Chapter II of Brahma Sūtra consists of 157 aphorisms. This chapter is named as “avirodha” (a-virodah or non-contradiction). In Brahma Sutra Chapter I (134 aphorisms) it was discussed that Brahman is the cause of the universe and He manifests in different shapes and forms. A comparison was drawn to the presence of gold in all gold ornaments. Only the shapes of ornaments differ and not the ingredient, gold. Similarly, though there are infinite existence of shapes and forms, the essence of these beings is only Brahman. He not only creates, but also sustains, annihilates and also withdraws the universe unto Himself.

This Brahma Sutras chapter consisting of 157 aphorisms again refutes the theory of other philosophies and proceeds to discuss on the revelations of Upanishads and rules any possible contradictions with them and ultimately proves that Brahman alone is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Brahma Sūtra is the only Scripture that elucidates Brahman by drawing comparisons from almost all important Upanishads and Bhagavad Gītā, which is also considered as one of the Upanishads. In this series, all possible attempts are made to present Brahma Sūtra in simple terms, without losing sight of the impartations.

Brahma Sutra II.i.1

If the proven theory that Brahman is the cause of the universe is objected, which is the case with Sāṁkhya Philosophy, it means rejecting the revelations of Upanishads and Bhagavad Gītā. If we go with Sāṁkhya Philosophy, revelations of entire Smṛti-s will become nullified. This cannot be accepted because Smṛti-s were directly revealed to ancient sages and saints through cosmic commune, which obviously cannot go wrong. Those who are well versed with terminology and principles of Vedānta can understand Upanishads. Even for understanding Upanishads, one should first get to know various terms of Vedānta. It is said that those who are unable to understand the impartation of Upanishads resort to the study of Scriptures on philosophy like Sāṁkhya Philosophy, and either get confused or misled about Brahman. Hence it is said that Brahma Sūtra made all out efforts to dismantle those unacceptable theories and philosophies.

To strengthen the arguments of Brahma Sūtra, a few verses are quoted from Śvetāśvatara Upanishad (V.2 and 3). “Brahman is without a second, yet He is everywhere and in every being. Present in every source of origin, he controls the origin. He creates many kinds of forms such as gods and goddesses, men and women, animals, insects, etc. He not only creates them, but also destroys them.” When Upanishads so categorically discuss about Brahman, obviously, other interpretations cannot be accepted simply because they are against the subtle conveyances of Vedas. Further, Śvetāśvatara Upanishad(V.2) also says, “He first created Hiraṇyagarbha, who was born before creation, is all knowing. Brahman infused Hiraṇyagarbha with knowledge and ensured that Hiraṇyagarbha was born. (Hiraṇyagarbha means Brahmā, the god of creation and is different from Brahman. Brahman is also referred as Brahma (not Brahmā).”  When Upanishads so categorically affirm that Brahman is the cause for everything, the theories of other philosophies saying that Prakṛti is also the cause for creation cannot be accepted.

Brahma Sutra II.i.2

Derivatives of Prakṛti such as Mahat, etc are not in line with the principles of Vedas and Upanishads, which say that everything originates only from Brahman and there is no second to Brahman. (Mahat is the twenty seventh principle of Sāṁkhya Philosophy, generally known as intellect. Mahat can also be explained as the cause of universe and is also known as buddhi or intellect. It helps not only to get ourselves associated with the materialistic world but also helps us in pursuing spiritual path.)

Not only the theories of Sāṁkhya Philosophy are refuted, but other philosophies like Patanjali Yoga Sutras are also not considered. Neither Sāṁkhya Philosophy nor Yoga Sūtra-s are ever referred in Vedas and Upanishads, Brahma Sūtra does not take cognizance of these Scriptures. (Though Brahma Sūtra does not take cognizance, Patanjali Yoga Sutras are considered as one of the best practices to attain Brahman. There are differences between Sāṁkhya Philosophy and Patanjali Yoga Sutras Though the former says that there are other factors for creation, the latter only explains ways and means to attain Brahman.) This is explained further in the next aphorism.

Brahma Sutra II.i.3

Similarly, Yoga philosophy (Patanjali Yoga Sutras) is also refuted. There is a reference to yoga in Śvetāśvatara Upanishad(II. 8 to 11). “In order to enter into the state of Bliss, one has to keep his head, neck and chest in straight line….Anyone practicing yoga should carefully follow instructions and also should know what is right and what is wrong. If a yogi attains perfection in yoga he experiences many things such as sun, moon, sparks of fire, etc.” One may wonder why this Upanishad advocates yoga practices, when Brahma Sūtra does not accept yoga as part of Vedic culture. It is said that practicing yoga does not lead to Bliss or liberation. They are only practices. It is argued that one can attain liberation without practicing yoga. How is this possible? Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad(IV.5) says, “The Self should be realized, should be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon.” For realization of the Self, yogic practices are only complimentary in nature, but not obligatory. What is required is only a steadfast mind and nothing else. Yoga is termed as complimentary because our inability to meditate with a resolute mind, as mind by nature is full of multiple thought processes.

The pitfalls of yoga are clearly mentioned in Kaṭha Upanishad (II.iii.11) which says, “Yogic state may have its fall as it has its rise.” The same Upanishad (II.iii.12) says, “How can Brahman be demonstrated to those who do not believe?” Frankly speaking, there is no need to demonstrate the presence of Brahman to anyone. Unless his or karmic account permits, he or she is not going to take efforts to realize Brahman. The Upanishad (II.iii.14) also says, “When a person has his heart’s desires destroyed, (destruction of thought processes and ego; mind cannot be destroyed; only the thought processes can be destroyed because realisation of the Self happens only in a purified mind; mind becomes pure when thoughts are annihilated and ego is destroyed.),he becomes one with Brahman in this very life.(this is the sole object of this site).

Śvetāśvatara Upanishad also confirms (VI.13), “The Lord gives eternity to the eternals (probably referring to gods like Indra, great sages and saints who have become immortals - eight cirajīvin-s - Mārkaṇḍeya, Aśvatthāman, Bali, Vyāsa, Hanuman, Vibhīṣaṇa, Kṛipa, Paraśurāma) and consciousness to those who are conscious (human beings). He is alone, yet He is able to fulfil the wishes of all. You realize Him only through knowledge….”

Brahma Sutra II.i.4

It is argued that Brahman is not the cause of this universe, because all His creations are not uniform. The fact that Brahman is the cause of the universe is known only through Vedas. In Scriptures like Sāṁkhya Philosophy, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, etc, do not advocate that Brahman is both the efficient cause and material cause, as elucidated in Vedas and Upanishads. Next eight aphorisms refute the concept of these disputable Scriptures. Dispute is only on the origin of the universe and does not undermine the qualities of these great works. The main nature of contradiction is that, when Brahman manifests in different shapes and forms, how can He be both the efficient cause and the material cause simultaneously?

The above argument is refuted by Taittirīya Upanishad ( The Cosmic Self thought to himself, “I will become many and I will be born….Then He created the whole world of living and non-living things. He created them (both sentient and insentient beings) and then He entered into them. Having entered into them, He in some cases assumed forms and other causes remained formless.” This Upanishad saying clearly proves that Brahman alone manifests both in forms and formless. Forms are multitude of beings and formless means subtle elements like ākāśa, air, different energies, etc.

Hence there cannot be any dispute about Brahman being both efficient and material cause of the universe.

Related articles:

Brahma Sutra - I.iv.21 - 28

Brahma Sutra II.i.5 - 9