24. Into (plants) animated by other souls, because the statement is as in the previous cases.
The text declares that (he descending souls are born as rice, corn, &c., 'they are born here as rice, corn, herbs, trees,' &c. The question here is whether the souls cling to plants animated by other souls which have those plants for their bodies; or whether the descending souls themselves are born with those plants for their bodies.--The latter view is the right one; for the text says, 'they are born as rice, grain,' and so on, and this expression is of the same kind as when we say 'he is born as a man, as a deva,' and so on. The text therefore means that the souls are embodied in the different plants.--This view the Sûtra rejects. The souls merely cling to those plants which constitute the bodies of other souls; 'since the statement is as in the previous cases,' i.e. because the text only says that the souls become plants as it had previously been said that they become ether, and so on. Where the text means to say that the soul enters on the condition of an enjoying soul (i.e. of a soul assuming a new body for the purpose of retributive enjoyment), it refers to the deeds which lead to such enjoyment; so e. g. in the passage, 'Those whose works have been good obtain a good birth,' &c. But in the text under discussion there is no such reference to karman. For those works--viz. sacrifices and the like--which were undertaken with a view to reward, such as enjoyment of the heavenly world, are, in the case of the descending souls, completely wiped out by the enjoyment of the heavenly world (which precedes the descent of the souls); and those works on the other hand, the action of which has not yet begun, lead to the embodiments mentioned
further on ('Those whose works are good'). And in the interval between those two conditions no new karman originates. When, therefore, the text says that the souls are born as plants, the statement cannot be taken in its literal sense.