Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 

14. For (Brahman is) without form merely, since it is the principal agent with regard to that.

Brahman, although by entering into bodies, human, divine, and so on, it becomes connected with various forms, yet is in itself altogether devoid of form, and therefore does not share that subjection to karman which in the case of the soul is due to its embodiedness.--Why?--Because as it is that which brings about names and forms it stands to them in the relation of a superior (pradhâna). For the text, 'The Ether (Brahman) indeed is the accomplisher

p. 611

of names and forms; that which is without these two is Brahman,' teaches that Brahman, although entering into all beings, is not touched by name and form, but is that which brings about name and form.--But, an objection is raised, if Brahman is the inner ruler of beings in so far as he has them for its body, how can it be said that it is altogether destitute of form?--There is a difference, we reply. The individual soul is connected with the shape of the body in which it dwells because it participates in the pleasures and pains to which the body gives rise; but as Brahman does not share those pleasures and pains, it has no shape or form. And the scriptural injunctions and prohibitions apply to those only who are under the power of karman. The highest Brahman therefore is like a being without form, and hence, although abiding within all things, free from all imperfection and endowed with all blessed qualities.

But, an objection is raised, texts such as 'the True, knowledge, infinite is Brahman' suggest a Brahman whose nature is constituted exclusively by non-differentiated light; while at the same time a Brahman endowed with qualities--such as omniscience, being the cause of the world, being the inner Self of all, having the power of immediately realising its wishes and purposes--is expressly negatived by texts such as 'not so, not so' (Bri. Up. II, 3, 6), and therefore must be held to be false. How then can it be maintained that Brahman possesses the 'twofold characteristics' mentioned under Sûtra 11?--To this the next Sûtra replies.

Next: 15. And in the same way as a Brahman consisting of light; the texts thus not being devoid of meaning