Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 2-1-10

Topic 10 - Brahman’s power of Māyā established

Sutra 2,1.30

सर्वोपेता च तद्दर्शनात् ॥ ३० ॥

sarvopetā ca taddarśanāt || 30 ||

sarvopetā—Endowed with all; ca—and; tat-darśanāt—because it is seen.

30. And (Brahman is) endowed with all (powers), because it is seen (from the scriptures).

Generally we see that men endowed with a physical body possess such powers. But since Brahman has no body, it is not likely that It can possess such powers—so says the opponent.

This Sutra gives proof of Brahman’s being endowed with Māyā Śaktī, the power of Nescience.

Various scriptural texts declare that Brahman possesses all powers. “The great Lord is the Māyin (the ruler of Māyā)” (Svet. 4. 10). See also Chh. 8. 14. 4 and 8. 7. 1.

Sutra 2,1.31

विकरणत्वान्नेति चेत्, तदुक्तम् ॥ ३१ ॥

vikaraṇatvānneti cet, taduktam || 31 ||

vikaraṇatvāt—Because devoid of organs; na—not; iti cet—if it be said; tat—that; uktam—has been explained.

31. If it be said that because (Brahman) is devoid of organs (it is) not (able to create, though endowed with powers), (we say) this has (already) been explained.

As Brahman is devoid of organs It cannot create. Moreover, It is described as “Not this, not this”, which precludes all attributes; so how can It possess any powers?

This Sutra replies that it has already been explained in 2.1.4. and 2.1.25 that with respect to Brahman the scripture alone is authority and not reason.

The scripture declares that Brahman, although devoid of organs, possesses all capacities. “Grasping without hands, moving swiftly without feet” etc. (Svet. 3. 19).

Though Brahman is without attributes, yet on account of Māyā or Nescience It can be taken to possess all powers.