II-1 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 11

Topic 11 - Brahman’s creation has no motive behind except a sportive impulse

Sutra 2,1.32

न प्रयोजनवत्त्वात् ॥ ३२ ॥

na prayojanavattvāt || 32 ||

na—Not; prayojanavattvāt—on account of having motive.

32. (Brahman is) not (the creator of the world) on account of (every activity) having a motive.

Although the Lord, who before creation is alone, is endowed with all kinds of powers since he differs in nature from all other beings, and hence is by himself capable of creating the world; we all the same cannot ascribe to him actual causality with regard to the world; for this manifold world displays the nature of a thing depending on a motive, and the Lord has no motive to urge him to creation. In the case of all those who enter on some activity after having formed an idea of the effect to be accomplished, there exists a motive in the form of something beneficial either to themselves or to others. Now Brahman, to whose essential nature it belongs that all his wishes are eternally fulfilled, does not attain through the creation of the world any object not attained before. Nor again is the second alternative possible. For a being, all whose wishes are fulfilled, could concern itself about others only with a view to benefitting them. No merciful divinity would create a world so full, as ours is, of evils of all kind--birth, old age, death, hell, and so on;--if it created at all, pity would move it to create a world altogether happy. Brahman thus having no possible motive cannot be the cause of the world.--This prima facie view is disposed of in the next Sūtra.

Sutra 2,1.33

लोकवत्तु, लीलाकैवल्यम् ॥ ३३ ॥

lokavattu, līlākaivalyam || 33 ||

lokavat—As is seen in the world; tu—but; līlākaivalyam—mere pastime.

33. But (Brahman’s creative activity) is mere pastime, as is seen in the world.

The motive which prompts Brahman--all whose wishes are fulfilled and who is perfect in himself--to the creation of a world comprising all kinds of sentient and non-sentient beings dependent on his volition, is nothing else but sport, play. We see in ordinary life how some great king, ruling this earth with its seven dvīpas, and possessing perfect strength, valour, and so on, has a game at balls, or the like, from no other motive than to amuse himself; hence there is no objection to the view that sport only is the motive prompting Brahman to the creation, sustentation, and destruction of this world which is easily fashioned by his mere will.