Part XIV– Description of Brahman
‘God defined is God defiled’, says a popular proverb. We want to know what the cause is for this Universe. Vedanta says that, for any creation, there are two causes:
. the intelligent cause consisting of know-how or the knowledge and the skills for the creation, and
. the material cause or matter out of which the creation is made.
The intelligent cause can only be a conscious entity while the material cause can only be an inert entity. In the case of the Universe both causes rest in one, just as in the creation of a spider’s web, both the intelligent and the material cause are one: the spider. But in the case of spider, the web becomes separate from the spider. In the case of the Universe, Vedanta says that the creator cannot be separated from the creation, since he is all-pervading, omnipresent or antaryAmin, in-dweller of everything.
In addition, creation is an action. If Brahman is infinite, as the very word indicates, then He (we are using the word in a generic sense) cannot be the agency of an action, which means that He cannot create. This is because only the finite can do action, since every action involves the triad of actor, action and acting - and each one limits the other. In addition, action involves a modification, a change of status for the agency of action. Brahman, being absolutely infinite, cannot undergo a modification, unlike any agency of action. In Sanskrit this is called avikAraH (vikAra means modification and avikAra is without modification). At the same time Vedanta says He is the cause for creation. How can that be? Here we need to understand how Vedanta teaches that which cannot be taught and why it is considered as a pramANa or means of knowledge.
(See also the definition of brahman)
Proceed to the next essay.