Brahma Sutras II.ii.11

The next seven sūtra-s refute the theory of Vaiśeṣika Philosophy. This sūtra refutes the perception of Vaiśeṣika Philosophy as a whole. Vaiśeṣika argues that by weaving white threads, we get white cloth. Similarly, when the universe originates from Brahman, all the qualities of Brahman should exist in the universe. As all the qualities of Brahman are not present in the universe, Vaiśeṣika says that the universe was not created by Brahman. Further according to Vaiśeṣika, the universe was created by atoms. During creation two atoms join together to form a pair and this pair unites with the third one and these three unite with the fourth and so on. There are several interpretations on these atoms about creation and dissolution. As this theory is not conclusively proved and Vaiśeṣika itself contradicts their own theories in several places, Vaiśeṣika philosophy in totality is rejected.

Brahma Sutras II.ii.12

These atoms are not visible to senses and they remain extremely subtle, which is always the case. This principle is known as adṛṣṭa, which means not experienced, unobserved, unknown, unsanctioned. When we say Brahman, we experience Him in some way or other, say in the form of Bliss, etc. As per Vaiśeṣika the atoms or adṛṣṭa go on expanding with no signs of dissolution and annihilation.  Even for the sake of argument that adṛṣṭa exists in a soul how can inert soul make adṛṣṭa active? This is not possible. Hence this theory is refuted not only by Advaita, but also contradicts of Vaiśeṣika’s own theory. Hence, Vaiśeṣika philosophy is rejected.

Brahma Sutras​​​​​​​ II.ii.13

There is another theory called samavāya in Vaiśeṣika, which means inseparable concomitance of two atoms. In order to create more such samavāya-s are required. To complete the initial stage creation itself infinite number of samavāya-s are required, which is not possible. Hence, this theory is also refuted.

Brahma Sutras​​​​​​​ II.ii.14

Let us assume that atoms perpetually exist in active mode and this means creation continues to happen without any cessation, resulting in too much of creation without any room for dissolution.  On the contrary if these atoms exist in inert mode, there will be no creation at all. These atoms cannot simultaneously be active an inert. Let us take the example of Advaita. Brahman has two aspects, saguṇa and nirguṇa (with attributes and without attributes) which take care of creation, sustenance and dissolution in a perfect way. Though nirguṇa Brahman is inactive, saguṇa Brahman is active and this way there is always a balance between creation and dissolution. As Vaiśeṣika do not give any practical interpretations, Vaiśeṣika philosophy is refuted from this ground also.

Brahma Sutras II.ii.15

The qualities that do not exist in cause are not found in effect. If we go by the philosophy of Vaiśeṣika, all that exist in the universe should have the qualities of inert atoms that are colourless, bigger in size and permanent. Obviously they cannot exist in the form of invisible atoms. For example, a tree in its massive form originates from a seed that is visible. If seed is invisible, tree cannot grow from nowhere. On this account also, Vaiśeṣika philosophy is refuted.

Brahma Sutras​​​​​​​ II.ii.16

Atomic theory is also refuted on the following grounds. It says that the material world came into existence from earth, water, fire and air. Though they are the cause for the material world, each of them has different qualities. If we go by the doctrine of Vaiśeṣika, all these natural resources should have originated from the same types of atoms. When they originate from the same kind of atoms, how can differences exist in these natural resources? On this basis also, Vaiśeṣika is refuted.

Brahma Sutras II.ii.17

According to Vaiśeṣika doctrine, there are six primary components - substance, qualities, actions, generality, individuality and inherence. Vaiśeṣika doctrine reiterates that these six, different from each other and form different shapes and forms such man, animals, birds, insects, etc. At some point they say that few of these components are related to each other and in other contexts, they say that they are different. As there is no coherency in this doctrine and as this philosophy is not accepted by Manu and others, this philosophy is set aside.

After having rejected Vaiśeṣika doctrine, Brahma Sūtra now proceeds to discuss on Buddhism, which will be discussed in the next part of this series.

Further Readings:

Brahma Sutra - II.i.23 - 28

Brahma Sutra II.i.29 - 37

Brahma Sutra - II.ii.1 - 10