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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Śabdabrahman literally means ‘Brahman in the form of śabda or sound’.

This word has been used in several senses. The Veda is known as Brahman since it helps us in realizing Brahman or God, the Absolute. It is also in the form of śabda or words. Hence it is called Śabdabrahman.

The word Ohm[1] is the highest symbol of Brahman. The Upaniṣads identify it with Brahman.[2] Hence Śabdabrahman is Oñkāra. The Amrtabindu Upaniṣad[3] identifies Saguṇabrahman[4] with Śabdabrahman and Nirguṇabrahman[5] with Parabrahman. This word occurs in the Bhagavadgitā[6] also. It has been interpreted there as the result of Vedic rituals or the prakṛti or nature.


  1. It is called Praṇava.
  2. Taittirīya Upaniṣad 1.8.1; Katha Upaniṣad 2.15
  3. Amrtabindu Upaniṣad 17
  4. Saguṇabrahman means brahman with attributes.
  5. Nirguṇabrahman means Brahman without attributes.
  6. Bhagavadgitā 6.44
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore