The first adhyaya has proved that all the Vedanta-texts unanimously teach that there is only one cause of the world, viz. Brahman, whose nature is intelligence, and that there exists no scriptural passage which can be used to establish systems opposed to the Vedanta, more especially the Sa@nkhya system. The task of the two first padas of the second adhyaya is to rebut any objections which may be raised against the Vedanta doctrine on purely speculative grounds, apart from scriptural authority, and to show, again on purely speculative grounds, that none of the systems irreconcilable with the Vedanta can be satisfactorily established.
Adhikara/n/a I refutes the Sa@nkhya objection that the acceptation of the Vedanta system involves the rejection of the Sa@nkhya doctrine which after all constitutes a part of Sm/ri/ti, and as such has claims on consideration.—To accept the Sa@nkhya-sm/ri/ti, the Vedantin replies, would compel us to reject other Sm/ri/tis, such as the Manu-sm/ri/ti, which are opposed to the Sa@nkhya doctrine. The conflicting claims of Sm/ri/tis can be settled only on the ground of the Veda, and there can be no doubt that the Veda does not confirm the Sa@nkhya-sm/ri/ti, but rather those Sm/ri/tis which teach the origination of the world from an intelligent primary cause.
Adhik. II (3) extends the same line of argumentation to the Yoga-sm/ri/ti.
Adhik. III (4-11) shows that Brahman, although of the nature of intelligence, yet may be the cause of the non-intelligent material world, and that it is not contaminated by the qualities of the world when the latter is refunded into Brahman. For ordinary experience teaches us that like does not always spring from like, and that the qualities of effected things when the latter are refunded into their causes—as when golden ornaments, for instance, are melted and thereby become simple gold again—do not continue to exist in those causes.—Here also the argumentation is specially directed against the Sa@nkhyas, who, in order to account for the materiality and the various imperfections of the world, think it necessary to assume a causal substance participating in the same characteristics.
Adhik. IV (12) points out that the line of reasoning followed in the preceding adhikara/n/a is valid also against other theories, such as the atomistic doctrine.
The one Sutra (13) constituting Adhik. V teaches, according to Sa@nkara, that although the enjoying souls as well as the objects of fruition are in reality nothing but Brahman, and on that account identical, yet the two sets may practically be held apart, just as in ordinary life we hold apart, and distinguish as separate individual things, the waves, ripples, and foam of the sea, although at the bottom waves, ripples, and foam are all of them identical as being neither more nor less than sea-water.—The Sri-bhashya gives a totally different interpretation