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The Vedanta Sutras of Badarayana, Commentary by Sankara (SBE38), tr. by George Thibaut [1896] at

5. But by the meditation on the highest that which is hidden (viz. the equality of the Lord and

p. 139

the soul, becomes manifest); for from him (the Lord) are its (the soul's) bondage and release.

Well, but the individual soul is a part of the highest Self as the spark is a part of the fire. And as fire and spark have in common the powers of burning and giving light, so the individual soul and the Lord have in common the powers of knowledge and rulership; hence the individual soul may, by means of its lordship, effect in the dreaming state a creation of chariots and the like, springing from its wishes (samkalpa).--To this we reply that although the Lord and the individual soul stand to each other in the relation of whole and part, yet it is manifest to perception that the attributes of the two are of a different nature.--Do you then mean to say that the individual soul has no common attributes with the Lord?--We do not maintain that; but we say that the equality of attributes, although existing, is hidden by the veil of Nescience. In the case of some persons indeed who strenuously meditate on the Lord and who, their ignorance being dispelled at last, obtain through the favour of the Lord extraordinary powers and insight, that hidden equality becomes manifest--just as through the action of strong medicines the power of sight of a blind man becomes manifest; but it does not on its own account reveal itself to all men.--Why not?--Because 'from him,' i.e. from the Lord there are bondage and release of it, viz. the individual soul. That means: bondage is due to the absence of knowledge of the Lord's true nature; release is due to the presence of such knowledge. Thus Sruti declares, 'When that god is known all fetters fall off; sufferings are destroyed and birth and death cease. From meditating on him there arises, on the dissolution of the body, a third state, that of universal Lordship; he who is alone is satisfied' (Svet. Up. I, 11), and similar passages.


138:1 Svayam vihatya pûrvadeham niskeshtam kritvâ svayam nirmâyâpûrvam vâsanâmayam deham sampâdya svena bhâsâ svakîyabuddhivrittyâ svena gyotishâ svarûpakaitanyenety arthah. Ân. Gi.

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