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Thread: Definitions: Brahman

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    Definitions: Brahman

    from the root brh ' to expand, greater then the greatest'. This is the classical definition of Brahman, yet Brahman is considered beyond all conceptualization.

    This Brahman is considered Fullness ( Bhuma) in the Upanishads. Yet as one reviews this Brahman more, it is considered nirguna, or the transcendent Absolute, some call pure consciousness or pure intelligence. Brahman is also, yet not limited to saguna, or the field of creation and the cosmos, everything thing, in time space and cause. When you consider niguna and saguna, Brahman is the totality of everything. There is no-thing in time, space or cause that IT is not - IT is ubiquitious.

    Lets start out by saying what Brahman is not... its not another name for Brahma. We have heard of Brahma, part of the triad of Brahma, Visnu and Siva. All wonderful aspects of this Supreme Intelligence we are all part of. Quite frankly they are the expressions of saguna Brahman which we will get to in a minute. yet by name, two different concepts.

    Brahman is from Brahm or "Brh " which means to expand; GREATER THEN THE GREATEST. In Vedanta ( or the end/culmination of the Ved or the last concluding remarks) this Brahm is discussed/experienced as the Absolute Reality. It's this all pervasive supreme principle of Reality - both absolute ( stillness of silence, some call Siva) and the fullness of this phenomenal world.

    Both , when combined is considered wholeness, and its this wholeness/fullness that is the Brahman. Everything is an expression of Brahm ,everything is this permutation of Brahm. Those with enlightened vision even say there is no permutation.... it is Brahman.

    It is so impossible ( say the sages) to put Brahm in words, this totality, because it then limits this Greatness. The rishi would say , 'it bounds the Boundless', yet the sages do the best they can with the caveat that it is impossible with the facility of speech (vak) to be as comprehensive as needed to express this Greatness, but lets add to this understanding the best we can , standing on the shoulders of the pundits, rishi's and realized ones that offer their insights.

    Nirguna or attribute-less. When speaking of the Absolute value of Brahm, its attribute less. I have listened to rishi's call it Pure Intelligence, Pure Awareness , also called Being , in its nirguna state.
    Saguna - or with glorious attribute's. When in the phenomenal world - we know saguna Brahm as Krsna, Vishnu, Lord, Vaisvanara or Divine Spirit, Vishvarupam ( having all forms), Rudra, to name a few, yet in this arena, Brahm is the full known universe at every level of creation and every level (or loka) of beings e.g. devas, Gandarva, mortal beings, animal, vegetable, solid, liquid, gas, and vacuum states, to name a few.

    Brahman As Sound - We are all familiar with Om ( Pranava). The rishi's attribute this sound/vibration as the best simulation/expression of Brahmn . Yet there is one more the rishi's point out - and that is this sound/mantra Kahm. You can find this in the Om Kham Brahma-Brahmana of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. This Kham is either-like (akasha), and is meant as the unconditioned (nirguna) Brahm. This aksaha is the symbol of this Brahm because for us, we can comprehend its vastness and completeness. How so? it is not contained by anything, nor nothing can contain it. This akasha, the Brahman allows all things to exist because it provides the space, the essence of everything, to exist.

    Brahm As Plenum - this plenum means "a space, or all space every part of which is full" - The Upanishads says it this way:
    Purnam adah purnam idam, 'That is full; this is full'. They say from this fullness everything comes, so those parts that come from this fullness is also full - that defines you... you are this fullness, just as Brahm is full. We think in parts, but we are full. No matter how you divide it , it remains unaffected, full and whole. If you care to read more on this, please consider

    Satchitananda Attributes Of Brahm - Satchitananda is Truth, Consciousness, Bliss as the fundamental timeless attributes of Brahman. Here is what Swami Krishnananda says ... "Satchidananda is self-luminous, for it is the very existence of eternal Consciousness. It is undivided, Akhanda-Ekarasa, for it is homogeneous and is without internal or external differentiation. It is One Mass of Brilliance and unblemished Grandeur of Divine Existence. It is pure because it is untainted by thought or objectification"

    Brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati - The knower of Brahman is Brahman itself -Mundaka Upanishad

    A concise Dictionary Of Indian Philosophy - John Grimes
    Brahma Sutras - Swami Krishnananda, Swami Sivanada commentaries
    Brahma Sutras - Commentary of Adi Shankara

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    Last edited by yajvan; 27 April 2007 at 11:22 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva


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