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PramAnas for Brahman as being different from its Body

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Fri Apr 28 2000 - 11:56:43 PDT

SrI Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmaNE namaha
SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaN SatakOpa -
SrI nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESIkAya namaha

 Dear devotees,
 namO nArAyaNa.

 In the book "Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of Alvars" by
 SrI SMS Chari, he quotes two pramAnas to the effect that
 Brahman as a metaphysical entity is different from its divine
 body (pg 90, on Divine Personality, in the Doctrine of God).
 They are reproduced here.

 Saatvata Samhita, Poushkara Samhita and JayAkya Samhita are
 regarded as the "Ratna Traya" (Three Jewels) in pAncAratra.

 Saatvata Samhita (2.69-70) states
 " SAntaha samvit-svarUpastu bhaktAnugraha-kAmyayA
   anaupamyEna vapushAhy-amUrtO mUrtatAm gataha "

 ie. " The Ultimate Reality is devoid of a form (amUrta), but it
        assumes a limited form (mUrtatA) for the sake of devotees
        and this limited form is incomparable (anupama) ".

 This implies that the divyAtma svaroopa (ds) of Brahman is not
 made up of a form, similar to how a jIvAtma's svaroopa doesn't
 have any form. But, Brahman takes a form for the pleasure of
 His devotees. Also, the divine body assumed by SrIman nArAyaNa
 at SrI VaikUNTham is eternal and anAdi. Hence Brahman
 certainly has a divine body eternally.

 Another quote is from the JitantE Stotram, a khila sUkta of
 Rg vEda  :

   " na tE rUpam na ca aakArO na-aayudhAni na ca-aaspadam |
     tathApi purusha-AkArO  bhaktAnAm tvam prakASasE || "

  " You <in ds>  donot have any physical qualities such as white or
     black (rUpa) ; You <in ds> do not possess any physical organs
     such as head or legs (aakAra) ; nor are there any weapons or
     ornaments on You < in ds> (aayudha) ; nor do You have an
     abode <ie. ds being all pervading, there is no specific abode
     by which Brahman's presence is limited>; Neverthless out of
     Your infinite compassion towards devotees <who can't
     comprehend and reciprocate with You as ds>, You manifest
     Yourself with a lusturous bodily form bedecked with ornaments
     and weapons in an abode of Yours < Be it arcAvatAra, vibhava
     avatAra etc>".

   note : This has been explained very well by SrI PuttankOttakam
          SrInivAsAchArya swAmi ( a great scholar of the last
          century and well known contemporary of 42nd HH Jeeyar
          of Ahobila Mutt viz. SrImad InjimEttu Azhagiyasingar ), 
          in his commentary. SrI SMS Chari has followed his 

   There are many more pramAnas in pAncarAtra on this issue.

  I will later quote the section from SrI VishNu purANam which
  explains as to how the bhakti yOgi (upAsaka) in his matured final
  stages of upAsana is able to meditate on the divyAtma swaroopam
  of Brahman, with its characteristics as Satyatvam, jn~yAnatvam
  etc, without the divine body.

 For time being, please also refer to SrI BhAshyam on adhikaraNAs
 like AntaradhikaraNa (1.1.21),SarvatraprasiddhyadhikaraNa (1.2.7), 
 AdruSyatvadhikaraNa (1.2.23-24),  VaishwAnara-adhikaraNa
 (1.2.30-31), Dahara-adhikaraNa (1.3.20), PramitadhikaraNa (1.3.24),
 ........and Ubhayalinga adhikaraNa (3.2.11+). This will give a 
 good picture on the distinction between Brahman and its form, the 
 need of the form taken by Brahman being for the purpose of 
 meditation by bhakti yOgis (upAsakas) etc.

 I will soon post couple of verses from HarivamSa regarding the
 VishNu/KrishNa issue. I will come back to these issues after few
 months. I will switch over to other priorities for now esp. the
 UttamUr SwAmi's Books Publication project. Thanks for your

  adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

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