Difference between God, atman, brahman?

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by VitalOne, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. VitalOne Banned Banned

    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?
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  3. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    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.


    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)
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  5. VitalOne Banned Banned

    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)
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  7. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    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 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
    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
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2007
  8. VitalOne Banned Banned

    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...
  9. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    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
  10. kmguru Staff Member

    Soul : ( Ātmā, sanskrit: आत्म* )
  11. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    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
  12. Rick Valued Senior Member

    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...

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  13. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    It would also be good if one could quote these things to back up one's statements
  14. everneo Re-searcher Registered Senior Member

    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 !?
  15. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    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
  16. everneo Re-searcher Registered Senior Member

    So, you know Srimad Narayana personally ?
  17. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    If you read scripture you can find out about the necessity of narayana

    If you read scripture you find out about clues regarding narayana's location
    If you read scriptures you can find about the qualities of the process to approach narayana

    If you read the scriptures you can find out about the qualities of specifics of the process

    If you read scriptures you can find out about the relative importance of remembering narayana
    after one has done reading such as this, it is then simply a question of practical application

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  18. VitalOne Banned Banned

    I have, but it seems like you haven't....

    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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