II-1 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 8

Topic 8 - Brahman though destitute of material and instruments is yet the cause of the world

Sutra 2,1.24

उपसंहारदर्शनान्नेति चेत्, न, क्षीरवद्धि ॥ २४ ॥

upasaṃhāradarśanānneti cet, na, kṣīravaddhi || 24 ||

upasaṃhāra-darśanāt—Because collection of accessories is seen; na—not; iti cet—if it be said; na—not; kṣīravat—like milk; hi—since.

24. If it be said (that Brahman without extraneous aids) cannot (be the cause of the world) because (an agent) is seen to collect materials (for any construction), (we say) no, since (it is) like milk (turning into curds).

We have so far determined that it is in no way unreasonable to hold that the highest Brahman, which is all-knowing, capable of realising its purposes, etc., has all beings, sentient and non-sentient, for its body, and hence constitutes the Self of all and differs in nature from everything else. We now proceed to show that it is not unreasonable to hold that, possessing all those attributes, it is able to effect by its mere will and wish the creation of this entire manifold Universe.--But, it may here be said, it is certainly a matter of observation that agents of limited power are obliged to employ a number of instrumental agencies in order to effect their purposes; but how should it follow therefrom that the view of the all-powerful Brahman producing the world without such instrumental agencies is in any way irrational?--As, we reply, it is observed in ordinary life that even such agents as possess the capability of producing certain effects stand in need of certain instruments, some slow-witted person may possibly imagine that Brahman, being destitute of all such instruments, is incapable of creating the world. It is this doubt which we have to dispel. It is seen that potters, weavers, etc., who produce jars, cloth, and the like, are incapable of actually producing unless they make use of certain implements, although they may fully possess the specially required skill. Men destitute of such skill are not capable of production, even with the help of implements; those having the capacity produce by means of the instruments only. This leads to the conclusion that Brahman also, although possessing all imaginable powers, is not capable of creating the world without employing the required instrumental agencies. But before creation there existed nothing that could have assisted him, as we know from texts such as 'Being only this was in the beginning'; 'there was Nārāyaṇa alone.' Brahman's creative agency thus cannot be rendered plausible; and hence the prima facie view set forth in the earlier part of the Sūtra, 'Should it be said that (it is) not; on account of the observation of employment (of instruments).'

This view is set aside by the latter part of the Sūtra, 'not so; for as in the case of milk.' It is by no means a fact that every agent capable of producing a certain effect stands in need of instruments. Milk, e.g. and water, which have the power of producing certain effects, viz. sour milk and ice respectively, produce these effects unaided. Analogously Brahman also, which possesses the capacity of producing everything, may actually do so without using instrumental aids. The 'for' in the Sūtra is meant to point out the fact that the proving instances are generally known, and thus to indicate the silliness of the objection. Whey and similar ingredients are indeed sometimes mixed with milk, but not to the end of making the milk turn sour, but merely in order to accelerate the process and give to the sour milk a certain flavour.

 Sutra 2,1.25

देवादिवदपि लोके ॥ २५ ॥

devādivadapi loke || 25 ||

devādivat—Like gods and others; api—even; loke—in the world.

25. (The case of Brahman creating the world is) even like the gods and other beings in the world.

As the gods and similar exalted beings create, each in his own world, whatever they require by their mere volition, so the Supreme Person creates by his mere volition the entire world. That the gods about whose powers we know from the Veda only (not through perception) are here quoted as supplying a proving instance, is done in order to facilitate the comprehension of the creative power of Brahman, which is also known through the Veda.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'the observation of employment.'