Talk:Brahman

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Comment[edit]

Source needed for the foll. comment on main page:

"Connected with the ritual of pre-Vedantic Hinduism, Brahmaand signified the power to grow, the expansive and self-altering process of ritual and sacrifice, often visually realised in the sputtering of flames as they received the all important ghee (clarified butter) and rose in concert with the mantras of the Vedas. Brahmin came to refer to the highest of the four castes, the Brahmins, who by virtue of their purity and priesthood are held to have such powers."

Is the origin of the earliest concept of Brahmaand an outcome of Brahmin or Kshatriya thinking in the Vedas?

---

Perhaps the Devanagari versions of the words Brahmaand, Brahma and Brahmin would help clear up the confusion that is usually found. I'm afraid I don't know how to encode Devanagari into these documents, so let me attempt to 'spell out' the pronunciation of these words. 'Brahmaand' (as in the unchanging and underlying Reality) is pronounced 'bruh-maand', . 'Brahma' (the first of the Hindu Trinity) is pronounced 'bruh-maa'. The first syllable is pronounced identically to the first syllable of Brahmaand . 'Brahmin' (the caste) can be pronounced in two ways: the Anglicised version, and the original Sanskrit version. The Anglicised pronunciation is 'braa-min'. The Sanskrit pronunciation is 'braah-mun^'. The first syllable is stressed and pronounced like 'fa' in 'father', and the next two syllables are unstressed with both vowels pronounced like the 'u' in 'up'. The 'N' in the third syllable is not the normal 'n' we use in English (as in the words 'nice' and 'naval'), but a retroflex 'n' (the tip of the tongue should be near the palate and bent backwards). [[User:deepak singh

We should not mix up the matter of Pronunciation of words in English and Sanskrit. Since, English is the language of Wikipedia we should limit our attention to how best we put it in that language. I know that Brahman and Brahmin are two alternative spellings used to write the name of the community. Very often the same spelling is used to express Brahma as Brahman. This makes things very embarrassing to the readers and new reader who is not well versed with Indian words is most likely to misunderstand the meaning. I want to suggest in view of this experience that Wikipedia should make the spelling of Brahma or Brahmaa as standard for all its pages to avoid the embarrassment. Pathare Prabhu (talk) 11:14, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Changes[edit]

This article is quite small and doesn't really do the trick. I've started with a major upheaval and would like to trace its early origins and eventual metamorphosis over the years. Also, the quoted analyses of so many great Hindu systems to be found in the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras, the Tantras, and Hindu saints in particular like Shankaracharya, Chaitanya, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, Shri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, etc. would greatly benefit the page and shed better light on the subject, in my opinion, than any other possible summarizing most others could do. I'm in a rush doing volunteer work and studies, but I'll keep trying to add occasionally. I hope others put in their ideas and maybe we can make this a Featured Article sometime. I guess the only problem would be that one couldn't have any adequate pictures... though since AUM is integrally tied to the concept of Brahman we could do neat things with that. --LordSuryaofShropshire 17:10, Jul 1, 2004 (UTC)

My Lord Surya: You made the following change:

from

brahmán on the other hand, is a priest, one of the Brahmin caste (brahmin being an adjective). Etymologically, the word may be related to latin flamen (a priest), supporting the "trifunctional hypothesis" of Georges Dumézil.

to

Brahmin is another term with the same root, which refers to the highest of the four castes, the Brahmins, who by virtue of their purity and priesthood are held to have such powers.

and marked it as minor. How is this a minor change (such as correcting punctuation etc)? The flamen comparison you removed without comment, even though I gave my source and quoting a "hypothesis", making it NPOV. I know that flamen=brahman is doubtful, but the possibility deserves mention. So could you please restore it.

