16. If it be said that knowledge and mind (which are mentioned) between (breath and the elements) (are stated) in order of succession, owing to an inferential mark of this; we say, not so, on account of non-difference.
'Knowledge' in the Sûtra denotes the means of knowledge, i.e. the sense-organs.--An objection is raised against the conclusion arrived at under the preceding Sûtra. We cannot, the opponent says, admit the conclusion that the passage from the Mundka Up. 'from him is born breath, mind,' &c., declares the immediate origination from Brahman of all things, and that hence the passage confirms the view, first suggested by the inferential mark of 'thought' (see above, Sû. 14), that everything springs from Brahman direct. For the purport of the text is to state a certain order of succession, and we hence conclude that all the beings mentioned were successively created. In the second half of the text we recognise the series of ether, air, fire, &c., which is known to us from other texts, and from the fact of their being exhibited in one and the same text we conclude that knowledge and mind--which are mentioned between breath on the one side and the elements on the
other--must be viewed as created in that order. The text therefore in no way confirms the direct origination of everything from Brahman. To this the Sûtra replies, 'Not so, on account of non-difference.' The first words of the text 'from him is born' connect themselves equally with breath, and knowledge, and mind, and the scries of elements beginning with ether; and the meaning of the whole therefore is to declare that all the entities spring directly from Brahman, not to teach the order of succession in which they are produced. It moreover cannot have the purport of teaching a certain order of succession, because the order stated contradicts the order established by other scriptural passages; such as the one beginning 'the earth is merged in water,' and ending 'darkness becomes one.' We hence hold to the conclusion that all effects originate from Brahman only, in so far as embodied in the Unevolved, and so on, and that the terms 'fire' and so on denote Brahman, which is the Self of all those substances.--But to interpret all these words as denoting Brahman is to set aside their special denotative power as established by etymology!--To this objection the next Sûtra replies.