Please tell me, broadly, the contents of the four chapters of the Brahma Sutra.

The first chapter shows that Brahman is the sole cause of

1) creation of this world.

2) sustenance of this world and also

3) destruction of this world. The second chapter discusses some of the objections in this regard put forth by other schools and proves that Brahman is both the material cause and the instrumental cause of this world. (We will discuss this in detail later) The third chapter talks of salvation: what is meant by salvation and the glory of salvation.

54. What are the most important texts or books which explain the vedanta philosophy?

There are three texts or books which explain the Vedanta philosophy and so they are called Prasthana Traya. They are:

1.Upanishads. 2.Brahma Sutra 3.Bhagavad Gita

These are the most sacred texts. All philosophers have written commentaries on these, trying to prove that these three books support their therory.

55. Which is the most important potion in the Vedas?

The Purusha Sukta is the most important.

56. Which is the most important Smriti?

Manu Smriti is considered the most important.

57. What about the Puranas? Which is considered the most important?

The Vishnu Purana is considered most sacred and important of the Puranas. It is called Puranaratna

58. Which is the most important portion in the Mahabharata?

Bhagavad Gita is the most important.

59. What are the various systems of philosophy?

The systems of philosophy inIndiacan be broadly divided intoNastikaSchoolsandAstikaSchools.

60. What is the Nastika School?

The Nastika School does not accept the authority of Vedas. They only adopt logic and reasoning.

61. What is the Astika School?

The Astika school accepts the authority of Vedas primarily and also uses reasoning and logic.

62. What are the various systems of philosophy coming under the Nastika School?

These are Charvaka system, Buddhism and Jainism.

63. What are the systems coming under Astika School?

We have Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Mimamsa, besides the Vedanta system.

64. What is the Vedantic system of philosophy?

There is no specific single system of philosophy called the Vedantic system. Advaita, Vishshtadvaitha, and Dvaita are the most well- known of the Vedantic systems.

65. What are the other systems of philosophy?

These are: 1. Charvaka system 2. Jainism 3. Buddhism 4. Sankhya system 5. Yoga system 6. Nyaya system 7. Vaiseshika system 8. Mimamsa system

66. Who propounded these systems of philosophy?

Buddhism was propounded by Gautama Buddha and Jainism by Mahavir Jain. The Vaiseshika system was propounded by Kanada and the Yoga system by Brahma. However, modern belief is that the yoga system was founded by Patanjali. The Sankhya System was propounded by Kapila: the Nyaya system by Gautama or Akshapada. The Mimamsa system was advocated by Jaimini.

End of Chapter 1

To be continued….

Source of this content: A Dialog on Hinduism By Sri V.N. Gopala Desikan

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