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What is the Difference Between the Impersonal and Personal Aspects of God in the Vedas?

There is often confusion among casual readers of the Vedas as to whether God is impersonal or not, so in the article Bhaktin Reena explains the difference aspects of God, known as Brahman, as described in the Vedic literature.



In advaita vedanta the absolute truth is impersonal or formless without any attributes. Personal brahman is known as saguna brahman or brahman who accepts attributes and forms. This is the difference between personal and impersonal brahman according to advaita. Advaita rejects the original transcendental form of the absolute. They understand brahman through the process of negation. This means brahman according to advaita is just negation of material dualities and any attribute. Hence, they consider personal brahman as a temporary manifestation or subordinate to impersonal brahman. The impersonal brahman is the Supreme divine light and the aspirants of advaita want to merge in this light and kill their individual identity. This is kaivalya Or liberation for them. Liberation means freedom from identity, activities and attributes.

The kevala advaitins believe that the impersonal brahman assumes a material form and allows maya or illusion to cover it's consciousness. They do not differentiate between jiva and Paramatma. This one undifferentiated brahman is the cause and result of all that is. This means all jivas are part of undifferented brahman covered in maya and since brahman cannot be differentiated or it's variegated energies are not recognised in kevala advaita, the absolute truth itself has assumed the forms of jivas due to covered consciousness. They believe they are God and revival of their dormant consciousness about this identity will free them from the temporary material form. This is liberation for them.

In reality according to scriptures there are three conceptions of the absolute truth namely the impersonal brahman, the all-pervading supersoul or Paramatma and the Supreme Person or Bhagavan.

The impersonal Brahman is the transcendental effulgence which are the bodily rays emanating from the sat chit ananda swarupa Bhagavan. All the three features of the absolute are compared with the sun, sunlight and the presiding deity of the sun Vivasvan. The brahman feature is compared to the sunlight. As we move closer to analysing the nature of the absolute, we realise that the Bhagavan feature is the ultimate just as we move closer to knowing the sun we realise that the presiding deity or the controller is the ultimate.

The Bhagavan feature is the Supreme Personality of Godhead with superconsciousness and the source of unlimited divine attributes. All divine forms are His expansions. The jivatmas belong to His marginal energy with chances of being covered in material consciousness.

Hence, personal feature of the absolute is the original reality. The jivatmas cannot kill their individual identity because service is an indispensable nature of the jiva. Hence, curtailing or artificially suppressing the natural service attitude would be detrimental to the spiritual advancement of the jiva.

The real pleasure lies in serving the absolute. This pleasure is many million times superior to the pleasure attained by the advaitins.

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