Intelligent and material cause

Taittirīya-Upanisad presented Brahman as the cause of the universe as follows: "One who knows Brahman, gains the ultimate". And who is this Brahman? "Satyam (the ultimate truth of the entire creation) jnānam (the very knowledge for entire creation to be), anantam (limitless) Brahma". This definition of Brahman is seen from the total level, which is not different from sat-cit-ānanda-atmā from the individual level. "This Brahman is hidden deeply in the cave of individual's heart", he is the inner-self of all beings. "From this Brahman, space comes". "From space, air comes". "From air, fire comes". "From fire, water come". "From water, earth comes." "From earth, vegetation come". "From vegetation, food come". "From food, person comes". The fundamental/subtle aspect of each element is projected first, then followed by the projection of the gross aspect. We also can see the projection starts from total come down to individual level.


We need to keep in mind that main purpose of creation unfoldment is not to reveal the creation itself but to establish that everything here is not different from Brahman. The creator is not outside of this world, he is inherent in every aspect of the effect as aparā-prakrti (lower nature).


apareyamitastvanyāṃ prakṛtiṃ viddhi me parām |

jīvabhūtāṃ mahābāho yayedaṃ dhāryate jagat ||7.5||

Arjuna, the mighty armed! This is (my) lower (prakrti). Whereas, please understand the one other than this, my higher prakrti (my very nature), which is the essential nature of the individual, by which this world is sustained.


Other than this lower nature of mine which we are able to perceive in this universe, please understand there is my true/higher nature - parā-prakrti. This parā-prakrti by which this entire world is sustained.


etadyonīni bhūtāni sarvāṇītyupadhāraya |

ahaṃ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ prabhavaḥ pralayastathā ||7.6||

Understand that all beings and elements have their cause in this two-fold prakrti. Therefore, I am the one from whom this entire world comes, so too, I am the one into whom everything resolves.


Parā-prakrti - higher nature and aparā-prakrti - lower nature are the cause for everything in this world. The lower nature is everything that is here, and higher nature is the real cause - satyam jñānam anantam brahma. I am the one from whom this entire world comes, indicates Brahman is the intelligent cause. Just like when we purchase a designer pot, we would like to know from which company or designer it comes from. But when the pot is broken, what we can see is only pieces of clay. Therefore, I am the one into whom everything resolves, indicates Brahman is the material cause also. Just like in our dream, there is not a separate intelligent cause and material cause. My entire dream is projected, sustained and resolved back into myself. Everything in the dream is nothing other than me. In the same way there is nothing in this world other than Brahman. From the world's standpoint, everything requires a cause, we called it lower nature. But from the stand point of higher nature, all that is here is one, without which there is no world at all. It alone gives sattā (sat) - existence to every aspect of the creation and it also gives sphūrti (cit) - that by which we come to know each and everything. That parā-prakrti is ātma.


mattaḥ parataraṃ nānyat kiñcidasti dhanañjaya |

mayi sarvamidaṃ protaṃ sūtre maṇigaṇā iva ||7.7||

Dhanańjaya (Arjuna)! There is no other cause superior to me. All this is woven (has its being) in me, like the beads in a string.


In this world, there is no cause other than me, indicates that the Lord is the uncaused cause of everything. If there were a cause for this cause, it in turn would require another cause and we would get into an infinite regression. Lord Krsna said this creation like a group of beads which is strung together. By using beads example, he takes into account the variegated nature of the world is supported by one ātmā. But this example has it's defect where beads and string are two different entity. Therefore Śankara-ācarya explains further that, this entire world is pervaded by Īśvara like a cloth that is pervaded by its threads, indicated by the word protaṃ - woven. As the cloth is not separated from its threads, the world is not separated from Īśvara.

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