Lexical analysis of the word "Brahman"

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Wed Mar 22 11:54:12 CST 2000

On Tue, 21 Mar 2000, Vivek Anand Ganesan wrote:

> Hello :
>   I would like to know how the word "Brahman" is explained.
> I am specifically interested in knowing about the meaning
> of the root "Brih".  I have seen two different contexts.
> a) "Brih" = expand, grow.
> b) "Brih" = Great, majestic
> Why is this so?

According to the VishhNu puraaNa, the word "Brahman" is derived from the
root word "BR^ih," which means to "increase"; and "ma" denotes an absence
of limitation in expanse. So "Brahman" means "That which is limitless in
expanse" or alternately, "Being of infinite glory."

Interesting that this is very similar to the definition of God in Western
philosophy (given by St. Augustine, I think): "Greater THAN THAT, THAN
WHICH nothing greater can be conceived of."

Which then implies that God is *greater* than omniscience, omnipotence,

> Thanks,
> -Vivek.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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