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Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 28 Aug 2005

     

PARABRAHMAN

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

[Krishnashtami Day 3] What does Parabrahman mean? It means something, which is other than Brahman. This word does not directly tell us anything about the nature of Parabrahman, since it is impossible to know Parabrahman. Sages have indicated Parabrahman by negative analysis, which means, discarding every item of the creation (Neti Neti—Veda) [as not being Parabrahman]. The reason for this is that all the Vedas and the Gita say that Parabrahman is so unimaginable that we cannot use even the sentences like “It exists” or “It does not exist” (Nasattat Naasaduchyate—Gita). In that case, why can’t we say that the Parabrahman does not exist at all? Since Parabrahman gives us experience regarding its existence, we have to say that it exists. But we cannot say what It actually is (Asteetyeva—Veda). How is this experience given? The unimaginable Parabrahman enters an imaginable item of the creation, pervades all over it and identifies with it, so that Parabrahman’s existence has to be accepted. We see only the external imaginable item and its characteristics. Since the information regarding Parabrahman Itself and Its characteristics is not available, we have not known anything about It. It remains unimaginable and yet It gives Its experience to us. It is like the invisible electric current giving its experience through the visible metallic wire. Through which medium does Parabrahman give Its experience? It gives Its experience through the human incarnation. The various mediums through, which Parabrahman gives Its experience are:

  1. The pure awareness, which is called as the original Maya (Suddha Satvam or Mula Maya).
  2. Energetic forms like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
  3. The material human form made of the five elements like Krishna or any other human incarnation.

Brahman

When Parabrahman enters, pervades and identifies with the pure awareness, we call it as Brahman from the point of pure awareness. Brahman means the ‘greatest’ and since pure awareness is the greatest item in the creation, you can call it as Brahman. The word Brahman indicates Parabrahman along with pure awareness. The same pure awareness (Mula Maya) becomes Maya [will or wonderful power of God], which consists of the three qualities (Satvam, Rajas and Tamas). Then Brahman becomes Ishwara, who is identified with Maya and this means that Parabrahman is identified with Maya. What is difference between Mula Maya and Maya? The Mula Maya is the pure awareness, which is the knowledge of itself due to the absence of any other item of creation. Since knowledge is Satvam, this Mula Maya is also called as Suddha Satvam or pure awareness. Maya is the awareness of things, which are other than itself. After creation starts, Maya is the knowledge of other things. Thus the awareness or knowledge is in two states:

  1. The awareness of itself [awareness of the awareness itself]
  2. The awareness of other things.

Why not call the Brahman as the Ultimate? Brahman is not the ultimate because the pure awareness is also only an item of creation [It is the first item of creation]. The awareness of itself exists in the state of self-meditation [When a person meditates on the self or Atma, his Atma, which is awareness, is aware of itself alone]. This state disappears in the waking state and dream states. In both these states, the awareness is aware of other things. In deep sleep, both the awareness of itself and the awareness of other things disappear. Therefore, this is the dissolution of pure awareness or the awareness of itself. Therefore pure awareness is not eternal and it cannot be ultimate. The second state of the awareness, in which the awareness is aware of other things, exists in the waking state (Jagrat) and in the dream state (Swapna). This state of awareness of other things disappears in the state of self-meditation as well as in deep sleep and thus such state is also not eternal. Therefore the conclusion is that the awareness in both the states is not eternal. Moreover the energy produced by the respiratory and digestive systems due to oxidation of food, enters the nervous system and is transformed into nervous energy or awareness. Thus it is clearly established in science that awareness has generation or birth. Awareness, which is born, also disappears as said above. Therefore awareness cannot be the Ultimate. [That which has generation and disappearance, is not eternal and cannot be the Ultimate].

This scientific analysis has authority in both the Veda (Annat Purushah) and the Gita (Annat Bhavanti). Awareness being the greatest item of creation can be called as Brahman just as the Veda is also called as Brahman since it is the greatest among scriptures. Therefore Brahman is an incarnation of Parabrahman, which is a combination of the Creator and the greatest item in creation called as awareness. Of course all the three spiritual preachers (Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva) have ended their analysis in Brahman alone because you cannot cross the ultimate boundary of creation, which is the awareness. Your intelligence, logic or imagination cannot cross the four-dimensional space-time model, which is the creation itself. The finest final realm of the creation is the awareness. Therefore there is no other alternative except to indicate the Parabrahman through awareness as the ultimate God. This is called as Arundhati Vashishtha Nyaya, which means showing the invisible [extremely dim] Arundhati star by showing the nearmost Vashishtha star. Parabrahman is unimaginable. Awareness is imaginable with the most difficult analysis. Therefore Parabrahman is very near to the awareness. You have to stop at the awareness to indicate Parabrahman.

