Shri Datta Swami

Jnana Saraswati – Parabrahma Sutras


3. Parabrahman means ‘different from all the greatests in each category’

परं भेदे श्रेष्ठपुनरुक्तेः।३।
paraṁ bhede śreṣṭhapunarukteḥ|3|

The word ‘Param’ in the Gita means ‘different’ and not ‘great’, since the latter results in the defect of repetition.


The word ‘param’ in the Gita (Param brahma) is generally interpreted to mean ‘great’. But this interpretation is not correct because the word Brahman already means the greatest among all in that category. If you say that the word ‘param’ again means great, it results in the defect of repetition of the same sense of the word Brahman. Brahman means ‘greatest’ according to its root word. Hence, here the word param means ‘different’. Param has both the meanings. Here the word Brahman has been restricted to ‘imaginable greatest items’ in their respective categories. The word Parabrahman means the unimaginable greatest God, who is different from the imaginable greatest items, which are represented by the word Brahman. The word Parabrahman is also a combination of two words—Param and Brahman. Both these words combined together become the single word Parabrahman. In the Gita the two words are separately represented but they can be combined to give the word Parabrahman.


The word Parabrahman is already introduced by Shankara and Krishna. Although there is no such reference in the Veda, the word param is used as an adjective like Param Jyoti, Param Atma (Paramatma) in the Veda. The main point is that it was not necessary to stress on the difference between Brahman (categorical greatest) and Parabrahman (God, the absolute greatest). This is because the ancient sages had the capacity to take the appropriate meaning of the word Brahman according to the context. But gradually that capability was lost and confusion arose. Hence, based on the present need, it is important to coin a word such as Parabrahman. If the correct meaning of Brahman were taken according to the context, then there would be no need of the word Parabrahman. Now with a separate word Parabrahman assigned to God, there will not be any further confusion.

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