Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 2: Patyadhikaranam: Topic 7 (Sutras 37-41)

Refutation of the Pasupata System.

Patyurasamanjasyat II.2.37 (208)

The Lord (cannot be the efficient or the operative cause of the world) on account of the inconsistency (of that doctrine).

Patyuh: of the Lord, of Pasupati, of the Lord of animals; Asamanjasyat: on account of inconsistency, on account of untenableness, inappropriateness.

The Pasupatas or the Mahesvaras are divided into four classes, viz., Kapala, Kalamukha, Pasupata and Saiva. Their scripture describes five categories, viz., Cause (Karana), Effect (Karya), Union (Yoga by the practice of meditation), Ritual (Vidhi) and the end of pain or sorrow (Duhkhanta), i.e., the final emancipation. Their categories were revealed by the great Lord Pasupati Himself in order to break the bonds of the soul called herein Pasu or animal.

In this system Pasupati is the operative or the efficient cause (Nimitta Karana). Mahat and the rest are the effects. Union means union with Pasupati, their God, through abstract meditation. Their rituals consist of bathing thrice a day, smearing the forehead with ashes, interturning the fingers in religious worship (Mudra), wearing Rudraksha on the neck and arms, taking food in a human skull, smearing the body with ashes of a burnt human body, worshipping the deity immersed in a wine-vessel. By worshipping the Pasupati the soul attains proximity with the Lord, and there accrues a state of cessation of all desires and all pains which is Moksha.

The followers of this school recognise God as the efficient or the operative cause. They recognise the primordial matter as the material cause of the world. This theory is contrary to the view of the Sruti where Brahman is stated to be both the efficient and the material cause of the world. Hence the theory of Pasupatas cannot be accepted.

According to Vedanta, the Lord is both the efficient and the material cause of the universe. The Naiyayikas, Vaiseshikas, Yogins and Mahesvaras say that the Lord is the efficient cause only and the material cause is either the atoms, according to the Naiyayikas and Vaiseshikas, or the Pradhana, according to the Yogins and Mahesvaras. He is the ruler of the Pradhana and the souls which are different from Him.

This view is wrong and inconsistent. Because God will be partial to some and prejudiced against others. Because some are prosperous, while others are miserable in this universe. You cannot explain this saying that such difference is due to diversity of Karma, for if the Lord directs Karma, they will become mutually dependent. You cannot explain this on the ground of beginninglessness, for the defect of mutual dependence will persist.

Your doctrine is inappropriate because you hold the Lord to be a special kind of soul. From this it follows that He must be devoid of all activity.

The Sutrakara himself has proved in the previous Section of this book that the Lord is the material cause as well as the ruler of the world (efficient or the operative cause).

It is impossible that the Lord should be the mere efficient cause of the world, because His connection with the world cannot be established. In ordinary worldly life we see that a potter who is merely the efficient cause of the pot has a certain connection with the clay with which he fashions the pot.

The Srutis emphatically declare 'I will become many' (Tait. Up. II.6). This indicates that the Lord is both the efficient and the material cause of the universe.

Sambandhanupapattescha II.2.38 (209)

And because relation (between the Lord and the Pradhana or the souls) is not possible.

Sambandha: relation; Anupapatteh: because of the impossibility; Cha: and.

The argument against the Pasupata view is continued.

A Lord who is distinct from the Pradhana and the souls cannot be the ruler of the latter without being connected with them in a certain way. It cannot be conjunction (Samyoga), because the Lord, the Pradhana and the souls are of infinite extent and destitute of parts. Hence they cannot be ruled by Him.

There could not be Samavaya-sambandha (inherence) which subsists between entities inseparably connected as whole and part, substance and attributes etc., (as in the case of Tantu-pata, thread and cloth), because it would be impossible to define who should be the abode and who the abiding thing.

The difficulty does not arise in the case of the Vedantins. They say that Brahman is Abhinna-Nimitta-Upadana, the efficient cause and the material cause of the world. They affirm Tadatmya- sambandha (relation of identity). Further they depend on the Srutis for their authority. They define the nature of the cause and so on, on the basis of Sruti. They are, therefore, not obliged to render their tenets entirely conformable to observation as the opponents have to.

The Pasupatas cannot say that they have the support of the Agama (Tantras) for affirming Omniscience about God. Such a statement suffers from the defect of a logical see-saw (petitio principii), because the omniscience of the Lord is established on the doctrine of the scripture and the authority of the scripture is again established on the omniscience of the Lord.

