SB 1.2 - The three aspects of the one Absolute Truth

This Absolute Truth is called by the learned men as Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān. It is one, non dual substance comprising the totality of existence. The same substance is realized as impersonal Brahman by the students of Upaniṣads, as localized Paramātmā by the yogīs, and as Bhagavān by the devotees. Bhagavān is the last word of the Absolute Truth. Paramātmā is the partial representation of the Personality of Godhead, and impersonal Brahman is the glowing effulgence of the Lord, as the sun rays are to the sun god. The perfect seers know well that the three features of the one Absolute Truth are different perspective views seen from different angles of vision.

The highest truth is advaya-jñānam. What the jñānīs call Brahman is jñānam. According to them it is without form, without distinction of knower and known, a condition of consciousness alone. This jñānam is called Paramātmā by the yogīs. This jñānam is advayam because of oneness between him and his śaktis – jīva and prakṛti – because as cause he pervades the effect, this universe, and because Paramātmā is non-different from his form and abodes thru particularization of his consciousness aspect. According to the yogīs the form of Paramātmā is still pure jñāna because his form is also the same knowledge. Even though he is pure jñāna, he is also the shelter of particularization of jñāna, because he performs functions such as acting as the witness. Paramātmā is like the sun, who though is the very form of light, also is the possessor of luminosity.

This jñānam is called Bhagavān by the devotees. He is called advayam because material energy is the śakti, which is one with the śaktimān. Advayam also means unique and thus indicates the Lord who is completely different from the jīvas in illusion. He is advayam also because the jīvas are distinct parts or parts of the whole (identity of part and whole), and also because no one is in the same position as the Lord (advayam meaning having no equal). Though Bhagavān is pure jñāna, He has a form possessing the six qualities described by the word bhaga, which is non material, because the form is pure consciousness. Bhaga is defined as: complete control, complete influence, complete excellent qualities of body, mind and words, complete beauty or wealth, complete knowledge and complete detachment.