More involved is the brahmän : brahmin issue. My immediate source is the Monier-Williams dictionary. We are dealing with a chronological problem here. In vedic sanskrit, accent was important, and it was enough to distinguish "prayer" (accent on first syllable) from "priest" (accent on second syllable). At that time, "brahmin" was a simple adjective relating to these concepts. Later, it seems the distinction became too subtle, and the former adjective became the name for the members of the caste. Maybe you did not know this, but then that's what an ecyclopedia is for (not just for editing, but also for learning new things). The point of noting accent and gender of brahman "prayer" is to contrast it with "brahman" priest, which you removed. Could you maybe add your notion of brahmin purity without removing this carefully researched information? thank you -- Dbachmann 13:12, 8 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I reverted my etymological stuff, making your romantic description of ritual and sacrifice a separate paragraph (although I doubt it belongs under a heading "Etymology and origin of the name Brahman"). I hope you can live with this. Dbachmann 14:38, 8 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Your sarcasm aside, I'm quite aware of the linguistic changes witnessed from Vedic to Upanishadic and post-Vedantic Hinduism. However, your flamen thesis, regardless of its source, is frivolous and a minority opinion at best; also, my aim is to clearly delineate the differences between ancient, middle and modern usages of the term, which contribute greatly to understanding by modern readers. By leaving unexplained diacritics (which most people, who don't study any sort of linguistics, let alone Sanskrit) you confuse people. I hope your constitution can bear with the possibility of modification of your immaculate writing. --LordSuryaofShropshire 18:03, Aug 8, 2004 (UTC)
agreed, let's leave our sarcasm aside. I admit I was disgruntled at your unexplained change. I would have taken much less offence had you presented your reasons, even if I don't agree with them. I will not interfere with your exposition of Hindu Brahman as divine reality etc. This is simply about the etymology section, where the word itself should be explained. brahman and flamen are a perfect equation according to latin and indic sound-laws. How is it frivolous to say a word meaning "priest" in Sanskrit may be related to a word meaning "priest" in Latin? Are you implying that Hindu religion is in some way more sublime than roman religion? The reason the equation is disputed is not because it is faulty, but because there are other, equally convincing explanations for flamen. Now if you would call frivolous the etymological connection of brahman and bulge I could understand. But this is not disrespect, it is language change. The concept is by no means degraded because its name derives from an ultimately mundane root. The hypothesis brahman:flamen is well known, widely quoted in etymological dictionaries, has weighty implications and certainly has a place in a section on the etymology of brahman. If you want to add that it's probably a minority view, that's fine with me. Ah, yes, and if you expand the explanation, giving a deeper perspective of how the word evolved in Vedic/Sanskrit, rather than removing information, I will of course be thankful and will shed no tears for my then-superseded formulations. Dbachmann 19:26, 8 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I have no such pretensions about the sublimity of any religion or cultural paradigm. I am perfectly aware that myriad connections between what are now considered European and Indian languages exist. Flamen and Brahman have little of an implicit or explicit relationship, in spite of the notoriety of the thesis. I have also not removed your information in this most recent of edits and hope that we can call this a fair resolution. --LordSuryaofShropshire 21:15, Aug 8, 2004 (UTC)
alright... look, I am aware that you put some effort into this article, and I don't want to spoil it for you. So how about this: have a look at the Brahma disambiguation page. These words are all etymologically related. It's not obvious that the resolution of the etymological connections have to be in this Brahman article, they could be in any of these, or in a separate one, say, Brahman (etymology). So how about I take my flamen and go away to a separate article resolving the history of all these terms in more detail (explaining the diacritics etc. in all leisure). Dbachmann 06:45, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Jayjg: Those "centuries passed" and "1st millenium BCE" are pure speculations based on the linguistic analysis ("do you think this language looks older than this... I don't."). No evidence though it's repeated on and on because "100x repeated lie becomes truth." (Goebbels) Just to let you know.

anonymous anti-Shankara polemic[edit]

I removed the following. I would like to edit and NPOV-ized it and add it back into the article. (But if anyone else can, please go ahead.) --goethean 16:23, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

It is interesting to note that the term Saguna Brahman is nowhere to find in Vedic striptures nor in Vedanta-sutra. Adhi Shankaracharya, great advaita scholar has introduced his concept of Saguna Brahman, or Brahman with material qualities appearing in practical reality as ishvara (God) and jiva (individual soul). Why did he do so? Primary reason is because of the how we interpret the scripture. We can understand the scripture both in terms of its direct (mukhya-vritti) or indirect (gauna-vritti) meaning. When faced with multitude of verses from different scriptures in which pastimes (lilas), qualities, form of God and the virtues of devotion were explained, to construe an interpretation that supports the advaita theory one is faced with the formidable task of explaining all that in terms of secondary meaning. To avoid this, and to interpret everything mentioned in a primary, direct meaning, Shankaracharya had to make something: he introduced his concept of Saguna Brahman. So this term and explanation is his invention, not found anywhere in Vedanta-sutra. In a way, Saguna Brahman becomes a Procrustes' bed of Shankaracharya made to fit evidence from vast Vedic literature and Vedanta-sutra into his philosophy.
You may remove it, but this is exactly what happened. It is in no way anti-Sankara. Sankara was a practical person. Consider what he had to do in some 16 years of his 32 years' life, travel over the length and breadth of India (I suppose many times with the facilities and dangers facing him in probably 8th century) establish four central places of worship, defeat Buddhist acharyas, organize all fractitious sadhus of India in ten orders, write beautiful poetry and major works of philosophy. It is for nothing that some people consider him as an avatar of Shiva. Aupmanyav 11:42, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Duplication[edit]

There seems to be a duplication between this page, and Brahman (god). Obviously, this page is more detailed. How does one go about removing the duplication? --mkamat 20:06, August 25, 2005 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

I think the definition posted on wikipedia is fatally flawed. Brahman is not a "supreme cosmic spirit", its not the infinity of consciousness, not the infinity of space, not material nor immaterial, not dual nor non-dual, not personal nor impersonal, it is uncreate, unborn, without attributes, it is best described as "neither this, nor that"

Since Brahman is uncreate, it isn't anything our material intellect can grasp, it would be like a blind man imagining color. Brahman is just as it is, just as it always was, uncreate, therefore not subject to creation

--Mdsats 22:04, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

The use of the term world soul to define Brahman is inaccurate. Besides reasons similar to those suggested by Mdsats (above), the concept of the world soul is more closely related to Paramatman.

Solace098 22:12, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

script[edit]

could we get more IPA and less Devanagari, on this article? Devanagari is entirely redundant if you give the terms in IAST. Why, in IAST, you can even give accentuation, something that is theoretically possible in Devanagari, but probably impossible in Unicode (and why bother?). dab () 22:17, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

pro brahman bias[edit]

hi, I think this page is a bit slanted towards the pro brahman caste (at least compared to the information on other castes). I would make contributions, but I really don't know much about India except the hostility of the brahman caste towards Christian missionaries. Anyways, I will do some research and find out the truth.

