Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 4: Prananutvadhikaranam: Topic 3 (Sutra 7)

The organs are minute in size.

Anavascha II.4.7 (276)

And (they are) minute.

Anavah: minute; Cha: and, also.

The nature and size of senses is now ascertained.

The author now considers the question of the nature and size of the senses. Are these senses all-pervading or are they minute? The Purvapakshin says that the senses are all-pervading, because we can hear sounds at a distance and see objects far off. The Siddhanta view however is that senses are atomic.

The word 'cha' has the force of certainty. It means that the senses are not all-pervading but atomic. This Sutra refutes the doctrine of the Sankhyas who maintain that the senses are all-pervading.

The organs are minute. Minute does not mean atomic, but subtle and limited in size.

The organs must be subtle; for, if they are gross we could see them when they go out of the body at the moment of death, as a snake comes out of its hole. Had they been all-pervading like the ether, there would have been no movement possible on their part, and the texts which speak of their passing out of body and going and coming along with the soul at death and birth would be contradicted. The soul cannot have them as his essence.

It cannot be said that even if they are all-pervading they can have a particular mode or function within the body, because it is that particular mode or function which we call the sense or the instrument. Moreover, we do not perceive through the senses what is happening throughout the world. If they were all-pervading we will certainly perceive through them what is happening throughout the world.

Therefore the senses are all subtle and finite, i.e., of limited size.