THE ETERNAL BRAHMA
Jai: I don’t
have a big spiritual vocabulary, Grandma,
so I don’t understand many words
that I hear at the temple. Can you explain
some of them in a simple way?
will explain some of the Sanskrit words,
so listen very carefully. You may not
completely understand these terms at
The Spirit that is inside
all living beings is called Brahma in
Sanskrit. Brahma not only supports living
beings but also supports the whole universe.
This is the formless nature of God,
the Absolute. Brahma is beginningless,
endless (or everlasting) and changeless;
therefore, it is also called Eternal
Brahma. The word Brahma often gets confused
with the word Brahma, the creative force
or creator of this universe. The word
Brahma is also spelled as Brahm or Brahman.
The word Brahman often gets mixed up
with another term, Brahmana, also spelled
as Brahmin, which refers to the upper
caste or intellectual class of people
in India. I will explain this term later
ParaBrahma, Paramatma, Father,
Mother is the Supreme Being, Who is
the origin of everything, including
Brahma (Spirit or Atma).
The word Karma has several meanings.
Generally, it means to do or work. It
also means the stored up fruits of one’s
work over past lives.
Various powers of Brahma are called
Daiva (or Deva, Devi, Devata). We worship
these powers to get our worldly desires
Ishvara is the power of God that stays
in the bodies of all living beings to
guide and control us.
Bhagavan simply means powerful. This
term is used for God. We call ShriKrishna
also Bhagavan Krishna.
Jiva or Jivatma means living
beings that take birth, have a limited
life span, and die or change form.
Jai: How often should
I remember and worship God to make sure
that I remember God when I die?
should form the habit of remembering
God before taking our food, before going
to bed, after getting up in the morning,
and before starting any work or study.
Jai: Are we always
reborn as human beings?
Human beings can take any one of the
8.4 million life-forms on earth. Hindus
believe in life after death. Lord Krishna
said: “Whatever object one remembers
at the time of death, that object one
gets after death. During death, one
remembers whatever thought existed during
most of one’s lifetime.”
(Gita 8.06) Therefore, one should always
remember God and do one’s duty.
Here is a story
to illustrate the theory of transmigration
9. The Story of King
When Sage Vishvamitra was busy creating
his own universe; Indra, the King of
heaven could not tolerate that. So he
sent a beautiful heavenly dancer, Menaka,
to disturb him from his work. She succeeded
and bore sage Vishvamitra's daughter,
Shakuntala. She was raised in the hermitage
of sage Kanava after Menaka left for
One day a King named Dushyanta wandered
in the hermitage of sage Kanava. There
he met and fell in love with Shakuntala,
whom he secretly married in the hermitage.
Afterwards, she gave birth to a baby
boy named Bharata. He was very handsome
and strong, even during his childhood.
Bharata looked like the son of a Deva.
When he was only six years old, he used
to play in the jungle by tying up baby
wild animals, such as tigers, lions,
Bharata became the king after Dushyanta.
Bharata was the greatest king of the
land. Even today we also call India
BharataVarsha, the land of King Bharata.
He had nine sons, but none of them seemed
fit to rule after him, so he adopted
a qualified child, who took over the
kingdom after Bharata. Thus, King Bharata
laid the foundation of democracy.
There have been several other
rulers by the name of Bharata such as
Bharata, the younger brother of Lord
Rama and Maharaja Bharata. Here is a
story of Maharaja Bharata:
A devotee named Maharaja Bharata,
the son of a saintly King Rishabha Deva,
also ruled over our entire planet. He
ruled for many years but eventually
renounced everything to take up spiritual
life of an ascetic. Although he was
able to give up his opulent kingdom,
he became attached to a baby deer. Once
when the deer was absent, Maharaja Bharata
was so disturbed that he began to search
for it. While searching and lamenting
the deer's absence, Maharaja Bharata
fell down and died. Because his mind
was fully absorbed thinking of the deer
at the time of his death, he naturally
took his next birth from the womb of
This is the theory of transmigration
of the soul, which we believe. Some
western philosophers believe in reincarnation.
The reincarnation theory is based on
the assumption that a human soul takes
birth only as humans, not as animals.
The theory of transmigration seems more
universal than the theory of reincarnation.
Jai: If living beings
go through cycles of birth and death,
how about the Sun, Moon, Earth, and
stars? Do they also take birth and get
entire visible creation has a life span.
The visible worlds, such as stars and
planets, have a life span of 8.64 billion
years. During this period, the entire
visible cosmos is created and destroyed.
(Gita 8.17-19) But Brahma is everlasting
and is never destroyed.
Jai: If some people
do not come back to this world after
death, what happens to them? Do they
go to heaven and live there forever?
who have done good work here on earth
go to heaven, but they have to come
back after enjoying the pleasures of
heaven. (Gita 8.25, 9.21) Those who
have been naughty and bad go to hell
for punishment and also come back to
earth. Those who have gained salvation
(Nirvana) do not take birth again. They
become one with God and go to His Supreme
Abode, called Parama-Dhama). The Supreme
abode is higher than heaven.
Jai: How can we gain
the Supreme Abode, the house of God?
who have the true knowledge of God are
called God-realized and reach the house
of God. They do not reincarnate. This
is called the path of no return. (Gita
8.24) This path is blocked for the ignorant
and persons without the necessary qualities,
such as austerity, faith in God, and
knowledge of God. Only those who have
these qualities will walk this path
of no return. Those who have not realized
God, but have done good work, go to
heaven by virtue of their good Karma
and take birth on earth again until
they perfect themselves and become Self-realized.
Chapter 8 summary:
Some of the common Sanskrit terms have
been explained, which you will understand
better as you grow older. The theory
of transmigration and the cycle of creation
and destruction of the universe were
also explained. A very simple and easy
method of God-realization is to always
remember God and do your duty.