'Brahman' is in no way biased towards a particular caste (priests, normally written as brahmins, but correctly 'brAhman'). Please note the different spelling and pronunciation, 'Brahman' (a as in 'a') for the ultimate reality and 'BrAhman' (A as in 'ask') for the priestly class. Though the true 'BrAhman' was supposed to have understood 'Brahman'. Hinduism is inclusive, the hostility is to any thought of exclusivism. A Christian, a Muslim, an untouchable, a street dog, a leaf, a stone; 'Brahman' constitutes everything. Vedas say 'Sarva Khalvidam Brahma' (All Creation 'Brahman'). Aupmanyav 11:27, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

in other words[edit]

" While Brahman lies behind the sum total of the objective universe " can someone rephrase this ( just for me ) i cant understand it ... thanks Hhnnrr 15:22, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Leave out the subjective universe that we observe through our senses, come to the reality, leave nothing out, which is the objective universe. 'Brahman' lies behind that, creating it without any effort, out of itself, just by its inherent properties, its active principle (termed as 'Maya' by the hindus). Personally, I term it matter/energy, inseparable, indistinguishable from each other, ever changing, constituting the whole universe. Aupmanyav 11:24, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

'Brahman' is related to bulge and may also be related to birth, just a thought. Aupmanyav 11:15, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

«According to Pokorny's IE Etymological Lexicon IE root bhreu-, bhreu-d- denotes 'to swell, sprout' (cf Slovenian brsteti - 'to sprout').»

Slovenian brsteti 'to sprout' is cognate to Latvian briest 'to grow, swell, ripen', Old Curonian stems brenst-, brend-, brand- 'to grow, swell, ripen', brandis/braidis '(well-fed) deer'. Cognate is also Latvian brangs 'big, fat, well-fed, stout'. So brahman most likely from *brandhman 'a stout, ostentatious man', cf. Latvian bramanīgs 'blustery, boastful'. Roberts7 11:16, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Brahman in Earliest Buddhism[edit]

Apologies that the edit wars on anatta and Buddhism have spilled over to this page. I'd like to make a few notes on why I think anon (who is actually User:Attasarana)'s contributions should be removed. Italicised portions below are quotations from his version. - Nat Krause(Talk!) 21:34, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Nat Krause has posted here mere conjecture-speculation, no evidences; all religious debates are Sola Scriptura (in Doctrine), dont post personal POV conjecture as 'defacto' Buddhism -Attasarana, Buddhologist, Pali translator, author of books on Buddhism, expert in Advaita and Neoplatonism.
It has been asserted by current secular Buddhism, that Buddhism knows only of the gods (Brahma) and nothing of the Godhead/Absolute/Agathon Brahman.

This is a statement which deserves some nuance, but none is given. Also, "secular" here appears to be a malapropism for "sectarian". -NK

Nat Krause has posted here mere conjecture-speculation, no evidences; all religious debates are Sola Scriptura (in Doctrine), dont post personal POV conjecture as 'defacto' Buddhism -Attasarana, Buddhologist, Pali translator, author of books on Buddhism, expert in Advaita and Neoplatonism.
In actuality there can be doubt that in the grammatically ambiguous expression Brahmabhu’to (attano) which describes the condition of those who are wholly liberated, that it is Brahman (the Absolute) and not Brahma (deva, or mere god) that is in the text and must be read; for it is by Brahman that one who is “wholly awake” has ”become.”

In addition to the fact that Attasarana's bona fides as a translator of Pali have certainly not been established, it's not clear if he means to say, "there can be no doubt" here. If so, that is clearly a POV and contrary to Wikipedia style. Also, "there can be no doubt that in the grammatically ambiguous expression ..." isn't a very sensible thing to say. However, I don't know what this passage is getting at otherwise. -NK

Nat Krause has no "bona fide" evidence he can read Pali at all, much less creds. for same.
Nat Krause has posted here mere conjecture-speculation, no evidences; all religious debates are Sola Scriptura (in Doctrine), dont post personal POV conjecture as 'defacto' Buddhism -Attasarana, Buddhologist, Pali translator, author of books on Buddhism, expert in Advaita and Neoplatonism.
The highest appellation in Buddhist Nikayan sutra is “Brahambhutena attano” [MN 1.341] “The Soul is having become Brahman”; absolutely equivalent to ‘Tat tvam asi’ (That/Brahman, thou art).

This seems a logical leap.-NK

Nat Krause has posted here mere conjecture-speculation, no evidences; all religious debates are Sola Scriptura (in Doctrine), dont post personal POV conjecture as 'defacto' Buddhism -Attasarana, Buddhologist, Pali translator, author of books on Buddhism, expert in Advaita and Neoplatonism.
[DN 1.249] “ I teach the way to the union with Brahman, I know the way to the supreme union with Brahman, and the path and means leading to Brahman, whereby the world of Brahman may be gained.”

I should like a second opinion on this translation. Also, the Digha Nikaya to my knowledge contains 34 sutras, so I'm not sure what the "249" here (and other similar numbers) refers to. There have been some questions about Attasarana's citations on Talk:Anatta-NK

