Darshan (Philosophy) XXVII

Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):

Swaminarayan philosophy – Parabrahm

Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan: Part V

God is sarvagna (all-knower). He is Karma-fal-pradātā (the judge and the reward giver of the deeds or actions). He does not have any of the worldly attributes. He is also called Nirgun, because He is beyond any attributes of maya. He is sarva-vyāpak (omnipresent) by His antaryāmi (inner guiding, inspiring, and controlling) power yet forever remains present in His abode. This is like space or energy that is inherently present in an atom yet no one can see it. The same way, God is present in every atom or subatomic particle of His Creation, but we cannot see Him. The same figure of God that is present in His abode is also present in every brahmand. This omnipresence quality of God, known as His “yogakalā” is beyond our human imagination or common logic (atārkya). While remaining there in His abode, He manifests in many different forms in many different brahmands according to His will. Wherever He resides in whatever form becomes the center of His abode as there are no limits to His abode. Thus, He never leaves His abode. This how Shri Swaminarayan describes in his Vachanamrut, “… In the same way, Purushottam Bhagwan manifests in whatever form is required in whichever brahmand – while simultaneously dwelling in Akshardham. Actually, He Himself forever dwells in Akshardham. In fact, wherever that form of Purushottam resides, that is the very center of Akshardham.” (Vachanāmrut: Gadhadā II-42)

He resides in Atma (souls) and in Aksharbrahm penetratingly (Vyāpak), because souls are akshar-like and though both are ontologically different, they are characteristically same. Atma (soul) and Akshar (Brahm) are both under His authority (ādhin) and dependant and penetrable compared to Him. He is all-capable. Purushottam (God) creates and enters the various types of life forms as their cause and as their inner-guide (antaryami) or controller (niyanta) and inspires them to different degrees according to the hierarchy (taratamataha). “Sva-kruta-vichitra-yonishu vishann iva hetutayā | Taratamatashchakāssyanalavat svakrutānukrutiha ||” (Shrimad Bhagwat: 10.87.19) Purushottam is distinct from Brahm and is the cause, the supporter, and inspirer of even the transcendental Brahm. Purushottam is described as different, distinct, and transcendental from both – Kshar (perishable) and Akshar (imperishable) in Gita (Bhagwad Gita: 15.17). Purushottam is also described, in Gita, to be transcendental and supporter of lifeless (jad) or non-transcendental (aparā) and live (chaitanya) or transcendental (parā) both kinds of prakruti (Bhagwad Gita: 7.4, 5). Hierarchy should be understood as follows. Among living (chaitanya) things, as per the knowledge (gnan), power (shakti), capability and potential (sāmarthya) humans are higher than animals and animals are higher than plants; devas are higher than human beings; and ishwars (purushas) are higher than devas. Brahm is transcendental to purushas and everything else, whereas Parabrahm Purushottam Narayan Paramatma (God) is transcendental to even Brahm. There is absolutely nothing higher than Purushottam. Just as tremendous energy resides in an atom without even being noticed or seen by anybody, God resides within the souls, universal souls (ishwars), His whole creation (maya), and Brahm. He is present in every little thing, though not equally but hierarchically (tāratamya). In common people He is present as the judge or the rewards giver for their deeds (karma fal pradātā), in His devotees He is present as an eyewitness (sākshi), and in God-realized Sant or Satpurush He is present entirely, fully, completely, and wholly (sāngopāng).

Shri Swaminarayan says that, God resides in the heart of a person who understands that the infinite numbers of wonders or miracles that happen at every moment in the world and cosmos are only due to God that I have presently realized or attained and no one else is the cause of all these wonders; who also realizes that, infinite numbers of wonders that have happened in the past, are happening now, and are going to happen in the future are all due to God that I have presently attained; who (is very stable minded, sthitpragna,  and) feels indifference even if someone were to humiliate or honor him; who also possesses countless noble virtues of the sant described in the scriptures, such as atma-gnan, brahm-gnan, devotion, dispassion, etc.; who, despite of possessing number of powers and potential to empower and liberate number of people, tolerates insults as well as praises of common and insignificant people; and yet who is a great forgiver. In such a person God resides forever.

And lastly, Shri Swaminarayan says that, “Everyone wants to worship God, but the difference is in the understanding.” (Vachanāmrut: Gadhadā I-27)

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