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The Vedanta Sutras, commentary by Sankaracharya (SBE34), tr. by George Thibaut [1890] at

8. If it is said that (from the circumstance of Brahman and the individual soul being one) there follows fruition (on the part of Brahman); we say, no; on account of the difference of nature (of the two).

p. 115

But, it may be said, as Brahman is omnipresent like ether, and therefore connected with the hearts of all living beings, and as it is of the nature of intelligence and therefore not different from the individual soul, it follows that Brahman also has the same fruition of pleasure, pain, and so on (as the individual soul). The same result follows from its unity. For in reality there exists no transmigratory Self different from the highest Self; as appears from the text, 'There is no other knower but he' (Bri. Up. III, 7, 23), and similar passages. Hence the highest Self is subject to the fruition connected with transmigratory existence.

This is not so, we reply; because there is a difference of nature. From the circumstance that Brahman is connected with the hearts of all living beings it does not follow that it is, like the embodied Self, subject to fruition. For, between the embodied Self and the highest Self, there is the difference that the former acts and enjoys, acquires merit and demerit, and is affected by pleasure, pain, and so on; while the latter is of the opposite nature, i.e. characterised by being free from all evil and the like. On account of this difference of the two, the fruition of the one does not extend to the other. To assume merely on the ground of the mutual proximity of the two, without considering their essentially different powers, that a connexion with effects exists (in Brahman's case also), would be no better than to suppose that space is on fire (when something in space is on fire). The same objection and refutation apply to the case of those also who teach the existence of more than one omnipresent Self. In reply to the assertion, that because Brahman is one and there are no other Selfs outside it, Brahman must be subject to fruition since the individual soul is so, we ask the question: How have you, our wise opponent, ascertained that there is no other Self? You will reply, we suppose, from scriptural texts such as, 'That art thou,' 'I am Brahman,' 'There is no other knower but he,' and so on. Very well, then, it appears that the truth about scriptural matters is to be ascertained from Scripture, and that Scripture is not sometimes to be appealed to, and on other occasions to be disregarded.

p. 116

Scriptural texts, such as 'that art thou,' teach that Brahman which is free from all evil is the Self of the embodied soul, and thus dispel even the opinion that the embodied soul is subject to fruition; how then should fruition on the part of the embodied soul involve fruition on the part of Brahman?--Let, then, the unity of the individual soul and Brahman not be apprehended on the ground of Scripture.--In that case, we reply, the fruition on the part of the individual soul has wrong knowledge for its cause, and Brahman as it truly exists is not touched thereby, not any more than the ether becomes really dark-blue in consequence of ignorant people presuming it to be so. For this reason the Sûtrakâra says 1 'no, on account of the difference.' In spite of their unity, fruition on the part of the soul does not involve fruition on the part of Brahman; because there is a difference. For there is a difference between false knowledge and perfect knowledge, fruition being the figment of false knowledge while the unity (of the Self) is revealed by perfect knowledge. Now, as the substance revealed by perfect knowledge cannot be affected by fruition which is nothing but the figment of false knowledge, it is impossible to assume even a shadow of fruition on Brahman's part.


116:1 Another interpretation of the later part of Sûtra.

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