Posts Tagged ‘maya’

Darshan (Philosophy) XXXII

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Shad Darshan – Concluding comments:

Conclusion II

In conclusion, all of the above philosophies of Hinduism describe about the fundamental realities, from one, two, three, or five, and their relationships with each other. We can reduce all the realities, before the creation, to just one reality – God. But then we cannot explain all the realities that are in existence after the very first creation. The creation itself is a reality. We have to explain everything based on the minimum possible number of fundamental realities considering all the past, present, and future scenarios of existence. Even scientists have difficulty in reducing everything to just one particle and one force.

All philosophies agree that the Supreme Being is one, unique, incomparable, and unparalleled, who is conceived or understood as the perfect, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, creator, source, and controller of the universe, the cosmos, and everything. He is eternal, without beginning and end, forever stable, and unchanging. He is beyond time, space, deeds, and material world of maya. He is Soul of the souls and God of the gods. In Hinduism, He is known as Paramatma, Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan. “Parabrahm” is so named because it is beyond or transcendental to Brahm (Param Brahm).

Brahm or the Abode of Parabrahm (God) is another reality which is penultimate to Parabrahm. Initially Brahm and Parabrahm were inferred as one reality, but later on it was clearly understood that Parabrahm and Brahm, God and His abode, cannot be just one reality. They are two different realities. Scriptures have described some of the characteristics exclusively for Parabrahm that cannot be applies to Brahm or any other realities. Parabrahm is the Supreme Being – the topmost creator, controller, and the essence of all. Parabrahm is described as the soul (shariri) of Brahm (sharir). Brahm is described as the body (sharir) of Parabrahm. Just as body (sharir) and soul (shariri) seems to be one, Brahm and Parabrahm were also understood to be one reality. But, they are not one and the same entity. Parabrahm can sustain without Brahm, but Brahm cannot sustain without Parabrahm.

In Hinduism, there is description of a super-soul or universal soul called Purush or Ishwar. In Hinduism, there is a crucial distinction between Purush and Purushottam (God). Ishwar or Purush is the super-soul of brahmand (whole universe). Hinduism describes about many brahmands. It is obvious that if there are many brahmands and each brahmand is governed by its own super-soul, then there are possibilities of existence of many super-souls. Existence of many Purushas is described in Sankhya scriptures and other scriptures like Mahabharat and Purans.

In Hinduism, individual soul is understood as ontologically distinct reality from God, Nature (Prakruti), and other realities. There are many individual souls or inner-self called atma or jiv limited to each mundane physical body. Each soul is separate, distinct, and different than its body. Therefore, bodily relations are simply bodily relations and are limited to the current birth only. The past, present, and future bodily relations have nothing to do with the souls. Once the soul is free from its three kinds of body it gets liberation or salvation. Soul has to be brahmanized (brahmrup) to get ultimate salvation called Atyantik Moksh. For that the living being has to take the shelter of God and completely and unconditionally surrender to Him, who resides forever in His abode and also, as His presence on this earth, in Satpurush (God-realized person or sant), in Satshāstra (Holy Scriptures), and in Satkriyā (pious and virtuous actions). No one has seen God as scientists see or observe tiniest particles or farthest galaxies and quasars. Everything what we know about God is from the holy scriptures. Scriptures have described every tiniest detail and the characteristics of God and His true and the choicest devotee or follower. Hinduism believes in worshiping the present form of God on the earth and that also in the form like us with which we can find some resemblance or similarity, develop intimacy, do some communication, and enjoy the same bliss on this earth and in this very life as we would enjoy in His abode. This also makes sure that what we are getting here, we will be getting there in His abode. Anyway, salvation ultimately is in His presence, in His service, and in His close association whether here or in His abode.

Darshan (Philosophy) XXIX

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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.

Darshan (Philosophy) XXVII

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

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)

Darshan (Philosophy) XXV

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):

Swaminarayan philosophy – Parabrahm

Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan: Part III

Avatars of God are incarnations of God. Incarnation does not mean that God leaves His abode and comes on this earth or He divides into many incarnations. Incarnations or avatars mean manifestations of divine God by His full presence into human world for specific missions. They show both the aspects of humanity, externally, and divinity, from the inside. On one side they act as humble servants of God and on other side they show signs of divinity that do not exist in humans. When they appear as humans they act as perfect human beings. In the human form they act as normal human beings trying to hide their divine powers which come out occasionally to show God’s presence in them. In other words avatars are seen as Godly beings that have been sent by God from the spiritual world as an instrument of His divine revelation.

