Difference between revisions of "Brahman (ब्रह्मन्)"

From Dharmawiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(Added content)
(Brahman is Distinct from Atman)
Line 168: Line 168:
  
 
== Brahman is Distinct from Atman ==
 
== Brahman is Distinct from Atman ==
Shvetasvatara Upanishad is one of the early texts that shows the difference between the Jivatma (variously called as Atman translated as individual soul) and Brahman. The upanishad first shows the distinction between the Individual Self (Jivatma) and the Supreme Self (Brahman) due to the limiting adjuncts in the observable state (empirical) and then reveals immortality as a consequence of the realization of that (supreme self):<ref name=":1">Swami Gambhirananda (2009 Fourth Edition) ''Svetasvara Upanishad With the Commentary of Sankaracharya.'' Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama (Page 75-77)</ref><blockquote>संयुक्तमेतत्क्षरमक्षरं च व्यक्ताव्यक्तं भरते विश्वमीशः । अनीशश्चात्मा बध्यते भोक्तृभावाज्ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपाशैः ॥ ८ ॥ (Shvet. Upan. 1.7)<ref>Shvetasvatara Upanishad ([https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B7%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D/%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A5%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%83_%E0%A4 Adhyaya 1])</ref></blockquote>Ishvara nourishes this universe consisting of effect and cause, the  Vyaktam (व्यक्तम् । manifested) and Avyaktam (अव्यक्तम् । Unmanifested) which are respectively the Ksharam (क्षरम् । mutable, destructible) and Aksharam (अक्षरम् । immutable, indestructible) which are mutually associated (संयुक्तम्). The individual Atman, which is not independent, becomes bound due to its sense of being the Bhoktr (भोक्तृभावात् । enjoyer); realizing the effulgent Self (supreme), it becomes freed from all bondages.  
+
Shvetasvatara Upanishad is one of the early texts that shows the difference between the Jivatma (variously called as Atman translated as individual soul) and Brahman. The upanishad first shows the distinction between the Individual Self (Jivatma) and the Supreme Self (Brahman) due to the limiting adjuncts in the observable state (empirical) and then reveals immortality as a consequence of the realization of that (supreme self):<ref name=":1">Swami Gambhirananda (2009 Fourth Edition) ''Svetasvara Upanishad With the Commentary of Sankaracharya.'' Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama (Page 75-78)</ref><blockquote>संयुक्तमेतत्क्षरमक्षरं च व्यक्ताव्यक्तं भरते विश्वमीशः । अनीशश्चात्मा बध्यते भोक्तृभावाज्ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपाशैः ॥ ८ ॥ (Shvet. Upan. 1.7)<ref>Shvetasvatara Upanishad ([https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B7%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D/%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A5%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%83_%E0%A4 Adhyaya 1])</ref></blockquote>Ishvara nourishes this universe consisting of effect and cause, the  Vyaktam (व्यक्तम् । manifested) and Avyaktam (अव्यक्तम् । Unmanifested) which are respectively the Ksharam (क्षरम् । mutable, destructible) and Aksharam (अक्षरम् । immutable, indestructible) which are mutually associated (संयुक्तम्). The individual Atman, which is not independent, becomes bound due to its sense of being the Bhoktr (भोक्तृभावात् । enjoyer); realizing the effulgent Self (supreme), it becomes freed from all bondages.  
  
 
Simply put the Upanishad expresses the difference between the Atman and Brahman due to the limiting adjuncts (Atman is possessed of the individual body and organs and is not independent) therefore the Atman becomes free by realising the Brahman (who is unconditioned or without limiting adjuncts) through meditation (on the Supreme) with the help of His limiting adjuncts. Thus the Upanishad clarifies the standpoint of unity of the (individual) enjoyer and the (supreme) Self.<ref name=":1" />
 
