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

37. The Lord (cannot be the cause of the world), on account of the inappropriateness (of that doctrine).

The Sûtrakâra now applies himself to the refutation of that doctrine, according to which the Lord is the cause of the world only in so far as he is the general ruler.--But how do you know that that is the purport of the Sûtra (which speaks of the Lord 'without any qualification')?--From the circumstance, we reply, that the teacher himself has proved, in the previous sections of the work, that the Lord is the material cause as well as the ruler of the world. Hence, if the present Sûtra were meant to impugn the doctrine of the Lord in general, the earlier and later parts of the work would be mutually contradictory, and the Sûtrakâra would thus be in conflict with himself. We therefore must assume that the purport of the present Sûtra is to make an energetic attack on the doctrine of those who maintain that the Lord is not the material cause, but merely the ruler, i.e. the operative cause of the world; a doctrine entirely opposed to the Vedântic tenet of the unity of Brahman.

The theories about the Lord which are independent of the Vedânta are of various nature. Some taking their stand on the Sânkhya and Yoga systems assume that the Lord acts as a mere operative cause, as the ruler of the

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pradhâna and of the souls, and that pradhâna, soul, and Lord are of mutually different nature.--The Mâhesvaras (Saivas) maintain that the five categories, viz. effect, cause, union, ritual, the end of pain, were taught by the Lord Pasupati (Siva) to the end of breaking the bonds of the animal (i.e. the soul); Pasupati is, according to them, the Lord, the operative cause.--Similarly, the Vaiseshikas and others also teach, according to their various systems, that the Lord is somehow the operative cause of the world.

Against all these opinions the Sûtra remarks 'the Lord, on account of the inappropriateness.' I.e. it is not possible that the Lord as the ruler of the pradhâna and the soul should be the cause of the world, on account of the inappropriateness of that doctrine. For if the Lord is supposed to assign to the various classes of animate creatures low, intermediate, and high positions, according to his liking, it follows that he is animated by hatred, passion, and so on, is hence like one of us, and is no real Lord. Nor can we get over this difficulty by assuming that he makes his dispositions with a view to the merit and demerit of the living beings; for that assumption would lead us to a logical see-saw, the Lord as well as the works of living beings having to be considered in turns both as acting and as acted upon. This difficulty is not removed by the consideration that the works of living beings and the resulting dispositions made by the Lord form a chain which has no beginning; for in past time as well as in the present mutual interdependence of the two took place, so that the beginningless series is like an endless chain of blind men leading other blind men. It is, moreover, a tenet set forth by the Naiyâyikas themselves that 'imperfections have the characteristic of being the causes of action' (Nyâya Sûtra I, 1, 18). Experience shows that all agents, whether they be active for their own purposes or for the purposes of something else, are impelled to action by some imperfection. And even if it is admitted that an agent even when acting for some extrinsic purpose is impelled by an intrinsic motive, your doctrine remains faulty all the same; for the

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[paragraph continues] Lord is no longer a Lord, even if he is actuated by intrinsic motives only (such as the desire of removing the painful feeling connected with pity).--Your doctrine is finally inappropriate for that reason also that you maintain the Lord to be a special kind of soul; for from that it follows that he must be devoid of all activity.

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