Get a clue, son, its called Roman indexing, BY VERSE, DN 1.249 is Digha nikaya, book 1, verse 249. Its the common indexing system used by both the PTS and Wisdom Publ.; since you dont know that obvious fact, its every so clear you know nothing about Pali or its various indexing systems.
Thanks for clarifying that. Unlike you, I have never claimed to be a scholar of Pali. But, do you mean verses or do you mean page numbers? Digha Nikaya, Vol. 1, page 249 is the Tevijja Sutta, which deals with the Brahma Viharas, whereas verse 249 looks like it's somewhere toward the end of the Ambattha Sutta. Similarly, I found your quotation from [DN 3.84] in the Aggañña Sutta ("Because, Vasettha, this designates the Tathágata: 'The Body of Dhamma,' that is 'The Body of Brahma,' or 'Become Dhamma,' that is 'Become Brahma.'"), which is apparently in the vicinity of PTS page 84.—Nat Krause(Talk!) 00:54, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
Of course is has nothing to do with page number, I mentioned no such nonsense at any time. I said VERSE.
The primary Pali indexing is VRI, Myanmar, Thai, and foremostly Roman. Early PTS (pali text society) switched over to Roman verse numbering, the same numbering also used in WISDOM NIKAYAN translations, also Roman verse numbering is found in the CSCD, a digital search CD used by Pali scholars with has all Pali texts on it. Do a google.com search for "CSCD PALI". -Attasarana, Buddhologist, Pali translator, author of books on Buddhism, expert in Advaita and Neoplatonism.
Okay, so your citation from [DN 3.84] is definitely not from the Aggañña Sutta? Is your [DN 1.249] citation from the Tevijja? I think this might be it: "For Brahmà, I know, Vàsettha, and the world of Brahmà, and the path which leadeth unto it. Yea, I know it even as one who has entered the Brahmà-world, and has been born within it!" And a passage from a bit earlier seems like it might be your [DN 1.248] citation, "It has been told me, Gotama, that the Samana Gotama knows the way to the state of union with Brahma." I also found what I think is your [[SN 3.83] citation on page 83 of the third volume of the PTS Samyutta Nikaya (the Khajjaniyavaggo): "Without desires, they become Brahma." I haven't found anything similar yet in other places—if you have the information handy, can you tell me what suttas I should be looking at?—Nat Krause(Talk!) 05:33, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Nat Krause is famous for making baseless claims hes incapable of substantiating; as such hes only agenda is protecting is illogical, non-doctrinal, and flawed view of what is, in fact, Buddhism in name only. For Gotama is "A man of the Upanishads"- Udana, and a Tevijjan (Comprehensor of the 3-Vedas). -Attasarana, Buddhologist, Pali translator, author of books on Buddhism, expert in Advaita and Neoplatonism.

POV tags[edit]

The "Enlightenment and Brahman" section reads, for the most part, like a religious pamphlet. It is obviously and horribly POV.

The "Brahman and Atman" isn't quite as bad by the look of it, except for all those words in upper case. This has clearly been done for rhetorical effect and is quite out of place. And I just don't believe that any mainstream Hindu groups or religious scholars use neologisms like "microsoulspark" or "megasoul". As for the rest of the section, it looks OK, but it needs citations, as does the rest of the article for that matter. Ireneshusband 06:50, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

WikiProject Hinduism reassessment: C[edit]

Fails b-criterion:

  • The article is suitably referenced, with inline citations where necessary. Redtigerxyz (talk) 06:30, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Modern evolutionary view[edit]

I added the appropriate tags regarding that horrible piece of drivel written at the end of this article. I don't even know how one would go about rewriting it, since it is so blatantly OR, and so incoherent as to be worthless. It is a personal reflection, and a crappy one at that. And, naturally, it doesn't cite any sources, and how could it? It contains no information to be sourced. It should be removed.72.78.13.96 (talk) 15:19, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

It would be better, if it would be written anew with the sources cited and Aurobindo's citations. Certaily Aurobindo's evolutionary view is a very important new development of traditional thought and it deserves to be included here. -- Nik 89.212.111.58 (talk) 18:57, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
It has been updated with more precise explanation and clarity. --71.139.160.35 (talk) 20:25, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Your personal essays are not relevant. Please read WP:RS, WP:OR, and WP:V. Mitsube (talk) 02:11, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Most basic info about Aurobindo's view can be found in Aurobindo's article Aurobindo's teaching, maybe that can be used in the article as the starting point...

The teaching of Sri Aurobindo starts from that of the ancient sages of India that behind the appearances of the universe there is the Reality of a Being and Consciousness, a Self of all things, one and eternal. All beings are united in that One Self and Spirit but divided by a certain separativity of consciousness, an ignorance of their true Self and Reality in the mind, life and body. It is possible by a certain psychological discipline to remove this veil of separative consciousness and become aware of the true Self, the Divinity within us and all. ... Sri Aurobindo's teaching states that this One Being and Consciousness is involved here in Matter. Evolution is the method by which it liberates itself; consciousness appears in what seems to be inconscient, and once having appeared is self-impelled to grow higher and higher and at the same time to enlarge and develop towards a greater and greater perfection. Life is the first step of this release of consciousness; mind is the second; but the evolution does not finish with mind, it awaits a release into something greater, a consciousness which is spiritual and supramental. The next step of the evolution must be towards the development of Supermind and Spirit as the dominant power in the conscious being. For only then will the involved Divinity in things release itself entirely and it become possible for life to manifest perfection. ...

--Nik 89.212.111.58 (talk) 21:20, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Even if this were all properly sourced, it would be undue weight to this one person. Mitsube (talk) 23:55, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, it is a development of the classical Advaita by one person that appeared cca. 50 (?) years ago. So it is relatively new (in terms of Indian philosophical systems). Today there are certainly more than one person who think in the same lines. How many people should ascribe to such worldview, what would be the threshold, before it can appear in Wikipedia? --Nik 89.212.111.58 (talk) 19:48, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
It should be designated as important by a reliable secondary source. Mitsube (talk) 04:06, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
What would be those sources? Other encyclopedias like Britannica or Encarta? (From Encarta: Mystic and guru Sri Aurobindo Ghose also wrote elegant arguments in English. He originated a new Brahman-centered evolutionary world view sensitive both to science and mysticism.)
Books and articles devoted to modern Indian thought, something like The Contribution of Modern Indian Philosophy to World Philosophy. I am sure there is more information in specialist surveys of modern developments, but I don't have any of these. --Nik 89.212.111.58 (talk) 19:04, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Alright, so it's notable. The tone and treatment should be more objective and concise. Mitsube (talk) 20:03, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. --Nik 89.212.111.58 (talk) 20:43, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

