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Saguna Brahman (lit. "The Absolute with qualities") came from the Sanskrit saguṇa (सगुण) "with qualities" and Brahman (ब्रह्मन्) "The Absolute", close to the concept of immanence, the manifested divine presence.
According to Advaita as taught by Sankara, saguna brahman refers to the lord identical with his own infinite jnanam. Sankara refers to him by names such as Shiva, Vishnu as specified in the vedas and upanishads. This saguna brahman is eternal, undecaying and non-differentiated from nirguna brahman. He is not affected even when he appears in this world as he controls the effects of his own maya shakti. Hiranyagarbha, the collection of deities in the Hindu pantheon of gods, is not saguna brahman as popularly miscontrued. Sankara clearly says that hiranyagarbha is called brahman only because of nearness to brahman. After many millions of years, the devotees who reach the worlds of gods (hiranyagarbha), will reach the state of vishnu. This is called advaita siddhi and this state can be reached here and now by one who is free from all desires and blessed by the lord.
Rājarshi (2001: p.45) conveys his estimation of the historical synthesis of the School of Yoga (one of the six Āstika schools of Hinduism) which he holds introduces the principle of "Isvara" as Saguna Brahman, to reconcile the extreme views of Vedanta's "advandva" and Sankya's "dvandva":
"Introducing the special tattva (principle) called Ishvara by yoga philosophy is a bold attempt to bring reconciliation between the transcendental, nondual monism of vedanta and the pluralistic, dualistic, atheism of sankhya. The composite system of yoga philosophy brings the two doctrines of vedanta and sankya closer to each other and makes them understood as the presentation of the same reality from two different points of view. The nondual approach of vedanta presents the principle of advandva (nonduality of the highest truth at the transcendental level.) The dualistic approach of sankhya presents truth of the same reality but at a lower empirical level, rationally analyzing the principle of dvandva (duality or pairs of opposites). Whereas, yoga philosophy presents the synthesis of vedanta and sankhya, reconciling at once monism and dualism, the supermundane and the empirical."
Saguna Brahman of the various schools of Vaishnavism means Brahman with infinite attributes, including form. Saguna Brahman is immortal, imperishable, eternal, and thus the basis of the impersonal Nirguna Brahman, as clearly stated in the Bhagavad Gita. The personal form indicated is generally Narayana, or Krishna, or Vishnu. Practically all schools of Vaishnavism adhere to this viewpoint.
Surya is regarded as Saguna Brahaman by Saura (Hinduism). Goddess Shakti (or Parvati, Durga, Kali, Mahalakshmi, or Gayatri) is seen as the Saguna Brahman in Shaktism. Shiva is the Saguna Brahman of Shaivism. It is also understood that worshippers of a particular personal form of God or Goddess as supreme may see other personal forms as plenary portions or expansions or aspects of Brahman.
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