44. Or (if) in consequence of the existence of knowledge, &c. (Vâsudeva, &c. be taken as Lords), yet there is non-exclusion of that (i.e. the objection raised in Sûtra 42).
Let us then--the Bhâgavatas may say--understand by Sankarshana, and so on, not the individual soul, the mind, &c., but rather Lords, i.e. powerful beings distinguished by all the qualities characteristic of rulers, such as pre-eminence of knowledge and ruling capacity, strength, valour, glory.
All these are Vâsudevas free from faults, without a substratum (not sprung from pradhâna), without any imperfections. Hence the objection urged in Sûtra 42 does not apply.
Even on this interpretation of your doctrine, we reply, the 'non-exclusion of that,' i.e. the non-exclusion of the impossibility of origination, can be established.--Do you, in the first place, mean to say that the four individual Lords, Vâsudeva, and so on, have the same attributes, but do not constitute one and the same Self?--If so, you commit the fault of uselessly assuming more than one Lord, while all the work of the Lord can be done by one. Moreover, you offend thereby against your own principle, according to which there is only one real essence, viz. the holy. Vâsudeva.--Or do you perhaps mean to say that from the one highest Being there spring those four forms possessing equal attributes?--In that case the objection urged in Sûtra 42 remains valid. For Sankarshana cannot be produced from Vâsudeva, nor Pradyumna from Sankarshana, nor Aniruddha from Pradyumna, since (the attributes of all of them being the same) there is no supereminence of any one of them. Observation shows that the relation of cause and effect requires some superiority on the part of the cause--as, for instance, in the case of the clay and the jar (where the cause is more extensive than the effect)--and that without such superiority the relation is simply impossible. But the followers of the Pâñkarâtra do not acknowledge any difference founded on superiority of knowledge, power, &c. between Vâsudeva and the other Lords, but simply say that they all are forms of Vâsudeva, without any special distinctions. The forms of Vâsudeva cannot properly be limited to four, as the whole world, from Brahman down to a blade of grass, is understood to be a manifestation of the supreme Being.