Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 1: Introduction

Smriti-nyaya-virodha-parihara forms the topic of the first Pada. The Smritivirodha is dealt with in Sutras 1-3 and 12 also. The Nyayavirodha is treated in the rest of the Sutras. Pada (Section) 2 attacks the various Darsanas or systems of philosophy on their own grounds. The Third and Fourth Padas aim at establishing a unity of purport in the apparently divergent and inconsistent cosmological and psychological thoughts of the several Vedanta passages. Thus the title Avirodha or absence of contradiction given to the chapter is quite appropriate.

It has been shown in the First Chapter that the Omniscient Lord of all is the cause of the origin of the world just as clay is the material cause of pots etc., and gold of golden ornaments. It has been conclusively proved also in the First Chapter that all the Vedanta texts treat of Brahman as the First Cause and that Brahman is the import of all the Vedanta texts. This was established by the Samanvaya.

Just as the magician is the cause of the subsistence of the magical illusion, so also Brahman is the cause of the subsistence of this universe by His Rulership. Just as the four classes of creatures are reabsorbed into the earth, so also, projected world is finally reabsorbed into His essence during Pralaya or dissolution.

It has been further proved also that the Lord is the Self of all beings.

The doctrine of Pradhana being the cause of the world has been refuted in the First Chapter as it is not based on the authority of the scriptures.

In this Section the arguments based on reasoning against the doctrine which speaks of Brahman as the First Cause are refuted. Further arguments which claim their authoritativeness from the Smritis to establish the doctrine of Pradhana and the theory of the atoms are refuted in this Section.


Previously it has been proved on the authority of Sruti that the matter or Pradhana is not the cause of the world. The First Chapter has proved that all the Vedantic texts unanimously teach that there is only one cause of the universe, viz., Brahman, whose nature is intelligence. It has also been proved that there is no scriptural text which can be used to establish systems opposed to the Vedanta, more particularly the Sankhya system.

The first two Padas of the Second Chapter refute any objections which may be raised against the Vedanta doctrine on purely speculative grounds apart from the authority of the Srutis. They also show that no system that cannot be reconciled with the Vedanta can be established in a satisfactory manner.

Section I (Pada) of the Second Chapter proves by arguments that Brahman is the cause of the world and removes all objections that may be levelled against such conclusion.

Adhikarana I:

(Sutras 1-2) refutes the objection of the Sankhyas that the accepting of the system of Vedanta involves the rejection of the Sankhya doctrine which constitutes a part of Smriti and so has claims or consideration. The Vedanta replies that the acceptance of the Sankhya Smriti would force us to reject other Smritis such as the Manu Smriti which are opposed to the doctrine of the Sankhyas. The Veda does not confirm the Sankhya Smriti but only those Smritis which teach that the universe takes its origin from an intelligent creator or intelligent primary cause (Brahman).

Adhikarana II:

(Sutra 3) extends the same line of argumentation to the Yoga-Smriti. It discards the theory of the Yoga philosophy of Patanjali regarding the cause of the world.

Adhikarana III:

(Sutras 4-5) raises an objection that as Brahman and the world are not similar in nature and properties, one being sentient, etc., and the other insentient, etc., Brahman cannot be the cause of the universe.

Adhikarana III:

(Sutras 6-7) refutes the objection by stating that there are instances in the world of generation of the inanimate from the animate as, for instance, the production of hair from the living body, also of the animate from the inanimate as, for instance, the birth of scorpions and other insects from cow-dung. They prove that it is not necessary that the cause and the caused should be similar in all respects.

Adhikarana III:

(Sutra 8) raises an objection that at the time of general dissolution, when the effect (world) is merged in the cause (Brahman), the latter must be contaminated by the former.

Adhikarana III:

(Sutra 9) refutes the objection by showing that there are direct instances to the contrary, just as the products of the earth such as jars etc., at the time of dissolution do not change earth into their own nature; but, on the contrary, they are themselves changed into the substance of earth.

Adhikarana III, Adhikarana IV, Adhikarana IX:

(Sutras 10-11), (Sutra 12), (Sutra 29) show that arguments directed against the view that Brahman is the cause of the world may be levelled against the opponents as well, such as the Sankhyas and the Vaiseshikas, because in the Sankhya system, the nameless Pradhana produces all names and forms and in the Vaiseshika system invisible and formless atoms unite and form a visible world. The Sutras state that arguments may be prolonged without any conclusion being arrived at and that the conclusion of the Vedas only is to be respected. All the views which are antagonistic to the Vedas are ruthlessly refuted.

Adhikarana V:
(Sutra 13) teaches that although the enjoying souls and the objects are in reality nothing but Brahman, yet they may practically be held apart, just as in ordinary life we hold apart and distinguish as separate individual things, the waves, the ripples and foam of the ocean although they are in essence identical and only sea water.
Adhikarana VI:

(Sutras 14-20) treats of the non-difference of the effect from the cause, a doctrine of the Vedanta which is defended by the followers of the Vedanta against the Vaiseshikas. According to the Vaiseshikas, the effect is something different from the cause.

Adhikarana VII:

(Sutras 21-22) refutes the objection that Brahman in the form of the individual soul is subject to pleasure and pain by showing that though Brahman assumes the form of the individual soul, yet He transcends the latter and remains untainted by any property of Jiva whom He controls from within. Though the individual soul or Jiva is no other than Brahman Himself, yet Brahman remains the absolute Lord and as such above pleasure and pain. Jiva is a slave of Avidya. Brahman is the controller of Maya. When Jiva is freed from Avidya, he becomes identical with Brahman.

Adhikarana VIII:

(Sutras 23-25) shows that Brahman, although devoid of material and instruments of action, may yet create the world through His Sat-Sankalpa or will power, just as gods by their mere power of volition create palaces, animals and the like and milk by itself turns into curds.

Adhikarana IX:

(Sutras 26-29) explains that Brahman does not entirely transform Himself into the universe though He is without parts. Although He projects the world from Himself, yet He remains one and undivided. The world is unreal. The change is only apparent like the snake is the rope but not real. Brahman is not exhausted in the creation.

Adhikarana X:

(Sutras 30-31) teaches that Brahman, although devoid of instruments of action, is able to create the universe by means of the diverse powers He possesses.

Adhikarana XI:

(Sutras 32-33) explains that Brahman has no motive in creating the world but projects the universe out of mere sporting impulse which is inherent in Him.

Adhikarana XII:

(Sutras 34-36) justifies Brahman from the charges of partiality and cruelty which are brought against Him owing to the inequality of position and fate of the various persons and the universal suffering in the world. Brahman acts as a creator and dispenser with reference to the merit and demerit of the individual souls.

Adhikarana XIII:

(Sutra 37) sums up the preceding arguments and states that all the attributes of Brahman, viz., Omniscience, Omnipotence and the like, are found appropriate in Brahman alone and none else and are such as to capacitate Him for the creation of the universe. Brahman is, therefore, the cause of the world.