Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 38.djvu/18

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Reverence to the highest Self!

i. Ether[1] (does) not (originate), on account of the absence of scriptural statement.

In the Vedânta-texts we meet in different places with different statements concerning the origination of various things. Some of those passages declare that ether originated; some do not. Some record the origination of air; others do not. Other passages again make analogous statements concerning the individual soul and the vital airs.—Similarly we observe that other scriptural texts contradict one another concerning order of succession and the like.—Now, as we ourselves have inferred the worthlessness of other philosophical doctrines from their mutual contradictions, a suspicion might arise that our doctrine is equally worthless, owing to its intrinsic contradictions. Hence a new discussion is begun in order to clear from all doubt the sense of all those Vedânta-texts which refer to creation, and thus to remove the suspicion alluded to.

Here we have to consider in the first place the question

  1. Here, as generally in the preceding parts of this translation, âkâra is rendered by 'ether.' There is no doubt that occasionally the appropriate—and in some cases the only possible—rendering is not 'ether' but 'space;' but the former rendering, after all, best agrees with the general Vedântic view of âkâra. The Vedântins do not clearly distinguish between empty space and an exceedingly fine matter filling all space, and thus it happens that in many cases where we speak of the former they speak of âkâra, i.e. the all-pervading substratum of sound; which howsoever attenuated is yet one of the material elements, and as such belongs to the same category as air, fire, water, and earth.
B 2