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BĀDARĀYAA , reputed author of the Vedānta Sūtra (Brahma Sūtra ), the source text for all subsequent philosophical Vedānta. No biographical information is available; the name may be a convenient surrogate for the process of redaction that eventuated in the present text. Indeed, a recent tradition identifies Bādarāyaa with Vyāsa, the eponymous "compiler" of much late Vedic and epic material, including the Mahābhārata.

The name Bādarāyaa occurs in the Mīmāmā Sūtra (1.5) of Jaimini, there referring to a i to whose opinion on an important point Jaimini seems to defer. If the Vedānta Sūtra is indeed Bādarāyaa 's, then he also refers to himself in the context of other teachers whose disputations evidently formed the beginnings of early Vedānta speculation (Vedānta Sūtra 4.4.57).

Modern discussion of Bādarāyaa is focused chiefly on the date of the sūtra text, on Bādarāyaa 's "relations" to other post-Upaniadic teachers, notably Jaimini, and on the question of which of his many commentators has been most faithful to his thought. Paul Deussen in general prefers Śakara's monistic version, the oldest extant commentary, but others (George Thibaut, Vinayaka S. Ghate, and Louis Renou) have suggested important reservations in this view and have often concluded that Rāmānuja's bhedābheda ("difference within unity") more accurately reflects Bādarāyaa's original thesis. The discussion is made extremely difficult by the fact, universally admitted, that Bādarāyaa's sūtras, of an extreme brevity and terseness, are often unintelligible without an explanatory commentary.

Bādarāyaa's relation to the i of the other (Pūrva) Mīmāsā, Jaimini, is again not easy to decipher. The names appear in the collections attributed to the other teacher, which has led many to suspect that the two may have been close contemporaries. But the doctrines that they espouse in these stray passages do not seem clearly related to the perhaps later massive schism implied by the existence of the separate text collections to which their names were attached. What is clear is that they were preeminent among the many teachers whose names alone survive. The date of Bādarāyaa is also closely tied to that of Jaimini but, like all such early Indian dating, is highly speculative and often circularly argued. If, as Renou concludes, Bādarāyaa does directly confront the Buddhist Mahāyāna in several sūtras (see 2.2.2832), then his date cannot be much earlier than the third century of our era. But Jaimini's date is sometimes put back as far as the third century bce (see, e.g., Jacobi, 1911). Bādarāyaa's name had of course become associated with the sūtra text by the time of Śakara (early eighth century).

The text itself is composed of 555 sūtras, grouped in four major chapters (adhyāyas ), each with four subdivisions (pādas ). Commentators have further identified various "topics" within each pāda, but the number and boundaries of these differ markedly from one commentator to another. In general, the first chapter is fundamental, treating brahman as the one source of the world. It argues that the various Upaniadic teachings concerning brahman present one doctrine. Much of the discussion in the fourth pāda appears directed against the Sākhya. The second chapter refutes speculative objections to the Vedānta theses from the Sākhya, Nyāya, and Bauddha schools and discusses certain problems of "realism," notably whether the world is "caused" or not. The third chapter treats the individual soul (jīva ) and how it "knows" brahman. The final chapter, on "fruits," discusses meditation and the condition of the liberated soul before and after death.

See Also

Mīmāsā; Vedānta.


The Vedānta Sūtra has been translated by George Thibaut as The Vedānta Sūtras of Bādarāyaa in "Sacred Books of the East," vols. 34, 38, and 48 (Oxford, 18901904). Thibaut's work contains an extensive introduction to the text. Important secondary sources include Paul Deussen's Das System des Vedānta (Leipzig, 1883), translated by Charles Johnston as The System of the Vedānta (Chicago, 1912); Hermann Jacobi's Zur Frühgeschichte der indischen Philosophie (Berlin, 1911); Vinayaka S. Ghate's Le Vedānta: Études sur les Brahma-Sūtras et leurs cinq commentaires (Paris, 1918); and Louis Renou and Jean Filliozat's L'Inde classique, vol. 2 (Hanoi, 1953).

New Sources

Adams, George C. The Structure and Meaning of Badarayana's Brahma Sutras: A Translation and Analysis of Adhyaya. Delhi, 1993.

Badarayana. The Vedantasutras of Badarayana: Wth the Commentary of Baladeva Translated by Srisa Chandra Vasu. New Delhi, 2002.

Edwn Gerow (1987)

Revised Bibliography