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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 2-3-3

Topic 3 - Brahman is not created

Sutra 2,3.9

असंभवस्तु सतः, अनुपपत्तेः ॥ ९ ॥

asaṃbhavastu sataḥ, anupapatteḥ || 9 ||

asaṃbhavaḥ—There can be no origin; tu—but; sataḥ—of the Sat (That which is); anupapatteḥ—as it does not stand to reason.

9. But there can be no origin of the Sat (That which is i.e. Brahman), as it does not stand to reason.

The question arises whether Brahman also is an effect like Ākāśa etc.

In the Śvetāśvatara Upanishad there occurs the text: “Thou art born with Thy face turned to all directions” (Svet. 4. 3), which clearly states that Brahman is born.

This view is refuted by the Sutra, which says that Brahman, which is existence itself, cannot be an effect, as It can have no cause. “And He has neither parent nor Lord” (Svet. 6. 9).

Neither can non-existence be such a cause, for the Śruti says, “How can existence come out of non-existence?” (Chh. 6. 2. 2).

Nor is it proper to say that existence is its own cause, for the effect must have some speciality not possessed by the cause. Brahman is mere existence without any distinction.

We observe that only particulars are produced from the general, as different pots are from clay, and not vice versa. Therefore Brahman, which is existence in general, cannot be the effect of any particular thing.

The fact that every cause is itself an effect of some antecedent thing is repudiated by the Śruti: “That great, birthless Self is undecaying” (Brih. 4. 4. 25), for it leads to a regressus in infinitum. So Brahman is not an effect, but is eternal.