I was reading S. Radhakrishnan's Indian Philosophy, and there, in the chapter 'Philosophy of Upanishads' he says that when a person attains Brahman, that is, it merges with Brahman, that person then becomes almost like Brahman or becomes Brahman (Radhakrishnan says this is disputed). He proceeds to say in the 'Ethics' section that once a man attains Brahman, Brahman's will becomes his will and he transcends moralities - he can do anything, good or bad.

Does all these mean that Upanishads imply that a person attaining Brahman becomes omnipotent and omniscient? Is that person supposed to know everything about the empirical reality too? Is he supposed to be able to do magic like kill anybody or walk on water or bring stuff to existence too? Does the fact that after attaining Brahman a man can do anything because he has transcended morals mean that everything a Yogi/Sadhu/Brahmin does is pardonable? In Manusmriti and Arthashastra, it is written that if a Shudra rapes a Brahmin woman, he will be given death penalty, while if a Brahmin rapes a Shudra woman he has to only pay a fine. Is this because Brahmins are supposed to have attained Brahman that their crimes are forgiven like this?

Also, if a person does become omnipotent and omniscient when he attains Brahman, why did Krishna say that while he is among men, he is subject to the Laws of karma and the world? Shouldn't he be able to just change timelines or know beforehand what happens to him?

  • omnipotent and omniscient? - That depends on the context of your interpretation. In the context of Advaita Vedanta - Yes (But there's a twist - on What is omnipotent. Next, Empirical reality - Yes. All answers are yes. Brahman is basically a thing that is the base of everything in reality. Merging with Brahman implies you know what that fundamental base is. You may (or may not) also get mystical powers for everything. But the knowledge of Brahman is enlightenment, so he'll not act against someone.
    – user29449
    Commented Jan 2 at 8:19
  • See the properties of an enlightened person here - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/….
    – user29449
    Commented Jan 2 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


On Omnipotence

Realized souls are not omnipotent.

According to the Brahmasutras 4.4.17-22, the liberated soul which has attained Brahmaloka has all the lordly powers except the power of creation, preservation, destruction of the universe.

The liberated soul which has attained Brahmaloka has all the lordly powers except the power of creation.

जगद्व्यापारवर्जम् प्रकरणादसन्निहितत्वाच्च ॥१७॥

Jagadvyaparavarjam prakaranadasannihitattvaccha IV.4.17 (550)

(The liberated soul attains all lordly powers) except the power of creation, etc., on account of (the Lord being) the subject matter (of all texts where creation, etc., are referred to) and (the liberated souls) not being mentioned (in that connection).

....This Sutra says that the liberated souls attain all lordly powers such as Anima, rendering oneself to atomic size, etc., except the power of creation, etc. Creation, preservation and destruction, on the other hand can belong to the everlastingly perfect Lord only. Why so? Because the Lord is the subject matter of all the texts dealing with creation, etc., while the released souls are not mentioned at all in this connection.

Further, this would lead to many Isvaras. If they have the power of creation of the universe they may not be of one mind. There may be conflict of wills with respect to creation, etc. One may desire to create, and another to destroy. Such conflicts can only be avoided by assuming that the wishes of one should conform to those of another and from this it follows that all other souls depend on the Highest Lord.

Hence the powers of the released souls are not absolute but limited and are dependent on the will of the Lord.

On Omniscience

Realized souls are omniscient. An example of a realized soul Sanatkumara is given in chhAndogya upanishad 7.26.2 and commentary by Sri Shankaracharya.

Nārada became a fit disciple,—and him the teacher showed beyond darkness,—i.e. the Absolute Truth, beyond the darkness of Ignorance.—“Who showed him this?”—The Blessed Sanatkumāra; the ‘Blessed’ has been thus defined—‘one who knows the origin, dissolution, the going and the non-going of living beings,—who knows the Science and the Nescience,—is to be called Blessed, ‘Bhagavān’;—and these conditions were entirely fulfilled in the case of the sage Sanatkumāra. This same Sanatkumāra, people also call the Deity Skanda,—people who know his real character

  • Can you cite the sources of the Omnipotence part where it claims that such creation would lead to the creation of many Ishvaras? (or merging of Ishvaras?), Sorry in case if I missed a link or something?
    – user29449
    Commented Jan 11 at 5:36
  • 1
    @User29449 This is link given in the answer - swami-krishnananda.org/bs_0/Brahma.Sutra.4.4.html. Search for the word "Isvaras" in this link.
    – estimator
    Commented Jan 11 at 12:41
  • Ah, found that. Thanks. Good Answer :)
    – user29449
    Commented Jan 11 at 13:34

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