The Vedanta Sutras of Badarayana, Commentary by Sankara (SBE38), tr. by George Thibaut  at sacred-texts.com
14. And the intention of entering (can) not (be referred) to the effected (Brahman).
Moreover the intention of entering into which is expressed
in the passage, 'I enter the hall of Pragâpati, the house' (Kh. Up. VIII, 14, 1), cannot have the lower Brahman for its object. For the immediately preceding passage, 'That within which these forms and names are contained is the Brahman,' shows that the highest Brahman, different in nature from the effected one, is the general subject-matter; and the subsequent passage, 'I am the glory of the Brâhmans,' represents the soul as the Self of all; it being known from another scriptural passage that 'Glory' is a name of the highest Brahman, 'There is no likeness of him whose name is great glory' (Vâg. Samh. XXXII, 3). And in the vidyâ of Brahman within the heart it is said of this same entering the house that it is preceded by going 1, 'There is the city of Brahman Aparâgitâ, and the golden hall built by Prabhu' (Kh. Up. VIII, 5, 3). And that the performing of a journey is intended follows also from the use of the verb 'pad,' which denotes going (prapadye, I enter).--The other (primâ facie) view therefore is that all the passages about the soul's going refer to the highest Brahman.
These two views have been embodied by the teacher in the Sûtras; one in the Sûtras 7-11, the other in the Sûtras 12-14. Now the arguments contained in the former set are capable of proving the fallaciousness of the arguments in the latter set, but not vice versâ; from which it follows that the former set states the final view and the latter set the primâ facie view only.--For nobody can compel us to accept the primary sense of a word (such as Brahman) even where it is impossible to do so.--And although met with in a chapter that treats of the highest knowledge, the reference to the going to Brahman--which belongs to another kind of knowledge--may be explained as aiming merely at the glorification of the highest knowledge (not at teaching that the going to Brahman is the result of higher
knowledge).--And with reference to the passage, 'I enter the hall of Pragâpati the house,' there is no reason why we should not separate that passage from what precedes and refer the intention of entering to the effected Brahman. And the qualified Brahman also may be spoken of as being the Self of all, as shown by other passages such as 'He to whom all works, all desires belong,' &c. (Kh. Up. III, 14, 2). The texts about the going therefore all belong to the lower knowledge.--Others again, in accordance with the general principle that the earlier Sûtras set forth the primâ facie view, while the later ones contain the siddhânta view, maintain that the passages about the soul's going fall within the sphere of the higher knowledge. But this is impossible, because nothing may go to the highest Brahman. 'Omnipresent and eternal like the ether;' 'The Brahman which is visible, not invisible, the Self that is within all' (Bri. Up. III, 4, 1); 'Self only is all this' (Kh. Up. VII, 25, 2); 'Brahman only is all this, it is the best' (Mu. Up. II, 2, 11): from all these passages we ascertain that the highest Brahman is present everywhere, within everything, the Self of everything, and of such a Brahman it is altogether impossible that it ever should be the goal of going. For we do not go to what is already reached; ordinary experience rather tells us that a person goes to something different from him.--But we observe in ordinary experience also that something already reached may become an object of going, in so far as qualified by a different place; a man living on the earth, e.g. goes to the earth, in so far as he goes to another place on the earth. In the same way we see that a child reaches the adult state which in reality belongs to the child's identical Self, but is qualified by a difference of time. Analogously Brahman also may be an object of going in so far as it is possessed of all kinds of powers.--This may not be, we reply, because scripture expressly negatives Brahman's possessing any distinctive qualities.--'Without parts, without actions, tranquil, without fault, without taint' (Svet. Up. VI, 19); 'Neither coarse nor fine, neither short nor long' (Bri. Up. III, 8, 8); 'He who is without and within, unproduced '(Mu. Up. II, 1, 2);
