What is a Brahman?
Question: "What is a Brahman?"
Answer: A Brahman is a member of the highest priestly caste in Hinduism. Brahman is a Sanskrit word that can apply to persons but can also encompass the highlights of Hindu philosophy. In Hindu texts, the use of the word Brahman or Brahmin can also refer to anyone of good and virtuous character.
Another understanding of Brahman is that of “the Absolute God of Hindus.” According to Hinduwebsite.com, Brahman is “a very mysterious Being. In Hinduism He occupies the highest place, as the creator and enjoyer of all creation. He is the Light and Delight of the Universe, the Ruler and the Lord, without a beginning and without an end, indestructible, indescribable, blissfully immersed in Himself and all by Himself.” There is not a consensus within Hinduism as to the exact definition of Brahman, as it can apply to the ideals as well as to those who uphold those ideals.
The idea of a Brahman is Hinduism’s attempt to explain the One we know as Creator God. Yahweh. The self-described I Am (Exodus 3:14). Many of the attributes Hindus assign to their Brahman parallel the Judeo-Christian understanding of the LORD. This demonstrates the truth of Romans 1:20, which says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Throughout cultures and civilizations and over the centuries of human history, mankind has sought to know God. The sense of right and wrong He placed in our hearts demands an explanation. Across societies, people who uphold those ideals are celebrated, as the Hindus celebrate priestly Brahmans. Yet, rather than seek the Lord, mankind invents alternate theories to explain the presence of a conscience, a moral compass, and the sense that a greater Being is behind creation. Romans 1:21–23 goes on to describe what happens when men reject the true God in favor of their own philosophies: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.”
While there is some truth in Hindu philosophy, it is only true in the places it mirrors the Bible. However, the Brahman explanation falls far short of all God intended us to know about Him. He wants His human creations to know Him as a Father (Romans 8:14–15; Galatians 4:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:16). We come to know God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). God is not an impersonal Brahman in the Hindu sense. He exists in three distinct Persons (Matthew 28:19) who can be known. He interacts with mankind on a personal level (Zephaniah 3:17) and offers eternal life to anyone who calls upon His name (Acts 2:21).
Recommended Resource: Jesus Among Other gods by Ravi Zacharias
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