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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 2: Antaryamyadhikaranam: Topic 5 (Sutras 18-20)

The internal ruler is Brahman.

Antaryamyadhidaivadishu taddharmavyapadesat I.2.18 (49)

The internal ruler over the gods and so on (is Brahman) because the attributes of that (Brahman) are mentioned.

Antaryami: the ruler within; Adhidaivadishu: in the gods, etc.; Tat: His; Dharma: attributes; Vyapadesat: because of the statement.

A passage from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is now taken up for discussion. In Bri. Up. III-7-1 we read "He who within rules this world and the other world and all beings" and later on "He who dwells in the earth and within the earth, whom the earth does not know, whose body the earth is, who rules the earth from within, he is thy Self, the ruler within, the immortal" etc., III-7-3.

Here a doubt arises whether the Inner Ruler (Antaryamin) denotes the individual soul or some Yogin endowed with extraordinary powers such as for instance, the power of making his body subtle or the presiding deity or Pradhana or Brahman (the Highest Self).

The Purvapakshin or the opponent says: Some god presiding over the earth and so on must be the Antaryamin. He only is capable of ruling the earth as he is endowed with the organs of action. Rulership can rightly be ascribed to him only. Or else the ruler may be some Yogin who is able to enter within all things on account of his extraordinary Yogic powers. Certainly the supreme Self cannot be meant as He doesnot possess the organs of actions which are needed for ruling.

We give the following reply. The internal Ruler must be Brahman or the Supreme Self. Why so? Because His qualities are mentioned in the passage under discussion. Brahman is the cause of all created things. The universal rulership is an appropriate attribute of the Supreme Self only. Omnipotence, Selfhood, Immortality, etc., can be ascribed to Brahman only.

The passage "He whom the earth does not know," shows that the Inner Ruler is not known by the earth-deity. Therefore it is obvious that the Inner Ruler is different from that deity. The attributes 'unseen', 'unheard', also refer to the Supreme Self only Which is devoid of shape and other sensible qualities.

He is also described in the section as being all-pervading, as He is inside and the Ruler within of everything viz., the earth, the sun, water, fire, sky, the ether, the senses, etc. This also can be true only of the Highest Self or Brahman. For all these reasons, the Inner Ruler is no other but the Supreme Self or Brahman.

Na cha smartamataddharmabhilapat I.2.19 (50)

And (the Internal Ruler is) not that which is taught in the Sankhya Smriti (viz., Pradhana) because qualities contrary to its nature are mentioned (here).

Na: neither; Cha: also, and; Smartam: that which is taught in (Sankhya) Smriti; Ataddharmabhilapat: because qualities contrary to its nature are mentioned.

An argument in support of Sutra 18 is given.

The word Antaryamin (Inner Ruler) cannot relate to Pradhana as it has not got Chaitanya (sentiency) and cannot be called Atman.

The Pradhana is not this 'Internal Ruler' as the attributes "He is the immortal, unseen Seer, unheard Hearer" etc., "There is no other seer but He, there is no other thinker but He, there is no other Knower but He. This is the Self, the Ruler within, the Immortal. Everything else is of evil" (Bri. Up. III-7-23), cannot be ascribed to the non-intelligent blind Pradhana.

The Purvapakshin or the opponent says: Well then, if the term 'Internal Ruler' cannot denote the Pradhana as it is neither a Self nor seer it can certainly denote the individual soul or Jiva who is intelligent and therefore sees, hears, thinks and knows, who is internal and therefore of the nature of Self. Further the individual soul is capable of ruling over the organs, as he is the enjoyer. Therefore the internal ruler is the individual soul or Jiva.

The following Sutra gives a suitable answer to this.

Sariraschobhaye'pi hi bhedenainamadhiyate I.2.20 (51)

And the individual soul (is not the Internal Ruler) for both also (i.e. both recensions viz., the Kanva and Madhyandina Sakhas of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad) speak of it as different (from the Internal Ruler.)

Sarirah: the embodied, the individual soul; Cha: also, and; (Na: not); Ubhaye: the both namely the recentions Kanva and Madhyandinas; Api: even, also; Hi: because; Bhedena: by way of difference; Enam: this, the Jiva; Adhiyate: read, speak of, indicate.

The argument in support of Sutra 18 is continued. The word 'not' is to be supplied from the preceding Sutra.

The followers of both Sakhas speak in their texts of the individual soul as different from the internal ruler. The Kanvas read "He who dwells in Knowledge – Yo vijnane tishthan" Bri. Up. III-7-22. Here 'knowledge' stands for the individual soul. The Madhyandinas read "He who dwells in the Self – ya atmani tishthan". Here 'Self' stands for the individual soul. In either reading the individual soul is spoken of as different from the 'Internal Ruler', for the Internal Ruler is the Ruler of the individual soul also.

The difference between the Jiva and Brahman is one of Upadhi (limitation). The difference between the Internal Ruler and the individual soul is merely the product of ignorance or Avidya. It has its reason in the limiting adjunct, consisting of the organs of action, presented by ignorance. The difference is not absolutely true. Because the Self within is one only; two internal Selfs are not possible. But on account of limiting adjuncts the one Self is practically treated as if it were two, just as we make a distinction between the ether of the jar and the universal ether.

The scriptural text "where there is duality, as it were, there one sees another" intimates that the world exists only in the sphere of ignorance, while the subsequent text "But when the Self only is all this how should one see another" declares that the world disappears in the sphere of true knowledge.