by Swami Sivananda
Brahman abiding within the element is the creative principle.
Tadabhidhyanadeva tu tallingat sah II.3.13 (229)
But on account of the indicating mark supplied by their reflecting, i.e., by the reflection attributed to the elements, He (i.e., the Lord is the creative principle abiding within the elements).
Tat (Tasya): His (of Brahman); Abhidhynat: because of the volition, reflection; Eva: even, only; Tu: but; Tat lingat: because of His indicating marks; Sah: He.
The contention raised in Sutra 10 is now refuted.
The word 'tu' (but) is used in order to remove the doubt.
The Purvapakshin or the objector says: The Srutis declare that Brahman is the creator of everything. But the Taittiriya Upanishad says "From Akasa sprang air" (Tait. Up. II.1). This indicates that certain elements produce certain effects independently. There is contradiction in the Sruti passages. This Sutra refutes this objection.
Creation of Akasa, fire, wind, water is done solely to God's will. One element cannot create another element out of its own power. It is God in the form of one element that creates another element therefrom by His will.
The elements are inert. They have no power to create. Brahman Himself acting from within the elements was the real creator of all those elements. You will find in Brihadaranyka Upanishad "He who dwells within the fire, who is different from fire, whom fire does not know, whose body is fire, who rules the fire from within, is Thy Immortal Atman, the Inner Ruler within" (Bri. Up. III.7.5).
This Sruti text indicates that the Supreme Lord is the sole Ruler and denies all independence to the elements.
Though it is stated in the Chhandogya Upanishad that the elements have created each one, the other next of it, yet the Supreme Lord is indeed the creator of everything because Sruti declares that Brahman has created this world by the exercise of His will.
Texts such as "He wished may I become many, may I grow forth" (Tait. Up. II.6) and "It made itself its Self," i.e., the Self of everything which exists (II.7) – indicates that the Supreme Lord is the Self of everything. The passage "There is no other seer (thinker) but He" denies there being any other seer (thinker), that which is (i.e., Brahman) in the character of seer or thinker constitutes the subject matter of the whole Chapter, as we conclude from the introductory passage "It thought, may I be many, may I grow forth" (Chh. Up. VI.2.3).
In the Chhandogya Upanishad it is stated "That fire thought. That water thought." Reflection is not possible for the inert elements. The Supreme Lord, the Inner Ruler of all elements, the Indweller within the elements reflected and produced the effects. This is the real meaning. The elements became causes only through the agency of the Supreme Lord who abides within them and rules them from within. Therefore there is no contradiction at all between the two texts.
For a wise man who reflects and cogitates there is no contradiction. The Sruti texts are infallible and authoritative. Remember this point well always. The Sruti texts have come out from the hearts of realised sages who had direct intuitive experience in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. They are neither fictitious novels nor products of the intellect.