Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

41. And (there would follow from that doctrine) either finite duration or absence of omniscience (on the Lord's part).

The hypothesis of the argumentative philosophers is invalid, for the following reason also.--They teach that the Lord is omniscient and of infinite duration, and likewise that the pradhâna, as well as the individual souls, is of infinite duration. Now, the omniscient Lord either defines the measure of the pradhâna, the souls, and himself, or does not define it. Both alternatives subvert the doctrine under discussion. For, on the former alternative, the pradhâna, the souls, and the Lord, being all of them of definite measure, must necessarily be of finite duration; since ordinary experience teaches that all things of definite extent, such as jars and the like, at some time cease to exist. The numerical measure of pradhâna, souls, and Lord is

p. 439

defined by their constituting a triad, and the individual measure of each of them must likewise be considered as defined by the Lord (because he is omniscient). The number of the souls is a high one 1. From among this limited number of souls some obtain release from the samsâra, that means their samsâra comes to an end, and their subjection to the samsâra comes to an end. Gradually all souls obtain release, and so there will finally be an end of the entire samsâra and the samsâra state of all souls. But the pradhâna which is ruled by the Lord and which modifies itself for the purposes of the soul is what is meant by samsâra. Hence, when the latter no longer exists, nothing is left for the Lord to rule, and his omniscience and ruling power have no longer any objects. But if the pradhâna, the souls, and the Lord, all have an end, it follows that they also have a beginning, and if they have a beginning as well as an end, we are driven to the doctrine of a general void.--Let us then, in order to avoid these untoward conclusions, maintain the second alternative, i.e. that the measure of the Lord himself, the pradhâna, and the souls, is not defined by the Lord.--But that also is impossible, because it would compel us to abandon a tenet granted at the outset, viz. that the Lord is omniscient.

For all these reasons the doctrine of the argumentative philosophers, according to which the Lord is the operative cause of the world, appears unacceptable.


439:1 I.e. a high one, but not an indefinite one; since the omniscient Lord knows its measure.

Next: II, 2, 42