Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):
Swaminarayan philosophy – Parabrahm
Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan: Part I
God in Hinduism is known as Parabrahm. Parabrahm means Param Brahm, that is transcendental to Brahm. After describing Brahm, Swaminarayan philosophy describes the fifth, final, and the topmost eternal reality called Parabrahm (God). Parabrahm is described to be the one and only one, unparalleled, all-transcendental, permanent (avināshi), all-powerful (mahāsamarth), and the Supreme Reality. Parabrahm Purushottam Narayan is transcendental to Brahm who is transcendental to everything else except Parabrahm. Parabrahm (God) is the final authority of all authorities, the final power of all powers. He is the soul of all the souls. He is the soul of Brahm also. Purushottam is the Final Cause (Kāran) of all causes. He is cause of even transcendental Brahm or Aksharbrahm – His divine abode. The whole creation is His effect (Kārya).
2. Parabrahm, Purushottam, Narayan, Paramatma, Parameshwar, the Supreme Being or God:
Parabrahm (God) is described to be the one and only one. There cannot be more than one supreme. No one even can be like God. Shri Swaminarayan says that, “Only God is like God. Many have attained qualities similar to His by worshipping Him, yet they certainly do not become like God. If they did become like God, this would suggest the existence of several Gods. As a result, the governance of the world would not remain orderly. One God would say, ‘I will create the world,’ while another God would say, ‘I will destroy the world.’ One God would say, ‘I will make it rain,’ while another would say, ‘I will not.’ One would say, ‘I will instill human instincts in animals,’ while another would say, ‘I will instill animal instincts in humans.’ A stable state would not be possible in this situation. But see how orderly everything functions in the world! There is not even the slightest irregularity. Thus, the governor of all activities and the lord of all is one God. Not only that, it seems that no one can ever challenge Him. Therefore, God is definitely one, and no one can become like Him.” (Vachanāmrut: Gadhadā III-39)
Parabrahm (God) is described to have four basic characteristics:
Sarvopari (Supreme Being or transcendental to all); Sarvakartāhartā (all-doer and all-un-doer), Antaryāmi (inner guide) Prerak (inspirer), and Niyantā (controller); Sadā Sākār (always having the divine form and never formless); and Sadā Pragat (meaning, forever present in this world (brahmand) in person, without even leaving His abode, for establishing the four basic elements of the religion, namely, Dharm (religious and social vows), Gnan (ultimate knowledge of the Truth), Vairagya (dispassion and detachments from the worldly objects), and Bhakti (utmost devotion) of Ekāntik Dharm (universal religion) in the heart of all Human beings. In Hinduism His presence being mentioned in two ways: 1. As a “chal” form (mobile as Satpurush or Sant) and 2. As an “achal” form (immobile as Murti or Vāni).