21. From the designation of the 'other' (as non-different from Brahman) there result (Brahman's) not creating what is beneficial, and other imperfections.
'Thou art that'; 'this Self is Brahman'--these and similar texts which declare the non-difference of the world from Brahman, teach, as has been said before, at the same time the non-difference from Brahman of the individual soul also. But an objection here presents itself. If these texts really imply that the 'other one,' i.e. the soul, is Brahman, there will follow certain imperfections on Brahman's part, viz. that Brahman, endowed as it is with omniscience, the power of realising its purposes, and so on, does not create a world of a nature beneficial to itself, but rather creates a world non-beneficial to itself; and the like. This world no doubt is a storehouse of numberless pains, either originating in living beings themselves or due to the action of other natural beings, or caused by supernatural agencies. No rational independent person endeavours to produce what is clearly non-beneficial to himself. And as you hold the view of the non-difference of the world from Brahman, you yourself set aside all those texts which declare Brahman to be different from the soul; for were there such difference, the doctrine of general non-difference could not be established. Should it be maintained that the texts declaring difference refer to difference due to limiting adjuncts, while the texts declaring non-difference mean essential non-difference, we must ask the following question--does the non-conditioned Brahman know, or does it not know, the soul which is essentially non-different from it? If it does not know it, Brahman's omniscience has to be abandoned. If, on the other hand, it knows it, then
[paragraph continues] Brahman is conscious of the pains of the soul--which is non-different from Brahman--as its own pains; and from this there necessarily follows an imperfection, viz. that Brahman does not create what is beneficial and does create what is non-beneficial to itself. If, again, it be said that the difference of the soul and Brahman is due to Nescience on the part of both, and that the texts declaring difference refer to difference of this kind, the assumption of Nescience belonging to the soul leads us to the very alternatives just stated and to their respective results. Should the agñana, on the other hand, belong to Brahman, we point out that Brahman, whose essential nature is self-illuminedness, cannot possibly be conscious of agñana and the creation of the world effected by it. And if it be said that the light of Brahman is obscured by agñana, we point to all the difficulties, previously set forth, which follow from this hypothesis--to obscure light means to make it cease, and to make cease the light of Brahman, of whom light is the essential nature, means no less than to destroy Brahman itself. The view of Brahman being the cause of the world thus shows itself to be untenable.--This primâ facie view the next Sûtra refutes.