Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):
Swaminarayan philosophy – in General II
In the scriptures Parabrahm, Parameshwar, Paramatma, Purushottam, Narayan, Hari, are all referred to one single entity – the Supreme Being – called “Bhagwan” (God). Brahm the abode of Parabrahm, which is holding and supporting multiple brahmands by its power, is the single penultimate truth of just lesser than equal level of Purushottam (God) and is transcendental to everything else except Parabrahm (God). Purushottam Narayan (God) is forever the Supreme Being – the Ultimate Truth. Sometimes the scriptures have used different words similarly or similar words differently according to the time, place, audience, and other factors. When one studies and understands all the scriptures together than the real meaning becomes apparent. Currently, Swaminarayan philosophy is gaining attentions and interests of many intellectual students of religious philosophy and other intellectual audience of different professions. Even though its’ contemporary origin of only a couple of hundred years compared to the other philosophies of many hundred to a couple of thousand years old, it is increasingly being accepted in the current curriculum of religious philosophies.
Swaminarayan philosophy holds that Jiv, Ishwar, Maya, Brahm, and Parabrahm are the five fundamental eternal realities quite distinct from each other. All of these five realities are described in the scriptures of Hinduism but their true or real meanings and their relationship with each other are explored and explained very first time by Shri Swaminarayan. Before the explanation by Swaminarayan Philosophy, some philosophers believed that both the jivs and ishwar where same or part and partial (amsh-amshi). According to some philosophers Ishwar, Brahm, and Parabrahm were considered as one and the same entity. According to some philosophers Brahm and Parabrahm were considered as the same reality. The five great Acharyas – the proponents of above mentioned philosophies of Hinduism, namely, Shri Shankaracharya, Shri Ramanujacharya, Shri Nimbarkacharya, Shri Madhavacharya, and Shri Vallabhacharya all conclusively inferred that Brahm is the cause of the cosmos, it should be the goal of life for everybody, and the knowledge and the union of soul with Brahm would lead to the Moksh or the final liberation. In Bhagwad Gita there are two separate chapters allocated to Aksharbrahm and Purushottam: Chapter 8 – the Aksharbrahm Yoga and Chapter 15 – the Purushottam yoga. They both describe Akshar Brahm as the abode of Purushottam, which can only be attained by the utmost devotion to Purushottam and by attaining it one never has to come back again in the cycle of births and deaths in this material world. Within Brahm the entire existence is situated and the entire existence is pervaded by it. It should be the ultimate goal for everyone – every soul. In both the chapters, the topmost reality is described as Purushottam, the unparalleled, the one and only, Supreme Being generally known as God. God, who is the controller of other four subordinate realities, has created this Creation in such a way that once it is created He never have to intervene again in its day-to-day activities related to creation, sustenance, and destruction of many different lower levels, from birth, life, and death of a star to those a human being.