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Eternal Trinity
August 30, 2023
2 min

The Vedas and the Three Forms of God

Etajgyeyam nityamevatmasansthitam nataha param veditavyam hi kinchitam,

bhokta bhogyam preritaram cha matwa sarvam proktam trividham brahmametat

(Shvetaashwara Upanishad -1/12)

‘Etajgyeyam nityamevatmasansthitam nataha param veditavyam hi kinchitam’

This part essentially emphasizes the eternal, immanent nature of the Ultimate Reality (Brahman) that resides within one’s self (Atman). It suggests that there is nothing else beyond this that needs to be known. In essence:

  • Etajgyeyam: This should be known
  • Nityamevatmasansthitam: Always residing in the self (eternally)
  • Nataha param veditavyam hi kinchitam: There is nothing else beyond this that needs to be known

‘bhokta bhogyam preritaram cha matwa sarvam proktam trividham brahmametat’

This segment deals with the triadic nature of Brahman or the three-fold aspects of the Ultimate Reality:

  • Bhokta: The experiencer (often referred to the individual soul or Jiva)
  • Bhogyam: That which is experienced (Nature or Prakriti, sometimes associated with the concept of Maya or illusion)
  • Preritaram: The inspirer or the ultimate controller (Supreme Reality or Brahman)

In essence:

  • Matwa sarvam proktam: Having considered all (these aspects)
  • Trividham brahmametat: It is declared that Brahman is three-fold

In basic terms, there are three aspects or forms of God:

  1. Bhokta Brahma: The experiencer, or soul (jeeva).
  2. Bhogya Brahma: The experienced or illusion (maya).
  3. Prerak Brahma: The inspirer, or God (bhagwaan).

The Upanishads assert that one must recognize these eternal aspects to achieve supreme bliss. This understanding is essential since every soul is inherently driven to attain this state.

Skeptics might question the Vedas’ statement, “eko brahma dwitiyo nasti,” which means only the omnipresent God exists and nothing else. If that’s the case, how do these same scriptures refer to two other entities? Here’s the explanation:

The answer is found in the Vishnu Puraan,

Vishnu shakti para prokta, kshetragyakhya tatha para,

avidya karm sangyanya triteeya shakti rishyate

(Vishnu Puraan-6/7/61)

  1. Vishnu shakti para prokta: “Vishnu’s power is called ‘para’” - This means that the power of Vishnu is supreme or transcendental.
  2. kshetragyakhya tatha para: “Also known as ‘kshetragya’ is also transcendental” - Kshetragya generally refers to the soul or the knower of the field (body). This indicates that the soul’s nature is also transcendental, beyond the material realm.
  3. avidya karm sangyanya triteeya shakti rishyate: “Ignorance and karma are collectively known as the third energy” - This suggests that there’s a third kind of energy, which is associated with ignorance (avidya) and karma (actions). This energy is likely the binding, material energy that keeps souls entangled in the cycle of birth and death.

To put it together, While God possesses timeless powers, they can generally be divided into three categories.

  • Personal Power (swaroop shakti)
  • Soul Power (jeeva shakti)
  • Illusion Power (maya shakti)

These distinctions imply that maya and jeeva are essentially manifestations of God’s power, and hence, are not distinct from Him.

To understand better, consider a person’s strength. When someone uses their power, we don’t separate the action from the individual. In the same way, maya and jeeva, being forces of God, cannot be seen as separate. Though three forces are acknowledged, there is but one supreme self.

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