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Brahman, 8 Definition(s)

Introduction

Brahman means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

In Hinduism

Purāṇa

Brahman (ब्रह्मन्).—The nature of, explained;1 Praṇava form; three-fold nature of ṛk, sāma and yajus;2 with or without form and also para and apara; three-fold bhāvana of Brahman—Brahmā, Karmasamjña and of both;3 worshipped by Sakarmaka-karman in Puṣkaradvīpa.4

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 61. 107-12.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 3. 23-30.
  • 3) Ib. VI. 7. 47-8.
  • 4) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 32-3.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Pāñcarātra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

The word ‘Brahman’used in the Upaṇiṣads is derived from the root bṛh which means ‘to expand’ or ‘to grow’ and as such indicates that Immensity which includes everything which is conceivable.

The Vedas declare—

sarvam khalvidam brahma

‘all this is Brahman’.

This Immensity Brahman is beyond the comprehension of any being.Out of this transcendental Being there issues forth the first form of Godhead known as the Para-Vāsudeva in a subtle form with twoarms, crystal in complexion and clad in yellow garments. This form is identified also as Nārāyaṇa (which means “the ground of all being”). In the Pañcarātra, Paramātman, Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu, Bhagavān and Vāsudeva are the various names by which Brahman the Supreme is known.

Source: SriMatham: Vaiṣṇava Iconology based on Pañcarātra Āgama

about this context:

Pāñcarātra (पाञ्चरात्र, pancaratra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Nārāyaṇa is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaiṣnavism, the Pāñcarātra literature includes various Āgamas and tantras incorporating many Vaiṣnava philosophies.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Brahman (ब्रह्मन्) is that by knowing which everything is known and so the portion of the Veda which treats of Brahman is the most important portion. It is called the Vedānta or the Upaniṣad.

Source: Institute of Sri Ramchandra Consciousness: A Handbook of Hindu Religion: Literature

Brahman is the Absolute in Vedanta philosophy. It means “the Immensity” or the “Expansiveness”. This Unitary Absolute splits into male and female — Nārāyaṇa and Lakṣmī for the process of manifestation of the universe. Hence Brahman is said to be “non-dual”.

Source: Red Zambala: On the Salvific Activities of God

The word Brahman is derived from the Sanskrit verb root bṛha or bṛhi meaning expansion, knowledge, or all-pervasiveness. This word is always of a neuter gender; it represents Absolute Reality beyond the concept of male or female and all other dualities. Brahman is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent; it is the very nature of one’s true Self. That Absolute Reality, that Supreme Consciousness, which is never affected by the ever-changing nature of the world, is Brahman. That which alone exists and allows the entire universe to appear within itself is called Brahman. That Brahman is no different from oneself; all of humanity is Brahman. From this point of view, all people are essentially one and the same. Placing duality and diversity within humanity is the greatest loss, and realizing the oneness within and without is the highest gain.

Source: Ahymsin: Hinduism

1) In Hinduism, Brahman is "the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world", which "cannot be exactly defined". It has been described in Sanskrit as Sat-cit-ānanda (being-consciousness-bliss) and as the highest reality. Brahman is conceived as Atman, personal, impersonal or Para Brahman, or in various combinations of these qualities depending on the philosophical school. According to Advaita, a liberated human being (jivanmukta) has realised Brahman as his or her own true self.

etymology: Sanskrit Brahman (an n-stem, nominative bráhmā) from a root bṛh- "to swell, expand, grow, enlarge" is a neutral noun to be distinguished from the masculine brahmán—denoting a person associated with Brahman, and from Brahmā.

The later Vedic religion produced the Upanisads, a series of profound philosophical reflections in which Brahman is now considered to be the one Absolute Reality behind changing appearances. It is the universal substrate from which material things originate and to which they return after their dissolution.

2) Title of a priest in Vedic rituals. The brahman is the superintendent of the entire performance, and is responsible for correcting mistakes by means of supplementary verses invoking the visvedevas(pantheon of celestials or devas). In the Brihadaranyaka, the pantheon of visvedevas are held to be a creation of an infinite mind assuming infinite forms. Therefore, the only god that protects the yajna and with which the brahman has to identify himself with is the deity of the mind - Moon or Chandra.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

The fundamental goal of a Hindu may be said to be the realization of Brahman, the ultimate truth. It is said that Brahman is all things and all things are Brahman. The Trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are said to be various aspects of Brahman. They are parts of it, but Brahman is greater than their sum, as it includes all things in the universe, both animate and inanimate.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

The highest of the Four Castes in ancient India at the time of Shakyamuni. They served Brahma, with offerings; the keepers of the Vedas, i.e. priestly caste. Name used in the present text for the priestly caste of Hindus.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

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