22. That which possesses the qualities of invisibility, &c., on account of the declaration of attributes.
The Âtharvanikas read in their text, 'The higher knowledge is that by which that Indestructible is apprehended. That which is invisible, unseizable, without origin and qualities, &c., that it is which the wise regard as the source of all beings'; and further on, 'That which is higher than the high Imperishable' (Mu. Up. I, 1, 5, 6; II, 1, 2). The doubt here arises whether the Indestructible, possessing the qualities of imperceptibility, &c., and that which is higher than the Indestructible, should be taken to denote the Pradhâna and the soul of the Sânkhyas, or whether both denote the highest Self.--The Pûrvapakshin maintains the former alternative. For, he says, while in the text last discussed there is mentioned a special attribute of an intelligent being, viz. in the clause 'unseen but a seer', no similar attribute is stated in the former of the two texts under discussion, and the latter text clearly describes the collective individual soul, which is higher than the imperishable Pradhâna, which itself is higher than all its effects. The reasons for this decision are as follows:--Colour and so on reside in the gross forms of non-intelligent matter, viz. the elements, earth, and so on. When, therefore, visibility and so on are expressly negatived, such negation suggests a non-sentient thing cognate to earth, &c., but of a subtle kind, and such a thing is no other than the Pradhâna. And as something higher than this Pradhâna there are known the collective souls only, under whose guidance the Pradhâna gives birth to all its effects, from the so-called Mahat downwards
to individual things. This interpretation is confirmed by the comparisons set forth in the next sloka, 'As the spider sends forth and draws in its threads, as plants spring from the earth, as hair grows on the head and body of the living man, thus does everything arise here from the Indestructible.' The section therefore is concerned only with the Pradhâna and the individual soul.
This primâ facie view is set aside by the Sûtra. That which possesses invisibility and the other qualities stated in the text, and that which is higher than the high Indestructible, is no other than the highest Self. For the text declares attributes which belong to the highest Self only, viz. in I, 1, 9, 'He who knows all, cognises all,' &c. Let us shortly consider the connexion of the text. The passage beginning'the higher knowledge is that by which the Indestructible is apprehended' declares an indestructible being possessing the attributes of invisibility and so on. The clause 'everything arises here from the Indestructible' next declares that from that being all things originate. Next the sloka, 'He who knows all and cognises all,' predicates of that Indestructible which is the source of all beings, omniscience, and similar qualities. And finally the text, 'That which is higher than the high Indestructible,' characterises that same being--which previously had been called invisible, the source of beings, indestructible, all-knowing, &c.--as the highest of all. Hence it is evident that in the text 'higher than the high Indestructible' the term 'Indestructible' does not denote the invisible, &c. Indestructible, which is the chief topic of the entire section; for there can of course be nothing higher than that which, as being all-knowing, the source of all, &c., is itself higher than anything else. The 'Indestructible' in that text therefore denotes the elements in their subtle condition.