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Kārikā, verse 1.7

विभूतिं प्रसवं त्वन्ये मन्यन्ते सृष्टिचिन्तकाः ।
स्वप्नमायासरूपेति सृष्टिरन्यैर्विकल्पिता ॥ ७ ॥

vibhūtiṃ prasavaṃ tvanye manyante sṛṣṭicintakāḥ |
svapnamāyāsarūpeti sṛṣṭiranyairvikalpitā || 7 ||

7. Those who think of (the process of) creation believe it to be the manifestation of the superhuman power of God; while others look upon it as of the same nature as dream and illusion.


Śaṅkara’s Commentary

Creation is the manifestation of the superhuman power of God3; thus think those who reflect on (the process of) creation. But2 those who intently think3 of the Ultimate Reality find no interest in (the theory of) creation. It (that no interest should be attached to the act of creation) is also supported by such Śruti passages as, “Indra (the great god) assumed diverse forms through Māyā”. The juggler throws the thread up in the sky, climbs by it with his arms, disappears from the sight (of the spectators), engages himself in a fight (in the sky) in which his limbs, having been severed, fall to the ground and he rises up again. The on-looker, though witnessing the performance, does not evince any interest in the thought in regard to the reality of the jugglery performed by the juggler. Similarly there is a real juggler who is other than the rope and the one that climbs up the rope. The manifestation of deep sleep, dream and waking is analogous to the throwing up of the rope by the juggler (in the above illustration) and the (empirical selves known as) Prājña, Viśva and Taijasa, related to the three states, are similar to the juggler, who appears to have climbed up the rope. As he, the juggler, remains on the ground unseen (by the on-lookers) having veiled himself, as it were, by his illusion, so also is the truth about the Highest Reality known as Turīya.4 Therefore those noble souls seeking Mokṣa evince interest in the contemplation of this (the Turīya) but not in the creation which is futile.5 The word, ‘Svapnamāyāsarūpa’—meaning, alike dream and illusion—is intended to show that all6 these (false) notions (regarding manifestation) belong only to those who imagine the process of creation or manifestation.


Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):

1 God— He is naturally the Personal God. This is the theistic theory of creation.

2 But—The seekers after God as creator may be either those who hold that creation is real or those who hold that creation is illusory. In the latter case Śaṅkara compares the seekers after truth to those who are interested in the magician and not in the magical feats.

3 Intently thinki.e., still pursuing the law of causation. Those who uphold the Māyā theory of the world see the illusion and infer Turīya as the Transcendental Cause.

4 Turīva—The text contemplates two alternative theories of creation (sṛṣṭi) namely, (i) creation is real in so far as it is mere manifestation of God’s real power, (ii) creation is manifested as an illusion by God (svapnamāyā). Both the alternative theories lay, emphasis on the act of creation and this is pointed out by Śaṅkara in his commentary. Śaṅkara indicates in his commentary that those who seek the Highest Reality (paramārtha) are not interested in any theory of creation.

5 Futile—The truth about the Highest Reality can be realised only by the highest Knowledge and not by any thought bestowed upon creation.

6 All these, etc.—Because Māyā is also admitted to be a fact by the Māyāvādins, their theory does not also convey the highest truth.

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