The Mandukya Upanishad with Gaudapada’s Karika and Shankara’s Commentary
Kārikā, verse 1.6
प्रभवः सर्वभावानां सतामिति विनिश्चयः ।
सर्वं जनयति प्राणश्चेतोंशून्पुरुषः पृथक् ॥ ६ ॥
prabhavaḥ sarvabhāvānāṃ satāmiti viniścayaḥ |
sarvaṃ janayati prāṇaścetoṃśūnpuruṣaḥ pṛthak || 6 ||
6. It is thoroughly established that the coming into effect can be predicated only of all positive entities that exist. The Prāṇa manifests all; the Puruṣa creates the conscious beings (the Jīvas) in their manifold form separately.
The manifestation can be predicated of positive1 entities comprehended as the different forms of Viśva, Taijasa and Prājña—whose existence, of the nature of illusory names and forms caused by an innate Avidyā (ignorance), cannot be denied. This is thus explained later on: “Neither in reality nor in illusion can the son of a barren woman be said to be born.” For, if things could come out of non-entity, Brahman whose existence is inferred from experience2 will itself be rendered a non-entity because of the absence of means of comprehension. That the snake (in the rope) appearing as such on account of an illusory cause (Māya) which itself is the effect of ignorance (Avidyā), pre-exists in the form of the rope is a matter of common experience. For by no one is the illusion of the rope-snake or the mirage, etc., ever perceived without a substratum. As before the illusory3 appearance of the snake, its existence was certainly there in the rope, so also all4 positive entities before their manifestation certainly exist in the form of a cause, i.e., Prāṇa. The Śruti also declares this in such passages as: “All this (the phenomenal universe) was verily Brahman at the beginning” and “All this existed, at the beginning as Ātman.” Prāṇa manifests all. As the rays proceed from the sun, so also all different centres of consciousness (i.e., the Jīvas) which are like the (many) reflections of the same sun in the water and which are manifested differently as Viśva, Taijasa and Prājña, comprising various physical forms of gods, animals, etc., proceed from the Puruṣa.5 The Puruṣa manifests all these entities called as living beings, which are different from inanimate objects, but of the same nature as itself (Puruṣa), like fire and its sparks and like the sun with its reflections in water. Prāṇa, the causal self, manifests all other entities like the spider producing the web. There are such scriptural pass-ages in its support as, “The sparks from the fire, etc.”
Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):
1 Positive, etc.—Kārikās from 6 to 9 give different views of the manifestation. The Kārika under discussion points out that the manifested universe is not non-existent like the son of a barren Woman. It has an empirical existence. The object of this is only to show that no causal relation can be predicated of Brahman as: Prājña unless we admit the positive existence of the world. The detailed discussion about causality will be found in the body of the Kārikās.
2 Will itself—Those who depend upon causality to prove the existence of Brahman cannot but believe in the existence of the manifested objects through which alone they infer Brahman to be the cause of all.
3 Illusory—Vedānta makes a distinction between Avidvā and Māyā, from the causal standpoint. Māyā is associated with Īśvara and it presents the variety in the universe. Comp. Vedānta Sūtra 1.4.3. and Vedānta Sūtra 2.1.14.
4 All—It means here only the inanimate objects, as the manifestation of the animate is ascribed to the Puruṣa.
5 Puruṣa—It is indicated by the text as well as the commentary that there are two manifestors, namely, the Puruṣa and the Prāṇa. The Puruṣa manifests the Jīvas and Prāṇa the inanimate objects. From the empirical standpoint we see two kinds of manifestations, viz., the sentient and the insentient. Therefore we naturally ascribe these to two manifestors, viz., Puruṣa and Prāṇa. (The general principle of causality is that the like produces the like.) But, in reality, Prāṇa is identical with Puruṣa. Brahman is looked upon as the manifestor of the universe; when he manifests the insentient objects he is said to be Prāṇa, and when he manifests the sentient beings he is called Puruṣa.