Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 11: Chapter 22: Verses 1-11
Uddhava submitted : How many are the categories orfundamental principles enumerated by the seers, 0 Ruler of the universe ? You (for your part) have referred (in Discourse XIX above) to nine, eleven, five and three-twenty-eight categories (in all), 0 Lord, as we have heard. Some (however) speak of twenty-six categories; others, of twenty-five. Some (more) declare seven, nine, six and four respectively; while others mention eleven. Some (again) declare seventeen; others, sixteen and (still) others, thirteen. With what intention do the sages severally declare such a (large) variety of numbers ? Be pleased 0 eternal Lord, to tell us this.
The glorious Lord replied Whatever the Brahmanas (well-versed in the Vedas)
declare is but right; (for) all categories stand included in all (others). What is there hard to establish for those who make their assertion accepting the potency of My Maya ? My potencies (in the form of the three Gunas-Sattva, Rajas and Tamas appearing as so many modifications of the mind)-which are (so) difficult to overcome--are at the back of those wrangling over the cause (of the universe) in the following strain; "It is not quite as you say; what I say is correct." Diversity (in the form of this universe), which is the subject of controversy among the disputants, follows from the disturbance of equilibrium of these potencies. When control of the mind and subjugation of the senses are attained, the diversity disappears and the controversy (also) is set at rest as a sequel to it. The categories being comprised in one another, 0 jewel among men, they are enumerated as more or less according to the viewpoint of the speakere (by including effects in a cause and vice versa). In a single category, whether it is a cause or an effect, are found comprised all other categories (viz., effects in a cause and vice versa). Therefore, we accept as conclusive whatever is stated according to one's own viewpoint by anyone of those (disputants) seeking to establish the relation as cause and effect or a definite number of categories, there being a cogent reason behind every such assertion.
Self-Realization in the case of the Jiva (individual soul ignorance that has no beginning, cannot take place by itself (and sopois) popossible only through instructions imparted by another omniscient being) there must be another (being) who knows the truth and is able to impart His Knowledge (to the Jiva). (That is the argument advanced in favour of their contention by those who recognize an additional category; viz., God as apart from the soul and thus raise the number of categories to twenty-six. There is not the least difference in this body between the individual soul and God (both being of the nature of consciousness). (Therefore) the assumption that they are distinct from one another is meaningless. And knowledge (or Self-Realization) is (but) a function of Sattvaguna (a constituent of Prakrti). (Hence it is not necessary to recognize a twenty-sixth category in the shape of God in order to rationalize the possibility of Self-Realization. This is the stand taken by those who recognize only twenty-five principles.)