When God is not manifest on this earth, one should seek the refuge of the Sant who is God-realized. Even when such a God-realized Sant is not present at that particular time and place, one should keep faith in God’s murti (mental and physical image) and worship Him with navadhā bhakti while observing one’s religious vows and duties (swadharma). It also grants liberation to the soul.

Shri Swaminarayan says that, “When God is not manifest on this earth; one should seek the refuge of the sant who has the realization of God, because jiv can also attain liberation through him. Even when such a sant is not present, one should keep a firm faith in God’s murti and perform bhakti while observing swadharma (one’s religious vows), because doing so can also grant liberation to the jiv.” (Vachanāmrut: Vartāl 10)

It is said in the scriptures that wherever the manifest form of God resides, that itself is the highest abode of God. A person who has realized God perfectly has nothing left to realize.

There are three most important things to know about God: 1. Greatness: His greatness, His subtleness, His omnipresence, and His cause-effect (kārya-kāran) relationship with His creation. 2. Power: His supremacy or power in respect to the creation, control, and destruction of countless brahmands.  3. Form: God’s form has two aspects: Vyatirek and Anvay. As His vyatirek or distinct form, God is present in divya sākār swarup (divine personified form), surrounded and humbly served by Aksharbrahm and akshar-muktas. At the same time, as an anvay or indistinct form God, because of His inner guiding (antaryāmi), inspiring (prerak) power, and controlling (niyantā) power, is present as a witness (sākshi) within His creation, that is, His abode Brahmdham or Akshardham, ishwars, souls, maya and the effects of maya – the countless brahmands. When the same, extremely powerful, extremely luminous, and extremely great God with extraordinary qualities takes the simple human form, on this earth, with ordinary human qualities for the liberation of the souls, one’s mind boggles or hesitates to believe in Him, especially during His presence on the earth. After hundreds or thousands of years people have no hesitation to believe in Him as God. It is recommended in the scriptures that, both these forms, the one in His abode Akshardham and one in this world, have to be known perfectly.

Darshan (Philosophy) XX

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):

Swaminarayan philosophy – Brahm

Brahm, Akshar, or Aksharbrahm: Part II

As we have seen previously, in the scriptures, Brahm is described as the overall cause of countless brahmands or multiverse. Purushottam Vāsudev Narayan (God), who in the form of Brahm, is the Final or Ultimate cause of the creation, sustenance, and dissolution of countless brahmands. In this manner, Hinduism is crystal clear about the creation and the cause and the source of the creation. In Hinduism, Brahm and Parabrahm are two separate entities, as mentioned in the following verse of Bhagwad Gita. “Sarva yonishu, Kaunteya, murtayaha sambhavanti yāha | Tāsām Brahm mahad yonir, aham bij-pradaha pitā ||” (Bhagwad Gita: 14.4) Meaning, “Of all the pathways or sources of creation or origin, in which all forms of bodies appear, O, son of Kunti, the major source of creation or origin (mahad yonir) is Brahm in which I am (aham – means Parabrahm Purushottam) the seed-provider father – pitā. (The word “bij-pradaha,” means, by providing akshar-muktas (liberated souls) in the form of Purush or Mahapurush as the seed.)” This also suggests that, just as Brahm is different than Parabrahm Purushottam. Purushottam (God or Bhagwan) is different than Purush or Mahapurush.

