26. But on account of twofold designation, as the snake and its coils.
It has been shown in the preceding adhikarana that
the entire non-sentient universe is the outward form of Brahman. For the purpose of proving Brahman's freedom from all imperfection, an enquiry is now begun into the particular mode in which the world may be conceived to constitute the form of Brahman. Is the relation of the two like that of the snake and its coils; or like that of light and the luminous body, both of which fall under the same genus; or like that of the individual soul and Brahman, the soul being a distinguishing attribute and for that reason a part (amsa) of Brahman?--On the assumption of this last alternative, which is about to be established here, it has been already shown under two preceding Sûtras (I, 4, 23; II, 1, 14), that from Brahman, as distinguished by sentient and non-sentient beings in their subtle form, there originates Brahman as distinguished by all those beings in their gross form.
Which then of the alternatives stated above is the true one?--The material world is related to Brahman as the coils to the snake, 'on account of twofold designation.' For some texts declare the identity of the two: 'Brahman only is all this'; 'The Self only is all this.' Other texts again refer to the difference of the two: 'Having entered into these three deities with this gîva-self, let me differentiate names and forms.' We therefore consider all non-sentient things to be special forms or arrangements of Brahman, as the coils are of a coiled-up snake or a coiled-up rope.