The term jnana means, according to Ramanuja, eternal knowledge which is not subject to contraction and expansion. When Brahman is described as jnanam what is meant is that Brahman possesses as its essential attribute infinite, eternal knowledge. The term jnanam applied to Brahman also implies that the very svarupa of Brahman is knowledge. According to the Visistadvaita Vedanta, Brahman is both jnana svarupa and jnana gunaka. The latter is also said to be infinite in character. This means that it is not subject to the contraction and expansion, unlike the finite knowledge of the bound individual souls. By virtue of this character, Brahman is distinguished from the released souls whose knowledge was subject to contraction and expansion during the state of bondage.
By ananta is meant that which is not conditioned by time, space and another entity. Brahman is anantam or infinite because it is omnipresent, it exists all the time and it pervades all other objects in the universe. This characteristic of Brahman distinguishes it from the souls which are eternally free (nityas) because the latter are monadic in character (anu).
It is believed that it is not only the svarupa of the Brahman but also its attributes (gunas) which are infinite in the sense that they are countless and unsurpassable in excellence.
These three characteristics which are thus unique to Brahman reveal its true nature (svarupa nirupaka dharma). In reply to the question, viz., what is the svarupa of Brahman, the answer of the Visistadvaita Vedanta is that which is characterised by satyatva, jnanatva and anantatva. In other words, Brahma svarupa is satyam, jnanam and anantam, as the Upanishad declares. These three terms do not denote the mere svarupa of Brahman, as maintained by the Advaita Vedanta. On the contrary, they denote Brahman as possessing the three distinct attributes. According to the grammatical principle of samana dhikarana vakya (a sentence in which the terms are found in apposition), the terms which connote different qualities denote one entity as qualified by the attributes. The Upanishads speak of Brahman as bliss (ananda). Thus says Taittiriya Upanishad, "Brahman is known as mania." That is, Brahman is blissful in nature (ananda svarupa). The description of Brahman as ananda is meant to emphasise its aesthetic character and make it a most desired object of meditation and attainment.
Apart from the four positive essential attributes, the scriptural as well as Smriti texts describe the nature of Brahman as free from any kind of imperfection (samastaheyapratyanika). Thus says the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, "Brahman is neither gross nor minute, neither short nor long" etc. The Mundaka Upanishad describes the imperishable higher Reality as unperceivable, un-graspable, without family lineage (agotram), without caste, without sight or hearing, without hands or feet etc. The Chandogya Upanishad states that Brahman is free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from sorrow, free from hunger, free from thirst etc. The Vishnu Purana explicitly mentions that the nature of Vishnu is free from all imperfections.
Taking into consideration these negative descriptions of Brahman, Ramanuja takes the view that defectlessness or heyapratyanikatva itself constitutes an essential attribute of Brahman because it serves to distinguish Brahman from the universe comprising the souls and non-sentient matter. According to the Visistadvaita Vedanta, Brahman has a twofold aspect-ubhayalingarii, as declared in the Vedanta sutra. It is absolutely free from all defects and it is also endowed numerous auspicious attributes.
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