Friday, March 6, 2015

684. Distinguish between Parabrahman and Aparabrahman …..!

Sri Sri Sankara while writing the summary to Brahma Sutras elaborates on Brahman talking about Parabrahman and Aparabrahman. According to Sri Sri Sankara, Parabrahman is denoted to that Consciousness which is beyond all limitations while Aparabrahman is that which is associated with Naama and Roopa (names and forms). This differentiation is only for the matter of comprehending and it is not the ultimate. Naama and Roopa have never had any reality they are mere illusions superimposed on that Reality. The ring or the necklace is the illusion on the reality called gold. Likewise various names and forms is only an illusion on Brahman. This is explained very well in Chandogya Upanishad through examples of gold, mud and iron.

Upanishads defines Brahman in many ways but also tells that it is very hard to comprehend Brahman. Upanishad uses Lakshanaas (Characteristics) to make the seeker understand Brahman. Upanishads says Brahman can be defined using three Lakshanaas depending on the level of our perception.

Three Lakshanaas are as follows:

1. Vyavritta Lakshanaa – The unobjectifiable subject is Brahman Brahman is distinct from the various bodies of gross, subtle and causal. Upanishads introduces the process of Neti, Neti (Not this, Not this) here everything starting from the gross to subtle to subtler is negated. Anything that can be objectified as “This” is not Brahman. When we remove all objects, what will remain behind is the subject which cannot be negated further. Let us suppose I see a mountain if I negate it, I have the eye which is seeing it again if I negate it, it is the mind which is knowing about it again if I negate it, it is the Consciousness which is reached at last I cannot negate my Consciousness which is the basis of my pure existence. That consciousness which remains at last never to get negated is Brahman.

2. Tatastha Lakshanaa – Knowing Brahman by looking at the evident attributes. Suppose a person is searching for a particular person in a village. He does not know in which house the person resides and hence he asks a bystander. The bystander replied that the house on which a crow is now sitting is the house of the person. The crow will not sit on the house eternally it will fly away anytime; here crow is just a relative medium to suggest the house. This definition is a relative one but not real as it depends on the relative medium. Brahman is defined as the creator-protector-destroyer of the world. When world itself is not real, and then this definition is also not real. Brahman as Consciousness is Avasthatraya Sakshi, the witness to Wake State, Dream State as well as Deep Sleep State.

3. Swaroopa Lakshanaa – Comprehending Brahman by Intrinsic Nature. The above two definitions were relative, while this characteristic is the very nature of an entity. The intrinsic nature of fire is to burn the combustible object which comes into its contact. Burning is the very nature of fire and it is ever present in it. This is said to be the Swaroopa Lakshanaa of fire. Like wise Brahman is explained by the intrinsic nature of Existence, Consciousness, Bliss (Sat, Chit and Ananda) and Infinitude (Anantha).

To conclude I understand that Para is Brahman and Apara is Brahman with Maya. When I look at a gold ornament I see it through the design to make out if it is a necklace or a bracelet, but for a thief or a robber it is only gold. Also no one will comment on the lump of gold which is like Parabrahman when it is designed as a necklace or bracelet to be Aparabrahman, the likes and dislikes get attributed to it. 

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