Three Different Views of the Absolute

All the attributes of God can not be comprehended by an individual as God has inconceivable potency. He is said to be beyond human senses.  Most of the time we are like the blind men in a famous story trying to describe an elephant.

Six blind men trying to understand an elephant

Though it is difficult to understand Him, a shloka from Bhagwad Puran guides us in reconciling the apparently diverse views.

Srimad Bhagvatam (1.2.11) says :
“The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. 
Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this non-dual substance: Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan."

Thus it is said that seers have understood him in broadly three ways. 
1.     Brahman : The all pervading consciousness, creator and controller.
2.     Paramatma (Super-Soul) : The observer, guide and friend in the heart. 
3.     Bhagavan (God): The person

The Bhagvad Gita describes all the three aspects of Him at different places. We present here a few shlokas (verses) from Srimad Bhagvad Gita as they describe all the three features  (Brhaman, Parmatma & God) for everyone to read and contemplate.

God, who is greater than all, is attainable by unalloyed devotion. Although He is present in his abode, He is all-pervading, and everything is situated within Him.

By Me in My un-manifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.
And yet everything that is created does not rest in me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation.

Understand that as the mighty wind, blowing everywhere, rests always in the sky, all created beings rest in me.
At the end of the millennium all material manifestations enter into My nature, and at the beginning of another millennium, by my potency, I create them again.

The whole cosmic order is under Me. Under my will it is automatically manifested again and again, and under My will it is annihilated at the end.

I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable OM. I am also the Rg, the Sama and the Yajur Vedas.

I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.

I am the Super-soul, O, Arjun, seated in the hearts of all living entities. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.
You should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its knower is called knowledge. That is My opinion.

Everywhere are his hands and legs, His eyes, heads and faces, and He has ears everywhere. In this way the Super-soul exists, pervading everything.

The Super-soul is the original source of all senses, yet he is without senses. He is unattached, although He is the maintainer of all living beings. He transcends the modes of material nature, and at the same time He is the master of all the modes of nature.

The Supreme Truth exists outside and inside of all living beings, the moving and the nonmoving. He is beyond the power of the material senses to see or to know. Although far, far away, He is also near to all.

Although the super-soul appears to be divided among all beings, He is never divided. He is situated as one. Although He is maintainer of every living entity, it is to be understood that He devours and develops all.

He is the source of all luminous objects. He is beyond the darkness of matter and is un-manifested. He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of knowledge. He is situated in everyone’s heart.

Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer, who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Super-soul.

One who sees the Super-soul accompanying the individual soul in all bodies, and who understands that neither the soul nor the Super-soul within the destructible body is ever destroyed, actually sees.

One who sees the super-soul equally present everywhere, in every living being, does not degrade himself by his mind. Thus he approaches the transcendental destination.

And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.

The Supreme lord is situated in everyone’s heart, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.

Surrender unto Him utterly. By his grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.

Srimad Bhagwad Geeta: 13.29, 18.61

Soul & Super-Soul seated in the Heart like two birds on the same tree S.B.G:13.3-23-28

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