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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 2-1-13

Topic 13 - Brahman endowed with all attributes necessary for creation

Sutra 2,1.37

सर्वधर्मोपपत्तेश्च ॥ ३७ ॥

sarvadharmopapatteśca || 37 ||

sarva-dharma-upapatteḥ—From the possibility of all attributes; ca—and.

37. And because all attributes (required for the creation of the world) are possible (only in Brahman, It is the cause of the world).

This Sutra answers the objection that because Brahman is attributeless It cannot be the material cause of the world.

Objection: Material cause is that which undergoes modification as the effect. Such a cause is generally seen to possess attributes in the world. Therefore an attributeless Brahman cannot be the material cause of the world, as it goes counter to our everyday experience.

Answer: Though the material cause undergoes change to produce the effect, yet this can take place in two ways: An actual modification, as when milk turns into curds, or an apparent modification due to ignorance, as when a rope is taken for a snake.

Therefore though in the attributeless Brahman an actual change is impossible, yet an apparent modification is possible owing to Its power of Māyā.

Because of this power all the attributes required in the cause for such a creation are possible only in Brahman.

Therefore Brahman is the material cause of this world, not through actual modification, but through apparent modification, and It is also the efficient cause of the world.

Therefore the fact that Brahman is the cause of the world is established.