Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 1: Upasamharadarsanadhikaranam: Topic 8 (Sutras 24-25)

Brahman is the cause of the world.

Upasamharadarsananneti chenna kshiravaddhi II.1.24 (158)

If you object that Brahman without instruments cannot be the cause of the universe, because an agent is seen to collect materials for any construction, (we say) no, because (it is) like milk (turning into curds).

Upasamharadarsanat: because collection of materials is seen; Na: not; Iti chet: if it be said; Na: no; Kshiravat: like milk; Hi: because, as.

Darsanat: because of the seeing; Iti: thus; Chet: if; Vat: like, has the force of an instrumental case here. (See Sutra of Panini, Tena tulyam kriya etc.)

An objection that materials are necessary for the creation of the world is refuted.

Though Brahman is devoid of materials and instruments, He is yet the cause of the universe. If you object that an efficient cause like a potter is seen to use instruments and therefore Brahman cannot be the material cause as also the efficient cause, we reply that it is like milk turning into curds.

The objector, Purvapakshin, says: Workmen are found to collect materials to do their works. Brahman also must have required materials wherewith to create the world, but there was no other thing than Brahman before creation. He is one without a second. He could not have brought out His work of creation as there was no material, just as a potter could not have made his pots, if there had been no materials like earth, water, staffs, wheels, etc., before him.

This objection has no force. Materials are not required in every case. For instance, milk is itself transformed into curd. In milk no external agency is needed to change it into curds. If you say that in the case of milk heat is necessary for curdling the milk, we reply that heat merely accelerates the process of curdling. The curdling occurs through the inherent capacity of the milk. You cannot turn water into curds by the application of heat. The milk's capability of turning into curd is merely completed by the cooperation of auxiliary means.

Brahman manifests Himself in the form of the universe by His inscrutable power. He simply wills. The whole universe comes into being. Why cannot the Omnipotent Infinite Brahman create the world by His will-power (Sankalpa) alone without instruments and extraneous aids?

Brahman is Omnipotent and Infinite. Hence no extraneous aid or instrument is necessary for Him to create this world.

Thus Sruti also declares "There is no effect and no instrument known of Him, no one is seen like unto or better. His high power is revealed as manifold and inherent, acting as force and knowledge" (Svet. Up. VI.8).

Therefore, Brahman, although one only, is able to transform Himself as this universe of diverse effects without any instrument or extraneous aid, on account of His infinite powers.

Devadivadapi loke II.1.25 (159)

(The case of Brahman creating the world is) like that of gods and other beings in the world (in ordinary experience).

Devadivat: like gods and others (saints); Api: even, also; Loke: in the world.

The word 'vat' has the force of sixth case here. Another reading is 'Iti' (thus), instead of 'Api'.

The argument in support of Sutra 24 is brought forward.

An objector (or Purvapakshin) says: 'The example of milk turning into curds is not appropriate as it is an insentient thing. Intelligent agents like potters begin to do their work after providing themselves with a complete set of instruments. How then can it be said that Brahman, an intelligent Being, can do His work of creation without any auxiliary, without the aid of any constituent materials?' We reply, 'like gods and others.'

We see also that in the world gods and sages create particular things such as palaces, chariots, etc., by force of will, without external aid. Why cannot the Omnipotent Creator create the world by His will-power (Sat Sankalpa) or His infinite power of Maya?

Just as the spider projects out of itself the threads of its web, just as the female crane conceives without a male from hearing the sound of thunder, just as the lotus wanders from one lake to another without any means of conveyance so also the intelligent Brahman creates the world by itself without external instruments or aid.

The case of Brahman is different from that of potters and similar agents. No extraneous means is necessary for Brahman for creation. There is limitation in the creation of pots. The creation of Brahman cannot be limited by the conditions observed in the creation of pots. Brahman is Omnipotent.