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Thread: Difference between God, atman, brahman?

  1. #1

    Difference between God, atman, brahman?

    Whats the difference between your soul, God, and brahm (the absolute)....they seem to all be described with the same characteristics, eternal, unchanging, inexhaustible, unborn, beginningless, etc....yet they're still different?

  2. #2
    the soul (jiva - living entity) is infinitesimal (subject to illusion, incapable of being fully independent)
    God is infinite (infallible, fully cognizant, fully independent, capable of putting any other living entity into illusion while being above illusion)
    Brahman is without variety and contingent on an energetic source, much like the sunlight is without variety and is dependent on the sun
    all three are eternal, unchanging, unborn etc

    many verses one could quote but these cover quite a few bases

    Katha Upanisad (2.2.13)

    The Supreme Lord is eternal and the living beings are eternal. The Supreme Lord is cognizant and the living beings are cognizant. The difference is that the Supreme Lord is supplying all the necessities of life for the many other living entities.

    and

    BG 2.12: Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.

    (confirms individual distinction in the past, present and future between the living entity and god)

    The big problem with accepting the living entity as god, is how did god fall into illusion ( in other words how is it that illusion is stronger than god)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by lightgigantic View Post
    the soul (jiva - living entity) is infinitesimal (subject to illusion, incapable of being fully independent)
    God is infinite (infallible, fully cognizant, fully independent, capable of putting any other living entity into illusion while being above illusion)
    Brahman is without variety and contingent on an energetic source, much like the sunlight is without variety and is dependent on the sun
    all three are eternal, unchanging, unborn etc

    many verses one could quote but these cover quite a few bases

    Katha Upanisad (2.2.13)

    The Supreme Lord is eternal and the living beings are eternal. The Supreme Lord is cognizant and the living beings are cognizant. The difference is that the Supreme Lord is supplying all the necessities of life for the many other living entities.

    and

    BG 2.12: Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.

    (confirms individual distinction in the past, present and future between the living entity and god)

    The big problem with accepting the living entity as god, is how did god fall into illusion ( in other words how is it that illusion is stronger than god)
    Well that explains a lot, except the living entity is capable of becoming fully independant. Krishna states that the living entity can attain a nature like his own:

    BG 14.2: By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of dissolution.

    BG 14.19: When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature.

    BG 14.20: When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.


    So anyone can attain a nature like God's, like The Buddha, Jesus, and other Siddhas (perfected beings)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne View Post
    Well that explains a lot, except the living entity is capable of becoming fully independant. Krishna states that the living entity can attain a nature like his own:

    BG 14.2: By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of dissolution.

    BG 14.19: When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature.

    BG 14.20: When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.


    So anyone can attain a nature like God's, like The Buddha, Jesus, and other Siddhas (perfected beings)
    God's qualitative nature is sat (eternity) cit (knowledge) ananda (bliss)

    anta-kāle ca mām eva

    smaran muktvā kalevaram

    yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaḿ

    yāti nāsty atra saḿśayaḥ

    "Anyone who quits his body, at the end of life, remembering Me, attains immediately to My nature; and there is no doubt of this." [Bg. 8.5] One who thinks of Kṛṣṇa at the time of his death goes to Kṛṣṇa. One must remember the form of Kṛṣṇa; if he quits his body thinking of this form, he surely approaches the spiritual kingdom. Mad-bhāvam refers to the supreme nature of the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1] — that is, His form is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. Our present body is not sac-cid-ānanda. It is asat, not sat. It is not eternal; it is perishable. It is not cit, full of knowledge, but it is full of ignorance. We have no knowledge of the spiritual kingdom, nor do we even have perfect knowledge of this material world, where there are so many things unknown to us. The body is also nirānanda; instead of being full of bliss it is full of misery. All of the miseries we experience in the material world arise from the body, but one who leaves this body thinking of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at once attains a sac-cid-ānanda body.
    his quantitative nature are the omni's (omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient etc)