For all these reasons, such doctrines of Sankhyayoga about the Lord is devoid of foundation and is incorrect. Other similar doctrines which likewise are not based on the Veda are to be refuted by corresponding arguments.

Adhishthananupapattescha II.2.39 (210)

And on account of the impossibility of rulership (on the part of the Lord).

Adhisthana: rulership; Anupapatteh: because of the impossibility; Cha: and.

The argument against the Pasupata view is continued.

The Lord of the argumentative philosophers, such as Naiyayikas, etc., is untenable hypothesis. There is another logical fallacy in the Nyaya conception of Isvara. They say that the Lord creates the world with the help of Pradhana, etc., just as a potter makes pots with the mud.

But this cannot be admitted, because the Pradhana which is devoid of colour and other qualities and therefore not an object of perception, is on that account of an entirely different nature from clay and the like. Therefore, it cannot be looked upon as the object of the Lord's action. The Lord cannot direct the Pradhana.

There is another meaning also for this Sutra. In this world we see a king with a body and never a king without a body. Therefore, the Lord also must have a body which will serve as the substratum of his organs. How can we ascribe a body to the Lord, because a body is only posterior to creation?

The Lord, therefore, is not able to act because he is devoid of a material substratum, because experience teaches us that action needs a material substratum. If we assume that the Lord possesses some kind of body which serves as a substratum for his organs prior to creation, this assumption also will not do, because if the Lord has a body He is subject to the sensations of the ordinary souls and thus no longer is the Lord.

The Lord's putting on a body also cannot be established. So the Lord of animals (Pasupati) cannot be the ruler of matter (Pradhana). That by putting on a body the Lord becomes the efficient cause of the world is also fallacious. In the world it is observed that a potter having a bodily form fashions a pot with the clay. If from this analogy the Lord is inferred to be the efficient cause of the world, He is to be admitted to have a bodily form. But all bodies are perishable. Even the Pasupatas admit that the Lord is eternal. It is untenable that the eternal Lord resides in a perishable body and so becomes dependent on another additional cause. Hence it cannot be inferred that the Lord has any bodily form.

There is still another meaning. Further, there is in his case the impossibility (absence) of place. For an agent like the potter etc., stands on the ground and does his work. He has a place to stand upon. Pasupati does not possess that.

Karanavacchenna bhogadibhyah II.2.40 (211)

If it be said (that the Lord rules the Pradhana etc.,) just as (the Jiva rules) the senses (which are also not perceived), (we say) no, because of the enjoyment, etc.

Karanavat: like the senses; Chet: if, if it be conceived. Na: not (no it cannot be accepted); Bhogadibhyah: because of enjoyment, etc.

An objection against Sutra 38 is raised and refuted.

The Sutra consists of two parts, namely an argument and its reply. The argument is 'Karanavacchet' and the reply is 'Na bhogadibhyah'.

The opponent says: Just as the individual soul rules the sense organs which are not perceived, so also the Lord rules the Pradhana, etc.

The analogy is not correct, because the individual soul feels pleasure and pain. If the analogy be true, the Lord also would experience pleasure and pain, caused by the Pradhana etc., and hence would forfeit His Godhead.

Antavattvamasarvajnata va II.2.41 (212)

(There would follow from their doctrine the Lord's) being subject to destruction or His non-omniscience.

Antavattvam: finiteness, terminableness, subject to destruction; Asarvajnata: absence of Omniscience; Va: or.

The argument raised in Sutra 40 is further refuted and thus the Pasupata doctrine is refuted.

According to these schools (Nyaya, Pasupata, the Mahesvara, etc.), the Lord is Omniscient and eternal. The Lord, the Pradhana and the souls are infinite and separate. Does the Omniscient Lord know the measure of the Pradhana, soul and Himself or not? If the Lord knows their measure, they all are limited. Therefore a time will come when they will all cease to exist. If Samsara ends and thus there is no more Pradhana, of what can God be the basis or His lordship? Or, over what is His Omniscience to extend? If nature and souls are finite, they must have a beginning. If they have a beginning and end, there will be scope for Sunyavada, the doctrine of nothingness. If He does not know them, then he would no longer be Omniscient. In either case the doctrine of the Lord's being the mere efficient cause of the world is untenable, inconsistent and unacceptable.

If God be admitted to have organs of senses and so to be subject to pleasure and pain, as stated in Sutra 40, He is subject to birth and death like an ordinary man. He becomes devoid of Omniscience. This sort of God is not accepted by the Pasupatas even. Hence the doctrine of the Pasupatas, that God is not the material cause of the world cannot be accepted.