Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Tejo'dhikaranam: Topic 4 (Sutra 10)

Fire originates from air.

Tejo'tah tatha hyaha II.3.10 (226)

Fire (is produced) from this (i.e., air), so verily (declares the Sruti).

Tejah: fire; Atah: from this, namely from air which has been just spoken of in Sutra 8; Tatha: thus, so; Hi: because, verily; Aha: says (Sruti).

Taittiriya Upanishad declares that fire was born of air "Vayoragnih – From air is produced fire" (Tait. Up. II.1). Chhandogya Upanishad declares "That (Brahman) created fire" (Chh. Up. IV.2.3).

The consistency of the two Srutis is shown in Sutra 13.

There is thus a conflict of scriptural passages with regard to the origin of fire. The Purvapakshin maintains that fire has Brahman for its source. Why? Because the text declares in the beginning that there existed only that which is. It sent forth fire. The assertion that everything can be known through Brahman is possible only if everything is produced from Brahman. The scriptural statement "Tajjalan" (Chh. Up. III.14.1) specifies no difference. The Mundaka text (II.1.3) declares that everything without exception is born from Brahman. The Taittiriya Upanishad speaks about the entire universe without any exception "After having brooded, sent forth all whatever there is" (Tait. Up. II.6). Therefore, the statement that 'Fire was produced from air' (Tait. Up. II.1) teaches the order of succession only. "Fire was produced subsequently to air."

The Purvapakshin says: The above two Upanishadic passages can be reconciled by interpreting the Taittiriya text to mean the order of sequence – Brahman after creating air, created fire.

This Sutra refutes this and says that Fire is produced from Vayu or air. This does not at all contradict the Chhandogya text. It means that Air is a product of Brahman and that fire is produced from Brahman, which has assumed the form of air. Fire sprang from Brahman only through intermediate links, not directly. We may say equally that milk comes from the cow, that curds come from the cow, that cheese comes from the cow.

The general assertion that everything springs from Brahman requires that all things should ultimately be traced to that cause, and not that they should be its immediate effects. Thus there is no contradiction. There remains no difficulty.

It is not right to say that Brahman directly created Fire after creating Air, because the Taittiriya expressly says that fire was born of Air. No doubt Brahman is the root cause.