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

7. And if you say (that the soul may move the pradhâna) as the (lame) man (moves the blind one) or as the magnet (moves the iron); thus also (the difficulty is not overcome).

Well then--the Sânkhya resumes, endeavouring to defend his position by parallel instances--let us say that, as some lame man devoid of the power of motion, but possessing the power of sight, having mounted the back of a blind man who is able to move but not to see, makes the latter move; or as the magnet not moving itself, moves the iron, so the soul moves the pradhâna.--Thus also, we reply, you do not free your doctrine from all shortcomings; for this your new position involves an abandonment of your old

p. 374

position, according to which the pradhâna is moving of itself, and the (indifferent, inactive) soul possesses no moving power. And how should the indifferent soul move the pradhâna? A man, although lame, may make a blind man move by means of words and the like; but the soul which is devoid of action and qualities cannot possibly put forth any moving energy. Nor can it be said that it moves the pradhâna by its mere proximity as the magnet moves the iron; for from the permanency of proximity (of soul and pradhâna) a permanency of motion would follow. The proximity of the magnet, on the other hand (to the iron), is not permanent, but depends on a certain activity and the adjustment of the magnet in a certain position; hence the (lame) man and the magnet do not supply really parallel instances.--The pradhâna then being non-intelligent and the soul indifferent, and there being no third principle to connect them, there can be no connexion of the two. If we attempted to establish a connexion on the ground of capability (of being seen on the part of the pradhâna, of seeing on the part of the soul), the permanency of such capability would imply the impossibility of final release.--Moreover, here as well as before (in the preceding Sûtra) the different alternatives connected with the absence of purpose (on the pradhâna's part) have to be considered 1.--The highest Self, on the other hand (which is the cause of the world, according to the Vedântins), is characterised by non-activity inherent in its own nature, and, at the same time, by moving power inherent in Mâyâ and is thus superior (to the soul of the Sânkhyas).


374:1 On the theory that the soul is the cause of the pradhâna's activity we again have to ask whether the pradhâna acts for the soul's enjoyment or for its release, &c.

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