    Anyone can attain god's qualitative nature (provided of course they become free from illusion)
    It is elaborated that there are some qualities that both god and the living entity shares
    Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, after consulting various scriptures, has enumerated the transcendental qualities of the Lord as follows: (1) beautiful features of the entire body; (2) marked with all auspicious characteristics; (3) extremely pleasing; (4) effulgent; (5) strong; (6) ever youthful; (7) wonderful linguist; (8) truthful; (9) talks pleasingly; (10) fluent; (11) highly learned; (12) highly intelligent; (13) a genius; (14) artistic; (15) extremely clever; (16) expert; (17) grateful; (18) firmly determined; (19) an expert judge of time and circumstances; (20) sees and speaks on the authority of Vedas, or scriptures; (21) pure; (22) self-controlled; (23) steadfast; (24) forbearing; (25) forgiving; (26) grave; (27) self-satisfied; (28) possessing equilibrium; (29) magnanimous; (30) religious; (31) heroic; (32) compassionate; (33) respectful; (34) gentle; (35) liberal; (36) shy; (37) the protector of surrendered souls; (38) happy; (39) the well-wisher of devotees; (40) controlled by love; (41) all-auspicious; (42) most powerful; (43) all-famous; (44) popular; (45) partial to devotees; (46) very attractive to all women; (47) all-worshipable; (48) all-opulent; (49) all-honorable; (50) the supreme controller. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has all these fifty transcendental qualities in fullness as deep as the ocean. In other words, the extent of His qualities is inconceivable.

    As parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, the individual living entities can also possess all of these qualities in minute quantities, provided they become pure devotees of the Lord. In other words, all of the above transcendental qualities can be present in the devotees in minute quantity, whereas the qualities in fullness are always present in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
    There are some qualities that exceptional personalities (persons reinstated into their absolute constitutional spiritual position even in this world) and Krishna also share

    Besides all of the above-mentioned fifty qualities, Lord Kṛṣṇa possesses five more, which are sometimes partially manifested in the persons of Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva. These transcendental qualities are as follows: (51) changeless; (52) all-cognizant; (53) ever fresh; (54) sac-cid-ānanda (possessing an eternal blissful body); (55) possessing all mystic perfections.
    There are some qualities that the living entity cannot possess that are unique to god

    Kṛṣṇa also possesses five other qualities, which are manifest in the body of Nārāyaṇa, and they are listed as follows. (56) He has inconceivable potency. (57) Uncountable universes generate from His body. (58) He is the original source of all incarnations. (59) He is the giver of salvation to the enemies whom He kills. (60) He is the attractor of liberated souls. All these transcendental qualities are manifest wonderfully in the personal feature of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
    and there are some qualities unique to Krishna, even amongst all descriptions of godhead
    Besides these sixty transcendental qualities, Kṛṣṇa has four more, which are not manifest even in the Nārāyaṇa form of Godhead, what to speak of the demigods or living entities. They are as follows. (61) He is the performer of wonderful varieties of pastimes (especially His childhood pastimes). (62) He is surrounded by devotees endowed with wonderful love of Godhead. (63) He can attract all living entities all over the universes . (64) He has a wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.

    Adding to the list these four exceptional qualities of Kṛṣṇa, it is to be understood that the aggregate number of qualities of Kṛṣṇa is sixty-four. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has attempted to give evidences from various scriptures about all sixty-four qualities present in the person of the Supreme Lord.
    Thus in conclusion, the living entity can not possess all the characteristics of god, even in their liberated condition (what to speak of being conditioned) - it would be very difficult to establish by scripture that jesus and buddha possessed qualities 56-64
    Last edited by lightgigantic; 01-23-07 at 03:45 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by lightgigantic View Post
    God's qualitative nature is sat (eternity) cit (knowledge) ananda (bliss)



    his quantitative nature are the omni's (omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient etc)

    Anyone can attain this nature (provided of course they become free from illusion)
    It is elaborated that there are some qualities that both god and the living entity shares


    There are some qualities that exceptional personalities (persons reinstated into their absolute constitutional spiritual position even in this world) and Krishna also share



    There are some qualities that the living entity cannot possess that are unique to god



    and there are some qualities unique to Krishna, even amongst all descriptions of godhead


    Thus in conclusion, the living entity can not possess all the characteristics of god, even in their liberated condition (what to speak of being conditioned) - it would be very difficult to establish by scripture that jesus and buddha possessed qualities 56-64
    Which scripture is this from? It makes a lot of sense that a being can achieve perfection but still not be the original generator of innumerable universes...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by VitalOne View Post
    Which scripture is this from? It makes a lot of sense that a being can achieve perfection but still not be the original generator of innumerable universes...
    It is a scriptural commentary by Rupa Gosvami (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupa_Gosvami) called "Bhakti rasamrta sindhu" - (basically it takes the format of him advocating a series of successive points and validating them with scriptural references)there is an abridged version in english here
    http://nectarofdevotion.com/en

