Brahma Sutras (Shankaracharya)

by George Thibaut | 1890 | 203,611 words

English translation of the Brahma sutras (aka. Vedanta Sutras) with commentary by Shankaracharya (Shankara Bhashya): One of the three canonical texts of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy. The Brahma sutra is the exposition of the philosophy of the Upanishads. It is an attempt to systematise the various strands of the Upanishads which form the ...

34. And likewise (there results from the Jaina, doctrine) non-universality of the Self.

We have hitherto urged against the Jaina doctrine an objection resulting from the syādvāda, viz. that one thing cannot have contradictory attributes. We now turn to the objection that from their doctrine it would follow that the individual Self is not universal, i.e. not omnipresent.--The Jainas are of opinion that the soul has the same size as the body. From this it would follow that the soul is not of infinite extension, but limited, and hence non-eternal like jars and similar things. Further, as the bodies of different classes of creatures are of different size, it might happen that the soul of a man--which is of the size of the human body--when entering, in consequence of its former deeds, on a new state of existence in the body of an elephant would not be able to fill the whole of it; or else that a human soul being relegated to the body of an ant would not be able to find sufficient room in it. The same difficulty would, moreover, arise with regard to the successive stages of one state of existence, infancy, youth, and old age.--But why, the Jaina may ask, should we not look upon the soul as consisting of an infinite number of parts capable of undergoing compression in a small body and dilatation in a big one?--Do you, we ask in return, admit or not admit that those countless particles of the soul may occupy the same place or not?--If you do not admit it, it follows that the infinite number of particles cannot be contained in a body of limited dimensions.--If you do admit it, it follows that, as then the space occupied by all the particles may be the space of one particle only, the extension of all the particles together will remain inconsiderable, and hence the soul be of minute size (not of the size of the body). You have, moreover, no right to assume that a body of limited size contains an infinite number of soul particles.

Well the, the Jaina may reply, let us assume that by turns whenever the soul enters a big body some particles accede to it while some withdraw from it whenever it enters a small body.--To this hypothesis the next Sūtra furnishes a reply.

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