Simply put the Upanishad expresses the difference between the Atman and Brahman due to the limiting adjuncts (Atman is possessed of the individual body and organs and is not independent) therefore the Atman becomes free by realising the Brahman (who is unconditioned or without limiting adjuncts) through meditation (on the Supreme) with the help of His limiting adjuncts. Thus the Upanishad clarifies the standpoint of unity of the (individual) enjoyer and the (supreme) Self.<ref name=":1" />
 +
 +
The Puranas also reinforce the concept of Atman as distinct from the Brahman due to its attributes of Nature and the way to dissociate from them. According to Vishnudharmottara Purana, the individual Atman is imagined through ignorance. When that is dissipated the difference bewteen the individual Atma and supreme Brahman vanishes to be sure. Visnupurana (6.7.96) also points to Avidya or ignorance that creates a difference - which (really)  does not exist - between the Self and Brahman.
 +
 +
It may be pointed out that the perspectives of various schools of Vedanta throw light on Self and Brahman.
 
==References==
 
==References==
 
<references group="note" />
 
<references group="note" />

Revision as of 22:10, 9 August 2019

Brahman (Samskrit : ब्रह्मन्) in general signifies the Absolute, Eternal, Changeless, Infinite element without attributes, qualities beyond name and form, yet all encompassing the universe called variously as Brahman, Purusha, Parabrahma, Satya.

IT, that nameless, formless supreme being is the goal of a sadhaka engaged in the practice of Paravidya, (the Brahmavidya) knowing which is the Supreme Wisdom (Jnana) achieved through the paths laid down in the various texts, discussed through ages in the Upanishads and Brahmasutras.[1]

While the samskrit word Brahman (ब्रह्मन्) used in this article is a pratipadika (a stem), this entity is referred to mostly as Brahma padarth or Parabrahma, Paramatma etc in the various texts. The first case ending of Brahman (ब्रह्मन्) is Brahma (ब्रह्मा) which should not be confused with the deity Brahma who is the creator among the trimurthis (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

An abstract but highly discussed word, Brahman, is the core of the Vedanta and Upanishad texts, a concept fundamental and unique to Sanatana Dharma. No other philosophy in the world, in the history of thought, has evolved and discussed the concept of Brahman; it is the most ancient mystery of the worlds.

All Bharatiya sampradayas are unified in agreeing to the existence in an attributeless supreme entity, while variations amongst them are seen only with respect to the path followed to understand and experience Brahman.

वेदान्तमते ‘वस्तु सच्चिदानन्दाद्वयं ब्रह्म तथा अज्ञानादिसकलजडसमूहोऽवस्तु ।’ ‘ब्रह्मैव नित्यं वस्तु तदन्यदखिलमनित्यम् ।’[2]
vedāntamate ‘vastu saccidānandādvayaṁ brahma tathā ajñānādisakalajaḍasamūho'vastu ।’ ‘brahmaiva nityaṁ vastu tadanyadakhilamanityam ।

व्युत्पत्तिः॥ Etymology

Brahman (ब्रह्मन्) is derived from the dhatus बृहँ and बृहिँ in the meaning of वृद्धौ (vrddhi)[2] - बृंहति वर्द्धते निरतिशयमहत्त्व-लक्षणवृद्धिमान् भवतीत्यर्थः - to expand, grow, enlarge, one which is beyond comparison. It is used to explain the concept of the transcendent and immanent ultimate reality, Supreme force which is attributeless.

Brahman is thus a gender-neutral concept that implies greater impersonality than masculine or feminine conceptions of a deity. Brahman is referred to as the supreme self.

It is distinct from:

  • A Brahmana (ब्राह्मणम्) which is the prose explanation of the mantras, one of the four divisions of the Vedic texts.
  • A Brahmana (ब्राह्मणः) (masculine) is one who belongs to the Brahmana varna (first of the four varnas); in this usage the word is usually rendered in English as Brahmin (ब्राह्मणः).
  • Brahma (ब्रह्मा) is a deity who has the role of the creator among the Trimurtis, having a lifetime measured in kalpas (see Kala)
  • Ishvara (ईश्वरः), in Advaita, is identified as a partial worldly manifestation (with limited attributes) of the ultimate reality, the attributeless Brahman. In Visishtadvaita and Dvaita, however, Ishvara (the Supreme Controller) has infinite attributes and a personal Brahman.

