One of the most fascinating and useful aspects of the Vedic Literature are the Brahma Sutras. For anyone interested in living Brahman Consciousness, the Brahma Sutras are very important.
Badarayana - Ved Vyasa
The Brahma Sutras were composed by Badarayana, also known as Ved Vyasa, the author of the Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata. Badarayana is an avatar of Vishnu and one of the eight Chiranjivin (immortals). He is the son of Parashara and Satyavati, born on an island in the river Yamuna. Badarayana became an adult immediately upon birth, and adopted the lifestyle of an ascetic.
The Brahma Sutras are composed of four Adhyaya (Chapters):
Samanvaya - Samanvaya means "reconcilation" or "establishing harmony"
Avirodha - Avirodha means "non-conflict"
Sadhana - Sadhana is "means"
Phala - the "fruit" or "bliss"
There is a commentary on the Brahma Sutras by Adi Sankara which provides great intellectual insights and into each Sutra. His commentary or Bhasya is the crest jewel of of his writtings. Those who are in Brahman Consciousness will find this commentary very blissful. The common mistake today is to assume one can achieveBrahman Consciousnes by studying the commentary. The Brahma Sutra Bhasya are of value to those not in Brahman Consciousness, but the study of Brahma Sutra Bhasya will not cause Brahman Consciousness to dawn.
The Brahma Sutras do not have to be translated and commentaries do not have to be studied in order to attain Brahman Consciousness. The Brahma Sutras are pointers to the transcendental, beyond the mind. If we attempt to understand the Brahma Sutras on the surface level of the meaning of words, then the mind will become caught up in the words and we will miss Brahman. Brahman is not a thing to be known. Brahman is for Being. Brahman is the essence of Being, the silence of Being.
The Brahma Sutras are to be known in silence and are revealed in silence. The true knowledge of Brahman is in the gap between the sutras. Think a sutra then transcend. Perform samyama on the sutra - drop the sutra into pure consciousness, then be in the silence. The manifestation of the sutra will spring forth with the fullness of Brahman. Each sutra has this power, this mission and this glory.
The first sutra points the way to the dawn of Brahman Consciousness - the desire for knowledge of Brahman:
Now, therefore, the enquiry into Brahman.
Atha: now, then, afterwards; Atah: therefore; Brahmajijnasa: a desire for the knowledge of Brahman (the enquiry into the real nature of Brahman).
In the second sutra we are given the pointer to the origin of the world:
(Brahman is that) from which the origin etc., (i.e. the origin, sustenance and dissolution) of this (world proceeds).
Janmadi: origin etc.; Asya: of this (world); Yatah: from which.
The third sutra is about the importance of Sastra. Sastra is sometimes translated as scriptures or holy texts. What makes the Sastras holy texts is their ability to reveal Brahman. Sastras may be in the form of sutras, as in the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, or the Brahma Sutras. Sastras may be in the form of prose, such as the Bhagavat Gita, or the Srimad Bhagavatum. In all cases, Sastras are writings that have as their sole purport the knowledge of Brahman.
The ultimate author of all Sastras is Lord Brahma, the creator of our Universe. Our Universe is a dream in the Mind of Lord Brahma and we are His dream creatures. When those who are awake record the thoughts of Lord Brahma, Sastras are the result.
The proper way to study Sastras is through the practice of samyama. One must not allow the mind to get caught up in trying to "understand" the Sastras. This understanding that the mind offers is very superficial and will not get at the Truth. Instead we do NOT try to understand the Sastras, we simply, innocently read the Sastras and then look inward for the revelation of the Truth they contain.
The scripture being the source of right knowledge.
Sastra: the scripture; Yonitvat: being the source of or the means of the right knowledge. The Omniscience of Brahman follows from His being the source of scripture.
The fifth sutra reminds us that thinking about Brahman is not realization of Brahman:
Thinking about (Brahman) is not (Brahman because thinking) is not subtle (enough for the realization of Brahman).
Ikshateh: on account of seeing (thinking); Na: is not; Asabdam: not subtle.
If you have not mastered the art of samyama, an excellent way to proceed with the enquiry into Brahman is through the Brahma Sutras Course. This course contains a book with the full Brahma Sutra Sastra and a special CD that superimposes the Brahma Sutras on the background of a specially formulated binaural tone that causes the mind to enter the delta state through a frequency following response. In this induced delta state, there is loss of body awareness and the thinking mind shuts down while awareness of the Self remains. The result is guided samyama on the Brahma Sutras.