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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 1-2-6

Topic 6 - That which cannot be seen is Brahman

In the last topic the ruler within was interpreted as the Supreme Lord and not the Pradhāna, for qualities like, ‘seeing’, ‘hearing’, etc., which are contrary to the nature of the Pradhāna, were present.

Now certain texts which do not mention such qualities so as to exclude the Pradhāna are taken up for discussion.

 Sutra 1,2.21

अदृश्यत्वादिगुणको धर्मोक्तेः ॥ २१ ॥

adṛśyatvādiguṇako dharmokteḥ || 21 ||

adṛśyatvādi-guṇako—Possessor of qualities like invisibility etc.; dharmokteḥ—on account of the qualities being mentioned.

21. The possessor of qualities like invisibility etc. (is Brahman) on account of (Its) characteristics being mentioned.

That which cannot be seen nor seized, which is without origin . . . eternal, all-pervading, omnipresent, extremely subtle ... , the source of all beings, which the wise behold” (Mu. 1. 1. 6).

The Being which is the source of all beings is not the Pradhāna but Brahman, for qualities like “He is all-knowing, all perceiving” (Mu. 1. 1. 9) are true only of Brahman and not of the Pradhāna, which is non-intelligent. Obviously it cannot refer to the individual soul as it is limited.

Sutra 1,2.22

विशेषणभेदव्यपदेशाभ्यां नेतरौ ॥ २२ ॥

viśeṣaṇabhedavyapadeśābhyāṃ netarau || 22 ||

viśeṣaṇa-bheda-vyapadeśābhyāṃ—On account of the mention of characteristic qualities and differences; na—not; itarau—the other two;

22. The other two (i.e. the individual soul and the Pradhāna) are not (referred to in the passage), because the characteristics of Brahman and the difference (of the Being which is the source of all beings from the individual soul and the Pradhāna) are mentioned.

That heavenly person is without body, comprises the external and the internal, is birthless, without the vital force and without mind, pure, higher than the high Imperishable” (Mu. 2. 1. 2).

Epithets like ‘heavenly’, ‘birthless’, ‘pure’, etc. apply to Brahman and not the individual soul, which considers itself limited, impure, corporeal, etc.

“Higher than the high Imperishable (Pradhāna)” shows that the source of all beings spoken of in the last Sutra is not the Pradhāna but something different from it.

Sutra 1,2.23

रूपोपन्यासाच्च ॥ २३ ॥

rūpopanyāsācca || 23 ||

rūpopanyāsāt—Form being mentioned; ca—also.

23. Also because (its) form is mentioned (the passage discussed refers to Brahman).

Subsequent to the text quoted in the previous Sutra we have the following text, “The Person indeed is all this—sacrifice, knowledge, etc.” (Mu. 2. 3. 10)

which shows that “the source of all beings” referred to in the text under discussion, is none other than the Supreme Lord or Brahman, because it is the self of all beings.