The characteristics or qualities of Brahm described in the scriptures are almost similar to the qualities described for Parabrahm confusing the scholars. But if one tries to see minutely there is a big difference between Brahm – the penultimate element and Parabrahm – the ultimate Supreme element. First and foremost, Brahm is mentioned, in the scriptures, as the sharir or body of Parabrahm – the shariri or the essence. Without the essence body cannot function. Thus Parabrahm is the life and soul of Brahm. Brahm is subordinate and dependent to Parabrahm for all his activities. Brahm is mentioned as the overall support and overall cause of the whole creation. In the scriptures Brahm is never mentioned as the support, source, or cause of Parabrahm. Brahm works or functions according to the will of Parabrahm. Parabrahm is independent and supreme in all manners. Parabrahm, if He wishes, can stand and sustain on His own supporting the whole creation and countless muktas (liberated souls) without taking the support of Brahm. Brahm is transcendental to everything else but not to Parabrahm. Parabrahm is the Supreme Being. Parabrahm Purushottam is the master of all – Brahm, ishwar, jiv, maya, and everything that is evolved from maya. One can and should make a union with Brahm to attain Parabrahm but no one can be reached to the level of Parabrahm – physically, spiritually, or potentially. Parabrahm is immune to any comparison, impervious to any realities and unparalleled to any being.

Two qualities of Aksharbrahm

In the scriptures two specific qualities of Aksharbrahm are discussed. They are: Anvay quality and Vyatirek quality. Certain characteristics of Brahm can be explained only by these two qualities. The anvay and vyatirek qualities of Aksharbrahm can be explained by taking the example of Akash (space). Just as an ordinary space is penetrating everything, it is also separate from everything. Space is everywhere, it is as vast as the universe at the same time it is as subtle as to penetrate even an atom. Brahm is subtler than even the ordinary space.

Anvay means close association or relation. This quality is because of the subtleness and all-pervasive (vyāpak) or penetrating power of Aksharbrahm. According to his anvay quality, Brahm seems to be closely associated or mixed with maya and the effects (kārya) of maya, such as, infinite numbers of brahmands.  Brahm is the inspirer (prerak) of Prakruti-Purush and all devatas like Surya, Chandra, etc. for all of their activities and functions including creation, sustenance, and destruction. This can be explained on the base of the anvay quality of Brahm. To be effective or inspirer, two entities have to be related. If both entities are not related to each other, they cannot be effective on each other.

Vyatirek means separate, distinct, or different. Even though Brahm is all-pervasive because of his subtleness and penetrating power, he is separate and distinct from everything else. This vyatirek form Brahm is known as his divine Sachchidanand form. In this divine Sachchidanand form, he is present personally in the service of God as the humble servant. As the abode of God he is holding and supporting the whole multiverse of infinite numbers of brahmands. In his vyatirek form, Brahm is transcendental to everything else, including Maya and Prakruti-Purush and the whole creation evolved from them, except Purushottam Narayan (God).

Darshan (Philosophy) XIX

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):

Swaminarayan philosophy – Brahm

Brahm, Akshar, or Aksharbrahm: Part I

After discussing the three distinct ontological elements, namely, jiv, ishwar, and maya, Swaminarayan philosophy discusses two more and the most important ontologically distinct entities or elements (tattvas), which are transcendental to all the three including maya (amāyik) and cannot be convinced, determined, or inferred just by guessing, arguing, or discussing; but only by experiencing personally by association with the Brahmanized Sant or by meditation (samādhi). These are: Brahm and Parabrahm.

1. Brahm, Akshar, or Aksharbrahm:

Brahm is, one and the only one (ekam and advitiyam), eternal (nitya), and penultimate reality. It is transcendental to all other realities, yet it is subordinate to the topmost, the Ultimate, and the Supreme Reality called Parabrahm. Brahm is the abode (dham) of Parabrahm Purushottam Narayan. Brahm is characterized as Sachchidanand (truth-, conscious or chaitanya-, and bliss- full) Brahm. As an abode it is also known as Brahm-mahol, Brahmdhām, or Akshardhām. As the topmost devotee (bhakta) and the humblest servant of God, as a role model for other devotees, or as a divine personified reality (tattva) the same abode of Purushottam (God) is known, in Vedas, Upanishads, and in Prasthantrayi, as Akshar, Brahm, or Aksharbrahm. It is known as param chaitanya (transcendental consciousness), satya-rup (true), gnan-rup (form of knowledge), anant (infinite), amāp (immeasurable) and adho-urdhva pramān-rahit (overall or all-around limitless). In Taittiriya Upanishad Brahm is described as, “Satyam (truth), Gnānam (knowledge), Anantam (infinite) Brahm.” (Taittiriya Upanishad: 2.1) It is shuddha (pure – without any impurities of maya), akhand (whole, undivided, and indivisible), avinashi (indestructible), vikār-rahit (without any deformity or changes) and without any characteristics (gunas) of maya. It is extremely cool and bright. This extremely cool (mahāshital), pleasant (sukhmaya), extremely bright (atishay tejomaya), infinite (anant), and limitless or beyond any limits (apār) luminescent light (tej) of Aksharbrahm is known as Chidākāsh. It is sarvādhār (all-supporter), sarva-vyāpak (all-penetrating), divine and characteristically most distinct (vilakshan) from other mayik elements. It is this abode of God, known as Akshardham, in which Purushottam (God) resides Himself forever, in His vyatirek (distinct from Brahm and other realities) and anvay (indistinct from Brahm and other realities as their essence or antaryāmi) forms.

