Friday, June 27, 2008

The difference between Brahman, Brahmam and Brahma

Brahman is the root word.

It is this word which means

brih, great / big and that which grows.

This is na-kaarantha masculine gender

which is widely used to denote the Supreme Being.

The texts use the word as Brahma also.

Here it is used as rama shabdam, a-kaaranda masculine.

The 2nd case of Brahma is Brahmam, like Ramam

This means “to Brahma”

The first god of the three gods namely

the creator is also called Brahma.

It is because of Brihattwa or

growth associated with creator Brahma.

But texts always use the term as the four-faced brahma

or brahma deva to denote this creator Brahma.

If the text continues only about this deva,

the word brahma is used.

The texts always make a distinction

when denoting the two,

the Supreme Brahman and the Brahma of the Trimoorthy.

Like in "Gurur Brahma, gurur vishnu:.."

In this verse, where the term Brahma is used to denote

the Supreme, it is qualified as "para-brahma".

A mere mention of Brahma is used

when used along with Vishnu and Maheshwara.

Thus the context must be seen to know what this brahma refers to..

But in commentaries in Sanskrit by acharyas,

we find them use the term as brahmaa,

with a dheergam on ‘a’to denote the four faced Brahma.

Wherever they mean the Supreme,

they say Brahman or Brahma.

When they mean the four-faced brahma,

they say so and write as brahmaa.


திவாண்ணா said...

when i was reading chinamaya he used to refer to brahmaji to prevent misunderstanding!

Ellis Garvin said...

I like the mahavakya, "Aham Brahma Asmi"

I'm wondering if it is also correct to say, "Aham Brahman Asmi"?

And can I just say "Aham Brahman"? This is my favorite, but I don't know if it is proper grammar.

If you can help answer these questions I will be grateful.


Jayasree Saranathan said...

@ Ellis,

You want to say "Aham Brahman".
In sanskrit, it is "Aham Brahma:"
(: must be pronounced as 'ha').

Aham = I.
Brahma: = Brahman.
So if you say Aham Brahma: it means "I Brahman"
The verb is missing.

Asmi means "am".
So it is said Aham Brahma: asmi = Aham Brahmaasmi.
It means "I am Brahman".

Hope this helps.

Ellis Garvin said...

It does help. Thank you.