Vytis Vidūnas (Vilnius University, Lithuania) “The Concept of brahman in the Vedas: A Linguistic Approach”


The concept of brahman as „the supreme soul of the universe, self existent absolute“ is well known in philosophical and theological speculations in the Ancient India since the times of the late Vedic Literature and was especially elaborated in the Upanishads. However, the word brahman in early Vedic texts usually means “a prayer, the sacred word”. After taking into account the main etymological links of the term, the paper presents the lexical and semantic analysis of the textual usages of the word brahman in the early Vedic texts (mainly in the Rigveda and to a lesser extent in the Atharvaveda saṃhitās). This is an attempt to answer questions concerning the initial meanings of the word brahman  in the poetical language of the Ancient Indian priests and to investigate the possible semantic development of the term into the concept which is presented in the later Ancient Indian texts.