Maya and Prakriti

This pure awareness started doing imagination (Sankalpa) in several ways and when the pure awareness (Mula Maya) starts this sankalpa it becomes the Maya [Mula Maya is the standstill pure awareness without any qualitites. When the imaginations or qualitites, which are like waves or disturbances, appear on this Mula Maya, it is called Maya]. All the imaginations come under three categories called as Satvam, Rajas and Tamas. This is like a state of a daydream [In a daydream the dreamer can control the dream. In a usual dream, one cannot control the dream]. Therefore, Brahman becomes Ishwara, once the imagination starts in awareness. This dream is a daydream and therefore the awareness is controlling the entire imaginary world. The awareness is modified into the imaginary world. The modification is very slight and therefore it can be called as apparent, which means that it is not true (since it is negligible even though it is real) or it can be called as real (since it is true even though negligible). The former view is of Shankara (Vivarta) and the latter view is of Ramanuja (Parinama).

The world is always an imagination for Brahman and there is no question of the imagination becoming an actual materialisation for Brahman. This imagination from the point of Brahman is simultaneously a materialisation for Atman [individual], which is only a drop in the world-ocean. But even this world-ocean is a drop of the Mula Maya. Therefore, due to difference in potency or power, the world is an imagination for Brahman and is a simultaneous materialisation for Atman. Whenever we talk about the world from the point of Brahman we say that the world is made of the three qualities (imaginations). Therefore, from the point of Brahman, Shankara is correct [that creation is apparent] and from the point of the Atman, Ramanuja is correct [that creation is real]. The pure awareness that appears in various living beings in this daydream-like imagination is called Atman, which is a reflection of Brahman. The awareness associated with the three qualities in this dream that appears in various living beings, is called as Jiva who is a reflection of Ishwara. Reflection means a very negligible part. The energy that constitutes the reflected sun in the water is very little compared to the original energy of the sun. Thus there is a quantitative difference and a qualitative similarity between the original and the reflection. Similarly between Brahman and Atman or Ishwara and Jiva there is a lot of quantitative difference although there is a qualitative similarity. This means that a very negligible part of Brahman is Atman and a very negligible part of Ishwara is Jiva.

Remember that Brahman is the first item of creation and therefore the modification starts from the item of creation and not from the Creator. The Creator is Parabrahman, which is unimaginable, and It produced the Mula Maya. Neither Parabrahman nor its generation of Mula Maya [the mechanism of creation of Mula Maya] is imaginable. Only Mula Maya or Brahman is imaginable. The process of generation of the imaginable Brahman from the unimaginable Parabrahman must be unimaginable because we can only understand the process of the generation of one imaginable item from another imaginable item. The imaginary world is like a daydream for Ishwara because the energy that is used in the formation of the world is very negligible compared to the energy of Mula Maya or Brahman. But at the same time, the energy that constitutes the world is very large compared to the energy that constitutes Atman. Thus simultaneously, the world is an imagination for Ishwara and is the materialised greatest reality for Atman. Therefore the imagination itself is a simultaneous materialization, when viewed in a different angle.

The Parabrahman is untouched or unchanged since all the modifications are of Mula Maya alone. Therefore, Parabrahman is unchanged and untouched. The dreamer is unchanged or untouched by the daydream. The reason is that the daydream is the modification of his mind and not of himself. Even the Mula Maya is almost unchanged or untouched because the modification is negligible. The Maya or the imaginary world is negligible compared to Mula Maya. Therefore in the view of Brahman, the material world is just an imagination and is called as Maya. But the world is not an imagination for Atman but is a materialisation for Atman. In the view of Atman the same world is called as Prakriti. Prakriti means a materialised effect. The prefix ‘Pra’ means strong or materialised. The world which is Maya or imagination for Brahman is simultaneously a materialised effect for Atman. Therefore the Gita says that Maya is simultaneously Prakriti (Mayam Tu Prakritim). When this Atman or Jiva creates a dream, it becomes the creator. But there is an ocean of difference between a dream of a soul and the dream of Brahman.The soul controls its own daydream. But the soul is controlled by Maya, which is the daydream of Brahman. The control of the soul by Maya can be compared to the daydream of the soul in which a living being in the dream is controlled by the mind of the individual. In the night dream [usual dream that we get while sleeping at night] the soul, which is the creator of the dream itself is controlled by the dream. This situation can be compared to Brahman entering His own dream as an incarnation with self-imposed ignorance to enjoy the dream. As the daydreamer controls a living being in his dream, Brahman controls the soul in this world.

