17. But that which abides in the things movable and immovable, i.e. the terms denoting those things, are non-secondary (i.e. of primary denotative power, viz. with regard to Brahman); since (their denotative power) is effected by the being of that (i.e. Brahman).
The 'but' sets aside the objection raised. (The primâ facie view here is as follows.) As Brahman, which has all things for its modes, is not the object of Perception and the other means of knowledge which give rise to the apprehension of the things only which are Brahman's modes, and as hence, previously to the study of the Vedânta-texts, the idea of that to which the modes belong (i.e. of Brahman) does not arise, and as the knowledge of all words finally denoting Brahman depends on the existence of the idea of that to which the modes belong (i. e. Brahman); all the
individual words are used in worldly language only separately to denote special things. In other words, as the terms 'fire' and so on have denotative power with regard to particular things only, their denotative power with regard to Brahman is secondary, indirect only.--Of this view the Sûtra disposes by saying 'that which abides in the moving and the non-moving,' &c. The meaning is--the terms which abide in, i.e. are connected with, the different moving and non-moving things, and hence denote those things, possess with regard to Brahman a denotative power which is not 'bhâkta,' i.e. secondary or figurative, but primary and direct. 'Why so?' Because the denotative power of all words is dependent on the being of Brahman. For this we know from the scriptural passage which tells how names and forms were evolved by Brahman.--Here terminates the adhikarana of 'fire.'