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Shabda Brahman in Hindu Religion – Shabda Brahma meaning

Bhartrhari in his Vakyapadiya (Brahma Kanda) states that the absolute Brahman is identical with the speech principle, which is identified with consciousness. Sabda Brahma meaning is absolute reality as primordial and immanent sound or speech principle.

Rig Veda, the earliest available text in Hindu religion, contains glowing tributes to the Shabda Brahman. There are three hymns that deal with Vak Devi (Divine Speech). Sage Dirghatamas says that the ultimate abode of speech is Brahman.

As per Amritabindu Upanishad, there are two Brahmans to be realized, Shabda Brahman and Parama Brahman; one who has realized and is well versed in Shabda Brahman will realize Param Brahma.

Shabda Brahman has no beginning or end and appears in the form of the various symbols or expressions and meanings in the form of ideas, thus constituting the entire phenomenal world.

The speech essence, though one, appears different on the basis of its powers (shakti), like time and space, which are not different from it but appear as evolutionary and pluralistic. According to this theory, the phenomenal world never loses its direct logical identity with Brahman.

According to Bhartrhari, the powers like time and space are not different from Brahman; they have the capacity to bring out its potentiality into activity. Powers are also real. Revelation is through intuitive power, an instantaneous flash of insight can penetrate into the reality wall beyond the empirical level.

Bhartrhari has stated that the ultimate shabda has three levels of manifestation in this Vakyapadiya 1.143)
  • Pasayanti
  • Madhyama
  • Vaikhari
This does not preclude the acceptance of the highest level (para) which is beyond the range of normal language and mind.

Rigveda itself mentions four levels of language, of which only the fourth is used by men in ordinary parlance.

Utpaladeva says that Bhartrhari accepts the highest level as para pashyanti. Consciousness has as its essential nature, pratyavamarsa (reflective awareness); it is para vak (the supreme world) that arises freely. It is freedom in the absolute sense, aishwarya (the sovereignty of the Supreme Self).

According to Utpaladeva, the highest level of vak is so close to silence that the distinction between the supreme vak and its power or energy is non-existent and belongs only to theory. It is identified with Brahman by Bhartrhari.

Source - 
  • Notes taken from Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IX (IHRF). (page 7)