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Quotes on the Concept of God in Hinduism - Brahman from Various Hindu Scriptures

Quotes on the Concept of God in Hinduism - Hindu scriptures define God as Brahman and various Hindu Scriptures define it in the following manner.

What is the Meaning of the Word Brahman?

Brahman is the word used to refer to God in the Upanishads. Have you ever wondered what the meaning of the word Brahman in Hinduism is?

In Sanskrit, ‘Brah’ means to expand and ‘Mann’ is mind. Brahman means ‘to expand your mind.’

What is Brahman? One with true knowledge will remain silent to the question. Brahman cannot be defined in words; neither can it be capture in a painting. It cannot be defined.

But Brahman can be experienced.

To experience Brahman we need to expand our mind. We need to drop all narrow thoughts. We need to prepare our mind to capture and understand that, which has no beginning and end. The mind has to be fertile enough to know that, which is beyond birth and death. When the mind totally dies, the I merges in the Supreme Truth...it is Brahman...it cannot be explained by words. (my own experience)

Brahman from Various Hindu Scriptures
Chandogya Upanishad says:
Sarvam Khalu Idam Brahma – everything is verily Brahman.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says:
aham brahma asmi – I am Brahman.

Ishavasya Upanishad says:
ishaavasyam idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyaam jagat – whatever moves or not moves in the world, all these are pervaded by Ishwara or Brahman alone.

Mundaka Upanishad says:
brahmaivedham amritam purastaat brahma
paschaat brahma dakshinahtascha uttarena
adhascha urdhvam cha prasritham
brahmaiva idam vishvam idam varishtham
Brahman is of the nature of immortality and it is present here everywhere. Brahman is in the front, Brahman is in the back, Brahman is in left, Brahman is in right, Brahman is on top and Brahman is on bottom – everything in the world is filled with Brahman which is great and attainable or desirable object.

Taittiriya Upanishad says:
Yena sarvaani bhootaani jaayanthe
Yena jaathaani jeevanthi
Yat pratyabhisamvishanthi
Tad vijijnaasasva tad brahma ithi
That from which all objects have come, that in which all objects exist and that into which all objects merge during destruction – that is to be known, know that to be Brahman.
The above shloka indirectly says that the world is Brahman alone as the world which is arising and merging into the substratum of Brahman is only temporary and such objects which rise and merge is called illusion in the changeless substratum of Brahman where no such change is possible.

The import of the above sloka is mentioned in the very second sutra of Brahma Sutra as
Janmaadi asya yathah – That from which the world has come (sristhi, sthithi and laya all are meant here by the word Aadi or etc.) – that is Brahman.

Sri Krishna says in Gita Chapter 7:
Mattah parataram na anyath kinchit asthi dhananjaya – O Arjuna, there is nothing different from me here.

Vishnu Purana states
Asya Jagat cha sah – this world also is Brahman alone.

Srimad Bhagavatam states in Chatusutri Bhagavatham
Aham eva aasam eva agre na anyat sad asad param
Paschaath aham yat etat chet yo avashishyet sosmi aham

I alone was present previously – there was nothing either existent or non-existent different from me. Afterwards (now) I alone am being seen as the changing and illusory world. After this illusion of world ends, I alone will remain behind (Here “I” means the ultimate reality of Brahman or Consciousness as this statement is made by the Lord Vishnu who is the embodiment of Brahman in Srimad Bhagavatam).

(Source: Excerpts from an article on Advaita Pancharatnam)

Teachings from Brahma Sutras on Brahman

Brahman is one without a second, can be described only as ‘Not this, Not that’, is the cause of all, is Bliss and is the Inner Ruler.

Brahman is the material cause and the efficient cause and is an intelligent principle.
Brahman is not the object of perception.

The Self consisting of Knowledge is not the individual self but Brahman.
Brahman, though different from the world, can be its cause, and yet the effect is not different from the cause.

Brahman is uncreated, indivisible and omnipotent.

While meditating on Brahman one should regard It as identical with oneself.

