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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda



In Topic 5, Section 1, it has been shown that as the Pradhana of the Sankhyas is not based on the authority of the scriptures and that as all the Sruti texts refer to an intelligent principle as the first cause, Brahman is the first cause.

The nature of Brahman has been defined in I.1.2. It has been shown that the purport of all Vedanta texts is to set forth the doctrine that Brahman and not the Pradhana, is the cause of the world.

The Sankhyas say that it has not been satisfactorily proved that there is no scriptural authority for the Pradhana, because some Sakhas contain expression which seem to convey the idea of the Pradhana.

This Pada or Section proceeds to deal with the consideration of other Vedic texts which are asserted by the Sankhyas to declare that the Pradhana is the cause of the universe.

The whole of Section 4 gives suitable and cogent answers to all objections raised by the Sankhyas.


The fourth Pada or Section of the first Chapter is specially directed against the Sankhyas. This Section examines some passages from the Upanishads where terms occur which may be mistaken for the names of the insentient matter of Sankhyas. It declares authoritatively that the Vedanta texts lend no support whatsoever to the Sankhya theory of creation or the doctrine of Pradhana. This Section proves that Brahman is the material as well as the efficient cause of the universe.

Adhikarana I:

(Sutras 1-7) discusses the passage in Katha Upanishad I-3-10, 11 where mention is made of the great (Mahat) and the undeveloped (Avyaktam). Avyakta is a synonym for Pradhana in the Sankhya Sastra. 'Mahat' means intellect in Sankhya philosophy. Sri Sankaracharya shows that the term Avyakta denotes the subtle body or Sukshma Sarira as well as the gross body also and the term Mahat Brahman or the Supreme Self.

Adhikarana II:

(Sutras 8-10) shows that according to Sankara the tri-coloured 'Aja' spoken of in the Svetasvatara Upanishad IV.5 is not the Pradhana of the Sankhyas but either that power of the Lord from which the world takes its origin or the primary causal matter first produced by that power.

Adhikarana III:

(Sutras 11-13) shows that the 'Pancha-pancha- janah' mentioned in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV-4-17 are not the twenty-five principles of the Sankhyas.

Adhikarana IV:

(Sutras 14-15) shows that although there is conflict as regards the order of creation, scripture does not contradict itself on the all-important point of Brahman i.e., a Being whose essence is intelligence, which is the cause of this universe.

Adhikarana V:

(Sutras 16-18) proves that "He who is the maker of those persons, of whom this is the work" mentioned in Kau. Up. IV-1-19 is not either the Prana (the vital air) or the individual soul, but Brahman.

Adhikarana VI:

(Sutras 19-22) decides that the "Self to be seen, to be heard" etc. (Bri. Up. II-4-5) is the Supreme Self, but not the individual soul. The views of Jaimini, Asmarathya, Audulomi and Kasakritsna are expressed.

Adhikarana VII:

(Sutras 23-27) teaches that Brahman is not only the efficient or operative cause (Nimitta) of the world, but its material cause as well. The world springs from Brahman by way of modification (Parinama Sutra 26).

Adhikarana VIII:

(Sutra 28) shows that the refutation of the Sankhya views is applicable to other theories also such as the atomic theory which says that the world has originated from atoms, etc.