Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 4: Samjnamurtiklriptyadhikaranam: Topic 9 (Sutras 20-22)

The creation of names and forms is by the Lord and not by the individual soul.

Samjnamurtiklriptistu trivritkurvata upadesat II.4.20 (289)

But the creation of names and forms is by Him who does the tripartite (creation), for so the scriptures teach.

Samjnamurtiklriptih: the creation of name and form; Tu: but; Trivritkurvatah: of Him who does the tripartite creation, of His who made the elements triple; Upadesat: on account of scriptural teaching, as Sruti has stated so. (Samjna: name; Murtih: form; Klriptih: creation; Trivrit: tripartite, compound; Kurvatah: of the Creator.)

The Sruti declares: "That Deity thought, let me now enter those three deities (fire, earth, and water) with this living self (Jivatma) and let me then evolve names and forms; let me make each of these three tripartite" (Chh. Up. VI.3.2).

Here the doubt arises whether the agent in that evolution of names and forms is the Jiva or the individual soul or the Supreme Lord.

The Purvapakshin or the opponent maintains the former alternative on account of the glorification contained in the words "with this living self."

The word 'tu' (but), discards the Purvapaksha. This Sutra refutes it and says: The individual soul has not the power to create the gross world. The entire creation of the world can surely be the work of the Supreme Lord only who created fire, water and earth. The word 'Jiva' in the passage is syntactically related with 'entrance' and not with the creation of names and forms.

That the Supreme Lord is He who evolves the names and forms is acknowledged by all the Upanishads, as we see from such passages as "He who is called ether is the evolver of all names and forms" (Chh. Up. VIII.14).

Further, the next sentence of that text, 'Then that Deity said, "Let me make each of these three elements tripartite" (Chh. Up. VI.3.3), clearly indicates that the Supreme Lord alone creates names and forms, the gross elements and this universe.

The Lord dwells in everything and directs the entire creation. He is the inner director, in the production of pots, etc., by the potter.

Mamsadi bhaumam yathasabdamitarayoscha II.4.21 (290)

Flesh, etc., originates from earth according to the scriptural statement and (so also) in the case of the other (elements, viz., fire and water).

Mamsadi: flesh and the rest; Bhaumam: are effects of earth; Yathasabdam: as Sruti has said so, as declared by the scripture; Itarayoh: of the other two, namely fire and water; Cha: also, and.

Tripartite earth, when assimilated by man, forms flesh, etc. For the text says "Food (earth) when eaten becomes three-fold; its grossest portion becomes faeces, its middle portion flesh, its subtlest portion mind" (Chh. Up. VI.5.1). So also we have to learn from the text the effects of the two other elements, viz., fire and water. Out of the consumed water, the gross portion goes out as urine, the medium portion becomes the blood and the subtle portion becomes Prana. Out of the assimilated fire, the gross portion builds the bones, the medium portion becomes the marrow and the subtle portion becomes speech.

Vaiseshyattu tadvadastadvadah II.4.22 (291)

But on account of the preponderance (of a particular element in them the gross elements) are so named (after it).

Vaiseshyat: on account of the preponderance; Tu: but; Tadvadah: that special name.

Sutra 21 is amplified here.

Here now an objection is raised. If all the gross elements contain the three fine elements, then why there is such distinction as "This is fire, this is water, this is earth?" And, again, why is it said that among the elements of the human body, flesh etc., is the effect of the food that is eaten; blood, etc., the effect of the water that is drunk; bone etc., the effect of the fire eaten?

The word 'tu' (but), removes the objection.

This Sutra refutes the objection.

Even in each element, where the other two elements have combined, it is called so because it is the predominant portion.

Although all things are tripartite, yet we observe in different places a preponderance of different elements. Heat preponderates in fire, water in all that is liquid, food in earth. As the fine elements are not found in equal proportion in each of the gross elements, they are named after that fine element which preponderates in their constitution.

Thus the compound fire is called fire because of the preponderance of pure fire in it. Similarly the Devas are called fiery, because their bodies are made of substances in which fire preponderates.

The repetition 'Tadvadah' – 'that special name' indicates the termination of the Chapter.

Thus ends the Fourth Pada (Section 4) of the Second Adhyaya (Chapter II) of the Brahmasutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.

Here ends Chapter II.