Knowledge of Brahman frees one from the effects of all past karmas, from (apparent) good and evil alike. Nevertheless prarabdha-karma (that part of one’s karma which is due to be worked out in this lifetime) continues (from the point of view of the observer) until exhausted, when the knower of Brahman becomes (consciously) One with It.

What is Brahman? – Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

A certain father had two sons. When they were old enough, they were admitted to the first stage of life (Brahmacharya) and placed under the care of a religious teacher to study the Vedas. After few years, having finished their studies, the boys returned home.

Their father asked them if they had studied the Vedanta. On their replying in the affirmative, he asked, “Well, tell me what is Brahman?”

The elder son, quoting the Vedas and other scriptures, replied: “O Father, It is beyond words and thoughts. It is so and so I know it all.” And to support what he said, he began quoting Vedantic texts.

“So you have known Brahman!” said the father, “you may go about your business.”

Then he asked the younger son the same question.

But the boy remained silent; not a word came out of his mouth, nor did he make any attempt to speak.

At this father remarked. “Yes, my boy, you are right. Nothing can be predicated of the Absolute and the Unconditioned. No sooner do you talk of it then you state the Infinite in terms of the finite, the Absolute in terms of the relative, the Unconditioned in terms of the conditioned. Your silence is more eloquent than the recitation of a hundred verses and the quoting of a hundred authorities.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa on formless Brahman

Fire itself has no definite shape, but in glowing embers it assumes certain forms. The formless fire is then endowed with forms. Similarly, the formless God sometimes invests Himself with definite forms.

The sun is many times larger than the earth but distance makes it look like a very small disk; so the Lord is infinitely great, but being too far away from Him we fail to comprehend His real greatness.

God is absolute eternal Brahman as well as the Father of the Universe. The indivisible Brahman, pure Existence, Intelligence and Bliss, is like a vast, shoreless ocean without bounds and limits in which I only struggle and sink, but when I approach the always sportive personal deity, Hari, I get peace like the sinking man who finds the shore.

Brahman Bhagavad Gita

Brahman (God) is beyond cause and effect, from whom all life emerges. He is devoid of all senses, yet shines through them. He is inside and outside all beings, and though far away is very near. God has form and is also formless. He resides in every heart.

Kena Upanishad on Brahman

Everything is Brahman – this is the great teaching.
May I never deny Brahman.
May Brahman never deny me.
May there be no denial.
May there be no denial of me.
Let the great truths of the Upanishads live I me, who delights in the Self.

By who does the mind think? By whom do the eyes see and the ears hear? By whose desire does life begin to move? By whose wish does a person begin to speak? – The answer is Brahman, which is wholeness. Brahman is the ear of the ear, and the mind of the mind. It is the breath of the breath, and the eye of the eye.

Brahman cannot be expressed by speech, but it is that by which we are able to speak.

Brahman cannot be though by the mind, but it is that by which the mind thinks.

Brahman cannot be seen by the eyes, but is that by which the eyes see.

Brahman cannot be heard by the ears, but it is that by which the ears hear.

Brahman from Various Hindu Scriptures

What is Brahman in Sanatana Dharma?

Once a pupil asked his teacher, ‘What is Brahman?

The teacher did not respond.

Pupil: ‘What is Brahman?’

There was still no response.

Pupil: ‘What is Brahman?’

Again there was no response.

The pupil became impatient and annoyed, and then asked the same question.

The teacher smiled and said, ‘I answered your question three times, but you did not comprehend. Brahman is Silence.’

Yoga Vasistha – Wise Words To Make Us Realize Everything is Brahman

He who reckons the rays as non-different from the sun and realizes that they are the sun itself is stated to be nirvikalpa (the undifferentiated man).

Just as the cloth, when investigated, is seen to be nothing but thread, so also this world, when enquired into, is (seen to be) merely the Self.

This fascinating world rises like a wave in the ambrosial ocean of consciousness and dissolves in it. How then can it be different from it (i.e. consciousness) in the middle (i.e. when it appears)?

Just as the foam, the waves, the dew and the bubbles are not different from water, even so this world which has come out of the Self is not different from the Self.