  7. #7
    Soul : ( Ātmā, sanskrit: आत्म* )

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by kmguru View Post
    Soul : ( Ātmā, sanskrit: आत्म* )
    therefore, for the sake of discriminating between an illusioned and a conditioned living entity, as well as discriminating between a living entity and god, there are a variety of atma's - the one's in bold are unique designations of god and the one's in italics are unique designations of the living entity, and the remainder can fall in to either category

    mahā-ātman — O great one; BG 11.20 BG 11.37
    viśva-ātman — O soul of the universe; SB 1.8.30 SB 1.8.41
    sva-ātman — in Your own Self; SB 3.4.16
    sarva-ātman — O Soul of all souls; SB 3.18.26
    parama-ātman — O Supreme Lord; SB 3.20.26 SB 4.24.68
    nirvāṇa-ātman — O embodiment of nirvāṇa; SB 3.25.29
    yajña-ātman — O Lord of sacrifice; SB 4.7.33
    jīva-ātman — O living entity; SB 6.16.2
    manda-ātman — O stupid fool; SB 7.8.5 SB 7.8.11
    bahiḥ-antaḥ-ātman — O Supersoul of everyone, O constant internal and external witness; SB 8.6.14
    bhūta-ātman — O life and soul of everyone in this world; SB 8.7.21
    trayī-maya-ātman — O three Vedas personified; SB 8.7.28
    sarva-bhūta-ātman — O You, who are the Supersoul; SB 9.8.26
    śānta-ātman — O You who are always peaceful; SB 10.16.51
    aprameya-ātman — O immeasurable one; SB 10.37.10-11
    avyaya-ātman — their inexhaustible one; SB 10.40.15
    yoga-ātman — O Supreme Soul realized through yoga; SB 11.7.14

  9. #9
    Vital One,

    did you read gita / Upanishads / Uddhav Gita closely ever?
    if not please do so.


    I"ll try and answer those questions :

    1.) to tell you that there is a difference between god / atman /brahm is to differentiate, it is against my "dharm" and the question is contradictory btw, NO there is no difference

    2.) remember this as always : atman exists separate from Brahm Because of EGO / SELF / I within which separates it out from brahm, but it doesnt actually separate it out in physical sense (i am sure you are following my point)

    3.) Gods / Demi Gods are only but manifestations of brahm there fore are not absolute truth... but an important point to remember is : since gods are manifestations of brahm, they are only "guna" of brahm (qualities), there fore they are not absolute truth.


    Its hard to quantify / explain brahm, since if i explain brahm to you i would be quantifying it in material terms, which is stupid. but at the same time if i say that i understand brahm thats also wrong, since how can i my brain understand brahm, brain is only tied to body...


    Golden rule to remember is :

    Senses are lesser than Brain which is lesser than Mind which is lesser than Knowledge that society (spiritual knowledge) gives you... which in turn is lesser than Atman /Soul which in turn is lesser than brahm... by lesser i mean due to EGO atman considers itself to be separate from brahm but in reality it never is...

    I can say a lot more; but ONLY if you want me to say more.

    Lots of programming here breaks my fingers...

    later
    Rick

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by zion View Post
    Vital One,

    did you read gita / Upanishads / Uddhav Gita closely ever?
    if not please do so.

    It would also be good if one could quote these things to back up one's statements

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lightgigantic
    and there are some qualities unique to Krishna, even amongst all descriptions of godhead

    “ Besides these sixty transcendental qualities, Kṛṣṇa has four more, which are not manifest even in the Nārāyaṇa form of Godhead, what to speak of the demigods or living entities. They are as follows. (61) He is the performer of wonderful varieties of pastimes (especially His childhood pastimes). (62) He is surrounded by devotees endowed with wonderful love of Godhead. (63) He can attract all living entities all over the universes . (64) He has a wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.

    Adding to the list these four exceptional qualities of Kṛṣṇa, it is to be understood that the aggregate number of qualities of Kṛṣṇa is sixty-four. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has attempted to give evidences from various scriptures about all sixty-four qualities present in the person of the Supreme Lord."
    So Narayana lacks 4 qualities of Krishna who is the supreme lord, because of these 4 points summing up 60+4 qualities ? Scoring 4 points by playing with cow-herds, surrounded by gopis, making himself most attractive & appear with 'wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.'