According to advaitha philosophy of Adi Sankara, everything in this universe is but manifestation of Him and He resides in everything in this universe. Do the people who claim to be followers of Sankara, accept and follow this? If so, can there be any caste differentiation? I am astonished that even in this 21st century, some people believe and propagate it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 122.164.30.254 (talk) 11:59, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Similarities With Gnoticism?[edit]

Brahma is equivalent to the "True God", while Maya appears to be equivalent to the Demiurge.MPA 00:20, 17 April 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by MPA (talkcontribs)

External Links[edit]

The last external link going to lawsofbrahman.org seems to be for marketing purposes. Nobody really visits the site, and it is highly likely that the sites creator put it on this page for hits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.93.197.148 (talk) 03:14, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Brahman concept is not entirely unique to vedanta[edit]

In the Conceptualization portion there was a line that I removed stating that a monist concept of Brahman is entirely unique to Vedanta. This isn't entirely true. Very similar concepts exist in other religions/philosophies. The most similar being the Dharmakāya of Buddhism, but to a notable degree Ein Sof of Judaism and The One of Neoplatonsim, plus quite a few others. I agree with earlier comments that this article contains some fairly obvious religious bias. Shantideva (talk) 00:45, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

“The Ultimate Question”: Brahman’s Origins?[edit]

I have long been very much interested in matters such as this. Having investigated Eastern metaphysical religions and philosophies, I independently came to the conclusion that Brahman was Consciousness and that matter is an epiphenomenon of consciousness as opposed to visa versa in accordance with Western scientific and philosophical thought. In our plane of material reality, events unfold via a long chain of causes and effects (“karma”). I later learned that this observation on my part was held by certain schools of Hinduism. This intuitively rings true to me, but once again I come up against the same old seeming metaphorical brick wall.

I wrote a philosophical proof of a creator based upon Einstein’s STR. My proof does not purport to prove God per se; rather, just a creator of some kind who or which might or might not still be existent. Within the proof, I anticipated the question which I refer to as my brick wall: What accounts for the creator’s existence? How do we avoid an infinite regress of creators?

In my proof, I call this “The Ultimate Question.” Not only can I not answer it, I can’t even think how one would go about addressing the issue. All I can suggest is that somewhere within the regress of creators, someone or something must “simply is,” and perhaps in his, her or its plane of reality there is a science that can explain this which is not available to us within the logic of our plane of existence. It doesn’t matter if the material universe always exists (the atheistic contention) or whether some form of sentient non-material entity always exists, it is the same old problem. How can one account for the very notion of existence itself? In short, how can existence exist?

The article doesn’t seem to suggest an answer as to Brahman’s origins or how it can just exist eternally. Has any Hindu sage ever offered any coherent answer to my “Ultimate Question?” which might be added to the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by HistoryBuff14 (talkcontribs) 22:11, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

What's wrong with an infinite regress? Mitsube (talk) 05:36, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
AFAIK Brahman was not created, it exists from beginning of time. It is "ever-existing" - there was never a time when there was no brahman. I would say that brahman is the origin of time. Žarišče (talk) 05:41, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I think that the Advaita response to this question would be that Brahman has no qualities so he neither exists nor does not exist. makeswell (talk) 18:03, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

qualities of Brahman[edit]

I think the lede should mention how Brahman has no qualities. Is this a universal Hindu doctrine? makeswell (talk) 17:58, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

The introduction has been hijacked[edit]

It now reads like a Hare Krishna pamphlet. I am removing the offending text and placing it here:

This mayavada school is considered by vaisnava acarayas to be the most dangerous kind of (suicidal) philosophy in the whole of reality, because it directly denies Vishnu and bhakti - not some other inferior form or name. So vaisnavas are always aware of mayavadis, brahmavadis, and other impersonalists, materialists and atheists, and wish to reclaim everyone back to their positions as servants of servants of servants of Brahman or Vishnu, Godhead, the Supreme Person. For devotees the idea of serving God or Brahman in impersonal form sounds hellish. Devotees do not accept kaivalya liberation into Vishnu (Brahman)'s rays nor into His body. Rather, the idea is to serve Vishnu - whether in the material world or the spiritual world, hell or even brahmajyoti. Everywhere devotees see a connection with other devotees of Vishnu. So they are not afraid, unlike demons (asuras) who enter into impersonal Brahman.

It's still nowhere near perfect, but the above passage does not belong in an encyclopedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 59.93.171.52 (talk) 08:37, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Brahman in Early Buddhism[edit]

