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

13. If it be said that from the circumstance of (the objects of enjoyment) passing over into the enjoyer (and vice versâ) there would result non-distinction (of the two); we reply that (such distinction) may exist (nevertheless), as ordinary experience shows.

Another objection, based on reasoning, is raised against the doctrine of Brahman being the cause of the world.--Although Scripture is authoritative with regard to its own special subject-matter (as, for instance, the causality of Brahman), still it may have to be taken in a secondary sense in those cases where the subject-matter is taken out of its grasp by other means of right knowledge; just as mantras and arthavâdas have occasionally to be explained in a secondary sense (when the primary, literal sense is rendered impossible by other means of right knowledge 1). Analogously reasoning is to be considered invalid outside its legitimate sphere; so, for instance, in the case of religious duty and its opposite 2.--Hence Scripture cannot be acknowledged to refute what is settled by other means of right knowledge. And if you ask, 'Where does Scripture oppose itself to what is thus established?' we give you the following

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instance. The distinction of enjoyers and objects of enjoyment is well known from ordinary experience, the enjoyers being intelligent, embodied souls, while sound and the like are the objects of enjoyment. Devadatta, for instance, is an enjoyer, the dish (which he eats) an object of enjoyment. The distinction of the two would be reduced to non-existence if the enjoyer passed over into the object of enjoyment, and vice versâ. Now this passing over of one thing into another would actually result from the doctrine of the world being non-different from Brahman. But the sublation of a well-established distinction is objectionable, not only with regard to the present time when that distinction is observed to exist, but also with regard to the past and the future, for which it is inferred. The doctrine of Brahman's causality must therefore be abandoned, as it would lead to the sublation of the well-established distinction of enjoyers and objects of enjoyment.

To the preceding objection we reply, 'It may exist as in ordinary experience.' Even on our philosophic view the distinction may exist, as ordinary experience furnishes us with analogous instances. We see, for instance, that waves, foam, bubbles, and other modifications of the sea, although they really are not different from the sea-water, exist, sometimes in the state of mutual separation, sometimes in the state of conjunction, &c. From the fact of their being non-different from the sea-water, it does not follow that they pass over into each other; and, again, although they do not pass over into each other, still they are not different from the sea. So it is in the case under discussion also. The enjoyers and the objects of enjoyment do not pass over into each other, and yet they are not different from the highest Brahman. And although the enjoyer is not really an effect of Brahman, since the unmodified creator himself, in so far as he enters into the effect, is called the enjoyer (according to the passage, 'Having created he entered into it,' Taitt. Up. II, 6), still after Brahman has entered into its effects it passes into a state of distinction, in consequence of the effect acting as a limiting adjunct; just as the universal ether is divided by its contact with jars and other limiting

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adjuncts. The conclusion is, that the distinction of enjoyers and objects of enjoyment is possible, although both are non-different from Brahman, their highest cause, as the analogous instance of the sea and its waves demonstrates.


318:1 The following arthavâda-passage, for instance, 'the sacrificial post is the sun,' is to be taken in a metaphorical sense; because perception renders it impossible for us to take it in its literal meaning.

318:2 Which are to be known from the Veda only.

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