A Source Book of Advaita Vedanta by Eliot Deutsch, J. A. B. van Buitenen

By Eliot Deutsch, J. A. B. van Buitenen

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Sample text

One does not incur sin when doing the action prescribed by one's own nature. One should not abandon his natural-born action, 0 Arjuna, even if it be faulty, for all undertakings are clouded with faults as fire by smoke. He whose intelligence is unattached everywhere, whose self is conquered, who is free from desire, he obtains, through renunciation, the supreme perfection of actionlessness. Learn from me, briefly, 0 Arjuna, how he who has attained perfection, also attains to Brahman, the highest state of wisdom.

For Vedanta the soul is agent, the one himself responsible for his acts, who is therefore also the one who undergoes the results of these acts. The soul as agent and experient is an assumption demanded by the Mimiimsii theory of task but productive of profound problems that faced the later philosophers. In a way a commentary on the Brahmasutras, in principle, does away with the need for a direct study of the Upani~ads themselves; nevertheless, the major philosophers address themselves directly to the Upani~ads, either in the form of commentaries or by a treatise about them.

Thought. c. ' The importance of the s~riikhya for Indian thought lies primarily in its theory of cosmic evolution. , is incorporated into) Vedanta, but not its metaphysical basis or its spiritual interpretation. According to the Siimkhya, the evolution of the world is the result of an interraction between two primal and irreducible prin3. See pp. 150--151 for a description of the status of Samkara's commentary on the Brahmasiitras in the Advaitic school of Vedanta. 4. rhkhyapra11acan~­ siitra once ascribed to Kapila but now believed to have been wnttE_m m the fourteenth century.

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