Just as a tree consisting of fruits, leaves, creepers, flowers, branches, twigs and roots, exists in the seed of the tree, even so this manifest world exists in Brahman.

Just as the pot (ultimately) goes back to mud, waves into water and ornaments into gold, so also this world which has come out of the Self (ultimately) goes back to the Self.

Upanishad Readings on Nature of Brahman

What is the nature of Brahman, the Source? From what have we been born? By what do we live? And where do we exist? O knowers of Brahman, controlled by whom do we follow the rule regarding joy and its opposite? – Shvetashvatara Upanishad

He who inhabits the earth, but is within it, whom the earth does not know, whose body is the earth, and who controls the earth from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

This self is That which has been described as ‘Not this, not this’. It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived; undecaying, for It never decays; unattached, for It is never attached; unfettered. It never feels pain, and never suffers injury. (It is but proper) that the sage is never overtaken by these two thoughts, ‘I did an evil for this’, ‘I did a good act for this’. He conquers both of them. Things done or not done do not trouble him. – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

All this is Brahman. (This) is born from, dissolves in, and exists in That. Therefore, one should meditate by becoming calm. Because a person is identified with (his) conviction, (therefore)  just as the conviction a man has in this world, so does he become after departing from here. Therefore he should shape his conviction. – Chandogya Upanishad

Swami Ranganathananda On Brahman

Just as the different branches of the physical sciences are but different approaches to the study of one and the same reality; and just as all such branches of study ultimately tend to mingle and merge into a grand science of the physical universe, into a unified science of the without of nature, so the science of the ‘within’ and the science of the ‘without’ mingle and merge in a science of Brahman, the total Reality. This is how Vedanta views Brahma-vidya, the science of Brahman – the term Brahman standing for the totality of Reality, physical and not physical.

When the significance of this ‘within’ of things is recognized in modern science, the scientific “background material” will undergo a spiritual orientation and thus come closer to Brahman, the “background reality” of the Vedanta. The synthesis of the knowledge of the ‘within’ and the ‘without’ is philosophy; and it is what India achieved in her Vedanta ages ago as samyak-jnana, comprehensive or perfect knowledge of total Reality. Reality itself does not know any distinctions between a “within” and a “without.” These distinctions are made by the human mind for the convenience of study and research and the exigencies of daily life. (Human Being in Depth: A Scientific Approach to Religion By Swami Ranganathananda)

Some Quotes on Brahman From Various Scriptures

That from which the sky, the stars, the moons, the suns are created know it to be Brahman.

Brahman is the one assuming the form of countless worlds and the one who is beyond the capacity of the mind to cognize.

The seed or the cause of the universe does not undergo a modification just as the wish-yielding cow, tree or gem remain unchanged when they give the desired object.

Brahman is the both the material and instrumental cause of the world.

He who is not interested in the sense objects and who is absorbed in the joy of his own self, is untouched by worldly troubles. Such a person realizes Brahman.

The end of the mind itself is Brahman – Swami Chinmayananda

Brahman, the Reality is nothing other than 'mindlessness'. So long as there is a mind, there is no Brahman or Reality. The end of the mind itself is Brahman.

The absence of the mind is the presence of the Reality. Where the mind exists, Reality is covered, veiled. Just behind the mind is the Truth. So long as the mind exists, you cannot see it.

The flower is kept behind a mirror. So long as the mirror is there, you will never see the flower.

So long as the mind exists, you see only objects, emotions and thoughts) and the perceiver, feeler and thinker.

One Realizes Brahman Through Goddess Shakti

He who is Brahman, He is Shakti and also the Divine Mother. Without acknowledging Shakti, no one can understand what Brahman is. Brahman can become manifest only through Shakti.

What is fire? It is something that has the power to burn. Fire would become useless if it could not burn. As fire and its power to burn are no different, so Brahman and Shakti are the same.

When we describe them, they seem to be two different things, but in reality they are one. The One has become many; that is the manifestation of His power.

How is it possible to realize Brahman without taking refuge in Shakti? The words that are used to call on Him, the sound that is used to worship Him  those are all functions of Shakti. You have originated from Shakti, and you move and walk by means of Her power.