Evolution of Concept of Brahman

The Upanishads which develop ideas that are in germ in the Veda Samhitas are the only source of definite knowledge, to answer the questions which ever baffled the human mind. Questions that man has been trying to answer from ages include

  • whether our personality survives death?
  • where does man go after death?
  • is there existence of life in a world called heaven?
  • does he ever return to this world?
  • what is the final goal of life?
  • what is nature of the final goal of the world?
  • what is the nature and definition of the supreme entity that man believes in?
  • nature of Atman (individual Jivatma) and its relationship with other Jagat (world) and with Supreme entity (Brahman)?
  • what is the ultimate truth of existence?
  • how did the universe originate?

Obviously no other knowledge source has ever attempted to answer such questions and it is only Upanishads and other Vedanta texts that give us the last word on all such matters apart from practicing what is given in them. Through no other means is it possible for us to get convincing answers to our queries regarding them. Not being the work of man (Apaurusheya) Upanishads are free from the usual shortcomings of all human endeavor such as error, doubt, and deception. It is open to us all to verify their statements by actual experience along the lines prescribed by them. The truths inculcated in them are not mere theories, but facts, and as such are invulnerable.[3]

Questions

Any doctrine or siddhanta about Brahman involves theories explaining certain common groups of questions

  • emergence, sustenance and dissolution of the world (ontology)
  • what is real and the principles applying to Universe, Atman, Brahman etc (metaphysics)
  • nature of things - sentient and insentient things, Brahman and others.
  • study of means of understanding knowledge, example Pramanas (epistemology)
  • relationship between individual Jivatmas, the inanimate matter (Jagat), Supreme Being (Ishvara)
  • modes of attaining the final goal Moksha (soteriology)
  • essence and value attributed to Brahman and other aspects of Vedanta (axiology)

Shvetasvatara Upanishad in the very first mantra puts forth these questions as deliberated by the Brahmavadins

ॐ ब्रह्मवादिनो वदन्ति ।

किं कारणं ब्रह्म कुतः स्म जाता जीवाम केन क्व च सम्प्रतिष्ठा । अधिष्ठिताः केन सुखेतरेषु वर्तामहे ब्रह्मविदो व्यवस्थाम् ॥ १ ॥ (Shve. Upan. 1.1.1)

oṁ brahmavādino vadanti ।

kiṁ kāraṇaṁ brahma kutaḥ sma jātā jīvāma kena kva ca sampratiṣṭhā । adhiṣṭhitāḥ kena sukhetareṣu vartāmahe brahmavido vyavasthām ॥ 1 ॥ (Shve. Upan. 1.1.1)

Summary : People accustomed to deliberate on Brahman discuss : What is the nature of Brahman, the Source (किं कारणं ब्रह्म)? From what have been born (कुतः स्म जाता)? By what do we live (जीवाम केन)? And where do we exist, rest, at the time of dissolution (क्व च सम्प्रतिष्ठा)? O Knowers of Brahman, regulated by whom (अधिष्ठिताः केन) do we conform to the system regarding happiness and its opposite namely sorrows (सुखेतरेषु वर्तामहे)?

In this way the question "What is the cause" (किं कारणं । kiṁ kāraṇaṁ) pertains to the primordial cause of the regulation of creation, continuance and dissolution.[4]

Mundakopanishad also raises the question of Knowledge and seeks answers to understand the nature of vidya

कस्मिन्नु भगवो विज्ञाते सर्वमिदं विज्ञातं भवतीति ॥ ३ ॥ (Mund. Upan. 1.1.3)[5]

kasminnu bhagavo vijñāte sarvamidaṁ vijñātaṁ bhavatīti ॥ 3 ॥ (Mund. Upan. 1.1.3)

Meaning : What is that by knowing which everything in this universe is known?

