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Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 2-3-7

Topic 7 - Brahman as the creative principle residing in the preceding element is the cause of the subsequent element in the order of creation

Sutra 2,3.13

तदभिध्यानादेव तु तल्लिङ्गात् सः ॥ १३ ॥

tadabhidhyānādeva tu talliṅgāt saḥ || 13 ||

tadat-abhidhyānāt—Because of His reflecting; eva—only; tu—but; talliṅgāt—from His indicatory marks; saḥ—He.

13. But because of His reflecting only (are the subsequent elements created from the previous element in the order of creation; so) He (the Supreme Lord is the creator of air etc.). (We know this) from His indicatory marks.

Brahman is described in the Śrutis as the creator of everything.

Again we find in them texts like “From Ākāśa is produced air” (Taitt. 2. 1), which declare that certain elements produce certain effects independently. So the opponent holds that there is a contradiction in the Śruti texts.

This Sutra refutes that objection saying that the Lord residing within these elements produces after reflection certain effects. Why?

On account of the indicatory marks. “He who inhabits the earth . . . and who controls the earth from within” etc. (Brih. 3. 7. 3) shows that the Supreme Lord is the sole ruler, and denies all independence to the elements.

Again, “That fire thought, ... that water thought” (Chh. 6. 2. 3-4) shows that after reflection these elements produced the effects.

This reflection is impossible for inert elements, and so we are to understand that the Lord residing within these elements thought and produced the effects.

Therefore the elements become causes only through the agency of the Lord, who abides within them. Hence there is no contradiction between the two texts cited at the beginning.