[paragraph continues] 'This great, unborn Self, undecaying, undying, immortal, fearless, is indeed Brahman' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 25); 'He is to be described by No, no!' (Bri. Up. III, 9, 26); from all these scriptural texts, as well as from Smriti and reasoning, it follows that the highest Self cannot be assumed to possess any differences depending on time or space or anything else, and cannot therefore become the object of going. The cases of places on the earth and of the different ages of man are by no means analogous; for they are affected by differences of locality and so on, and therefore can be gone to or reached.--Nor will it avail our opponent to say that Brahman possesses manifold powers, because scripture declares it to be the cause of the world's origination, sustentation, and final retractation; for those passages which deny difference have no other sense (but just the absolute denial of all difference).--But in the same way also those passages which state the origination and so on of the world have no other sense! (i.e. cannot be understood to teach anything but just the origination and so on of the world).--This is not so, we reply; for what they aim at teaching is the absolute oneness of Brahman. For texts which by means of the simile of the lump of clay, &c., teach that only that which is, viz. Brahman, is true, while everything effected is untrue, cannot aim at teaching the origination, &c. of the world.--But why should the passages about the origination, &c. of the world be subordinate to those which deny all difference, and not vice versa?--Because, we reply, the texts which negative all difference effect the cessation of all desire. For when the absolute oneness, permanence, and purity of the Self have once been apprehended, we cognize that the highest aim of man has been attained, and therefore conceive no further desires. Compare the following texts: 'What trouble, what sorrow can there be to him who beholds that unity?' (Îsâ-up. 7); 'Thou hast reached fearlessness, O Ganaka'(Bri. Up. IV, 2, 4); 'He who knows does not fear anything; he does not distress himself with the thought, Why did I not do what is good? Why did I do what is bad?' (Taitt. Up. II, 9.) This also follows from our observing that those who know realise
contentment of mind; and from the fact that scripture blames the false notion of (the reality of) effects, 'From death to death goes he who sees here any difference' (Ka. Up. II. 4, 10). The texts negativing all difference cannot therefore be understood as subordinate to other texts. Those texts, on the other hand, which speak of the origination of the world and so on have no similar power of conveying a sense which effects cessation of all desire. At the same time it is manifest that they have another (than their literal) meaning. For the text, after having said at first, 'Of this shoot sprung up know that it cannot be without a root' (Kh. Up. VI, 8, 3), declares in the end that Being which is the root of the world is the only object of cognition. Similarly Taitt. Up. III, 1. 'That from which these beings are born, that by which when born they live, that into which they enter at their death, seek to know that; that is Brahman.' As thus the passages about origination and so on aim at teaching the unity of the Self, Brahman cannot be viewed as possessing manifold powers, and cannot therefore be the object of the action of going.--And, as already explained under IV, 2, 13, also the text Bri. Up. IV, 4, 6 ('Of him the prânas do not depart; being Brahman he goes to Brahman'), denies any going to the highest Brahman.
Moreover, on the hypothesis of going, that which goes, i.e. the individual soul, must be either a part of Brahman to which it goes, or an effect of Brahman, or different from Brahman; for if the two were absolutely identical no going could take place.--Well, what then?--We reply as follows. If, in the first place, the soul is a part of Brahman, it cannot go to it, since the whole is permanently reached by the part. Besides, the hypothesis of whole and parts cannot be applied to Brahman, which is acknowledged to be without parts.--The same objection lies against the hypothesis of the soul being an effect of Brahman; for also that which passes over into an effect is permanently reached by the effect. A jar made of clay does not exist apart from the clay which constitutes its Self; were it so apart it would cease to be. And on both hypotheses, as that to
which the parts or the effects would belong, i.e. Brahman is altogether unchanging, its entering into the Samsâra state could not be accounted for.--Let then, in the third place, the soul be different from Brahman. In that case it must be either of atomic size, or infinite, or of some intervening extent. If it is omnipresent, it cannot go anywhere. If it is of some middling extent, it cannot be permanent. If it is of atomic size, the fact of sensation extending over the whole body cannot be accounted for. The two hypotheses of atomic and middling extent have moreover been refuted at length in a former part of this work (II, 3, 19 ff.). And from the soul's being different from the highest Brahman it also would follow that such texts as 'Thou art that' are futile. This latter objection also lies against the theories of the soul being a part or an effect of Brahman. Nor can the difficulty be got over by it being pleaded that a part and an effect are not different from the whole and the causal substance; for that kind of oneness is not oneness in the true literal sense--From all those three theories it moreover equally follows that the soul cannot obtain final release, because its Samsâra condition could never come to an end. Or else, if that condition should come to an end, it would follow that the very essence of the soul perishes; for those theories do not admit that the (imperishable) Brahman constitutes the Self of the soul.
