by Swami Sivananda
Brahman is neither partial nor cruel.
Vaishamyanairghrinye na sapekshatvat tatha hi darsayati II.1.34 (168)
Partiality and cruelty cannot (be ascribed to Brahman) on account of His taking into consideration (other reasons in that matter viz., merit and demerit of the souls), for so (scripture) declares.
Vaishamya: inequality, partiality; Nairghrinye: cruelty, unkindness; Na: not (cannot be ascribed to Brahman); Sapekshatvat: because of dependence upon, as it is dependent on something else, i.e., upon the Karma of the souls; Tatha: so; Hi: because; Darsayati: the scripture declares.
The accusation that Brahman is partial and cruel in His creation of the world is removed.
Some are created poor, some rich. Therefore Brahman or the Lord is partial to some. He makes people suffer. Therefore He is cruel. For these two reasons Brahman cannot be the cause of the world. This objection is untenable. The Lord cannot be accused of inequality and cruelty, because enjoyment and suffering of the individual soul are determined by his own previous good and bad actions. Sruti also declares. "A man becomes virtuous by his virtuous deeds and sinful by his sinful acts – Punyo vai punyena karmana bhavati, papah papena" (Bri. Up. III.2.13).
The grace of the Lord is like rain which brings the potency of each seed to manifest itself according to its nature. The variety of pain and pleasure is due to variety of Karma.
The position of the Lord is to be regarded as similar to that of Parjanya, the giver of rain. Parjanya is the common cause of the production of rice, barley and other plants. The difference between the various species is due to the diverse potentialities lying hidden in the respective seeds. Even so, the Lord is the common cause of the creation of gods, men, etc. The differences between these classes of beings are due to the different merit belonging to the individual souls.
Scripture also declares, "The Lord makes him whom He wishes to lead up from these worlds do a good action. The Lord makes Him whom He wishes to lead down do a bad action" (Kau. Up. III.8). "A man becomes good by good work, bad by bad work" (Bri. Up. III.2.13). Smriti also declares that the Lord metes out rewards and punishments only in consideration of the specific actions of beings. 'I serve men in the way in which they approach Me.' (Bhagavad Gita IV.11).
Na karmavibhagaditi chet na anaditvat II.1.35 (169)
If it be objected that it (viz., the Lord's having regard to merit and demerit) is not possible on account of the non-distinction (of merit and demerit before creation), (we say) no, because of (the world) being without a beginning.
Na: not; Karmavibhagat: because of the non-distinction of work (before creation); Iti chet: if it be said, if it be objected in this way; Na: no, the objection cannot stand; Anaditvat: because of beginninglessness.
An objection against Sutra 34 is raised and refuted.
The Sutra consists of two parts, viz., an objection and its reply. The objective portion is 'Na karmavibhagaditi chet' and the reply portion is 'Na anaditvat'.
An objection is raised now. The Sruti says, "Being only this was in the beginning, one without a second." There was no distinction of works before creation of the world. There was only the absolutely One Real Being or Brahman. The creation at the beginning of one man as rich and of another as poor and unhappy cannot certainly depend on the respective previous good or bad deeds. The first creation must have been free from inequalities.
This objection cannot stand. The creation of the world is also without a beginning. There was never a time that may be said to be an absolute beginning. The question of first creation cannot arise. Creation and destruction of the world following each other continually by rotation is without any beginning and end. The condition of individual souls in any particular cycle of creation is predetermined by their actions in the previous cycle.
It cannot be said that there could be no Karma prior to creation, which causes the diversity of creation, because Karma is Anadi (beginningless). Creation is only the shoot from a pre-existing seed of Karma.
As the world is without a beginning, merit and inequality are like seed and sprout. There is an unending chain of the relation of cause and effect as in the case of the seed and the sprout. Therefore, there is no contradiction present in the Lord's creative activity.
Upapadyate chapyupalabhyate cha II.1.36 (170)
And (that the world – and also Karma – is without a beginning) is reasonable and is also seen (from the scriptures).
Upapadyate: is proved by reasoning, is reasonable that it should be so; Cha: and; Api: and, also, assuredly; Upalabhyate: is seen, is found in Sruti or Scriptures; Cha: also, and.
Karma is Anadi (beginningless). This is logical and is supported by scripture. By reasoning also it can be deduced that the world must be beginningless. Because, if the world did not exist in a potential or seed state, then an absolutely non-existing thing would be produced during creation. There is also the possibility of liberated persons being reborn again. Further, people would be enjoying and suffering without having done anything to deserve it. As there would exist no determining cause of the unequal dispensation of pleasure and pain, we should have to submit or assert to the doctrine of rewards and punishments being allotted without reference to previous virtues and vicious deeds. There will be effect without a cause. This is certainly absurd. When we assume effect without a cause, there could be no law at all with reference to the purpose or regularity of creation. The Sruti declares that creation is 'Anadi' (beginningless).
Moreover, mere Avidya (ignorance) which is homogeneous (Ekarupa), cannot cause the heterogeneity of creation. It is Avidya diversified by Vasanas due to Karma that can have such a result. Avidya needs the diversity of individual past work to produce varied results. Avidya may be the cause of inequality if it be considered as having regard to demerit accruing from action produced by the mental suppression of wrath, hatred and other afflicting passions.
The scriptures also posit the existence of the universe in former cycles or Kalpas in texts like, "The creator fashioned the sun and the moon as before" (Rig Veda Samhita, X-190-3). Hence partiality and cruelty cannot be ascribed to the Lord.