Answers

The answer to the above natural quests are found in the conception of a Supreme Being or Brahman as the ultimate cause of the Universe, from whom, indeed, beings are born, through whom they live and unto whom they return and merge in. The knower of Brahman attains the highest.

ब्रह्मलक्षणम् ॥ Defining Brahman

The characteristics of Brahma comprehensively put forth in Taittriya Upanishad in the Brahmanandavalli defines Brahman thus

सत्यं ज्ञानमनन्तं ब्रह्म । satyaṁ jñānamanantaṁ brahma । Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinite (Tait. Upan. 3.1)[6]

He is again defined simply as having सच्चिदानन्दलक्षणम् as defined in Nrsimha Uttaratapaniya Upanishad and reiterated in Panchadashi composed by Vidyaranyaswami.

सच्चिदानन्दमात्रः स स्वराड् भवति । saccidānandamātraḥ sa svarāḍ bhavati । He is effulgent with (the qualities of) Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss (Nrsim. Uttar. Upan.7)[7]
सच्चित्सुखात्मकं ब्रह्म ...। saccitsukhātmakaṁ brahma ...। The nature of Brahman is existence, consciousness, and bliss (Panchadasi 13.62)[8][9]

ब्रह्मतत्वम् ॥ Nature of Brahman

Discussion on Brahmatattva or nature of Brahman is extensive and ageless with numerous Upanishad and Vedanta bhashyas on the subject explaining different characteristics. Putting together the Upanishadic and Brahmasutra explanations, Brahman is said to have the following features

  • All-perceiving (सर्वानुभूः)
  • Immortal (तदमृतँ)
  • Eternal (नित्यम्)
  • Formless (अरूपम्)
  • Undiminishing (अव्ययम्)
  • Hidden in every being (भूतेषु गूढः)
  • Constant (ध्रुवं)
  • Birthless (अजः)
  • Lacks vital force (अप्राणः)
  • Without mind (अमनाः)
  • Unattached (असङ्गम्)
  • Without beginning or end (अनाद्यनन्तं)
  • Unfathomable (अग्राह्यम्)
  • Cannot be inferred (अलक्षणं)
  • Unthinkable (अचिन्त्यम्)
  • Indescribable by words (अव्यपदेश्यम्)
  • Distinct from Buddhi (महतः परं)
  • Pure Intelligence (प्रज्ञानघन)
  • Pure Consciousness (चैतन्यमात्रम्)

Kaivalyopanishad summarizes the nature of Brahman as follows

मय्येव सकलं जातं मयि सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितम् । मयि सर्वं लयं याति तद्ब्रह्माद्वयमस्म्यहम् ॥ १९ ॥ (Kaiv. Upan. 19)

In me alone is everything born, in me does everything rest and in me is everything dissolved. I am that Brahman, advayam or secondless.

न पुण्यपापे मम नास्ति नाशो न जन्म देहेन्द्रियबुद्धिरस्ति । न भूमिरापो न च वह्निरस्ति न चानिलो मेऽस्ति न चाम्बरं च ॥ २३ ॥ (Kaiv. Upan. 23)

एवं विदित्वा परमात्मरूपं गुहाशयं निष्कलमद्वितीयम् । समस्तसाक्षिं सदसद्विहीनं प्रयाति शुद्धं परमात्मरूपम् ॥ २४ ॥ (Kaiv. Upan. 24)[10]

For Me there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, nor ether. Thus realising the Paramatman, who lies in the cavity of the heart, who is without parts, and without a second, the Witness of all, beyond both existence and non-existence - one attains the Pure Paramatman Itself.[11]

States of Brahman

Brhdaranyanka Upanishad is one of the earliest texts mentioning the existence of the two states of Brahman

द्वे वाव ब्रह्मणो रूपे । मूर्तं चैवामूर्तं च, मर्त्यं चामृतं च । स्थितं च यच्च । सच्च त्यं च ॥ बृह. २,३.१ ॥ (Brhd. Upan. 2.3.1)[12]

