Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):
Swaminarayan philosophy – Parabrahm
Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan: Part II
How God is described in Hinduism? According to Shri Swaminarayan in his own words, “There is a mass of divine light that is like countless millions of moons, suns and flames of fire. That mass of light appears to be like an ocean. The form of Purushottam Bhagwãn resides within that luminous, brahmarup abode of God, and He Himself assumes an avatãr from that form. “What is that God like? Well, He transcends both the perishable (Kshar) and the imperishable (Akshar); He is the cause of all causes; and countless millions of aksharrup muktas worship His holy feet. Out of compassion, that very same God is manifest and present before your eyes in an incarnated form for the purpose of granting ultimate liberation to jivas…” (Vachanāmrut: Gadhadā III-31)
How a person cultivates faith in God? The faith in God has always been cultivated through His manifestation on the earth. Shri Swaminarayan says that, “Please listen, I wish to speak to all of you about God. Whenever (jyāre) a jiva attains a human body in Bharat-khand, God’s avatãrs or God’s sãdhus will certainly also be present (vicharatā) on earth at that time. If that jiva can recognize (olkhān) them, then he becomes a devotee of God.” (Vachanāmrut: Vartāl 19)
This is the universal message of Hinduism to the human being in which Shri Swaminarayan does not specify any particular God (Bhagwan), sadhu, or person. God means the Supreme Being and Godly sadhu or person means the truly qualified sant or person per scriptures in whom God would like to stay fully, personally, and forever. The word, “whenever” means, not only in his time or in the present time but he is also talking about the past and the future. The word, “Bharat-khand” literary means “Bhārat or India.” But it may also mean the better place or pious land to live and worship God, where righteousness, truth, justice, and peace are prevailing. The word “God’s avatār” means manifestation of God in human form. The words, “God’s sādhu” means truly qualified Sant or Godly person who is having God forever in his heart, mind, and soul; who is brahmanized or God-realized; who is the guard and guide of universal humanitarian religion called the “Sanātan Bhagwat Ekantik Dharma”; who do not kill demons or bad people but accept them under their refuge and take out their evil power, their vicious, poisonous, or bad nature, their evil thoughts, evil actions, evil ways, and evil manners from their hearts and mind to make them like sant, spiritual, or godly persons like themselves. The word “vicharatā” means travelling around on this earth to guide us in our life and to share the happiness, joy, or bliss of God with us. It also means that the earth is never barren without having the presence of God. The word “olkhān” means the one who knows that God or truly qualified Godly person or Sant and associates with him for the only motive of salvation or liberation.
Shri Swaminarayan describes, “Shri Purushottam Bhagwãn, whose form is forever divine, is seated in extremely luminous Akshardhãm. That same God assumes the avatãrs of Rãm, Krishna, etc., upon this earth for the sake of granting liberation to the jivas. Then, the jiva that develops firm faith in that God by profoundly associating with the Sant progresses spiritually day by day…” (Vachanāmrut: Vartāl-12)
How to know God according to the scriptures?
When God assumes an avatar on this earth; He possesses 39 characteristics or attributes as a king (the ruler) and 30 characteristics as a sadhu. These attributes of manifest form of God are described in the 1st canto (SB: 1.16.26-28) and 11th canto (SB: 11.11.29), respectively, the Shrimad Bhagwat Puran.
Shri Swaminarayan says that, “The 39 characteristics of God’s avatar in the form of king are listed in the first canto of the Shrimad Bhagwat (Puran). The 30 characteristics of God’s avatar in the form of sadhu are listed in 11th canto.” He says that, “The one who aspires for liberation should recognize God through these characteristics and seek refuge of that (avatar or manifestation of) God. One should have complete faith in Him. One should perform His bhakti (worship) while observing or following His injunctions.” (Vachanāmrut: Vartāl 10)