The existence of Brahm and Parabrahm, according to Hinduism, is undeniable. Until the clarification by Shri Swaminarayan, the words Brahm and Parabrahm had become synonymous or having similar meanings. But if one studies the scriptural sayings very minutely one would immediately know that Brahm and Parabrahm are not the same but two different entities. In the scriptures, Brahm is described as the overall cause of countless brahmands or multiverse. He does that according to God’s wish. Parabrahm is described as the cause, essence, or soul of Brahm, Dham, Brahmdham, or His abode. Parabrahm is described as the ultimate cause of His creation. He does it by means of His four other realities, namely, Brahm, maya, ishwar, and jiv. The scriptures have never described anywhere Brahm as the cause or source of Parabrahm. “Mama yonir mahad Brahm, tasmin garbham dadhāmyaham | Sambhavaha sarva bhutanam, tato bhavati Bharat ||” (Bhagwad Gita: 14.3) Meaning, “My major pathway or source of creation or origin is through Brahm, in which, I place (dadhāmi) the seed or germ of the cosmos from which all beings are created or born, O, son of Bharat.” Because of the transcendental, subtle, all-pervasive, and infinite nature and description of Brahm, it can be easily misunderstood that Brahm could possibly be Parabrahm, but in the scriptures Brahm is never ever described to be transcendental to Parabrahm or to be the essence and master of Parabrahm.

Darshan (Philosophy) XVIII

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):

Swaminarayan philosophy – Maya

Maya or Prakruti

Maya means matter, in modern terms. It is the material cause of the creation. Maya is described to be trigunātmikā. Just as particles have three inherent properties of mass, charge, and spin; maya also has three inherent qualities called gunas, namely, Satva, Raja, and Tama. These gunas or properties are described in the Moksha-dharma section of Shanti ParvaBook 12 of Mahabharat. Maya is full of darkness and ignorance. It causes illusion. It does not have intelligence. It is lifeless (achetan), insentient, and dead. Scriptures called it jad-chidātmak (analogous to matter and energy or particle and wave form). It is also called the Shakti or power of Purushottam (God). It is the root cause of ignorance (avidya) and attachment of the soul with its body and bodily relatives. It creates the feeling of aham (I-ness) for the body and mamatva (My-ness) for the bodily objects and bodily relatives. It causes attractions for the two objects. It causes bondage or attachment of the soul with the world and worldly things.

Maya in its primordial form is also known as Prakruti. The primordial form of universe is called Pradhān and the primordial form of multiverse or multiple brahmands is called Mahāmāyā or Mul-Prakruti.

3. Pradhan and Purush

Pradhān is a kind of Prakruti. Sometimes, it is also known as Pradhan-Prakruti to differentiate it from the Mul-Prakruti. Pradhan-Prakrutis are infinite in numbers. They are all evolved from Mul-Prakruti. Pradhan is described in the scriptures as the material cause of brahmand. Its essence is known as Purush, called Pradhan-Purush to differentiate him from Mul-Purush. From Pradhan, Mahattattva – the primordial form of brahmand (universe) is evolved. From Mahattattva, three types of Ahamkar are evolved and from them 24 kinds of elements (tattvas) are evolved. From these 24 elements all of the non-living and living beings of the universe are evolved. Pradhan-Purush or Ishwar is the essence of Pradhan and the efficient cause of universe. Virāt form of brahmand, also known as Virat-Purush, is evolved from Pradhan-Purush. All avatars manifest from Virat-Purush. Vāsudev Narayan enters into and resides in avatars through Purush. His presence qualifies the avatar. It is not possible for an avatar to manifest through Virat-Purush without the presence of Vāsudev Narayan (God).

