II-2 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 7

Topic 7 - Refutation of the doctrine that God is only the efficient, not material, cause of the world

Sutra 2,2.37

पत्युः, असामञ्जस्यात् ॥ ३७ ॥

patyuḥ, asāmañjasyāt || 37 ||

patyuḥ—The Lord’s; asāmañjasyāt—on account of inconsistency.

37. The Lord's (being merely the efficient cause of the world cannot hold good) on account of the inconsistency (of that doctrine).

So far it has been shown that the doctrines of Kapila, Kaṇāda, Sugata, and the Arhat must be disregarded by men desirous of final beatitude; for those doctrines are all alike untenable and foreign to the Veda.

The Sūtras now declare that, for the same reasons, the doctrine of Paśupati also has to be disregarded. The adherents of this view belong to four different classes--Kapālas, Kālamukhas, Pāśupatas, and Śaivas. All of them hold fanciful theories of Reality which are in conflict with the Veda, and invent various means for attaining happiness in this life and the next. They maintain the general material cause and the operative cause to be distinct, and the latter cause to be constituted by Paśupati. They further hold the wearing of the six so-called 'mudrā' badges and the like to be means to accomplish the highest end of man.

Thus the Kapālas say, 'He who knows the true nature of the six mudras, who understands the highest mudrā, meditating on himself as in the position called bhagāsana, reaches Nirvāna. The necklace, the golden ornament, the earring, the head-jewel, ashes, and the sacred thread are called the six mudras. He whose body is marked with these is not born here again.'--Similarly the Kālamukhas teach that the means for obtaining all desired results in this world as well as the next are constituted by certain practices--such as using a skull as a drinking vessel, smearing oneself with the ashes of a dead body, eating the flesh of such a body, carrying a heavy stick, setting up a liquor-jar and using it as a platform for making offerings to the gods, and the like. 'A bracelet made of Rudrākṣa-seeds on the arm, matted hair on the head, a skull, smearing oneself with ashes, etc.'--all this is well known from the sacred writings of the Śaivas. They also hold that by some special ceremonial performance men of different castes may become Brāhmaṇas and reach the highest āśrama: 'by merely entering on the initiatory ceremony (dīkṣā) a man becomes a Brāhmaṇa at once; by undertaking the kapāla rite a man becomes at once an ascetic.'

With regard to these views the Sūtra says 'of pati, on account of inappropriateness.' A 'not' has here to be supplied from Sūtra 32. The system of Paśupati has to be disregarded because it is inappropriate, i.e. because the different views and practices referred to are opposed to one another and in conflict with the Veda. The different practices enumerated above, the wearing of the six mudras and so on, are opposed to each other; and moreover the theoretical assumptions of those people, their forms of devotion and their practices, are in conflict with the Veda. For the Veda declares that Nārāyaṇa who is the highest Brahman is alone the operative and the substantial cause of the world, 'Nārāyaṇa is the highest Brahman, Nārāyaṇa is the highest Reality, Nārāyaṇa is the highest light, Nārāyaṇa is the highest Self'; 'That thought, may I be many, may I grow forth' (Kh. Up. VI, 2, 3); 'He desired, may I be many, may I grow forth' (Taitt. Up. II, 6, 1), and so on. In the same way the texts declare meditation on the Supreme Person, who is the highest Brahman, to be the only meditation which effects final release; cp. 'I know that great Person of sun-like lustre beyond the darkness. A man who knows him passes over death; there is no other path to go' (Svet. Up. III, 8). And in the same way all texts agree in declaring that the works subserving the knowledge of Brahman are only those sacrificial and other works which the Veda enjoins on men in the different castes and stages of life: 'Him Brāhmaṇas seek to know by the study of the Veda, by sacrifice, by gifts, by penance, by fasting. Wishing for that world only, mendicants wander forth from their homes' (Bri. Up. XI, 4, 22). In some texts enjoining devout meditation, and so on, we indeed meet with terms such as Prajāpati, Śiva, Indra, Ākāśa, Prāṇa, etc., but that these all refer to the supreme Reality established by the texts concerning Nārāyaṇa--the aim of which texts it is to set forth the highest Reality in its purity--, we have already proved under I, 1, 30. In the same way we have proved under Sū. I, 1, 2 that in texts treating of the creation of the world, such as 'Being only this was in the beginning,' and the like, the words Being, Brahman, and so on, denote nobody else but Nārāyaṇa, who is set forth as the universal creator in the account of creation given in the text, 'Alone indeed there was Nārāyaṇa, not Brahmā, not Isāna--he being alone did not rejoice' (Mahopanishad I).--As the Paśupati theory thus teaches principles, meditations and acts conflicting with the Veda, it must be disregarded.