Here now some come forward with the following contention. Works of permanent obligation and works to be performed on special occasions are undertaken to the end that harm may not spring up; such works as are due to special desires, and such as are forbidden, are eschewed, in order that neither the heavenly world nor hell may be obtained, and those works whose fruits are to be enjoyed in the current bodily existence are exhausted by just that fruition. Hence, as after the death of the present body, there is no cause for the origination of a now body, that blessed isolation which consists in the soul's abiding within its own nature will accomplish itself for a man acting in the way described above, even without the cognition of his
[paragraph continues] Self being identical with Brahman's Self.--All this is inadmissible, we reply, because there is no proof of it. For scripture nowhere teaches that he who desires release should conduct himself in the way described. To say that because the Samsâra state depends on works, it will cease when works are absent, is an altogether arbitrary style of reasoning. And (whether arbitrary or not) this reasoning falls to the ground, because the absence of the cause is something that cannot be ascertained. It may be supposed that each living being has, in its former states of existence, accumulated many works which have part of them pleasant, part of them unpleasant results. As these works are such as to lead to contrary results, which cannot be enjoyed all of them at the same time, some works whose opportunity has come, build up the present state of existence; others sit inactive waiting for a place, a time, and operative causes (favourable to them). As these latter works cannot thus be exhausted in the present state of existence, we cannot definitely assert, even in the case of a man who conducts himself as described above, that at the end of his present bodily existence all cause for a new bodily existence will be absent. The existence of a remainder of works is, moreover, established by scriptural and Smriti passages, such as, 'Those whose conduct has been good' (Kh. Up. V, 10, 7); 'Then with the remainder.'--But may not, an objection is raised, those remaining works be wiped out (even in the present existence) by the performance of works of permanent obligation and such works as are due to special occasions?--This may not be, we reply, because the two sets of works are not of contrary nature. Where there is contrariety of nature, one thing may be wiped out by another; but good deeds performed in previous states of existence, and works of permanent obligation and so on (performed in the present life), are both of them equally pure and therefore not of opposite nature. Bad works indeed, as being of impure nature, are opposed to works of permanent obligation, &c., and therefore may be extinguished by the latter. But even from this admission it does not follow that the causes for a new embodied existence
are altogether absent; for those causes may be supplied by good deeds, and we do not know that the evil works have been extinguished without a remainder. Nor is there anything to prove that the performance of works of permanent obligation, &c., leads only to the non-origination of harm, and not at the same time to the origination of new results (to be extinguished in future states of existence); for it may happen that such new results spring up collaterally. Thus Âpastamba says, 'When a mango tree is planted for the sake of its fruits, it in addition gives shade and fragrance; thus additional advantages spring from the performance of religious duty.'--Nor can anybody who has not reached perfect knowledge promise to refrain altogether, from birth to death, from all actions either forbidden or aiming at the fulfilment of special wishes for we observe that even the most perfect men commit faults, however minute. This may be a matter of doubt; all the same it remains true that the absence of causes for a new existence cannot be known with certainty.--If, further, the soul's unity with Brahman's Self--which is to be realised through knowledge--is not acknowledged, the soul whose essential nature it is to be an agent and enjoyer cannot even desire the state of blissful isolation; for a being cannot divorce itself from its true essence, not any more than fire can cease to be hot.--But, an objection is raised, what is of disadvantage to the soul is the state of agentship and fruition in so far as actually produced, not its mere potentiality. Release of the soul may, therefore, take place if only that actual condition is avoided while its potentiality remains.--This also, we reply, is not true: for as long as the potentiality exists it ill inevitably produce the actuality.--But, our opponent resumes, potentiality alone, without other co-operative causes, does not produce its effect; as long therefore as it is alone it cannot, though continuing to exist, do any harm!--This also, we reply, is not valid; for the co-operative causes also are, potentially, permanently connected (with the acting and enjoying soul). If, therefore, the soul whose essence is acting and enjoying is not considered to possess fundamental identity with Brahman
[paragraph continues] --an identity to be realised by knowledge--there is not any chance of its obtaining final release. Scripture, moreover (in the passage, 'There is no other way to go,' Svet. Up. III, 8), denies that there is any other way to release but knowledge.--But if the soul is non-different from the highest Brahman, all practical existence comes to an end, because then perception and the other means of right knowledge no longer act!--Not so, we reply. Practical life will hold its place even then, just as dreamlife holds its place up to the moment of waking. Scripture, after having said that perception and the rest are operative in the sphere of those who have not reached true knowledge ('For where there is duality, as it were, there one sees the other,' &c.; Bri. Up. IV, 5, 15), goes on to show that those means of knowledge do not exist for those who possess that knowledge ('But when the whole of him has become the Self, whereby should he see another,' &c.). As thus for him who knows the highest Brahman all cognition of something to be gone to, &c. is sublated his going cannot in any way be shown to be possible.
