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

11. Or (the world may originate from Brahman)

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as the great and the long originate from the short and the atomic.

The system of the Vaiseshikas is the following;--The atoms which possess, according to their special kind  1, the qualities of colour, &c., and which are of spherical form  2, subsist during a certain period  3 without producing any effects  4. After that, the unseen principle (adrishta), &c.  5, acting as operative causes and conjunction constituting the non-inherent cause  6, they produce the entire aggregate of effected things, beginning with binary atomic compounds. At the same time the qualities of the causes (i.e. of the simple atoms) produce corresponding qualities in the effects. Thus, when two atoms produce a binary atomic compound, the special qualities belonging to the simple atoms, such as white colour, &c., produce a corresponding white colour in the binary compound. One special quality, however, of the simple atoms, viz. atomic sphericity, does not produce corresponding sphericity in the binary compound; for the forms of extension belonging to the latter arc said to be minuteness (anutva) and shortness. And, again, when two binary compounds combining produce a quaternary atomic compound, the qualities, such as whiteness, &c., inherent in the binary compounds produce corresponding qualities in the quaternary compounds; with the exception, however, of the two qualities of minuteness and shortness. For it is

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admitted that the forms of extension belonging to quaternary compounds are not minuteness and shortness, but bigness (mahattva) and length. The same happens  1 when many simple atoms or many binary compounds or a simple atom and a binary compound combine to produce new effects.

Well, then, we say, just as from spherical atoms binary compounds are produced, which are minute and short, and ternary compounds which are big and long, but not anything spherical; or as from binary compounds, which are minute and short, ternary compounds, &c., are produced which are big and long, not minute and short; so this non-intelligent world may spring from the intelligent Brahman. This is a doctrine to which you--the Vaiseshika--cannot, on your own principles, object.

Here the Vaiseshika will perhaps come forward with the following argumentation  2. As effected substances, such as binary compounds and so on, are engrossed by forms of extension contrary to that of the causal substances, the forms of extension belonging to the latter, viz. sphericity and so on, cannot produce similar qualities in the effects. The world, on the other hand, is not engrossed by any quality contrary to intelligence owing to which the intelligence inherent in the cause should not be able to originate a new intelligence in the effect. For non-intelligence is not a quality contrary to intelligence, but merely its negation. As thus the case of sphericity is not an exactly parallel one, intelligence may very well produce an effect similar to itself.

This argumentation, we rejoin, is not sound. Just as the qualities of sphericity and so on, although existing in the cause, do not produce corresponding effects, so it is with

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intelligence also; so that the two cases are parallel so far. Nor can the circumstance of the effects being engrossed by a different form of extension be alleged as the reason of sphericity, &c. not originating qualities similar to themselves; for the power of originating effects belongs to sphericity, &c. before another form of extension begins to exist. For it is admitted that the substance produced remains for a moment devoid of qualities, and that thereupon only (i.e. after that moment) its qualities begin to exist. Nor, again, can it be said that sphericity, &c. concentrate their activity on originating other forms of extension  1, and therefore do not originate forms of extension belonging to the same class as their own; for it is admitted that the origin of other forms is due to other causes; as the Sûtras of Kanabhug (Kanâda) themselves declare (Vais. Sût. VII, 1, 9, 'Bigness is produced from plurality inherent in the causes, from bigness of the cause and from a kind of accumulation;' VII, 1, 10, 'The contrary of this (the big) is the minute;' VII, 1, 17, 'Thereby length and shortness are explained  2').--Nor, again, can it be said that plurality, &c. inherent in the cause originate (like effects) in consequence of some peculiar proximity (in which they are supposed to stand to the effected substance), while sphericity, &c. (not standing in a like proximity) do not; for when a new substance or a new quality is originated,

