II-1 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 12

Topic 12 - Partiality and, cruelty cannot be attributed to Brahman

Sutra 2,1.34

वैषम्यनैर्घृण्ये न, सापेक्षत्वात्,
तथा हि दर्शयति ॥ ३४ ॥

vaiṣamyanairghṛṇye na, sāpekṣatvāt,
tathā hi darśayati || 34 ||

aiṣamyanairghṛṇye—Partiality and cruelty; na—not; sāpekṣatvāt—on account of Its taking into consideration (other reasons); tathā—so; hi—because; darśayati—declares.

34. Partiality and cruelty cannot (be attributed to Brahman) on account of Its taking into consideration (other reasons in that matter), because (the scripture) declares (it to be) so.

It must indeed be admitted that the Lord, who differs in nature from all other beings, intelligent and non- intelligent, and hence possesses powers unfathomable by thought, is capable of creating this manifold world, although before creation he is one only and without parts. But the assumption of his having actually created the world would lay him open to the charge of partiality, in so far as the world contains beings of high, middle, and low station--gods, men, animals, immovable beings; and to that of cruelty, in so far as he would be instrumental in making his creatures experience pain of the most dreadful kind.--The reply to this is 'not so, on account of there being regard'; i.e. 'on account of the inequality of creation depending on the deeds of the intelligent beings, gods, and so on, about to be created.'--Śruti and Smriti alike declare that the connexion of the individual souls with bodies of different kinds--divine, human, animal, and so on--depends on the karman of those souls; compare 'He who performs good works becomes good, he who performs bad works becomes bad. He becomes pure by pure deeds, bad by bad deeds' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 5). In the same way the reverend Parāsara declares that what causes the difference in nature and status between gods, men, and so on, is the power of the former deeds of the souls about to enter into a new creation--'He (the Lord) is the operative cause only in the creation of new beings; the material cause is constituted by the potentialities of the beings to be created. The being to be embodied requires nothing but an operative cause; it is its own potentiality which leads its being into that condition of being (which it is to occupy in the new creation).' Potentiality here means karman.

Sutra 2,1.35

न कर्माविभागादिति चेत्, न, अनादित्वात् ॥ ३५ ॥

na karmāvibhāgāditi cet, na, anāditvāt || 35 ||

na—not; karmāvibhāgāt—for want of distinction in work; iti cet—if it be said; na—no; anāditvāt—because of (the world) being without a beginning.

35. If it be said (that is) not (possible) for want of any distinction in work (before creation), (we say) no, because of (the world) being without a beginning.

Sutra 2,1.36

उपपद्यते चाप्युपलभ्यते च ॥ ३६ ॥

upapadyate cāpyupalabhyate ca || 36 ||

upapadyate—Is reasonable; ca—and; api—and; upalabhyate—is seen; ca—also.

36. And (that the world is without a beginning) is reasonable and is also seen (from the scriptures).

But before creation the individual souls do not exist; since Scripture teaches non-distinction 'Being only this was in the beginning.' And as then the souls do not exist, no karman can exist, and it cannot therefore be said that the inequality of creation depends on karman.--Of this objection the Sūtra disposes by saying 'on account of beginninglessness,' i.e. although the individual souls and their deeds form an eternal stream, without a beginning, yet non-distinction of them 'is reasonable' (i.e. may reasonably be asserted) in so far as, previous to creation, the substance of the souls abides in a very subtle condition, destitute of names and forms, and thus incapable of being designated as something apart from Brahman, although in reality then also they constitute Brahman's body only. If it were not admitted (that the distinctions in the new creation are due to karman), it would moreover follow that souls are requited for what they have not done, and not requited for what they have done. The fact of the souls being without a beginning is observed, viz., to be stated in Scripture, ‘The intelligent one is not born and dies not' (Ka. Up. I, 2, 18); so also the fact of the flow of creation going on from all eternity, 'As the creator formed sun and moon formerly.' Moreover, the text, 'Now all this was then undeveloped. It became developed by form and name' (Bri. Up. I, 4, 7), states merely that the names and forms of the souls were developed, and this shows that the souls themselves existed from the beginning. Smriti also says, 'Dost thou know both Prakriti and the soul to be without beginning?' (Bha. Gī. XIII, 19.)--As Brahman thus differs in nature from everything else, possesses all powers, has no other motive than sport, and arranges the diversity of the creation in accordance with the different karman of the individual souls, Brahman alone can be the universal cause.