Is not the inquiry into “sachchidanand” the same as Badarayana’s “Athato brahman jigyasa”?
Badarayana’s statement, “Athato brahman jigyasa” is one of the most potential statements ever made. It means, “Now begins the inquiry into the ultimate.” It is the first statement in his Brahmasutra: Maxims About The Ultimate, one of the greatest mystic books in the world. This is the first sentence of that strange book, but one of the most significant books that has ever been written.
I call it strange because Badarayana is not much known in the world, although in India he is the only mystic on whose maxims thousands of commentaries have been written. Each of his statements is so pregnant with meaning that you can go on commenting on it in a thousand and one ways. Still it seems something inexhaustible has remained behind. This is the only book which has commentaries, then commentaries on commentaries, then again commentaries on those commentaries.
For almost two thousand years all the great geniuses of this great country have been in some way or other connected with Badarayana. And still his name is not known in the world. Perhaps the reason is that nothing is known about him except the book. About his personal life absolutely nothing is known. Whether he was a historical person or not is very difficult to say. But one thing is certain, whoever wrote the book, whatever his name was, was certainly one of the greatest mystics of the world. So what is the problem calling him Badarayana?
The book is historical; it has existed for two thousand years and is one of the books – the only one – which has been spread through so many commentaries, in so many complexities, that almost every philosopher in India became involved in some way or other. There is no other book in the world which has been commented upon so much. It can mean only one thing: that his statements are almost mines of meaning. You can go on digging and you will go on finding more and more, fresher sources of water, fresher sources of meaning and significance.
Sachchidanand is not equivalent to Athato brahma jigyasa. Athato brahma jigyasa – “Now begins the inquiry into the ultimate” – is the first step and sachchidanand is the last step. What begins as an inquiry…sachchidanand is not an inquiry, it is the ultimate result of the inquiry. You have come to the conclusion. The statement of Badarayana is the beginning and sachchidanand is the end. They are not synonymous, although they are connected deeply with each other. Without the inquiry there is no possibility of realizing the conclusion. Hence Badarayana comes first.