4. Mul-Prakruti and Mul-Purush

Mul-Prakruti (also known as Mahamaya) is mentioned in the scriptures as the root cause or the basic material cause of infinite numbers of universes (ananta koti brahmands). (Mahabharat: Book 12: Shanti Parva, Part 2-3: Mokshdharma Parva: Section: CCCLII) Scriptures describe that from a pair of Mul-Prakruti (also known as Mahamaya) and Mul-Purush (also known as Prakruti-Purush or Mahāpurush) infinite number of pairs of Pradhan and Purush are evolved. From each pair of Pradhan and Purush, each brahmand is evolved. Mul-Prakruti or Mahamaya is the final material cause of countless brahmands or multiverse. Prakruti-Purush or Mahapurush is the final efficient cause of countless brahmands or multiverse.

Mahamaya, Maya in general, is originated from a tiny portion of the luminescence (tej) of Brahm, which sustains in it all of the brahmands. “Vishtabhya aham idam kritsnam ekāmshena sthito jagat” (Bhagwad Gita: 10.42). Meaning, “I support (vishtabhya) this entire (kritsnam) cosmos (jagat) that is being existed (sthito) in a tiny portion or fraction (ekāmshena) of me (my body).” In the scriptures, Aksharbrahm is considered as the sharir (body) of Purushottam (Parabrahm) and Purushottam is considered Aksharbrahm’s shariri (essence or controller). “Yasyāksharam shariram…” (Subāla Upanishad: Khand-7) Meaning, “He, Narayan (God), whose body (sharir) is Akshar.”

Prakruti-Purush, Mahapurush, or Mul-Purush, as he is known by these names, is basically an aksharpurush or akshar-mukta, one of many akshar-like or akshar-rup purushas. This aksharpurush or Prakruti-Purush is desireless (niranna), already liberated (mukta), brahmanized, brahm-like, or has become one with Brahm (brahmrup), and is the cause or source of maya. He is fully contented, happy, and fulfilled (paripurna) with the bliss and happiness of Brahm, who is free from any desire to indulge in worldly or mayik pleasures. Even though he stays within maya he ever remains unaffected by maya. There are many such akshar-like, brahmrup Purushas who worship Purushottam Vāsudev Narayan (God). Mahapurush is born or arise (upajayate) from Aksharbrahm at the wish or will of Purushottam. Mahapurush is the cause of Mahamaya. Mahamaya, as such, is anādi (unborn) or eternal (without birth and death). But at the final dissolution (Ātyantik pralay) it becomes dormant, shrinks or dissolves in a tiny portion of Aksharbrahm, and remains embedded there until the next creation. It is the same Mahamaya that is reactivated or born from the tej or luminescence of Aksharbrahm by Mahapurush. Through Mahamaya, Mahapurush causes the rest of the creation of multiple brahmands. Thus, finally it is Purushottam Vāsudev who, in the form of Brahm, is both – the material as well as efficient cause of creation, sustenance, and dissolution of countless or infinite numbers of brahmands. Taittiriya Upanishad says, “Vignānam cha avignānam abhavat |” (Taittiriya Upanishad: Brahmānanda Valli, Anuvāka: 6) Meaning, “Brahm became the intelligence (sentient being) as well as the non-intelligence (insentient being) of the universe.”

Just as there is a difference between the jiv (an individual soul) and Purush (Virat-Purush or a universal soul and Prakruti-Purush or a multiversal soul), who is an ishwar, there is difference between ishwar and Brahm.

Aksharbrahm, the abode of Purushottam,  is the penultimate reality – the one and only. Purushottam is the Ultimate Reality. Aksharbrahm is the most sought for reality, for the yogis and the devotees of God who seek for the final resting place or the final liberation. The scriptures say that when the whole creation undergoes dissolution, there remains or exists nothing but God, His abode, and the liberated souls. This is the reason why it is called final liberation (Atyantik Kalyan or Moksh).