Indeed, there are two forms of Brahman, gross (मूर्तं) and subtle (अमूर्तं) (with form and formless), mortal and immortal (changing and unchanging), finite and infinite, defined and undefined (existent and beyond (existence)).[1]

Brahman or the Supreme Self has but two forms, through the superimposition of which, by ignorance, the formless Supreme Brahman is defined or made conceivable. Which are those two forms? The gross and subtle. The other phases of the gross and subtle are included in them; so they are counted as two only. Here, the gross or Defined (Saguna), having particular characteristics that distinguish it from others and Undefined, the opposite of that, which can only be distantly referred to, as something unknown. The subtle is immortal not subject to destruction. This 'being' is the perfection of the two subtle elements (air and ether), because they emanate from the undifferentiated in order to form the subtle body of Hiranyagarbha (Brhd. Upan. 2.3.2-3).

The Brahman that is (respectively) connected with the body and organs, which are the product of the five elements, is designated as gross and subtle, is mortal and immortal and includes the impressions created by those elements, is the omniscient, omnipotent, conditioned Brahman Saguna). It consists of actions, their factors and their results, and admitting of all kinds of association. That same Brahman, again, is devoid of all limiting adjuncts, the object of intuition, birthless, undecaying, immortal, fearless, and beyond the reach of even speech and mind, being above duality, and is described as 'Not this, not this.'[13]

We now proceed to discuss the conditioned and unconditioned Brahman in further sections in light of the different schools of thought of vedanta.

Brahman as in Different Sampradayas

Everyone of the vedantic system-builders - Sri Shankara, Ramanujacharya, Madhavacharya and others-has followed his own standpoint in his commentary of the Upanishads, bringing a mind illumined, directed by his own individual spiritual experience and interpreted all the passages to uphold his position and popularize the system of thought he expounded.[14] The relationship of Atman and Brahman is the primary basis of defining the various vedanta schools, for example, Advaita school is so named as it posits that Atman and Brahman are one and the same.

While fundamentally in agreement regarding the existence of Brahman various Vedantic schools differ as in following aspects

Key Differences of Brahman in Three Vedanta Sampradayas
Concept Advaita Dvaita Vishistadvaita
Concept of Brahman Nirguna (Impersonal) Saguna (Personal) Saguna (Personal)
Who is Brahman Attributeless without Name and Form Vishnu is Supreme Deity Brahman or Narayana (Purushottama)
Real and Unreal Brahman is Real, Samsara is Unreal Universe and its components are Real with five-fold difference Both Brahman and Samsara are Real
Efficient cause of the Universe (effect) Cause and effect are one and the same Brahman Vishnu is the efficient cause of the Universe Vishnu is the efficient cause of the Universe
Relationship of Jivatma and Brahman Absolute Identity (Kevaladvaita) Absolute Distinction (Kevala Bheda) Two Separate entities where one controls the other but are in Unity (Visishitadvaita)
Origin of the Universe From Brahman through Maya Vishnu is the manifestor of the Universe Vishnu is the Creator
Realization Method Atma transcending Avidya Knowledge of Vishnu and Universe Bhakti leads to Brahman
Moksha Method Jnana that Jivatma and Paramatma are One Attainment of Vishnu through Vishnuprasada (grace) Union with Vishnu

Advaita Vedanta (अद्वैतवेदान्तः) sampradaya totally dismisses the concept that Brahman, Atman and Jagat (world) are completely distinct from each other and their tattva is explained by Sri Adi Shankaracharya and Advaita Bhashyas. Important postulates of Advaita include

  • Brahman is without attributes (Nirguna Brahman), and is Real; all else is unreal.
  • Atman (Jivatma) and Paramatma are the same without any difference.
  • The idea of difference between them arises from Avidya (ignorance, lack of yadartha jnana) and when Atma transcends Avidya, it brings about the realization of the All-ness and wholeness of the Atman as indicated by the vidya-sutra

    आत्मेत्येवोपासीतात्र ह्येते सर्व एकं भवन्ति । ātmetyevopāsītātra hyete sarva ekaṁ bhavanti । (Brhd. Upan. 1.4.7)[15]

  • The Universe springs from Brahman, just like hairs on a man's head; it is the work of Maya.
  • Cause and effect are one and the same (कार्यकारण-अभेदः) just like an aggregation of threads is seen in the form of a cloth.

