Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 2-2-8

Topic 8 - Refutation of the Bhāgavata or the Pāñcharātra school

Sutra 2,2.42

उत्पत्त्यसंभवात् ॥ ४२ ॥

utpattyasaṃbhavāt || 42 ||

utpatti-asaṃbhavāt—Owing to the impossibility of origination.

42. The origination (of the individual soul from the Lord) being impossible (the Pāñcharātra doctrine is untenable).

The Pāñcharātra or the Bhāgavata school is now taken up for examination.

It recognizes the material and efficient causality of the Lord, but propounds certain other views which are objectionable.

According to it Vāsudeva is the Supreme Lord, the material and efficient cause of the world. By worshipping Him, meditating on Him, and knowing Him one attains Liberation.

From Vāsudeva is born Sankarṣaṇa, the Jīva; from Jīva Pradyumna, the mind; from mind Aniruddha, the Ego. These are the fourfold form (Vyūha) of the Lord Vāsudeva.

Of these, the view that Vāsudeva is the Supreme Lord, to be worshipped and so on, the Vedāṅtin accepts, as it is not against the Śruti.

But the creation of the Jīva etc. he rejects, as such creation is impossible. Why?

Because if the soul be created, it would be subject to destruction, and so no Liberation can be predicated of it. That the soul is not created will be shown in Sutra 2. 3. 17.

Sutra 2,2.43

न च कर्तुः करणम् ॥ ४३ ॥

na ca kartuḥ karaṇam || 43 ||

na ca—Nor; kartuḥ— from the agent; karaṇam—the instrument.

43. Nor (is it seen that) the instrument (is produced) from the agent.

As an instrument, like an axe, is not seen to be produced from the agent, the wood-cutter, the Bhāgavata doctrine—that from the individual soul is produced the internal instrument or mind, and from the mind the ego—cannot be accepted. Neither is there any scriptural authority for it.

The scripture plainly says that everything originates from Brahman.

 Sutra 2,2.44

विज्ञानादिभावे वा तदप्रतिषेधः ॥ ४४ ॥

vijñānādibhāve vā tadapratiṣedhaḥ || 44 ||

vijñānādibhāve—If intelligence etc. exist; —or; tat-apratiṣedhaḥ—no warding off of that.

44. Or if the (four Vyūhas are said to) possess intelligence etc., yet there is no warding off of that (i.e. the objection raised in Sutra 42).

The Bhāgavatas may say that all the forms are Vāsudeva, the Lord, and that all of them equally possess knowledge and lordship, strength, valour, etc., and are free from faults and imperfections.

In this case there will be more than one Īśvara, which is redundant and also goes against their own assumption.

Even granting all this, the origination of the one from the other is unthinkable. Being equal in all respects, none of them can be the cause of another, for the effect must have some feature that is lacking in the cause.

Again the forms of Vāsudeva cannot be limited to four only, as the whole world from Brahma down to a clump of grass, is a form of the Supreme Being.

 Sutra 2,2.45

विप्रतिषेधाच्च ॥ ४५ ॥

vipratiṣedhācca || 45 ||

vipratiṣedhāt—Because of contradictions; ca—and;

45. And because of contradictions (the Bhāgavata view is untenable).

Moreover the theory involves many contradictions. Sometimes it speaks of the four forms as qualities of the Ātman and sometimes as the Ātman itself.