Brahma Sutras (Nimbarka commentary)

by Roma Bose | 1940 | 290,526 words

English translation of the Brahma-sutra 1.1.12, including the commentary of Nimbarka and sub-commentary of Srinivasa known as Vedanta-parijata-saurabha and Vedanta-kaustubha resepctively. Also included are the comparative views of important philosophies, viz., from Shankara, Ramanuja, Shrikantha, Bhaskara and Baladeva.

Brahma-Sūtra 1.1.12

English of translation of Brahmasutra 1.1.12 by Roma Bose:

“(Brahman alone is the cause of the world), also because this is definitely stated in scripture.”

Nimbārka’s commentary (Vedānta-pārijāta-saurabha):

Hence, the causality of the Universal Lord,—a sentient Being, denoted by the terms ‘existent’ and the rest, omniscient, and the controller of all,—being definitely stated in Scripture, pradhāna can by no means be accepted as such a cause.

Śrīnivāsa’s commentary (Vedānta-kaustubha)

(Brahman alone is the cause of the world), because in this Upaniṣad (viz. Chāndogya) that which is denoted by the term ‘existent’ “is definitely stated” to be the cause of all as the self of all, in the passage; ‘All this, verily, is from the self’ (Chāndogya-upaniṣad 7.20.1); and also because,—as denoted by the term “and”,—the same thing is mentioned in other Upaniṣads too. Thus, there is a passage in the mantra-upaniṣad of the Śvetāśvataras: ‘Who is a knower, the time of time and omniscient’ (Śvetāśvatara-upaniṣad 6.2.16), ‘He is the cause, the Lord of the lord of sense-organs.[1] Of him there is no progenitor, nor lord’ (Śvetāśvatara-upaniṣad 6.9). The Kauṣitakins declare: ‘From this self all the vital-breaths depart to their respective places, from the vital-breaths the gods, from the gods the worlds’ (Kauṣītaki-upaniṣad 3.3; 4.20). Similarly, in other places too. We stop here for fear of increasing the bulk of the book. Hence, the non-sentient pradhāna, which is an object of inference,[2] is not the cause of the world, since it is unfit to be the cause of collocation without an intelligent ruler; and because if pradhāna be admitted to have the power of being such a ruler, you come over to our side.[3] On the contrary, it is established that Lord Kṛṣṇa, denoted by the words ‘Brahman’ and the rest, the one topic of all the Vedas, omniscient, omnipotent, the non-distinct material and efficient cause of the world, and denoted by the term ‘existent’, is the cause of the world.[4]

Here ends the section entitled ‘He sees’ (5).

Comparative views of Rāmānuja:

Reading and interpretation same. Rāmānuja points out in conclusion that this adhikaraṇa is also a refutation of the theory of the Nirguṇa Brahman, since it asserts ‘perceiving’ or ‘willing’ on the part of the creator of the world, and ‘willing’ means being possessed of the quality of intelligence.[5]

Comparative views of Baladeva:

This is sūtra 11 in his commentary. Reading same, interpretation different, viz. ‘And because (the Nirguṇa Brahman) is mentioned in Scripture’. That is, Scripture proves the Nirguṇa Brahman to he the creator, and not the Saguṇa Brahman.[6]

The difference is that while according to Nimbārka (and others too), this section is concerned with the question as to whether Brahman or pradhāna is the creator of the world, according to Baladeva, the question is as to whether the Nirguṇa Brahman or the Saguṇa Brahman is the creator of the world.

Footnotes and references:


Correct quotation: ‘Kāraṇā-dhipādhipaḥ’, which is translated here. Vide Śvetāśvatara-upaniṣad 6.9.


See footnote 1, p. 42.


That is, then pradhāna will become Brahman, and cease to be non-sentient, as held by the Sāṃkhyas.


Note the difference between the interpretations of Nimbārka and Śrīnivāsa. According to Nimbārka, the word ‘śrutatvāt’ means: ‘because this is mentioned in Scripture and he attaches no special and separate meaning to the word ‘Ga’, But according to Śrīnivāsa, the word ‘śrutatvāt’ means: ‘because this is mentioned in this Upaniṣad (viz. Chāndogya)’, and the word ‘Ca’ means: ‘because this is mentioned in other Upaniṣads (viz. Śvetāśvatara, Kauṣitaki and the rest)’.


Śrī-bhāṣya (Madras edition) 1.1.12, p. 166, vol. 1.


Govinda-bhāṣya 1.1.11, pp. 54-55, Chap. 1.

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