As long as the Atma identifies itself with the Upadhis (vehicle of atma), it remains bound in Samsara, when it Knows Itself as Self, it becomes free from Samsara. For those who are not yet ready for this effort of Self Knowledge, ritual is not only desirable but also necessary. Those who reached the point where Atma only attracts them, Jnanam is enough and by Sadhana they achieve Brahman, the goal. However, a Jnani does not abstain from Karma or actions (similar as in Samkhya siddhanta), he best understands them and actively engages in them, being unattached to the results and not by the dictate of desire. Such a person is called Jivanmukta.

For example, Chandogya Upanishad describes the unity of Jiva and Brahman, in the conversation between Uddalaka and Shvetaketu. Kathopanishad also proclaims that he who sees as though there is difference between the two (Jiva and Brahman) will be engaged in cycle of birth and death. Jnana that they are one and the same is to be attained through the Manas only. There is no diversity between the Jivatma and Supreme Brahman (Kath. Upan. 2.1.11)[16]

The Dvaita Vedanta (द्वैतवेदान्तः) sampradaya upholds the distinctness of Paramatma from Jivatma both in material world and in Moksha. It teaches that Vishnu is the Supreme Deity and formed the Universe out of Prkriti which is already existing. Here the concept of Supreme (Brahman) is seen in Vishnu, who is the efficient cause of the Universe. It follows the Samkhya darshana way of describing the evolution and that Jiva travels on a spiritual journey to attain the Paramatma. Jiva attains Moksha in which it remains in Bhoga (भोगः । enjoyment of eternal bliss) with the Paramatma. The Jiva reaches one or other of the four conditions

  1. Sarupya (सारूप्यम् । Same form as the Divine Form)
  2. Salokya (सालोक्यम् । Residence in the same loka as the Divine Form eg : Goloka)
  3. Sannidhya (सान्निध्यम् । Being in proximity to the Divine Form)
  4. Sayujyam (सायुज्यम् । Union with the Divine Form).

However, this union is not to be considered as one of identity of nature. (Page 33 of Reference[1]).

The Vishistadvaita Vedanta (विशिष्टाद्वैतवेदान्तः) sampradaya upholds separateness of Jivatma and Paramatma but that Jivatma is a separate entity which are Vyakta (व्यक्तः । manifested) during the period of activity and when Pralaya (प्रलयः । dissolution) approaches they are drawn in and become Avyakta (अव्यक्तः । Unmanifested) Paramatma or Brahman. Vishistadvaita is a path for those who conscious of the separation, and long for union with the Supreme, and they find solace in worship and devotion of Ishvara (Saguna Brahman). Brahman is the highest Reality, the One, but has attributes inseparable from Himself. From Brahman, comes the Sankarshana (संकर्षणः) or Jivatma, the separated Atma (soul), which produces Pradyumna (प्रद्युम्नः) the Mind, which in turn produces Aniruddha (अनिरुद्धः) the I (Ahamkara principle). Thus Brahman is the object of worship on whom Jivatma depends on, Jivatma being not Brahman but a part of it. The separation is insisted on but union is sought.[1]

Brahman is Distinct from Atman

Shvetasvatara Upanishad is one of the early texts that shows the difference between the Jivatma (variously called as Atman translated as individual soul) and Brahman. The upanishad first shows the distinction between the Individual Self (Jivatma) and the Supreme Self (Brahman) due to the limiting adjuncts in the observable state (empirical) and then reveals immortality as a consequence of the realization of that (supreme self):[17]

