The last adhikara/n/a of the pada (42-45) refers, according to the unanimous statement of the commentators, to the doctrine of the Bhagavatas or Pa/nk/aratras. But Sa@nkara and Ramanuja totally disagree as to the drift of the Sutrakara’s opinion regarding that system. According to the former it is condemned like the systems previously referred to; according to the latter it is approved of.—Sutras 42 and 43, according to both commentators, raise objections against the system; Sutra 42 being directed against the doctrine that from the highest being, called Vasudeva, there is originated Sa@nkarsha/n/a, i.e. the jiva, on the ground that thereby those scriptural passages would be contradicted which teach the soul’s eternity; and Sutra 43 impugning the doctrine that from Sa@nkarsha/n/a there springs Pradyumna, i.e. the manas.—The Sutra on which the difference of interpretation turns is 44. Literally translated it runs, ‘Or, on account of there being’ (or, ‘their being’) ’knowledge and so on, there is non-contradiction of that.’—This means, according to Sa@nkara, ’Or, if in consequence of the existence of knowledge and so on (on the part of Sa@nkarsha/n/a, &c. they be taken not as soul, mind, &c. but as Lords of pre-eminent knowledge, &c.), yet there is non-contradiction of that (viz. of the objection raised in Sutra 42 against the Bhagavata doctrine).’—According to Ramanuja, on the other hand, the Sutra has to be explained as follows: ’Or, rather there is noncontradiction of that (i.e. the Pa/nk/aratra doctrine) on account of their being knowledge and so on (i.e. on account of their being Brahman).’ Which means: Since Sa@nkarsha/n/a and so on are merely forms of manifestation of Brahman, the Pa/nk/aratra doctrine, according to which they spring from Brahman, is not contradicted.—The form of the Sutra makes it difficult for us to decide which of the two interpretations is the right one; it, however, appears to me that the explanations of the ‘va’ and of the ‘tat,’ implied in Ramanuja’s comment, are more natural than those resulting from Sa@nkara’s interpretation. Nor would it be an unnatural proceeding to close the polemical pada with a defence of that doctrine which—in spite of objections—has to be viewed as the true one.
The third pada discusses the question whether the different forms of existence which, in their totality, constitute the world have an origin or not, i.e. whether they are co-eternal with Brahman, or issue from it and are refunded into it at stated intervals.
The first seven adhikara/n/as treat of the five elementary substances.—Adhik. I (1-7) teaches that the ether is not co-eternal with Brahman, but springs from it as its first effect.—Adhik. II (8) shows that air springs from ether; Adhik. IV, V, VI (10; 11; 12) that fire springs from air, water from fire, earth from water.—Adhik. III (9) explains by way of digression that Brahman, which is not some special entity, but quite generally ‘that which is,’ cannot have originated from anything else.