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

42. On account of the impossibility of the origination (of the individual soul from the highest Lord, the doctrine of the Bhâgavatas cannot be accepted).

We have, in what precedes, refuted the opinion of those who think that the Lord is not the material cause but only the ruler, the operative cause of the world. We are now

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going to refute the doctrine of those according to whom he is the material as well as the operative cause.--But, it may be objected, in the previous portions of the present work a Lord of exactly the same nature, i.e. a Lord who is the material, as well as the operative, cause of the world, has been ascertained on the basis of Scripture, and it is a recognised principle that Smriti, in so far as it agrees with Scripture, is authoritative; why then should we aim at controverting the doctrine stated?--It is true, we reply, that a part of the system which we are going to discuss agrees with the Vedânta system, and hence affords no matter for controversy; another part of the system, however, is open to objection, and that part we intend to attack.

The so-called Bhâgavatas are of opinion that the one holy (bhagavat) Vâsudeva, whose nature is pure knowledge, is what really exists, and that he, dividing himself fourfold, appears in four forms (vyûha), as Vâsudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. Vâsudeva denotes the highest Self, Sankarshana the individual soul, Pradyumna the mind (manas), Aniruddha the principle of egoity (ahankâra). Of these four Vâsudeva constitutes the ultimate causal essence, of which the three others are the effects.--The believer after having worshipped Vâsudeva for a hundred years by means of approach to the temple (abhigamana), procuring of things to be offered (upâdâna), oblation (îgyâ), recitation of prayers, &c. (svâdhyâya), and devout meditation (yoga), passes beyond all affliction and reaches the highest Being.

Concerning this system we remark that we do not intend to controvert the doctrine that Nârâyana, who is higher than the Undeveloped, who is the highest Self, and the Self of all, reveals himself by dividing himself in multiple ways; for various scriptural passages, such as 'He is onefold, he is threefold' (Kh. Up. VII, 26, 2)', teach us that the highest Self appears in manifold forms. Nor do we mean to object to the inculcation of unceasing concentration of mind on the highest Being which appears in the Bhâgavata doctrine under the forms of reverential approach,

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[paragraph continues] &c.; for that we are to meditate on the Lord we know full well from Smriti and Scripture. We, however, must take exception to the doctrine that Sankarshana springs from Vâsudeva, Pradyumna from Sankarshana, Aniruddha from Pradyumna. It is not possible that from Vâsudeva, i.e. the highest Self, there should originate Sankarshana, i.e. the individual soul; for if such were the case, there would attach to the soul non-permanency, and all the other imperfections which belong to things originated. And thence release, which consists in reaching the highest Being, could not take place; for the effect is absorbed only by entering into its cause.--That the soul is not an originated thing, the teacher will prove later on (II, 3, 17). For this reason the Bhâgavata hypothesis is unacceptable.

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