What happens when the human incarnation appears in the world? Brahman or Ishwara enters a materialised human body along with His Maya. Brahman is Parabrahman identified with the infinite ocean of pure awareness. Ishwara is Parabrahman, which is identified with the world, which is a drop of that pure awareness-ocean. Therefore, from the point of Parabrahman, there is no difference between Brahman and Ishwara. The same Parabrahman is identified with a human body in this world and appears as a human incarnation. The human body is again a drop in the world-ocean. Therefore, Parabrahman, which is beyond spatial dimensions, is one and the same in Brahman, Ishwara and the human incarnation.

The human body consists of three parts.

  1. The causal body is the pure awareness, which indicates the chittam without the memories. The memories are stored in the pure awareness called chit or Atman. This chit along with the memories is called as chittam or Jiva.
  2. The subtle body that is associated with three qualities called as Satvam, Jnanam or Buddhi (Intelligence), Rajas, work or Manas (mind) and Tamas, ignorance or Ahankara (egoism).
  3. The gross body, which is made of five elements. Remember that the materialised five elements and the three qualities are only simultaneous views from the points of the Brahman and the soul respectively. Therefore, the gross body also appears as imagination to Brahman.

From the point of Brahman the whole world is only made of the three qualities. The human body prepared for the Ishwara to enter [as an incarnation] is not controlled by the rules of Karma Chakra [cycle or law of deeds and results] because this divine human body is not meant for enjoying any fruit of previous deeds. This particular human body is fully under the control of Ishwara or the Lord. As soon as the divine work of that incarnation is over, all the components of the divine body merge into the components of the cosmos (Samudra Ityevam—Veda). In case of other human beings the subtle body goes to the upper world for enquiry and the subsequent enjoyment of fruits of actions. Therefore in the human incarnation, Parabrahman existing along with His Maya, which is called as Ishwara, exists in the human body, which is called as Prakriti.

Whenever the normal works of the human body are to be done, the Prakriti acts as usual. For example when Krishna wants to lift a small pot of milk, this work is done by the human body (Prakriti). When Krishna wants to talk or think in the normal way of the world, the human body or Prakriti acts under the instruction of the Lord. But if Krishna wants to lift a mountain on His finger, His Maya will act. This miracle is wonderful but is partly imaginable. This is a small action of Maya with very little unimaginability. When Krishna showed the world in His mouth, with both Krishna and His mother standing on the earth present in His mouth, it was a completely unimaginable miracle. The former miracle is partially unimaginable, because only the power to lift a mountain present in a boy, is unimaginable. But the process of lifting a mountain by a greater power is imaginable. But in the later miracle the whole concept is unimaginable. All this unimaginability is the characteristic of Parabrahman, since the Veda says that the only knowledge that one can have about Parabrahman is that It is unimaginable.

The meaning of the word Maya is the awareness associated with unimaginability. The characteristic of unimaginability of Maya comes only from Parabrahman. The three qualities [Satvam, Rajas, Tamas] together in the state of unimaginability are called as the Maya. The same three qualities in the state of imaginability are called as Prakriti. The imaginability is also from Parabrahman. Parabrahman is the hidden real cause of everything other than Itself. The three qualities are referred to as Jnanam (Knowledge), Kriya (work) and Balam (force). These are Satvam, Tamas and Rajas respectively as said in the Veda (Parasya Shaktih). The unimaginable knowledge called as Prajnanam belongs to Sattva-Maya as seen in preaching the Gita. The unimaginable force to bear the world in the mouth is Tamas-Maya. The unimaginable work to create, rule and destroy this world as shown in the Vishwarupam is Rajas-Maya. Thus the three characteristics of Maya are possible only for Ishwara (Mayinantu Maheswaram—Gita). Maya and Prakriti are qualitatively similar in having the three qualities. In fact both are one and the same because this world appears in the subtle state of imagination (Maya) to Ishwara and the same world appears as materialised form (Prakriti) simultaneously to soul (Mayamtu Prakritim viddhi—Gita). Thus the Lord along with Maya and Prakriti is both Narayana and Nara or Ishwara and Jiva playing with the devotees, since He is integrated as a two-in-one system in the case of the human incarnation. The Prakriti contains awareness or Atman, which is called as Kshetrajna (Kshetrajna Iti—Gita). But the Maya of the Lord in the human incarnation also contains awareness and therefore not only the Atman of Prakriti but also the Suddha Satvam of Maya is awareness and there by the Lord also becomes Kshetrajna (Kshetrajnam Chapi—Gita). These two verses of the Gita belong to the context of human incarnation since the Lord starts speaking by the word “Idam Shareeram”, which means the body of the Lord alone, and not the body of Arjuna. The statement “Sarva Kshetreshu” means the various human incarnations.