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all the qualities of the cause stand in the same relation of inherence to their abode (i.e. the causal substance in which they inhere). For these reasons the fact of sphericity, &c. not originating like effects can be explained from the essential nature of sphericity, &c. only, and the same may therefore be maintained with regard to intelligence  1 Moreover, from that observed fact also, that from conjunction (samyoga) there originate substances, &c. belonging to a class different (from that to which conjunction itself belongs), it follows that the doctrine of effects belonging to the same class as the causes from which they spring is too wide. If you remark against this last argument that, as we have to do at present with a substance (viz. Brahman), it is inappropriate to instance a quality (viz. conjunction) as a parallel case; we point out that at present we only wish to explain the origination of effects belonging to a different class in general. Nor is there any reason for the restriction that substances only are to be adduced as examples for substances, and qualities only for qualities. Your own Sûtrakâra adduces a quality as furnishing a parallel case for a substance (Vais. Sût. IV, 2, 2, 'On account of the conjunction of things perceptible and things imperceptible being imperceptible the body is not composed of five elements'). Just as the conjunction which inheres in the perceptible earth and the imperceptible ether is not perceptible, the body also, if it had for its inherent cause the five elements which are part of them perceptible, part of them imperceptible, would itself be imperceptible; but, as a matter of fact, it is perceptible; hence it is not composed of the five elements. Here conjunction is a quality and the body a substance.--The origin of effects different in nature (from the cause) has, moreover, been already treated of under II, 1; 6.--Well then, this being so, the matter has been settled there already (why then is it again discussed here?)-Because, we reply, there we argued

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against the Sânkhya, and at present we have to do with the Vaiseshika.--But, already once, before (II, 1, 3) a line of argument equally applicable to a second case was simply declared to extend to the latter also; (why then do you not simply state now that the arguments used to defeat the Sânkhya are equally valid against the Vaiseshika?)--Because here, we reply, at the beginning of the examination of the Vaiseshika system we prefer to discuss the point with arguments specially adapted to the doctrine of the Vaiseshikas.


382:1 I.e. according as they are atoms of earth, water, fire, or air.

382:2 Parimandala, spherical is the technical term for the specific form of extension of the atoms, and, secondarily, for the atoms themselves. The latter must apparently be imagined as infinitely small spheres. Cp. Vais. Sût. VII, 1, 20.

382:3 Viz. during the period of each pralaya. At that time all the atoms are isolated and motionless.

382:4 When the time for a new creation has come.

382:5 The &c. implies the activity of the Lord.

382:6 The inherent (material) cause of an atomic compound are the constituent atoms, the non-inherent cause the conjunction of those atoms, the operative causes the adrishta and the Lord's activity which make them enter into conjunction.

383:1 I.e. in all cases the special form of extension of the effect depends not on the special extension of the cause, but on the number of atoms composing the cause (and thereby the effect).

383:2 In order to escape the conclusion that the non-acceptance of the doctrine of Brahman involves the abandonment of a fundamental Vaiseshika principle.

384:1 I.e. forms of extension different from sphericity, &c.

384:2 The first of the three Sûtras quoted comprises, in the present text of the Vaiseshika-sûtras, only the following words, 'Kâranabahutvâk ka;' the ka of the Sûtra implying, according to the commentators, mahattva and prakaya--According to the Vaiseshikas the form of extension called anu, minute, has for its cause the dvitva inherent in the material causes, i.e. the two atoms from which the minute binary atomic compound originates.--The form of extension called mahat, big, has different causes, among them bahutva, i.e. the plurality residing in the material causes of the resulting 'big' thing; the cause of the mahattva of a ternary atomic compound, for instance, is the tritva inherent in the three constituent atoms. In other cases mahattva is due to antecedent mahattva, in others to prakaya, i. e. accumulation. See the Upaskâra on Vais. Sût. VII, 1, 9; 10.

385:1 I.e. if the Vaiseshikas have to admit that it is the nature of sphericity, &c. not to produce like effects, the Vedântin also may maintain that Brahman produces an unlike effect, viz. the non-intelligent world.

Next: II, 2, 12