Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan: The 3 Aspects of God in the Yoga Tradition

There are three aspects of God described in the yoga tradition: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan.

Here’s a link to a video where I explain briefly this concept.

Brahman refers to the total transcendental energy and also to God as energy. Some use the term light. Brahman has no features, no form, no personality. You can think of it as God’s aura. You have energy radiating from you. If someone places their hand near your body, they’ll feel heat. Some people claim to see or feel auras, others to take pictures of them. The energy or aura we radiate only goes so far. With God, because He is infinite, it pervades everything. But the concept is the same: it’s a formless, featureless energy. But you can feel it and experience it, and it is divine.

Paramatma means “super soul.” It is the aspect of God in each and every living being, and in each and every minute aspect of nature (even down to subatomic particles). Because of God’s infinite nature, He can be fully present simultaneously in an infinite number of places. Paramatma is God fully present at the side of every soul in every living body and in every particle of matter. Since Paramatma is a form of God, it has features. Dhyana-yogis, adepts in the yoga of meditation, were trained specifically to meditate on the form of Paramatma in their hearts, described as having four arms and lotus eyes, holding symbolic objects in His hands, and wearing jewels and beautiful clothing. But with Paramatma there is little emphasis on personality, on loving exchanges. It’s a more static form of God, similar to the deities you’ll find in temples. Your body is literally a temple of God.

Lastly there is Bhagavan, the complete and personal aspect of God – God with all His full features, displaying His personality, in action, always surrounded by His loving associates, and in His abode in the transcendental realm. Again, because God is infinite, He can manifest unlimited numbers of complete Bhagavan forms simultaneously, displaying different features and different personal traits and appearing in different abodes with different associates. This is His divine opulence.

All three of these aspects are forms of God, and to relate to any of them makes you a yogi. Clearly, though, it’s most rewarding to relate to God personally, as Bhagavan. And though technically the form in your heart is Paramatma, you can relate directly to Bhagavan here and now. Think of it as transcendental call forwarding. Since God is one, despite His different aspects, the Paramatma aspect of God in your heart can connect you to His Bhagavan aspect, just as His general presence throughout existence as Brahman can also connect you to His Bhagavan aspect. You’ll experience an endlessly rewarding loving relationship with the Bhagavan aspect of God, which has brought limitless joy to billions of people.

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