Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):
Swaminarayan philosophy – Moksha
Atyantik Kalyān or Moksha Part II
Dharma, Gnan, Vairagya, and Bhakti coupled with Mahātmya (the knowledge of the greatness and the glory of God) are considered as the pillars of Sanatana Dharma, Ekantik Dharma, or Bhagwat Dharma and have to be achieved to their perfection to transcendent maya and to attain God’s abode. The devotee of God who achieves them to their perfection is called the ekantik bhakta. Such an ekantik bhakta is superior to all other devotees, is dear to God, and is known as the Gnani (knowledgeable) in Bhagwad Gita. “Teshām gnānee nitya-yukta eka-bhaktir-vishishyate | Priyo hi gnāneeno’tyartham-aham sa cha mama priyaha ||” (Bhagwad Gita; 7. 17) Meaning, “Of those, the one with the gnān is the best because he is always engaged in me and is devoted to me alone. I am exceedingly dear to a person with gnān, and he is dear to me.” “Udārāhā sarva evaite gnānee tvātamaiva me matam |”(Bhagwad Gita; 7. 18) Meaning, “They are all indeed noble, but I consider the one with gnān to be my very soul (ātmā).”
Just as Brahm and Parabrahm are two distinct entities, the soul (jiv or atma) and Brahm are two distinct ontological entities. So, no one can be Brahm. Soul can only achieve the highest achievable enlightened state, be like Brahm, and then humbly serve God, but it cannot be Brahm. This is because both the soul and Brahm are two distinct ontological entities. Therefore, leveling with Brahm is the highest desired state. Absolutely no one can be like God. No one can level oneself with Parabrahm (God). Even after achieving the highest level God is always realized and experienced transcendental and most blissful. As one transcends further and further, the Supreme Being seems to be greater and greater, giving the feeling of more and more joy and pleasure that is indescribable. The joy and pleasure of that bliss is like reaching the higher and higher tips of the tallest mountain or going higher and higher, farther and farther deep into the space and observing the universe with our own eyes.
Just as God is free from kāl (time or aging), karma (deeds), and māyā (worldly attachments or ignorance), after death the devotee of God also becomes free from kāl (time or aging), karma (deeds), and māyā (worldly attachments or ignorance) and forever resides in the humble service of God in His abode.
According to the Swaminarayan philosophy, only after realizing Brahm, that is, after becoming “brahmrup” jiv gets true eligibility to worship Parabrahm (God). “Brahm vidāpnoti param” (Taittiriya Upanishad: 2. Brahmvalli Adhyay, 1. Pratham Anuvāk, Shlok-1). It means that, “the one who knows Brahm (Akshar) attains Parabrahm (Purushottam).” One who doesn’t worship Purushottam by becoming “brahmrup” cannot be said to have attained the final or ultimate liberation. “Brahm bhutaha prasannātmā na shochati na kānkshati | Samaha sarveshu bhuteshu mad bhaktim labhate parām ||” (Bhagwad Gita: 18.54) Meaning, “One who has become brahmanized (brahmrup) remains joyful, grieves nothing, desires nothing, and behaves equally with all beings deserves to offer me one’s supreme devotion or bhakti.” Only those devotees who are free of worldly desires are dear to God.
There are and there will be many spiritual souls who have or will attain the highest spiritually enlightenment state known as brahmrup, kaivalya, nirvana, etc. As long as they believe in a single higher authority to guide them it is fine. But if they do not believe in any higher or supreme authority or believe themselves as God or the Supreme, then there will be either no God or there will be many Gods but without any Supreme Being. It is like an institution either without any head or with many heads but no presiding or judging figure to control them. The said institution may last longer and be well organize for sometime but not for many billion years – the age of universe.
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