संयुक्तमेतत्क्षरमक्षरं च व्यक्ताव्यक्तं भरते विश्वमीशः । अनीशश्चात्मा बध्यते भोक्तृभावाज्ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपाशैः ॥ ८ ॥ (Shvet. Upan. 1.7)[18]

Ishvara nourishes this universe consisting of effect and cause, the Vyaktam (व्यक्तम् । manifested) and Avyaktam (अव्यक्तम् । Unmanifested) which are respectively the Ksharam (क्षरम् । mutable, destructible) and Aksharam (अक्षरम् । immutable, indestructible) which are mutually associated (संयुक्तम्). The individual Atman, which is not independent, becomes bound due to its sense of being the Bhoktr (भोक्तृभावात् । enjoyer); realizing the effulgent Self (supreme), it becomes freed from all bondages.

Simply put the Upanishad expresses the difference between the Atman and Brahman due to the limiting adjuncts (Atman is possessed of the individual body and organs and is not independent) therefore the Atman becomes free by realising the Brahman (who is unconditioned or without limiting adjuncts) through meditation (on the Supreme) with the help of His limiting adjuncts. Thus the Upanishad clarifies the standpoint of unity of the (individual) enjoyer and the (supreme) Self.[17]

The Puranas also reinforce the concept of Atman as distinct from the Brahman due to its attributes of Nature and the way to dissociate from them. According to Vishnudharmottara Purana, the individual Atman is imagined through ignorance. When that is dissipated the difference bewteen the individual Atma and supreme Brahman vanishes to be sure. Visnupurana (6.7.96) also points to Avidya or ignorance that creates a difference - which (really) does not exist - between the Self and Brahman.

It may be pointed out that the perspectives of various schools of Vedanta throw light on Self and Brahman.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sanatana Dharma : An Advanced Textbook of Hindu Religion and Ethics. (1903) Benares : The Board of Trustees, Central Hindu College
  2. 2.0 2.1 Shabdakalpadruma (See ब्रह्म)
  3. Swami Madhavananda author of A Bird's-Eye View of the Upanishads (1958) The Cultural Heritage of India, Volume 1 : The Early Phases (Prehistoric, Vedic and Upanishadic, Jaina and Buddhist). Calcutta : The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. (Pages 345-365)
  4. Swami Gambhirananda (2009 Fourth Edition) Svetasvara Upanishad With the Commentary of Sankaracharya. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama (Page 45-46)
  5. Mundaka Upanishad (Complete)
  6. Swami Gambhirananda (1989 Second Edition) Eight Upanishads, Volume 1 (Isa, Kena, Katha,and Taittriya) With the Commentary of Sankaracarya. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama (Page 290)
  7. Nrsimha Uttarataapaniya Upanishad (Complete)
  8. Panchadasi (Prakarana 13 )
  9. Swami Swahananda (1967) Panchadasi of Sri Vidyaranya Swami (English Translation) Madras : Sri Ramakrishna Math (Pages 521-522)
  10. Kaivalya Upanishad (Complete)
  11. The Kaivalya Upanishad Translated by Swami Madhavananda. Kolkata : Advaita Ashram
  12. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (Adhyaya 2)
  13. Swami Madhavananda (1950 Third Edition) The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad with the commentary of Sankaracharya. Almora : Advaita Ashrama (Page 329)
  14. Swami Ghanananda author of The Dawn of Indian Philosophy (1958) The Cultural Heritage of India, Volume 1 : The Early Phases (Prehistoric, Vedic and Upanishadic, Jaina and Buddhist). Calcutta : The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. (Pages 333-344)
  15. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (Adhyaya 1)
  16. Swami Gambhirananda (1989 Second Edition) Eight Upanishads, Volume 1 (Isa, Kena, Katha,and Taittriya) Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama
  17. 17.0 17.1 Swami Gambhirananda (2009 Fourth Edition) Svetasvara Upanishad With the Commentary of Sankaracharya. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama (Page 75-78)
  18. Shvetasvatara Upanishad (Adhyaya 1)