Bhagavad Gita Level 4
who says that I know Brahman does not know;
one who knows the Truth says that I do not
know. Brahman is the unknown to a person
of true knowledge, it is known only to the
ignorant --- Ken
attempt by: Dr Ramananda Prasad
Sanskrit the meaning of a word is based
on the verbal root from which the word is
derived. The word “Brahman”
(also spelled as “Brahma”) is
a noun derived from the verbal root “Briha”
which means to become big. Thus the noun
Brahman derived from the verbal root “Briha”
In English, however, the word Brahman is
not translated as bigness, but as Absolute
Reality. Let us first examine the meaning
of Absolute Reality. Absolute means ultimate,
independent, existing all by itself or complete
by itself, and reality means nature, quality,
or substance of objects.
Thus Absolute Reality means ultimate nature
of objects, called Brahman in Sanskrit.
This word also means the substance that
exists independent of all other substances
and from which all other substances are
That from which the origin, sustenance,
and dissolution of this universe are derived
is called the Absolute (BS 1.01.02, TaU
3.01.01). Thus the Absolute Reality, the
substance from which everything is derived,
must be “Big” or limitless,
because everything else is either derived
from it or is included in it. Because it
is absolute, there is nothing else other
than the Absolute Reality, the substratum
of everything. Thus Brahman is all
encompassing substance --- the root cause
of everything, known or unknown, seen or
perceived, feelings or emotions, thoughts
or things. Everything is included in the
“Bigness” of Brahman. Nothing
is left out --- including God.
is indestructible, dimensionless, beginningless,
and limitless. It cannot be measured, seen,
or described by a human being that is limited
in everyway. Brahman is ever present
and beyond time and space.
Actually time and space are included in
Brahman. It is the ever present reality
of all objects and is also called “Sat”
or permanent in Sanskrit. It is also present
in the form of consciousness (Chit) or awareness
in all living beings that cannot be seen
Brahman in the form of awareness is not
present in non-living objects, but Sat is
present in both living and non-living objects.
Brahman is also limitless (Ananta).
Thus Brahman is
referred as Sat-Chit-Ananta, or Sacchidananta
from point of view of all objects, living
perceivable or non-perceivable, in the cosmos
is nothing but an apparent transformation
of Brahman. It is the cause of all causes.
Thus there is Brahman and Brahman only and
nothing else. Brahman has apparently assumed
different forms like water assumes different
forms such as ice, vapor, ocean, waves,
ripples, etc. The entire creation is born
in time and space, and the time and space
abides in Brahman.
Thus Brahman is the absolute reality of
everything including me, you, the animals,
plants, minerals, our thoughts, knowledge,
ignorance, happiness, suffering, etc. Thus
there is nothing other than Brahman.
is often described as formless, because
its transcendental or subtle form cannot
be perceived by our senses. It
can take any form. All forms are nothing
but an apparent change of Brahman from one
form to another. Thus it cannot
be formless in a real sense. Everything
has a form --- visible or invisible to human
The process or the forces (Shakti) that
cause this apparent change or creation is
called Lord, the creator. The product of
the change is called creation that includes
both living and non-living beings.
itself is actionless awareness, and without
Maya, the power of nature, it cannot create
the world of objects, emotions and thoughts.
This Maya, the efficient
cause of creation is not separate from Brahman.
Similarly, both the material of creation
or the material cause of the creation is
also in Brahman. Thus the Brahman is not
only the entire creation, but also both
the material and efficient cause of the
creation. It is the creator as well as the
creation, all in one.
One who understands Brahman in this way
can say: I am the limitless Brahman, called
Atma, that dwells in the body-mind complex;
and not this body-mind complex which is
limited. With the dawn of the knowledge
of Brahman, one gets rid of want, unhappiness
and limitations and attains full maturity
and bliss called Nirvana.
purity of mind that comes from selfless
service, KarmaYoga, is required to gain
the knowledge of Brahman or the Self-knowledge.
"Truly, there is no purifier in this
world like the true knowledge of the Supreme
One discovers this knowledge within,
naturally, in course of time when one's
mind is cleansed of selfishness by KarmaYoga.
(See also Gita 4.31, 5.06, and 18.78). (Gita