II-1 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 7

Topic 7 - Refutation of the objection that if Brahman were the cause of the world, then It and the Jīva being really one, Brahman would be responsible for creating evil

Sutra 2,1.21

इतरव्यपदेशाद्धिताकरणादिदोषप्रसक्तिः ॥ २१ ॥

itaravyapadeśāddhitākaraṇādidoṣaprasaktiḥ || 21 ||

itara-vyapadeśāt—On account of the other being stated (as non different from Brahman); dhita-akaraṇādi-doṣa-prasaktiḥ—defects of not doing what is beneficial and the like would arise.

21. On account of the other (the individual soul) being stated (as non-different from Brahman) there would arise (in Brahman) the defects of not doing what is beneficial and the like.

'Thou art that'; 'this Self is Brahman'--these and similar texts which declare the non-difference of the world from Brahman, teach, as has been said before, at the same time the non-difference from Brahman of the individual soul also. But an objection here presents itself. If these texts really imply that the 'other one,' i.e. the soul, is Brahman, there will follow certain imperfections on Brahman's part, viz. that Brahman, endowed as it is with omniscience, the power of realising its purposes, and so on, does not create a world of a nature beneficial to itself, but rather creates a world non-beneficial to itself; and the like. This world no doubt is a storehouse of numberless pains, either originating in living beings themselves or due to the action of other natural beings, or caused by supernatural agencies. No rational independent person endeavours to produce what is clearly non-beneficial to himself. And as you hold the view of the non-difference of the world from Brahman, you yourself set aside all those texts which declare Brahman to be different from the soul; for were there such difference, the doctrine of general non-difference could not be established. Should it be maintained that the texts declaring difference refer to difference due to limiting adjuncts, while the texts declaring non-difference mean essential non- difference, we must ask the following question--does the non-conditioned Brahman know, or does it not know, the soul which is essentially non-different from it? If it does not know it, Brahman's omniscience has to be abandoned. If, on the other hand, it knows it, then Brahman is conscious of the pains of the soul--which is non-different from Brahman-- as its own pains; and from this there necessarily follows an imperfection, viz. that Brahman does not create what is beneficial and does create what is non-beneficial to itself. If, again, it be said that the difference of the soul and Brahman is due to Nescience on the part of both, and that the texts declaring difference refer to difference of this kind, the assumption of Nescience belonging to the soul leads us to the very alternatives just stated and to their respective results. Should the ajñāna, on the other hand, belong to Brahman, we point out that Brahman, whose essential nature is self-illumination, cannot possibly be conscious of ajñāna and the creation of the world effected by it. And if it be said that the light of Brahman is obscured by ajñāna, we point to all the difficulties, previously set forth, which follow from this hypothesis--to obscure light means to make it cease, and to make cease the light of Brahman, of whom light is the essential nature, means no less than to destroy Brahman itself. The view of Brahman being the cause of the world thus shows itself to be untenable.--This prima facie view the next Sūtra refutes.

Sutra 2,1.22

अधिकं तु, भेदनिर्देशात् ॥ २२ ॥

adhikaṃ tu, bhedanirdeśāt || 22 ||

adhikaṃ—Something more; tu—but; bheda-nirdeśāt—on account of the statement of difference.

22. But on account of the statement (in the Śrutis) of difference (between the individual soul and Brahman) (Brahman the Creator is) something more (than the individual soul).

The word 'but' sets aside the prima facie view. To the individual soul capable of connexion with the various kinds of pain there is additional, i.e. from it there is different, Brahman.--On what ground?--'Owing to the declaration of difference.' For Brahman is spoken of as different from the soul in the following texts:--'He who dwells in the Self and within the Self, whom the Self does not know, of whom the Self is the body, who rules the Self within, he is thy Self, the ruler within, the immortal' (Bri. Up. III, 7, 22); 'Knowing as separate the Self and the Mover, blessed by him he gains Immortality' (Svet. Up. I, 6); 'He is the cause, the Lord of the lords of the organs' (i.e. the individual souls) (Svet Up. VI, 9); 'One of them eats the sweet fruit; without eating the other looks on' (Svet. Up. IV, 6); 'There are two, the one knowing, the other not knowing, both unborn, the one a ruler, the other not a ruler' (Svet. Up. I, 9); 'Embraced by the prāgña. Self (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 21); 'Mounted by the prāgña. Self' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 35); 'From that the ruler of māyā sends forth all this, in that the other is bound up through māyā (Svet. Up. IV, 9); 'the Master of the Pradhāna and the souls, the lord of the gunas' (Svet. Up. VI, 16);'the eternal among eternals, the intelligent among the intelligent, who, one, fulfils the desires of many' (Svet. Up. VI, 13); 'who moves within the Unevolved, of whom the Unevolved is the body, whom the Unevolved does not know; who moves within the Imperishable, of whom the Imperishable is the body, whom the Imperishable does not know; who moves within Death, of whom Death is the body, whom Death does not know; he is the inner Self of all beings, free from evil, the divine one, the one God, Nārāyana'; and other similar texts.

