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An adjectival compound, indicating that God has qualities (guṇas), properties, or attributes. It is most frequently applied to the embodied or anthropomorphic deity worshipped in bhakti traditions (e.g. the Kṛṣṇa of Vṛndāvana). For Śaṅkara, the conventional apprehension (vyavahāra) of brahman (neut.) as a personal deity and object of devotion (saguṇa brahman—brahman with qualities) is ultimately an incomplete and limited approach to the absolute, which, in reality, is without qualities (nirguṇa). See also nirguṇa.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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