    Does this rupa goswami know Narayana well enough to say what he lacks and not ?! Perhaps you must be knowing that 'it is TRUE' through someones fantasy.

    What jokers these Hare Krishna-ists are !?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by everneo View Post
    So Narayana lacks 4 qualities of Krishna who is the supreme lord, because of these 4 points summing up 60+4 qualities ? Scoring 4 points by playing with cow-herds, surrounded by gopis, making himself most attractive & appear with 'wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.'

    Does this rupa goswami know Narayana well enough to say what he lacks and not ?! Perhaps you must be knowing that 'it is TRUE' through someones fantasy.

    What jokers these Hare Krishna-ists are !?
    prime example why I said it is useless to discriminate between different vishnu incarnations when one is not familiar with the unique position of narayana

  13. #13
    So, you know Srimad Narayana personally ?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by everneo View Post
    So, you know Srimad Narayana personally ?
    If you read scripture you can find out about the necessity of narayana

    BG 7.14: This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.
    If you read scripture you find out about clues regarding narayana's location
    SB 4.30.36: The Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa, is present among devotees who are engaged in hearing and chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Nārāyaṇa is the ultimate goal of sannyāsīs, those in the renounced order of life, and Nārāyaṇa is worshiped through this sańkīrtana movement by those who are liberated from material contamination. Indeed, they recite the holy name again and again.
    If you read scriptures you can find about the qualities of the process to approach narayana

    Narayana samhita

    dvāparīyair janair viṣṇuḥ
    pańcarātrais tu kevalaiḥ
    kalau tu nāma-mātreṇa
    pūjyate bhagavān hariḥ

    "In the Dvāpara-yuga people should worship Lord Viṣṇu only by the regulative principles of the Nārada-pańcarātra and other such authorized books. In the Age of Kali, however, people should simply chant the holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
    If you read the scriptures you can find out about the qualities of specifics of the process

    kali santara upanisad

    hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
    kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
    hare rāma hare rāma
    rāma rāma hare hare
    iti ṣoḍaśakaḿ nāmnāḿ
    kali-kalmaṣa-nāśanaḿ
    nātaḥ parataropāyaḥ
    sarva-vedeṣu dṛśyate

    "After searching through all the Vedic literature, one cannot find a method of religion more sublime for this age than the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa."
    If you read scriptures you can find out about the relative importance of remembering narayana

    SB 2.1.6: The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by practice of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of occupational duty, is to remember the Personality of Godhead at the end of life (ante narayana smrtih)
    after one has done reading such as this, it is then simply a question of practical application


  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by zion View Post
    Vital One,

    did you read gita / Upanishads / Uddhav Gita closely ever?
    if not please do so.
    I have, but it seems like you haven't....

    Quote Originally Posted by zion
    I"ll try and answer those questions :

    1.) to tell you that there is a difference between god / atman /brahm is to differentiate, it is against my "dharm" and the question is contradictory btw, NO there is no difference

    2.) remember this as always : atman exists separate from Brahm Because of EGO / SELF / I within which separates it out from brahm, but it doesnt actually separate it out in physical sense (i am sure you are following my point)

    3.) Gods / Demi Gods are only but manifestations of brahm there fore are not absolute truth... but an important point to remember is : since gods are manifestations of brahm, they are only "guna" of brahm (qualities), there fore they are not absolute truth.


    Its hard to quantify / explain brahm, since if i explain brahm to you i would be quantifying it in material terms, which is stupid. but at the same time if i say that i understand brahm thats also wrong, since how can i my brain understand brahm, brain is only tied to body...

    Golden rule to remember is :

    Senses are lesser than Brain which is lesser than Mind which is lesser than Knowledge that society (spiritual knowledge) gives you... which in turn is lesser than Atman /Soul which in turn is lesser than brahm... by lesser i mean due to EGO atman considers itself to be separate from brahm but in reality it never is...

    I can say a lot more; but ONLY if you want me to say more.

    Lots of programming here breaks my fingers...

    later
    Rick
    I use to think that they were not different, but there is some subtle difference...God never had to achieve perfection like The Buddha and others......

    Brahm is not really "something" nor is it "nothing", nor is it a force, it is just as it is, unchanging, eternal, the absolute....if you had tasted it you would understand it better

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