This section appears to consist almost completely of original research. While it cites sources, the sources are almost entirely primary sources. This might not be problematic if the section's claims were uncontentious. But the section, as currently worded, appears to be engaged in a campaign to promote the view that early Buddhism recognized the existence of Brahman/Atman. Let's try to make it better-sourced and more balanced, shall we? --Phatius McBluff (talk) 01:37, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Some possibly useful sources:
  1. Damien Keown, Buddhism (NY: Sterling, 2009), p. 70: "The Buddha said he could find no evidence for the existence of either the personal soul (atman) or its cosmic counterpart (brahman)."
  2. Wapola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught (NY: Grove, 1959), p. 51: Buddhism denies the existence of "a Soul, Self, or Atman" that "goes through many lives till it is completely purified and becomes finally united with God or Brahman, Universal Soul or Atman".
  3. David Webster, The Philosophy of Desire in the Buddhist Pali Canon (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), p. 96: "The metaphysical basis of Buddhist thought—arising from the anatta doctrine—is such that the desire for the atman, for Brahman, for a theistic deity, all these are routes to dukkha rather than liberation."
  4. Merv Fowler, Zen Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 2005), p. 30: "Upanishadic thought is anything but consistent; nevertheless, there is a common focus on the acceptance of a totally transcendent Absolute, a trend which arose in the Vedic period. This indescribable Absolute is called Brahman […] The true Self and Brahman are one and the same. Known as the Brahman:atman synthesis, this theory, which is central to Upanishadic thought, is the cornerstone of Indian philosophy. The Brahman:atman synthesis, which posits the theory of a permanent, unchanging self, was anathema to Buddhists, and it was as a reaction to the synthesis that Buddhism first drew breath."
  5. Merv Fowler, Zen Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 2005), p. 47: "It is here that the tensions between the two systems become manifest, however, to such an extent that they part company, for what is real to one is anathema to the other. For the Upanishadic sages, the real is the Self, is atman, is Brahman. […] To the Buddhist, however, any talk of an atman or permanent, unchanging Self, the very kernel of Upanishadic thought, is anathema, a false notion of manifest proportion."
  6. Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 34: "It was inevitable that the non-theistic philosophy of orthodox Buddhism should court the older Hindu practices and, in particular, infuse into its philosophy the belief in a totally transcendent Absolute of the nature of Brahman. This, indeed, was the basis of the dispute which the Third Council faced. A group of monks who were called the Sarvastivadins had come to accept a very pantheistic religious philosophy, and are important because of the impetus they gave to the development of Mahayana Buddhism."
  7. Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 98: In Yogacarin doctrine, "the Body of Essence, the Ultimate Buddha, who pervaded and underlay the whole universe" "was in fact the World Soul, the Brahman of the Upanishads, in a new form".
  8. Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 81: "Critics, even of Pali texts such as the Udana, have long tried to equate nirvana as the Ultimate Reality with the Hindu Brahman:atman, a view which has gained little support in Buddhist circles."
  9. Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 82: "For Conze, the underlying theme of nearly all Mahayana Buddhism is the common belief in the Absolute. […] The original writers of these Mahayana texts were not at all pleased that their writings were seen to contain the Brahman of the Upanishads in a new form." --Phatius McBluff (talk) 19:10, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I suggest that we completely replace the section currently titled "Brahman in Early Buddhism" with a section titled "Brahman and Buddhism", which would contain the following statements (use the edit feature to see the citations):

Buddhism rejects the Upanishadic doctrine of Brahman/atman.[1][2] According to Damien Keown, "the Buddha said he could find no evidence for the existence of either the personal soul (atman) or its cosmic counterpart (brahman)".[3] According to David Webster, the metaphysics of Buddhism entails that desire for Brahman leads to dukkha (suffering).[4]

According to Merv Fowler, some forms of Buddhism have incorporated concepts that resemble that of Brahman.[5] As an example, Fowler cites the early Sarvastivada school of Buddhism, which "had come to accept a very pantheistic religious philosophy, and are important because of the impetus they gave to the development of Mahayana Buddhism".[6] According to William Theodore De Bary, in the doctrines of the Yogacara school of Mahayana Buddhism, "the Body of Essence, the Ultimate Buddha, who pervaded and underlay the whole universe […] was in fact the World Soul, the Brahman of the Upanishads, in a new form".[7] According to Fowler, some scholars have identified the Buddhist nirvana, conceived of as the Ultimate Reality, with the Hindu Brahman/atman; Fowler claims that this view "has gained little support in Buddhist circles."[8] Fowler asserts that the authors of a number of Mahayana texts took pains to differentiate their ideas from the Upanishadic doctrine of Brahman.[9] --Phatius McBluff (talk) 19:50, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Merv Fowler, Zen Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 2005), p. 30: "Upanishadic thought is anything but consistent; nevertheless, there is a common focus on the acceptance of a totally transcendent Absolute, a trend which arose in the Vedic period. This indescribable Absolute is called Brahman […] The true Self and Brahman are one and the same. Known as the Brahman:atman synthesis, this theory, which is central to Upanishadic thought, is the cornerstone of Indian philosophy. The Brahman:atman synthesis, which posits the theory of a permanent, unchanging self, was anathema to Buddhists, and it was as a reaction to the synthesis that Buddhism first drew breath."
  2. ^ Merv Fowler, Zen Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 2005), p. 47: "It is here that the tensions between the two systems become manifest, however, to such an extent that they part company, for what is real to one is anathema to the other. For the Upanishadic sages, the real is the Self, is atman, is Brahman. […] To the Buddhist, however, any talk of an atman or permanent, unchanging Self, the very kernel of Upanishadic thought, is anathema, a false notion of manifest proportion."
  3. ^ Damien Keown, Buddhism (NY: Sterling, 2009), p. 70
  4. ^ David Webster, The Philosophy of Desire in the Buddhist Pali Canon (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), p. 96: "The metaphysical basis of Buddhist thought—arising from the anatta doctrine—is such that the desire for the atman, for Brahman, for a theistic deity, all these are routes to dukkha rather than liberation."
  5. ^ Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 34: "It was inevitable that the non-theistic philosophy of orthodox Buddhism should court the older Hindu practices and, in particular, infuse into its philosophy the belief in a totally transcendent Absolute of the nature of Brahman."
  6. ^ Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 34
  7. ^ Cited in Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 98
  8. ^ Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 81
  9. ^ Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices (Brighton: Sussex Academic, 1999), p. 82: "The original writers of these Mahayana texts were not at all pleased that their writings were seen to contain the Brahman of the Upanisads in a new form. The authors of the Lankavatara strenuously denied that the womb of Tathagatahood, [...] was in any way equatable with the 'eternal self', the Brahmanical atman of Upanisadic thought. Similarly, the claim in the Nirvana Sutra that the Buddha regarded Buddhahood as a 'great atman' caused the Yogacarins considerable distress."
Well, no one has responded yet. I know that I haven't waited very long, but the section's current wording is pretty horrendous, and I don't think that anyone could deny that it's original research. So I'm replacing it now. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 16:35, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Material Concept of Brahman: Advaita - use of masculine pronoun for that which is without gender.[edit]