Some scholars have applied this word to the human body of every human being and are misled in concluding that the Lord is present in every human being. If Para Prakriti or Atman is taken to be Purusha, then the Lord is Purushottama (Yasmat Ksharat—Gita). However if you treat Atman also as an item of Prakriti (Para Prakriti is only a sub division of Prakriti), the Lord is called as Purusha (Atha Purushoha—Veda; Prakritim Purusham—Gita). The Lord stated in the Gita that His Para Prakriti is modified into the soul. Therefore, this word Para Prakriti indicates His Satvika Maya before modification and thus maintains the world (Ya edam— Gita). If you take the word Para Prakriti as a soul it is against the line “Jiva Bhutam”. Thus Para Prakriti is the cause and is modified into the soul.

Parabrahman created Mula Maya or Suddha Sattvam when Parabrahman desired to create this world. The desire itself is Mula Maya or pure awareness. This pure awareness is aware of itself and therefore it is called as Shuddha Sattvam. Now you should not think that Parabrahman is pure awareness. The desire is the characteristic of awareness. Parabrahman can desire even though Parabrahman is not awareness. By the characteristic of desire, you should not conclude that Parabrahman must be awareness. The awareness is an item of creation and your imagination can never cross that final limit of creation, which is pure awareness. With the help of the characteristic ‘desire’, you can end only in Mula Maya, but you cannot cross Mula Maya and touch Parabrahman (Mamamaya Duratyaya—Gita). This proves that Parabrahman is beyond logic. Logic is limited only to the items of creation and cannot touch the Creator or Parabrahman.

This Mula Maya becomes Brahman when Parabrahman pervades and identifies itself with the Mula Maya. Therefore, Brahman is not simply Mula Maya. The Mula Maya itself, before identification with Parabrahman is called as ‘Mahat Brahma’ (Mama Yonih Mahat Brahma—Gita). This Mula Maya is the greatest item of all the items of creation and therefore it is twice stressed as great. In fact Mahat means great. The word Brahman also means great. The repetition stresses the greatness of Mula Maya. Now when Parabrahman enters the Mula Maya and pervades all over it, such Mula Maya is called as Brahman, which is referred to by all the three Acharayas (preachers) in their commentaries (Tasmin Garbham—Gita).

One should note that it is the Parabrahman that is preaching the Gita through Krishna. Thus, first Sutra of the Brahma Sutras refers to this Brahman. Brahman creates, maintains and destroys the creation. All these three actions are again only due to Parabrahman. But it appears as if Mula Maya is doing all these three actions. Thus, Parabrahman maintains Its secrecy everywhere.

A small drop of the Mula Maya is modified into this world. Now Parabrahman enters the drop and is identified with that drop. This Parabrahman identified with that drop is called as Ishwara. The drop of pure awareness creates the world only due to the Parabrahman in it and this drop in this first stage is called as Lord Brahma. The Parabrahman in this drop during the maintenance is called as Lord Vishnu. The Parabrahman in this drop during the destruction of the world is called as Lord Shiva. Parabrahman in this drop in all the three states is called as Ishwara. Now when a human body is created in the world specifically for the purpose of the human incarnation, Parabrahman enters that specific human body and is called as Lord Krishna. All the actions of Lord Krishna are due to Parabrahman only. Thus, Parabrahman is the root cause for the very creation of Mula Maya or for the very creation of this universe or for all the actions of the human incarnation. Parabrahman is the root cause of all the unimaginable actions of Maya as well as the imaginable actions of Prakriti.

An ordinary human being is a part of Prakriti. All the actions of an ordinary human being are also due to Parabrahman. Here the will of Parabrahman is responsible for any action of the human being. But at the same time the direction of the action is in the hands of human being. Thus Parabrahman is responsible for the action but is not responsible for the fruit of the action of the human beings (Kartaaramapi sarvasya—Gita). A person touches an electric wire in his house and commits suicide. No doubt the electricity sent by the power station is the cause of his death. But the engineer of the power station cannot be punished and such a death is not a murder committed by the engineer. Another wise person is using the same electricity through several appliances and is enjoying a lot. Such a person who is enjoying will not go to the engineer and garland him, praising him for being responsible for his enjoyment. Parabrahman exists in the human incarnation. In the case of an ordinary human being, Parabrahman does not exist in the human being. All the actions of the ordinary human being are done by the will or power of the external Parabrahman alone. This is the difference between the human incarnation and a human being.

