Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):
Swaminarayan philosophy – Brahm
Brahm, Akshar, or Aksharbrahm: Part II
As we have seen previously, in the scriptures, Brahm is described as the overall cause of countless brahmands or multiverse. Purushottam Vāsudev Narayan (God), who in the form of Brahm, is the Final or Ultimate cause of the creation, sustenance, and dissolution of countless brahmands. In this manner, Hinduism is crystal clear about the creation and the cause and the source of the creation. In Hinduism, Brahm and Parabrahm are two separate entities, as mentioned in the following verse of Bhagwad Gita. “Sarva yonishu, Kaunteya, murtayaha sambhavanti yāha | Tāsām Brahm mahad yonir, aham bij-pradaha pitā ||” (Bhagwad Gita: 14.4) Meaning, “Of all the pathways or sources of creation or origin, in which all forms of bodies appear, O, son of Kunti, the major source of creation or origin (mahad yonir) is Brahm in which I am (aham – means Parabrahm Purushottam) the seed-provider father – pitā. (The word “bij-pradaha,” means, by providing akshar-muktas (liberated souls) in the form of Purush or Mahapurush as the seed.)” This also suggests that, just as Brahm is different than Parabrahm Purushottam. Purushottam (God or Bhagwan) is different than Purush or Mahapurush.
The characteristics or qualities of Brahm described in the scriptures are almost similar to the qualities described for Parabrahm confusing the scholars. But if one tries to see minutely there is a big difference between Brahm – the penultimate element and Parabrahm – the ultimate Supreme element. First and foremost, Brahm is mentioned, in the scriptures, as the sharir or body of Parabrahm – the shariri or the essence. Without the essence body cannot function. Thus Parabrahm is the life and soul of Brahm. Brahm is subordinate and dependent to Parabrahm for all his activities. Brahm is mentioned as the overall support and overall cause of the whole creation. In the scriptures Brahm is never mentioned as the support, source, or cause of Parabrahm. Brahm works or functions according to the will of Parabrahm. Parabrahm is independent and supreme in all manners. Parabrahm, if He wishes, can stand and sustain on His own supporting the whole creation and countless muktas (liberated souls) without taking the support of Brahm. Brahm is transcendental to everything else but not to Parabrahm. Parabrahm is the Supreme Being. Parabrahm Purushottam is the master of all – Brahm, ishwar, jiv, maya, and everything that is evolved from maya. One can and should make a union with Brahm to attain Parabrahm but no one can be reached to the level of Parabrahm – physically, spiritually, or potentially. Parabrahm is immune to any comparison, impervious to any realities and unparalleled to any being.
Two qualities of Aksharbrahm
In the scriptures two specific qualities of Aksharbrahm are discussed. They are: Anvay quality and Vyatirek quality. Certain characteristics of Brahm can be explained only by these two qualities. The anvay and vyatirek qualities of Aksharbrahm can be explained by taking the example of Akash (space). Just as an ordinary space is penetrating everything, it is also separate from everything. Space is everywhere, it is as vast as the universe at the same time it is as subtle as to penetrate even an atom. Brahm is subtler than even the ordinary space.
Anvay means close association or relation. This quality is because of the subtleness and all-pervasive (vyāpak) or penetrating power of Aksharbrahm. According to his anvay quality, Brahm seems to be closely associated or mixed with maya and the effects (kārya) of maya, such as, infinite numbers of brahmands. Brahm is the inspirer (prerak) of Prakruti-Purush and all devatas like Surya, Chandra, etc. for all of their activities and functions including creation, sustenance, and destruction. This can be explained on the base of the anvay quality of Brahm. To be effective or inspirer, two entities have to be related. If both entities are not related to each other, they cannot be effective on each other.
Vyatirek means separate, distinct, or different. Even though Brahm is all-pervasive because of his subtleness and penetrating power, he is separate and distinct from everything else. This vyatirek form Brahm is known as his divine Sachchidanand form. In this divine Sachchidanand form, he is present personally in the service of God as the humble servant. As the abode of God he is holding and supporting the whole multiverse of infinite numbers of brahmands. In his vyatirek form, Brahm is transcendental to everything else, including Maya and Prakruti-Purush and the whole creation evolved from them, except Purushottam Narayan (God).