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

9. Not so; as there are parallel instances.

There is nothing objectionable in our system.--The objection that the effect when being reabsorbed into its

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cause would inquinate the latter with its qualities does not damage our position 'because there are parallel instances,' i. e. because there are instances of effects not inquinating with their qualities the causes into which they are reabsorbed. Things, for instance, made of clay, such as pots, &c., which in their state of separate existence are of various descriptions, do not, when they are reabsorbed into their original matter (i.e. clay), impart to the latter their individual qualities; nor do golden ornaments impart their individual qualities to their elementary material, i. e. gold, into which they may finally be reabsorbed. Nor does the fourfold complex of organic beings which springs from earth impart its qualities to the latter at the time of reabsorption. You (i. e. the pûrvapakshin), on the other hand, have not any instances to quote in your favour. For reabsorption could not take place at all if the effect when passing back into its causal substance continued to subsist there with all its individual properties. And 1 that in spite of the non-difference of cause and effect the effect has its Self in the cause, but not the cause in the effect, is a point which we shall render clear later on, under II, 1, 14.

Moreover, the objection that the effect would impart its qualities to the cause at the time of reabsorption is formulated too narrowly because, the identity of cause and effect being admitted, the same would take place during the time of the subsistence (of the effect, previous to its reabsorption). That the identity of cause and effect (of Brahman and the world) holds good indiscriminately with regard to all time (not only the time of reabsorption), is declared in many scriptural passages, as, for instance, 'This everything is that Self' (Bri. Up. II, 4, 6); 'The Self is all this' (Kh. Up. VII, 25, 2); 'The immortal Brahman is this before' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 11); 'All this is Brahman' (Kh. Up. III, 14, 1).

With regard to the case referred to in the Sruti-passages we refute the assertion of the cause being affected by the

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effect and its qualities by showing that the latter are the mere fallacious superimpositions of nescience, and the very same argument holds good with reference to reabsorption also.--We can quote other examples in favour of our doctrine. As the magician is not at any time affected by the magical illusion produced by himself, because it is unreal, so the highest Self is not affected by the world-illusion. And as one dreaming person is not affected by the illusory visions of his dream because they do not accompany the waking state and the state of dreamless sleep; so the one permanent witness of the three states (viz. the highest Self which is the one unchanging witness of the creation, subsistence, and reabsorption of the world) is not touched by the mutually exclusive three states. For that the highest Self appears in those three states, is a mere illusion, not more substantial than the snake for which the rope is mistaken in the twilight. With reference to this point teachers knowing the true tradition of the Vedânta have made the following declaration, 'When the individual soul which is held in the bonds of slumber by the beginningless Mâyâ awakes, then it knows the eternal, sleepless, dreamless non-duality' (Gaudap. Kâr. I, 16).

So far we have shown that--on our doctrine--there is no danger of the cause being affected at the time of reabsorption by the qualities of the effect, such as grossness and the like.--With regard to the second objection, viz. that if we assume all distinctions to pass (at the time of reabsorption) into the state of non-distinction there would be no special reason for the origin of a new world affected with distinctions, we likewise refer to the 'existence of parallel instances.' For the case is parallel to that of deep sleep and trance. In those states also the soul enters into an essential condition of non-distinction; nevertheless, wrong knowledge being not yet finally overcome, the old state of distinction re-establishes itself as soon as the soul awakes from its sleep or trance. Compare the scriptural passage, 'All these creatures when they have become merged in the True, know not that they are merged in the True. Whatever these creatures are here, whether a lion, or a

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wolf, or a boar, or a worm, or a midge, or a gnat, or a musquito, that they become again' (Kh. Up. VI, 9, 2; 3) For just as during the subsistence of the world the phenomenon of multifarious distinct existence, based on wrong knowledge, proceeds unimpeded like the vision of a dream, although there is only one highest Self devoid of all distinction; so, we conclude, there remains, even after reabsorption, the power of distinction (potential distinction) founded on wrong knowledge.--Herewith the objection that--according to our doctrine--even the finally released souls would be born again is already disposed of. They will not be born again because in their case wrong knowledge has been entirely discarded by perfect knowledge.--The last alternative finally (which the pûrvapakshin had represented as open to the Vedântin), viz. that even at the time of reabsorption the world should remain distinct from Brahman, precludes itself because it is not admitted by the Vedântins themselves.--Hence the system founded on the Upanishads is in every way unobjectionable.


311:1 Nanu pralayakâle kâryadharmâs ken nâvatishtheran na tarhi kâranadharmâ api tishtheyus tayor abhedât tatrâhânanyatve#pîti. Ân. Gi.

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