The drop of pure awareness or Mula Maya becomes aware of the world, which is different from the rest of Mula Maya. The modification (world) is always different from the cause (Mula Maya). Now this pure awareness in the drop becomes aware of the universe and such awareness is called as Maya. Thus, Brahman is aware of itself and Ishwara is aware of the world. Ishwara is also Brahman because Ishwara is almost simultaneously aware of pure awareness. This ignorance of self-awareness cannot be treated as real ignorance, since it is temporarily and apparently superimposed in order to not contradict the awareness of the world. But Brahman is not Ishwara because after the dissolution of the creation, Brahman is not aware of the creation. After the dissolution of the world, the world becomes a small pulse called as Avyaktam and is stored in Brahman like a small carbon particle existing in a mighty infinite ocean. Such a state of the world can be almost considered to be the state of non-existence of the world. Now only the Brahman, which is the Parabrahman pervading all over the pure awareness remains. In this state, the pure awareness is aware of itself only and not aware of any other thing (world). Therefore such pure awareness is called as Suddha Sattvam.

By this, one should not mistake that Sattvam exists alone. Never can any single quality, out of the three qualities (Sattvam, Rajas & Tamas), exist without the other two. When I say that a single quality exists, the other two qualities also simultaneously exist but we are not concerned about them right now. Suddha Sattvam means pure awareness, which is pure self-knowledge. Awareness or knowledge is only a form of energy, which is always active. Action indicates Rajas. This knowledge [awareness] is unaware of Parabrahman and therefore it is ignorance indicating Tamas. The Gita says that knowledge is pure Sattvam (Sattvat Sanjayate Jnanam). The Gita also says that action is pure Rajas (Rajah karmani). The Gita also says that ignorance is pure Tamas (Tamastvajnanajam). Therefore all these three qualities are always simultaneously associated in equal potency.

The soul in the human being is called as the causal body (karana shariram) and is also the pure awareness, which is a tiny droplet of Mula Maya. This proves that the soul is also constituted by all these three qualities with equal potency. Thus the creation started with the generation of Mula Maya itself. The creation is always made of the three qualities. The Mula Maya or the soul is in an equilibrium state of the three qualities. The soul can only be a small part of Mula Maya and cannot be a small part of Brahman. Brahman means the infinite ocean of Mula Maya in which Parabrahman has pervaded. The droplet of Mula Maya, which is modified as the creation is not pervaded by Parabrahman. The creation is supported and pervaded only by Mula Maya. Therefore Mula Maya acts as a curtain between Parabrahman and creation. The creation does not touch the Parabrahman at all. The creation is supported by the will of Parabrahman and that will is called as Mula Maya.

When the awareness in the drop is aware of the creation, the Parabrahman present in that drop along with the associated creation is called as Ishwara (Ishwarah Sarva Bhutanaam—Gita). The drop of awareness in the state of its awareness of the world is called as Maya. Thus the difference between Mula Maya and Maya is that in the Mula Maya, the awareness is aware of itself and in Maya the awareness is aware of other things, which are items of creation. Thus Ishwara is called as ‘Sakshin’ or observer of the world of the world. When Ishwara becomes Brahman, the awareness of the world disappears and the film show is put off, which is reduced into a reel of the film called as Avyaktam. Now the drop of awareness merges with the ocean. Maya disappears and Mula Maya alone remains.

The creation contains unimaginable actions as shown by the human incarnation, which are specified as Maya. The creation also contains imaginable actions as shown by human beings, which are specified as Prakriti. The Maya along with the Prakriti is Prakriti alone, in the view of the Lord, because even the unimaginable actions are imaginable to the Lord. There is no Maya for the Lord. The Gita says “Mayamtu Prakritim Viddhi, Maayinamtu Maheshwaram”. This means that the Lord is associated with Maya but that Maya is only Prakriti for Ishwara. Only in the view of human being do both Maya and Prakriti exist separately. Without Prakriti, Maya cannot exist because without reference to imaginable actions there cannot be an unimaginable action. When water flows [downhill], it is imaginable Prakriti. When the water remains standstill [even on a slope], it is unimaginable Maya. Unless the concept of Prakriti exists, the concept of Maya cannot be grasped as different from Prakriti.

 
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