Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 1: Smrityadhikaranam: Topic 1 (Sutras 1-2)

Refutation of Smritis not based on Srutis.

Smrityanavakasadoshaprasanga iti chet na anyasmrityanavakasadoshaprasangat II.1.1 (135)

If it be objected that (from the doctrine of Brahman being the cause of the world) there would result the defect of there being no room for certain Smritis (we say) no, because (by the rejection of that doctrine) there would result the defect of want of room for some other Smriti.

Smriti: the Sankhya philosophy; Anavakasa: no room; Dosha: defect; Prasangat: Result, chance; Iti: thus; Chet: if; Na: not; Anyasmriti: other Smritis; Anavakasadoshaprasangat: because there would result the defect of want of room for other Smritis.

The conclusion arrived at in Chapter I – Section IV, that Brahman is the cause of the world is corroborated by Smritis other than Sankhya. The earliest and the most orthodox of these Smritis is the Smriti written by Manu.

If you say that one set of Smritis will be ignored if it is said that Pradhana is not the cause of the world, will not another set of Smritis like Manu Smriti which is based on the Srutis and therefore more authoritative be ignored if you say that Brahman is not the cause? We have shown that the Sruti declares Brahman to be the cause. Only such Smritis which are in full agreement with the Sruti are authoritative. What if Kapila and others are Siddhas? Siddhi (perfection) depends on Dharma and Dharma depends on the Vedas. No Siddha is authoritative if his view is contrary to that of the Sruti. Smritis which are opposed to the Vedas should be rejected ruthlessly.

Kapila acknowledges a plurality of selfs. He does not admit the doctrine of there being one universal Self. The system of Kapila contradicts the Vedas, not only the assumption of an independent Pradhana but also by its hypothesis of a plurality of selfs. We cannot explain the Vedanta texts in such a manner as not to bring them into conflict with Kapila Smriti. Kapila Smriti contradicts the Srutis. Hence it should be disregarded.

The verse V-2 of Svetasvatara Upanishad does not refer to Kapila founder of Sankhya philosophy. It refers to a different being altogether. The verse really means "He who before the creation of the world produced the golden coloured Brahma (Kapila) in order to maintain the universe". The word Kapila means here 'golden coloured' and is another name for Brahma called Hiranygarbha.

Itaresham chanupalabdheh II.1.2 (136)

And there being no mention (in the scriptures) of others (i.e., the effects of the Pradhana according to the Sankhya system), (the Sankhya system cannot be authoritative).

Itaresham: of others; Cha: and; Anupalabdheh: there being no mention.

An argument in support of Sutra 1 is given.

Further such principles as Mahat etc., which are said to be products of Pradhana are perceived neither in the Veda nor in ordinary experience. On the other hand the elements and the senses are found in the Veda and in the world and hence may be referred to in the Smriti. Hence such words as Mahat etc., found in Smritis do not refer to products of Pradhana but to other categories revealed in the Sruti. See I.4.1.

There is no mention of the other categories of the Sankhyas anywhere in the Vedas. Therefore the Sankhya system cannot be authoritative.

Sankaracharya has proved that by the word Mahat we have to understand either the cosmic intellect or Hiranyagarbha or the individual soul, but in no case the Mahat of the Sankhya philosophy i.e., the first product of the Prakriti.

It is not only because Sankhya teaches that Pradhana is the author of creation which makes it unauthoritative, but it teaches other doctrines also which have no foundation in the Vedas. It teaches that souls are pure consciousness and all-pervading, that bondage and freedom is the work of Prakriti. It further teaches that there is no Supreme Self, the Lord of all. It also maintains that Pranas are merely forms of the functions of the five senses and have no separate existence of their own. All these heterodox doctrines are to be found there. Hence the Sankhya system cannot be authoritative.