॥ શ્રી સ્વામિનારાયણો વિજયતે ॥


Spiritual Discourses

by Bhagwan Swaminarayan


The Sagun and Nirgun Forms of God

On Kārtik sudi 4, Samvat 1877 [9 November 1820], Shriji Mahārāj was sitting on a large, decorated cot on the veranda outside the north-facing rooms of Vastā Khāchar’s darbār in Kāriyāni. He was dressed entirely in white clothes. At that time, an assembly of munis as well as devotees from various places had gathered before Him.

Thereupon Muktānand Swāmi asked a question, “Mahārāj, the Vedas, the Shāstras, the Purāns and the Itihās scriptures have described the sagun form of God and have also described His nirgun form. So how should one understand the nirgun form, and how should one understand the sagun form of Shri Purushottam? Also, how much does a devotee of God benefit by understanding the nirgun form of that God, and how much does he benefit by understanding the sagun form of that God?”

Shriji Mahārāj replied, “The nirgun form of God is much subtler than that which is subtle. It is the ātmā of all of the elements such as pruthvi, jal, etc.; it is the ātmā of Pradhān-Purush, which are higher than those elements; and it is the ātmā of pure Purush and Prakruti which are themselves higher than Pradhān-Purush; it is the ātmā of even Akshar who is higher than them. All of these constitute the sharir of God. Just as the jiva is subtler, purer and of greater luminosity than the body, in the same manner, compared to all of the other entities, God is much more subtle, pure, unaffected and luminous. For example, ākāsh pervades the four bhuts - pruthvi, jal, etc. Moreover, it remains unaffected by those four bhuts, and the influences of those four bhuts do not affect ākāsh. In fact, despite dwelling in those four bhuts, ākāsh remains absolutely unaffected. In the same way, Purushottam Bhagwān dwells in all as their ātmā. Despite this, He is absolutely unchanged and untainted, and He maintains His own unique characteristics; no one is capable of becoming like Him. For example, ākāsh dwells in the four bhuts, yet the four bhuts are incapable of becoming unaffected and untainted like ākāsh. Similarly, Purushottam Bhagwān is the ātmā of all, yet no one up to and including Akshar is capable of becoming as powerful as Purushottam Bhagwān. In this manner, being extremely subtle, extremely unaffected, extremely pure, extremely untainted, extremely luminous, and possessing tremendous, divine powers is the nirgun aspect of the form of that God.

“And if Mount Girnār were to be placed next to Mount Lokālok it would appear extremely small. Mount Girnār does not become smaller in any way, but before the extreme vastness of Lokālok, it appears small. In the same manner, before the vastness of Purushottam Bhagwān, countless millions of brahmānds, each encircled by the eight barriers, appear extremely minute, like mere atoms. Those brahmānds do not become smaller, but before the vastness of God they appear small. In this way, the extreme vastness of the form of God is the sagun aspect of God.

“Then someone may doubt, ‘In His nirgun form, God is subtler than the extremely subtle, and in His sagun form, He is more vast than the extremely vast. What, then, is the nature of the original form of God, who assumes both of these forms?’

“The answer to that is that the manifest form of God visible in a human form is the eternal and original form of God. His nirgun and sagun aspects are the special, divine powers of that form. For example, Shri Krishna Bhagwān and Arjun sat in a chariot and went to retrieve the son of the Brāhmin. After crossing Mount Lokālok, they reached the darkness of māyā. Shri Krishna pierced that māyā using his Sudarshan Chakra. Then, reaching the light of Brahma, which transcends that māyā, he retrieved the son of the Brāhmin from Bhumā-Purush who resides there. In that situation, the chariot and horses were māyik and physical, but through contact with Shri Krishna Bhagwān, they became extremely subtle and like chaitanya; thereby, they reached the nirgun Brahmadhām of God. In this way, to impart subtlety to physical objects is the nirgun aspect of Shri Krishna Bhagwān’s form.

“Furthermore, that same Shri Krishna Bhagwān showed the whole brahmānd, including the eight barriers which encircle it, in his own mouth to his mother, Yashodāji. To Arjun, he also revealed the Vishwarup form in his own form. At that time, with the exception of Arjun, others saw the form of God as being three-and-a-half arms in height. Moreover, when God assumed the avatār of Vāman, he initially gave darshan in the form of a dwarf. After he made Bali relinquish as much land as could be covered in three footsteps, he increased the size of his own form to such an extent that one footstep alone covered the seven pātāls, with his own body covering the entire sky. With his second footstep, he covered the seven swargs and pierced the outer shell of the brahmānd. King Bali saw this vast form of God, but others only saw the dwarf form assumed by God - exactly as it was visible. In this way, God’s vastness, which is even more vast than the extremely vast, is the sagun aspect of God’s form. For example, the sky is cloudless during winter and summer, but when monsoon arrives, it becomes overcast with innumerable clusters of clouds. With time, these clouds form in the sky and later disperse again. In the same way, by His own will, God reveals His divine powers from Himself in their nirgun and sagun aspects and also withdraws them back within Himself. That God appears to be like a human, but no one is able to fathom the limits of His greatness. If a devotee realizes the nirgun and sagun aspects in God’s form in this manner, then kāl, karma and māyā would be incapable of binding him, and throughout the day he would continuously experience wonder in his heart.”

Vachanamrut ॥ 8 ॥ 104 ॥

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This Vachanamrut took place ago.

Prakaran Gadhada I (78) Sarangpur (18) Kariyani (12) Loya (18) Panchala (7) Gadhada II (67) Vartal (20) Amdavad (3) Gadhada III (39) Bhugol-Khagol Additional (11) Additional Info Vachanamrut Study People in the Vachanamrut Vachanamrut Introduction Vachanamrut Principles Vachanamrut Preface Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Blessings Vachanamrut Calendar Paratharo 4: Auspicious Marks Paratharo 5: Daily Routine Appendices

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