The Vedanta Sutras, commentary by Sankaracharya (SBE34), tr. by George Thibaut  at sacred-texts.com
REVERENCE TO THE HIGHEST SELF!
1. If it be said that some (mention) that which is based on inference (i.e. the pradhâna); we deny this, because (the term alluded to) refers to what is contained in the simile of the body (i.e. the body itself); and (that the text) shows.
In the preceding part of this work--as whose topic there has been set forth an enquiry into Brahman--we have at first defined Brahman (I, 1, 2); we have thereupon refuted the objection that that definition applies to the pradhâna also, by showing that there is no scriptural authority for the latter (I, 1, 5), and we have shown in detail that the common purport of all Vedânta-texts is to set forth the doctrine that Brahman, and not the pradhâna, is the cause of the world. Here, however, the Sânkhya again raises an objection which he considers not to have been finally disposed of.
It has not, he says, been satisfactorily proved that there is no scriptural authority for the pradhâna; for some sâkhâs contain expressions which seem to convey the idea of the pradhâna. From this it follows that Kapila and other supreme rishis maintain the doctrine of the pradhâna being the general cause only because it is based on the Veda.--As long therefore as it has not been proved that those passages to which the Sânkhyas refer have a different meaning (i.e. do not allude to the pradhâna), all our previous argumentation as to the omniscient Brahman being the cause of the world must be considered as unsettled. We therefore now begin a new chapter which aims at proving that those passages actually have a different meaning.
The Sânkhyas maintain that that also which is based on inference, i.e. the pradhâna, is perceived in the text of some sâkhâs. We read, for instance, they say, in the Kâthaka (I, 3, 11), 'Beyond the Great there is the Undeveloped,
beyond the Undeveloped there is the Person.' There we recognise, named by the same names and enumerated in the same order, the three entities with which we are acquainted from the Sânkhya-smriti, viz. the great principle, the Undeveloped (the pradhâna), and the soul 1. That by the Undeveloped is meant the pradhâna is to be concluded from the common use of Smriti and from the etymological interpretation of which the word admits, the pradhâna being called undeveloped because it is devoid of sound and other qualities. It cannot therefore be asserted that there is no scriptural authority for the pradhâna. And this pradhâna vouched for by Scripture we declare to be the cause of the world, on the ground of Scripture, Smriti, and ratiocination.
Your reasoning, we reply, is not valid. The passage from the Kâthaka quoted by you intimates by no means the existence of that great principle and that Undeveloped which are known from the Sânkhya-smriti. We do not recognise there the pradhâna of the Sânkhyas, i.e. an independent general cause consisting of three constituting elements; we merely recognise the word 'Undeveloped,' which does not denote any particular determined thing, but may--owing to its etymological meaning, 'that which is not developed, not manifest'--denote anything subtle and difficult to distinguish. The Sânkhyas indeed give to the word a settled meaning, as they apply it to the pradhâna; but then that meaning is valid for their system only, and has no force in the determination of the sense of the Veda. Nor does mere equality of position prove equality of being, unless the latter be recognised independently. None but a fool would think a cow to be a horse because he sees it tied in the usual place of a horse. We, moreover, conclude, on the strength of the general subject-matter, that the passage does not refer to the pradhâna the fiction of the Sânkhyas, 'on account of there being referred
to that which is contained in the simile of the body.' This means that the body which is mentioned in the simile of the chariot is here referred to as the Undeveloped. We infer this from the general subject-matter of the passage and from the circumstance of nothing else remaining.--The immediately preceding part of the chapter exhibits the simile in which the Self, the body, and so on, are compared to the lord of a chariot, a chariot, &c., 'Know the Self to be the lord of the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect the charioteer, and the mind the reins. The senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When he (the Self) is in union with the body, the senses and the mind, then wise people call him the enjoyer.' The text then goes on to say that he whose senses, &c. are not well controlled enters into samsâra, while he who has them under control reaches the end of the journey, the highest place of Vishnu. The question then arises: What is the end of the journey, the highest place of Vishnu? Whereupon the text explains that the highest Self which is higher than the senses, &c., spoken of is the end of the journey, the highest place of Vishnu. 