While describing Advaita, 6.1 explains 'He (gender neutral; "He" only for explanatory purposes)...' and then proceeds to use the masculine personal pronoun. If in fact Brahman is regarded as being without gender within Advaita, perhaps the 'It' or 'it' should be used instead , then such an explanation is unnecessary; particulary as it is as likely to be disregarded as not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.223.19.171 (talk) 17:33, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Context (April 2012)[edit]

This article reads like a religious text and provides little context for a non-Hindu to grasp even the basic concepts of Brahman. To begin, the opening paragraph:

"In Hinduism, Brahman (ब्रह्मन् bráhman) is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this Universe; that is the one supreme, universal spirit.[1] Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead[2] which is the Divine Ground[3] of all being. Brahman is conceived as personal ("with qualities"), impersonal ("without qualities") and/or supreme depending on the philosophical school."

Boiling through the superfluous modifiers, we're left with "Brahman is the reality which is the Divine Ground of everything in the universe." What does that mean? What is a Divine Ground? Is Brahman, as the second paragraph suggests, the essence of things in the Universe? Why can't it be defined as such before explaining its infinity and immanence?

Based on the previous changes, I assume that this is a complicated subject, so then describe it as such and explain it in a context for someone who has never heard of Brahman to be able to look at that page and walk away knowing the answer to "What is Brahman?" Scoundr3l (talk) 00:07, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Duplicate Article[edit]

This article should be merged with Para Brahman (परमब्रह्म) or Brahma.

  • This Article's title, Brahman (ब्रह्मन्) is Devanagari transliteration for the word Brahma (ब्रह्मा or ब्रह्म).
  • This Article's contents are about Param Brahma(परम ब्रह्म)/Para Brahman(परब्रह्म). --Ne0 (talk) 00:25, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
This article's contents are about Brahman, the Vedantic concept. No renaming or merge is required. CorrectKnowledge (talk) 05:39, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Then please quote slokas or give citations showing the use of ब्रह्मन् (Brahman) in Vedantic text --Ne0 (talk) 14:14, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Brahma sutra, the standard text of all schools of Vedanta starts with "Athato Brahmajijnasa" (Now, therefore, inquiry into Brahman; or Hence (is to be undertaken) thereafter a deliberation on Brahman).[1][2] Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, another major text for Vedanta, lists a conversation between Yajnavalkya and Janaka on Brahman— "Abravīn me jitvᾱ śailiniḥ, vᾱg vai brahmeti" (I had a Guru, a teacher by the name of Jitvā Śailini. He told me, he instructed me saying that speech is Brahman).(Brhd. Up. IV.1.2) There are a lot more examples from other Vedantic texts. In fact, first chapter of Brahma sutra deals exclusively with Brahman. CorrectKnowledge (talk) 14:44, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Remove Category:Article Feedback 5[edit]

Hi. Please remove Category:Article Feedback 5 from this article. I'm trying to clear out the category and this is the only page that I can't edit due to full protection. --MZMcBride (talk) 01:57, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

P.S. It's completely unclear to me why this page has been fully protected. I left a note for the protecting admin here.

Yes check.svg Done, downgraded to semi and noted so for the protecting admin. Snowolf How can I help? 04:32, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Sorry. It must have been the Nov.20 vandalisms.--Jondel (talk) 07:04, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Lead[edit]

The "Oxford Dictionary of World Religions" definition in the lead is biased:

Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. (Source: The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, ed. John Bowker, OUP, 1997)

"Spirit" as Absolute Principle has Hegelian and Perennialist undertones, and is contradicted by other sources:

Brahman, the unchanging reality amidst and behind the external world, although infinite and ternal, lacks spirituality. (Source: Puligandla (1997), Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy, p.222)

A traditional understanding of Brahman is the unchanging Real beyond the illusionary world of appearances (Maya). I've changed the definition in the lead to reflect a more traditional understanding. I've moved the material on "Divine Ground" to the section on "Modern Hinduism".