To what sphere then belong the scriptural texts about the soul's going?--To the sphere of qualified knowledge, we reply. Accordingly the soul's going is mentioned in the chapter treating of the knowledge of the five fires, in the chapter treating of the knowledge of Brahman's couch, in the chapter treating of the knowledge of Agni Vaisvânara (Kh. Up. V, 3-10; Kau. Up. I; Kh. Up. V, 11-24). And where the soul's going is spoken of in a chapter treating of Brahman--(as e.g. in the passages, 'He leads them to Brahman,' &c., Kh. Up. IV, 15, 6, in a chapter treating of Brahman, as shown by 'Breath is Brahman,' &c., IV, 10, 5; and 'He departs upward,' &c., Kh. Up. VIII, 6, 5, in the chapter beginning 'There is this city of Brahman,' VIII, 1, 1)--such attributes as 'vâmanî,' i.e. Leader of blessings (Kh. Up. IV, 15, 3), and 'satyakâma,' i.e. having true wishes, show that there the qualified Brahman has to be meditated upon, and to that Brahman the soul can go. No passage, on the other hand, speaks of the soul's going to the highest Brahman; while such going is specially
denied in the passage, 'Of him the prânas do not depart.' In passages, again, such as 'He who knows Brahman obtains the Highest' (Taitt. Up. II, 1), we indeed meet with the verb 'to reach,' which has the sense of going; but because, as explained before, the reaching of another place is out of question, 'reaching' there denotes only the obtainment (realisation) of one's own nature, in so far as (through true knowledge) the expanse of names and forms which Nescience superimposes (on Brahman) is dissolved. Such passages are to be understood analogously to the text, 'Being Brahman he enters into Brahman' (Bri. Up. IV, 4, 6).--Besides, if the going were understood as connected with the highest Brahman, it could only subserve the purpose either of satisfying (the mind of him who knows) or of reflection. Now, a statement of the soul's going cannot produce any satisfaction in him who knows Brahman, since satisfaction is already fully accomplished through his perfect condition, bestowed on him by knowledge, of which he is immediately conscious. Nor, on the other hand, can it be shown that reflection on the soul's going in any way subserves knowledge, which is conscious of eternally perfect blessedness, and has not for its fruit something to be accomplished.--For all these reasons the soul's going falls within the sphere of the lower knowledge. And only in consequence of the distinction of the higher and lower Brahman not being ascertained, statements about the soul's going which apply to the lower Brahman are wrongly put in connexion with the higher Brahman.
But are there really two Brahmans, a higher one and a lower one?--Certainly there are two! For scripture declares this, as e.g. in the passage, 'O Satyakâma, the syllable Om is the higher and also the lower Brahman' (Pr. Up. V, 2).--What then is the higher Brahman, and what the lower?--Listen! Where the texts, negativing all distinctions founded on name, form, and the like, designate Brahman by such terms as that which is not coarse and so on, the higher Brahman is spoken of. Where, again, for the purpose of pious meditation, the texts teach Brahman as qualified by some distinction depending on name, form, and so on, using terms such as
[paragraph continues] 'He who consists of mind, whose body is prâna, whose shape is light' (Kh. Up. III. 14, 2), that is the lower Brahman.--But is there not room here for the objection that this distinction of a higher and a lower Brahman stultifies the scriptural texts asserting aduality?--Not so, we reply. That objection is removed by the consideration that name and form, the adjuncts (of the one real Brahman), are due to Nescience. Passages such as 'If he desires the world of the fathers' (Kh. Up. VIII, 2, 1), which the text exhibits in proximity to a meditation on the lower Brahman, show that the fruit of such meditation is lordship over the worlds; a fruit falling within the sphere of the Samsâra, Nescience having not as yet been discarded. And as that fruit is bound to a special locality, there is nothing contradictory in the soul's going there in order to reach it. That the soul, although all-pervading, is viewed as going because it enters into connexion with the buddhi and the rest of its adjuncts, just as general space enters into connexion with jars and the like, we have explained under II, 3, 29.
For all these reasons the view of Bâdari as set forth in Sûtra 7 is the final one; while Sûtra 12, which states Gaimini's opinion, merely sets forth another view, to the end of the illumination of the learner's understanding.
393:1 I am not quite sure which passage in the daharavidyâ is supposed to prove that the entering of Brahman's house is preceded by going. Probably VIII, 6, 5, 'He departs upwards; he is going to the sun.'