Sutra 2,2.38

संबन्धानुपपत्तेश्च ॥ ३८ ॥

saṃbandhānupapatteśca || 38 ||

saṃbandha-anupapatteḥ—Because relation is not possible; ca—and.

38. And because relation (between the Lord and the Pradhāna or the souls) is not possible.

 Sutra 2,2.39

अधिष्ठानानुपपत्तेश्च ॥ ३९ ॥

adhiṣṭhānānupapatteśca || 39 ||

adhiṣṭhāna-anupapatteḥ—Rulership being impossible; ca—and.

39. And on account of the rulership (of the Lord) being impossible.

Those who stand outside the Veda arrive through inference at the conclusion that the Lord is a mere operative cause. This being so, they must prove the Lord's being the ruler (of the material cause) on the basis of observation. But it is impossible to prove that the Lord is the ruler of the Pradhāna in the same way as the potter e.g. is the ruler of the clay. For the Lord is without a body, while the power of ruling material causes is observed only in the case of embodied beings such as potters. Nor may you have recourse to the hypothesis of the Lord being embodied; for--as we have shown under I, 1, 3--there arise difficulties whether that body, which as body must consist of parts, be viewed as eternal or as non- eternal.

Sutra 2,2.40

करणवच्चेत्, न, भोगादिभ्यः ॥ ४० ॥

karaṇavaccet, na, bhogādibhyaḥ || 40 ||

karaṇavat—As the senses; cet—if it be said; na—no; bhogādibhyaḥ—because of enjoyment etc.

40. If it be said (that the Lord rules the Pradhāna etc.) even as (the Jīva rules) the senses (which are also not perceived), (we say) no, because of the enjoyment etc.

It may possibly be said that, in the same way as the enjoying (individual) soul, although in itself without a body, is seen to rule the sense-organs, the body, and so on, the great Lord also, although without a body, may rule the Pradhāna. But this analogy cannot be allowed 'on account of enjoyment,' and so on. The body's being ruled by the soul is due to the unseen principle in the form of good and evil works, and has for its end the requital of those works. Your analogy would thus imply that the Lord also is under the influence of an unseen principle, and is requited for his good and evil works.--The Lord cannot therefore be a ruler.

Sutra 2,2.41

अन्तवत्त्वमसर्वज्ञता वा ॥ ४१ ॥

antavattvamasarvajñatā vā || 41 ||

antavattvam-Subject to destruction; asarvajñatā—non-omnis; —or.

41. (There would result from their doctrine the Lord’s) being subject to destruction or (His) non-omniscience.

'Or' here has the sense of 'and.' If the Lord is under the influence of the Adriṣṭa, it follows that, like the individual soul, he is subject to creation, dissolution, and so on, and that he is not omniscient. The Paśupati theory cannot therefore be accepted.--It is true that the Sūtra, 'but in case of conflict (with Scripture) it is not to be regarded' (Pū. Mī. Sū. I, 3, 3), has already established the non-acceptability of all views contrary to the Veda; the present Adhikaraṇa, however, raises this question again in order specially to declare that the Paśupati theory is contrary to the Veda. Although the Pāśupata and the Saiva systems exhibit some features which are not altogether contrary to the Veda, yet they are unacceptable because they rest on an assumption contrary to the Veda, viz. of the difference of the general, instrumental and material causes, and imply an erroneous interchange of higher and lower entities.--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'Paśupati.'