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:51, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Joshua, an anonymous editor reverted the changes you made. Since he/she provided no rationale for his/her revert, I restored your version.
However, I'm a bit uncomfortable with your decision to disregard The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. That source may get things wrong, but that's not for us to judge. Our job is simply to report what established scholarly sources say. And if a dictionary published by OUP isn't an established scholarly source, then I don't know what is. I agree, however, that it isn't necessary to use the term "spirit" in the lead (and, at any rate, the earlier version was too long), so I don't strongly object to your edits.
By the way, the term "sublatable" really should be changed or removed. Most people (including me) don't know what it means. The link doesn't help much. Is there a way to rewrite that part? --Phatius McBluff (talk) 17:28, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
I have restored the previous version as the definitions come from higher authorities. Mr Jonathan has a habit of destroying perfectly good articles for some unknown reason. 81.106.127.14 (talk) 19:53, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I had moved the Oxford-definition downward, to "Modern Hindusim". I suspect that "Spirit" is a modern re-interpretation. That's the impression I've got, so it's a personal impression. But it's not ungrounded, as far as I can see. Modern Hinduism, as far as I know, has tended to incorporate western thinking (* Michaels, Axel (2004), Hinduism. Past and present, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press ), including Theosophy (* Sinari, Ramakant (2000), Advaita and Contemporary Indian Philosophy. In: Chattopadhyana (gen.ed.), "History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization. Volume II Part 2: Advaita Vedanta", Delhi: Centre for Studies in Civilizations ), and to re-interpret it's tarditional thinking (* Rambachan, Anatanand (1994), The Limits of Scripture: Vivekananda's Reinterpretation of the Vedas, University of Hawaii Press ). 81.106.127.14's mentioning of Radhakrishnan is illustrative; he's representative of this modern re-interpretation. Such nuances should be mentioned.
How about mentioning both definitions in the lead? "Modern Hinduism" deserves more attention; it is highly influential, also in the west, of the understanding of Hinduism. Unfortunately, my knowledge on this part is still rather limited, though I'm reading on it now.
  • By the way, no source is given for Radakrishnan; Flood does not appear in the article.
  • By the way#2: the reliablility of the "Oxford" has been questioned by other editors as well: [3]
  • As for "sublation", it's an odd word indeed, but it's central to Shankara's Advaita Vedanta, being a defining characteristic of Brahman. That's a good reason to mention it, I think. I've changed it to "highest reality", and added a note. The criterion of "sublation" makes clear why, in Shankara's philosophy, Brahman is not the whole of existence (German: "Sein"), but the highest of the existents (German: "Seiende").

Copied from User talk:CorrectKnowledge#Requesting third opinion on Brahman:

When secondary sources contradict each other, like in this case (assuming Radhakrishnan and Flood differ from others), tertiary sources can be helpful. On a cursory glance of Britannica, Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions, Encyclopedia of World Religions and Encyclopedia of Hinduism your version of the lead seems more appropriate (and none of them use the word "spirit"). It looks like the edit war has been resolved. However, if a detailed comment from me is still required let me know. Regards. Correct Knowledge«৳alk» 22:46, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Re-ordering[edit]

As for the undoing of my re-ordering of the article, I really don't understand why 81.106.127.14 deems this to be necessary. A topical lay-out per school makes the article more readable, and points clearly to the lacunes in the article, c.q. "Modern Hinduism". "Destroying perfectly good articles" is not a fair or accurate representation. "for some unknown reason" is besides the truth: I've given explanations. Greetings, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:59, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

81.106.127.14 reverted the re-ordering of the article a second time, and restored his preferred version of the lead a third time diff, despite disagreement from two other editors, with the explanation "these edits are unnecessary". Avoiding concencus building, and (repeated) deletion of sourced info, is WP:DISRUPT. It's tempting to re-undo again, but I prefer to await proper arguments. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 16:26, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Lead #2[edit]

Scrolling back through the edits of the past few years, I came across this change from 19 april 2012 in which 81.106.127.14 replaced a perfectly fine definition by Jefferey Brodd by his own preferred definition, from his favourite source-book "The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions", ed. John Bowker, OUP, 1997". En passant I noticed that the source was cited incorrectly: "universal Spirit" instead of "all pervading Spirit" [4].

I have restored this earlier definition, but placed it in a footnote, together with the Oxford-definition. It's clear that the Oxford is not the only source to use the term "spirit", yet Brodd may have used the Oxford, and it does not convince that "spirit" is a correct term in this context. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:40, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

But I also have to notice that the Brodd-definition has been contested in 2012: Talk:Brahman#Context (April 2012). Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:25, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Brodd was replaced by the Oxford at 21 february 2011 diff by User:81.107.150.246 - with a striking track-record... Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:40, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Isha Upanishad quote[edit]

What was the source of this quote? It does not seem to explain much. In fact, it makes no sense. What the original text is talking about is the nature of God, the principle we know as cornu copia, the horn of opulence. It never expires. God is purnam = complete, but even if another complete (purnam) part was subtracted from Him, the balance remains the same. So, the balance, not "alone". Quote should not only have the references, but it should be word by word translation and a note which Hindu sect is providing the purport of translation. Miodrag1963 (talk) 16:13, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Sounds like you've got a point here. Unfortunately, I don't know enough of the Upanishads to judge. But if you think it's incorrect, you can remove it, I'd ~say. ~~

existance non-existance[edit]

how can you know brahman is beyond existance and non-existance since you can't know anything about brahman? buddha saw this? how smart 79.107.196.229 (talk) 19:29, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Who are you referring to knowing "brahman is beyond existance and non-existance" Jonpatterns (talk) 22:17, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
I came to this page because of this [[5]] link 37.6.157.24 (talk) 15:16, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
It may be worth making a comment on the Omnipotence talk page. The reference it gives for the statement about brahman is 'brahmano hi pratisthaham, Bhagavad Gita 14.27'. This may not be adequate. There is a translation of the whole verse here http://www.bhagavad-gita.us/bhagavad-gita-14-27/ Jonpatterns (talk) 16:05, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Jinasrl?[edit]

What the hell is "Jinasrl" supposed to be? It looks like a badly mangled spelling – it surely doesn't sound like any language of India I'm familiar with, and a web search returns no results that are independent of this Wikipedia article. Even though a ref is given, I am concerned because the user who added the section on Jainism in this edit is banned. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 04:49, 5 February 2015 (UTC)