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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Prithivyadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutra 12)

Earth is created from water.

Prithivi adhikararupasabdantarebhya II.3.12 (228)

The earth (is meant by the word 'Anna') because of the subject matter, colour and other Sruti texts.

Prithivi: earth; Adhikara: because of the context, because of the subject matter; Rupa: colour; Sabdantarebhyah: on account of other texts (Sruti).

The same thing may be said of earth.

"From water sprang earth" (Tait. Up. II.1). "It (water) produced Anna (literally food)" (Chh. Up. VI.2.4). The two Sruti texts are apparently contradictory, because in one text water is said to produce earth and in another food.

The Sutra says that 'Anna' in the Chhandogya text means not food but earth. Why? On account of the subject matter, on account of the colour, and on account of other passages. The subject matter in the first place is clearly connected with the elements, as we see from the preceding passages. "It sent forth fire; it sent forth water." In describing the creative order we cannot jump from water to cereals without having the earth. The creative order referred to is in regard to the elements. Therefore 'Anna' should refer to an element and not food.

Again we find in a complementary passage, "The black colour in fire is the colour of Anna" (Chh. Up. VI.4.1). Here, the reference to colour expressly indicates that the earth is meant by 'Anna'. Black colour agrees with earth. The predominant colour of earth is black. Eatable things such as cooked dishes, rice, barley and the like are not necessarily black. The Pauranikas also designate the colour of the earth by the term 'night'. The night is black. We, therefore, conclude that black is the colour of earth, also.

Other Sruti texts like "What was there as the froth of the water, that was hardened and became the earth." (Bri. Up I.2.2), clearly indicate that from water earth is produced.

On the other hand the text declares that rice and the like were produced from the earth, "From earth sprang herbs, from herbs food" (Tait. Up. II.1.2).

The complementary passage also, "whenever it rains" etc., pointing out that owing to the earthly nature of food (rice, barley, etc.), earth itself immediately springs from water.

Therefore, for all these reasons the word 'Anna' denotes this earth. There is really no contradiction between the Chhandogya and Taittiriya texts.