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  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

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  Sankara Bhashya I
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  Ramanuja SriBhashya


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Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Sri Adi Sanakara - Part I
translated by George Thibaut

18. (If there be assumed) the (dyad of) aggregates with its two causes, (there takes place) non-establishment of those (two aggregates).

The reasons on account of which the doctrine of the

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[paragraph continues] Vaiseshikas cannot be accepted have been stated above. That doctrine may be called semi-destructive (or semi-nihilistic  1). That the more thorough doctrine which teaches universal non-permanency is even less worthy of being taken into consideration, we now proceed to show.

That doctrine is presented in a variety of forms, due either to the difference of the views (maintained by Buddha at different times), or else to the difference of capacity on the part of the disciples (of Buddha). Three principal opinions may, however, be distinguished; the opinion of those who maintain the reality of everything (Realists, sarvâstitvavâdin); the opinion of those who maintain that thought only is real (Idealists, viânavâdin); and the opinion of those who maintain that everything is void (unreal; Nihilists, sûnyavâdin 2).--We first controvert those

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who maintain that everything, external as well as internal, is real. What is external is either element (bhûta) or elementary (bhautika); what is internal is either mind (kitta) or mental (kaitta). The elements are earth, water, and so on; elemental are colour, &c. on the one hand, and the eye and the other sense-organs on the other hand. Earth and the other three elements arise from the aggregation of the four different kinds of atoms; the atoms of earth being hard, those of water viscid, those of fire hot, those of air mobile.--The inward world consists of the five so-called 'groups' (skandha), the group of sensation (rûpaskandha), the group of knowledge (viânaskandha), the group of feeling (vedanâskandha), the group of verbal knowledge (samâskandha), and the group of impressions (samskâraskandha) 1; which

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taken together constitute the basis of all personal existence  1.

With reference to this doctrine we make the following remarks.--Those two aggregates, constituting two different classes, and having two different causes which the Bauddhas assume, viz. the aggregate of the elements and elementary things whose cause the atoms are, and the aggregate of the five skandhas whose cause the skandhas are, cannot, on Bauddha principles, be established, i.e. it cannot be explained how the aggregates are brought about. For the parts constituting the (material) aggregates are devoid of intelligence, and the kindling (abhigvalana) of intelligence depends on an aggregate of atoms having been brought about previously 2. And the Bauddhas do not admit any other permanent intelligent being, such as either an enjoying soul or a ruling Lord, which could effect the aggregation of the atoms. Nor can the atoms and skandhas be assumed to enter on activity on their own account; for that would imply their never ceasing to be active 3. Nor can the cause of aggregation be looked for in the so-called abode (i.e. the âlayaviâna-pravâha, the train of self-cognitions); for the latter must be described either as different from the single cognitions or as not different from them. (In the former case it is either permanent, and then it is nothing else but the permanent soul of the Vedântins; or non-permanent;) then being admitted to be momentary merely, it cannot exercise any influence and cannot therefore be the cause of the motion of the atoms 4.

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[paragraph continues] (And in the latter case we are not further advanced than before.)--For all these reasons the formation of aggregates cannot be accounted for. But without aggregates there would be an end of the stream of mundane existence which presupposes those aggregates.

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