Three main features of the Supreme

Categories: Hinduism FAQ

These correspond to three main features of the Supreme:

  • Brahman refers to the all-pervading aspect of God. Scripture states ‘everything is Brahman.” This sat/eternal aspect of God is realized by understanding one’s own eternal nature as atman.
  • Paramatman or Antaryami means “the controller within” and refers to God residing within the hearts of all beings.  He is often referred to as the Supersoul and is initially perceived in various ways, through memory, instinct, intelligence, inspiration, and exceptional ability. He is the object of meditation for many mystic yogis. This feature of God represents his cit or knowledge aspect.
  • Bhagavan means “one endowed with unlimited opulence” and refers to God who lives beyond this material world. Bhagavan is the Supreme person and the individual soul can enter into a direct relationship with Him, thus experiencing ananda or spiritual pleasure.

Most traditions accommodate these three aspects of God, but will understand the relationship between them differently. They often stress one feature as more important than the others. They also differ as to the exact identity of God and their understanding of the many gods and goddesses.

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