'Beyond the senses there are the objects, beyond the objects there is the mind, beyond the mind there is the intellect, the great Self is beyond the intellect. Beyond the great there is the Undeveloped, beyond the Undeveloped there is the Person. Beyond the Person there is nothing--this is the goal, the highest Road.' In this passage we recognise the senses, &c. which in the preceding simile had been compared to horses and so on, and we thus avoid the mistake of abandoning the matter in hand and taking up a new subject. The senses, the intellect, and the mind are referred to in both passages under the same names. The objects (in the second passage) are the objects which are (in the former passage) designated as the roads of the senses; that the objects are beyond (higher than) the senses is known from the scriptural passage representing the senses as grahas, i.e. graspers, and the objects as atigrahas, i. e. superior to the grahas (Bri Up. III, 2). The mind (manas) again is superior to the objects, because the relation of the senses and their objects is based on the mind. The intellect
(buddhi) is higher than the mind, since the objects of enjoyment are conveyed to the soul by means of the intellect. Higher than the intellect is the great Self which was represented as the lord of the chariot in the passage, 'Know the Self to be the lord of the chariot.' That the same Self is referred to in both passages is manifest from the repeated use of the word 'Self;' that the Self is superior to intelligence is owing to the circumstance that the enjoyer is naturally superior to the instrument of enjoyment. The Self is appropriately called great as it is the master.--Or else the phrase 'the great Self' may here denote the intellect of the first-born Hiranyagarbha which is the basis of all intellects; in accordance with the following Smriti-passage' it is called mind, the great one; reflection, Brahman; the stronghold, intellect; enunciation, the Lord; highest knowledge, consciousness; thought, remembrance 1,' and likewise with the following scriptural passage, 'He (Hiranyagarbha) who first creates Brahman and delivers the Vedas to him' (Svet. Up. VI, 18). The intellect, which in the former passage had been referred to under its common name buddhi, is here mentioned separately, since it may be represented as superior to our human intellects. On this latter explanation of the term 'the great Self,' we must assume that the personal Self which in the simile had been compared to the charioteer is, in the latter passage, included in the highest person (mentioned last); to which there is no objection, since in reality the personal Self and the highest Self are identical.--Thus there remains now the body only which had before been compared to a chariot. We therefore conclude
that the text after having enumerated the senses and all the other things mentioned before, in order to point out the highest place, points out by means of the one remaining word, viz. avyakta, the only thing remaining out of those which had been mentioned before, viz. the body. The entire passage aims at conveying the knowledge of the unity of the inward Self and Brahman, by describing the soul's passing through samsâra and release under the form of a simile in which the body, &c. of the soul--which is affected by Nescience and therefore joined to a body, senses, mind, intellect, objects, sensations, &c.--are compared to a chariot, and so on.--In accordance with this the subsequent verse states the difficulty of knowing the highest place of Vishnu ('the Self is hidden in all beings and does not shine forth, but it is seen by subtle seers through their sharp and subtle intellect'), and after that the next verse declares Yoga to be the means of attaining that cognition. 'A wise man should keep down speech in the mind, he should keep down the mind in intelligence, intelligence he should keep down within the great Self, and he should keep that within the quiet Self.'--That means: The wise man should restrain the activity of the outer organs such as speech, &c., and abide within the mind only; he should further restrain the mind which is intent on doubtful external objects within intelligence, whose characteristic mark is decision, recognising that indecision is evil; he should further restrain intelligence within the great Self, i.e. the individual soul or else the fundamental intellect; he should finally fix the great Self on the calm Self, i.e. the highest Self, the highest goal, of which the whole chapter treats.--If we in this manner review the general context, we perceive that there is no room for the pradhâna imagined by the Sânkhyas.
238:1 The Great one is the technical Sânkhya-term for buddhi, avyakta is a common designation of pradhâna or prakriti, and purusha is the technical name of the soul. Compare, for instance, Sânkhya Kâr. 2, 3.
240:1 Samkalpavikalparûpamananasaktyâ hairanyagarbhî buddhir manas tasyâh vyashtimanahsu samashtitayâ vyâptim âha mahân iti, Samkalpâdisktitayâ tarhi samdehâtmatvam tatrâha matir iti. Mahatvam upapâdayati brahmeti. Bhogyagâtâdhâratvam âha pûr iti. Niskayâtmakatvam âha buddhir iti. Kîrtisaktimattvam âha khyâtir iti. Niyamanasaktimatvam aha îsvara iti. Loke yat prakrishtam gñânam tato#natirekam âha pragñeti. Tatphalam api tato nârthântaravishayam ity âha samvid iti. Kitpradhânatvam âha kitir iti. Gñatasarvârtbânusamdhânasaktim âha smritis keti. Ânanda Giri.