Sutra 2,1.23

अश्मादिवच्च तदनुपपत्तिः ॥ २३ ॥

aśmādivacca tadanupapattiḥ || 23 ||

aśmādivat—Like stones etc.; ca—and; tadanupapattiḥ—its untenability.

23. And because the case is similar to that of stones (produced from the same earth) etc., the objection is untenable.

In the same way as it is impossible that the different non-sentient things such as stones, iron, wood, herbs, etc., which are of an extremely low constitution and subject to constant change, should be one in nature with Brahman, which is faultless, changeless, fundamentally antagonistic to all that is evil, etc. etc.; so it is also impossible that the individual soul, which is liable to endless suffering, and a mere wretched glow-worm as it were, should be one with Brahman who, as we know from the texts, comprises within himself the treasure of all auspicious qualities, etc. etc. Those texts, which exhibit Brahman and the soul in coordination, must be understood as conveying the doctrine, founded on passages such as 'of whom the Self is the body,' that as the Jīva constitutes Brahman's body and Brahman abides within the Jīva as its Self, Brahman has the Jīva for its mode; and with this doctrine the co-ordination referred to is not only not in conflict but even confirms it--as we have shown repeatedly, e.g. under Sū. I, 4, 22. Brahman in all its states has the souls and matter for its body; when the souls and matter are in their subtle state Brahman is in its causal condition; when, on the other hand, Brahman has for its body souls and matter in their gross state, it is 'effected' and then called world. In this way the co-ordination above referred to fully explains itself. The world is non-different from Brahman in so far as it is its effect. There is no confusion of the different characteristic qualities; for liability to change belongs to non-sentient matter, liability to pain to sentient souls, and the possession of all excellent qualities to Brahman: hence the doctrine is not in conflict with any scriptural text. That even in the state of non-separation-described in texts such as, 'Being only this was in the beginning'--the souls joined to non-sentient matter persist in a subtle condition and thus constitute Brahman's body must necessarily be admitted; for that the souls at that time also persist in a subtle form is shown under Sūtras II, I, 34; 35. Non-division, at that time, is possible in so far as there is no distinction of names and forms. It follows from all this that Brahman's causality is not contrary to reason.

Those, on the other hand, who explain the difference, referred to in Sūtra 22, as the difference between the Jīva in its state of bondage and the Jīva in so far as free from avidyā, i.e. the unconditioned Brahman, implicate themselves in contradictions. For the Jīva., in so far as free from avidyā, is neither all-knowing, nor the Lord of all, nor the cause of all, nor the Self of all, nor the ruler of all--it in fact possesses none of those characteristics on which the scriptural texts found the difference of the released soul; for according to the view in question all those attributes are the mere figment of Nescience. Nor again can the Sūtra under discussion be said to refer to the distinction, from the individual soul, of a Lord fictitiously created by avidyā--a distinction analogous to that which a man in the state of avidyā makes between the shell and the silver; for it is the task of the Vedānta to convey a knowledge of that true Brahman which is introduced as the object of enquiry in the first Sūtra ('Now then the enquiry into Brahman') and which is the cause of the origination and so on of the world, and what they at this point are engaged in is to refute the objections raised against the doctrine of that Brahman on the basis of Smriti and Reasoning.--The two Sūtras II, 1, 8; 9 really form a complementary statement to what is proved in the present Adhikaraṇa; for their purport is to show also that things of different nature can stand to each other in the relation of cause and effect. And the Sūtra II, 1, 7 has reference to what is contained in the previous Adhikaraṇa.

Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'designation of the other.'