Prasthanatrayi Swaminarayan Bhashyam (Study)
by Sadhu Gyanananddas | 2021 | 123,778 words
This page relates ‘Parabrahman: One Without Second’ of the study on the Prasthanatrayi Swaminarayan Bhashyam in Light of Swaminarayan Vachanamrut (Vacanamrita). His 18th-century teachings belong to Vedanta philosophy and were compiled as the Vacanamrita, revolving around the five ontological entities of Jiva, Ishvara, Maya, Aksharabrahman, and Parabrahman. Roughly 200 years later, Bhadreshdas composed a commentary (Bhasya) correlating the principles of Vachanamrut.
5.1. Parabrahman: One Without Second
The Bhāṣyakāra defines:
paramātmā paraṃ brahma sarveśvareśvaro hariḥ |
nārāyaṇaśca sarvajñaḥ kṛpāluḥ puruṣottamaḥ || Svāminārāyaṇa Siddhāntasudhā Kārikā 168 ||
Parabrahman Paramātman Puruṣottama Nārāyaṇa Śrī Hari is the lord of all lords and the compassionate all-knower. Parabrahman, the sovereign of Akṣara, is eternal, supreme, always divine, faultless, ever with a form, above māyā, one and unparalleled and a cetana sentient entity. Now we will explore these qualities of Parabrahman in detail.
This emphasis can be found in the Vacanāmṛta on both the peerlessness and uniqueness of Parabrahman or Parabrahman.
Quoting this same phrase Svāminārāyaṇa expounds:
“Only Parabrahman is like Parabrahman; no one can become like him. The Vedic verse ‘ekem evādvitīyam Brahma’ also explains that Parabrahman alone is like Parabrahman. This is the principle of all of the scriptures.” (Vacanamrut Loyā 13, pp. 328-329)
Enriching the uniformity of the Vacanāmṛta, in the last documented discourse of the Vacanāmṛta, where 198
Svāminārāyaṇa again echoes the singularity of Parabrahman, we also find his argument for a monotheistic system.
“Only Parabrahman is like Parabrahman. Many have attained qualities similar to his by worshipping Him, yet they certainly do not become like Parabrahman… Thus, the governor of all activities and the lord of all is one Parabrahman. Not only that, but it also seems that no one can ever challenge Him. Therefore, Parabrahman is definitely one, and no one can become like Him.” (Vacanāmṛta Gadhadā III/39, p.669)
In this manner, the unequivocal supremacy and uniqueness of Parabrahman is never questioned or undermined. Ontologically, Parabrahman is one, matchless and unsurpassable. He is supreme.
The Bhāṣyakāra comments on the Upaniṣadika statements, such as Chāndogya-upaniṣad XII 6/2/1, which announce Parabrahman as being ‘eka’ (one) and advitīya (without second):
“nahi paramātattvānekatvasaṃbhavaḥ, tattvataḥ ekasyaiva tasya anantālaukikāścaryamaya-kāryakaraṇasāmarthyāt |” (Chāndogya-upaniṣad XII 6/2/1, p.254)
“It is not possible that there would be more than one Paramātman. Infinite miraculous deeds happen through only one ontologically supreme entity Parabrahman.”
In conclusion, we can submit that in all senses of the term, Parabrahman is unique. He is one and a kind, quite literally in a class of his own, sui generis. But that in and of itself does not make him supreme, for this description also applies to Akṣarabrahman. Rather, it is by virtue of his infinite greatness the other entity can even approximate him.