Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


CHAPTER TWO: AVIRODHA ADHYAYA

Section 1: Bhoktrapattyadhikaranam: Topic 5 (Sutra 13)

The distinctions of enjoyer and enjoyed do not oppose unity.


Bhoktrapatteravibhagaschet syallokavat II.1.13 (147)

If it be said (that if Brahman be the cause then) on account of (the objects of enjoyment) turning into the enjoyer, non-distinction (between the enjoyer and the objects enjoyed) would result, we reply that such distinction may exist nevertheless as is experienced commonly in the world.

Bhoktri: one who enjoys and suffers; Apatteh: from the objections, if it be objected; Avibhagah: non-distinction; Chet: if it be said; Syat: may exist; Lokavat: as is experienced in the world.

Another objection based on reasoning is raised against Brahman being the cause and refuted.

The distinction between the enjoyer (the Jiva or the individual soul) and the objects of enjoyment is well known from ordinary experience. The enjoyers are intelligent, embodied souls while sound and the like are the objects of enjoyment. Ramakrishna for instance, is an enjoyer while the mango which he eats is an object of enjoyment. If Brahman is the material cause of the universe, then the world, the effect would be non-different from Brahman. The Jiva and Brahman being identical, the difference between the subject and the object would be annihilated, as the one would pass over into the other. Consequently, Brahman cannot be held to be the material cause of the universe, as it would lead to the sublation of the well-established distinction between the enjoyer and the objects of enjoyment.

If you say that the doctrine of Brahman being the cause of the world will lead to the enjoyer or spirit becoming one with the object of enjoyment (matter), we reply that such differentiation is appropriate in our case also, as instances are found in the universe in the case of ocean, its waves, foams and bubbles and of the Sun and its light. The ocean waves, foams and bubbles are one and yet diverse in the universe. Similarly, are the Brahman and the world. He created and entered into the creation. He is one with them, just as the ether in the sky and the ether in the pot are one although they appear to be separate.

Therefore it is possible to have difference and non-difference in things at the same time owing to the name and form. The enjoyers and the objects of enjoyment do not pass over into each other and yet they are not different from the Supreme Brahman. The enjoyers and objects of enjoyment are not different from the viewpoint of Brahman but they are different as enjoyers and objects enjoyed. There is no contradiction in this.

The conclusion is that the distinction of enjoyers and objects of enjoyment is possible, although both are non-different from Brahman, their Highest Cause, as the instance of the ocean, and its waves, foams and bubbles demonstrates.