By Swami Harshananda
The Brahmasutras is the main and basic treatise on Vedānta philosophy. It is based entirely on the major Upaniṣads. As they are in the form of terse sutras or laconic aphorisms, it cannot be understood without the help of a bhāṣya or a commentary. All the three ācāryas of the major systems of Vedānta have written bhāṣyas on it. The bhāṣya by Śankara is the earliest.
On Śaṅkara’s Brahmasutrabhāsya, three sub commentaries generally known as ṭīkās are very famous. They are:
The Ratnaprabhā is the simplest of the three and often contains the essence of the other two tīkās. It is sometimes also called as Bhāsya-ratnaprabhā. If the bhāṣya of Saṅkara is the ratna or diamond, this ṭikā is its prabhā or light, since it manifests that ‘light’ through its explanations.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore