DEVOTEE: Rabbi, earlier we discussed that God has an
eternal personal identity. But the Vedas also speak of an impersonal aspect
of God, which is actually the effulgence from His body. That effulgence,
the brahmajyoti, is ultimately the source of all illumination. The brahmajyoti
diffuses light from the transcendental body of the Lord, and the same light
is reflected in many varieties: the light of the sun, the light of the moon,
the light of fire, or the light of electricity. [Bhäg. 2.9.34 Purport]
Do the Jewish scriptures give any information of an effulgence coming from
God and how it illuminates everything?
RABBI: There is one verse in the Zohar: "The Most Recondite is beyond cognition, but reveals of Himself a tenuous and veiled brightness shining only along a narrow path which extends from Him, and this is the brightness that irradiates all. This is the starting point of all esoteric mysteries, itself being unknowable." [Zohar IV 146b]
DEVOTEE: The verse you just quoted form the Zohar indicates that there is a higher understanding of God than "the brightness that irradiates all." The Vedas emphatically conclude the same. "The Absolute Truth (God) is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramätmä, and Bhagavän." [Bhäg.1.2.11] Brahman refers to the impersonal all-pervasive spirit. That is the same as the brahmajyoti, the effulgence of the Lord. Paramätmä realization means to realize the localized aspect of the Lord as He is situated in the heart of every living being. And the highest realization of the Absolute Truth is Bhagavän, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who is full in all opulences.
RABBI: I am a little confused of your explanation a few moments ago. You told me that according to the Vedic version, the brahmajyoti was the source of illumination for the sun, the moon and fire. But previously you said that the Sudarçana Cakra was the illuminating principles of the sun, the moon and fire. Why do the Vedas give such contradictory information?
DEVOTEE: There is no contradiction at all, for since the Lord is Absolute, all apparent contradictions can be rectified within Him. Sudarçana is the glance of the Lord, and the Brahmajyoti is the effulgence of the Lord. The Lord has the ability to perform any function with any part of His body. According to the Brahma-saàhitä, the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can enjoy anything and do everything with any of His limbs. On the absolute platform, the Lord's name, fame, form, pastimes, effulgence and glance are all on an equal level. Just like when we chant the Lord's names He is present with all of His potencies. When we speak about His pastimes and activities, He is also present with all of His potencies. Similarly, the effulgence of the Lord or the glance of the Lord contains all of His potencies and thus both can perform the same functions. Since we only have experience within the material atmosphere, it is difficult to comprehend spiritual principles that are fully outside of our experience.
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