20. The participation (on Brahman's part) in increase and decrease, due to its abiding within (is denied); on account of the appropriateness of both (comparisons), and because thus it is seen.
The comparison of the highest Self to the reflected sun and the rest is meant only to deny of the Self that it participates in the imperfections--such as increase, decrease, and the like--which attach to the earth and the other beings within which the Self abides.--How do we know this?--From the circumstance that on this supposition both comparisons are appropriate. In the scriptural text quoted above Brahman is compared to ether, which although one becomes manifold through the things--jars and so on--within it; and to the sun, which is multiplied by the sheets of water in which he is reflected. Now the employment of these comparisons--with ether which really does abide within the jars and so on, and with the sun which in reality does not abide in the water--is appropriate only if they are meant to convey the idea that the highest Self does not participate in the imperfections inherent in earth and so on. Just as ether, although connecting itself separately with jars, pots, and so on, which undergo increase and decrease, is not itself touched by these imperfections; and just as the sun, although seen in sheets of water of unequal extent, is not touched by their increase and decrease; thus the highest Self, although abiding within variously-shaped beings, whether non-sentient like earth or sentient, remains untouched by their various imperfections--increase, decrease, and so on--,remains one although abiding in all of them, and ever keeps the treasure of its blessed qualities unsullied by an atom even of impurity.--The comparison of Brahman with the reflected sun holds good on the following account. As the sun is not touched by the imperfections belonging to the water, since he does not really abide in the water and hence there is no reason for his sharing those imperfections, thus the highest Self,
which really abides within earth and the rest, is not affected by their imperfections; for as the nature of the highest Self is essentially antagonistic to all imperfection, there is no reason for its participating in the imperfection of others.--'And as this is seen.' This means--Since we observe in ordinary life also that comparisons are instituted between two things for the reason that although they do not possess all attributes in common, they yet have some attribute in common. We say, e.g. 'this man is like a lion.'--The conclusion from all this is that the highest Self, which is essentially free from all imperfections and a treasure as it were of all blessed qualities, in no way suffers from dwelling within the earth and the rest.
An objection is raised. In the Brihad-âranyaka, in the chapter beginning 'There are two forms of Brahman, the material and the immaterial,' the whole material world, gross and subtle, is at first referred to as constituting the form of Brahman, and next a special form of Brahman is mentioned: 'And what is the form of that Person? Like a saffron-coloured raiment,' &c. But thereupon the text proceeds, 'Now follows the teaching--not so, not so; for there is not anything else higher than this "not so." 'This passage, referring to all the previously mentioned forms of Brahman by means of the word 'so,' negatives them; intimating thereby that Brahman is nothing else than pure Being, and that all distinctions are mere imaginations due to Brahman not knowing its own essential nature. How then can Brahman possess the twofold characteristics?--To this the next Sûtra replies.