Status Quo or Soaring to new heights ? The choice is in your hand, say the pigeons during my morning walk today.
From the last blog after watching the videos about spider, we understood that God is The Creator; but ended up with a doubt – how does God create the world? What materials does He use? How does He present his creation? Before answering these questions we must have a look at two more videos and hear a Tamil Film Song. Curious ? Here we go!
First let us see a video titled “Sequoia in a Snowstorm” from the National Geographic channel.
Now let us come to the core issues on this video.
From where did this gigantic Sequoia tree come from ? Well, it came from this simple looking seed
How is it possible for such a gigantic tree to hide inside a small seed? Tons of wood, millions of leaves, huge number of branches etc. No way! Then how ? Watch another video (a bit long)
Now let us see a magic show in 1957 by the legendary Indian Magician PC Sorcar.
What did PC Sorcar do in the magic show? Didn’t he keep creating animals after animals from that flat screen? Didn’t he cut that girl into two and bring her back as one living entity? Is it a creation or an illusion?
These two videos are real life happenings – aren’t they?
Now let us listen to a Song penned by the legendary Tamil Poet Kannadasan in the film “Valar Pirai”.
Here is the lyrics in Tamil
பூஜ்ஜியத்துக்குள்ளே ஓரு ராஜ்ஜியத்தை ஆண்டு கொண்டு
புரியாமலே இருப்பான் ஒருவன் – அவனை
புரிந்து கொண்டால் அவன் தான் இறைவன்
தென்னை இளநீருக்குள்ளே தேங்கியுள்ள ஓட்டுக்குள்ளே
தேங்காயைப் பொல் இருப்பான் ஒருவன் – அவனை
தெரிந்து கொண்டால் அவன் தான் இறைவன்
முற்றும் கசந்ததென்று பற்றறுத்து வந்தவர்க்கு
சுற்றமென நின்றிருப்பான் ஒருவன் – அவனை
தொடர்ந்து சென்றால் அவன் தான் இறைவன்
கோழிக்குள் முட்டை வைத்து முட்டைக்குள் கோழி வைத்து
வாழைக்கும் கன்று வைத்தான் ஒருவன் – அந்த
ஏழையின் பெயர் உலகில் இறைவன்
Meaning – The guy who rules the Infinite Universe through emptiness, the guy who resides as a kernel inside a tough shell of a coconut from the coconut tree, the guy who becomes a relative of monks who abdicate everything in life, the guy who keeps a chicken in an egg and an egg in side a chicken and the guy who keeps the sapling inside the trunk of a banana tree – if you can understand and follow that guy, then that guy is the God.
Confused completely further ! How does He do it ? It is time that we should get some answers to our doubt. Let us straight away get into Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 2 in the next blog where we will get our doubts cleared by Adi Sankaracharya.
We saw in the previous blog that Brahman/God, the one “which is invisible, inconceivable, without lineage, without any classifications (Varṇa), without eyes and ears, without hands and feet, and that which is eternal, all-pervasive, omnipresent, extremely subtle and undecaying” is the source of all beings. We also saw that we need an intelligent cause and a material cause for a creation. Now, we have a logical question that may arise in one’s mind to answer “How can this universe and physical beings come out from such an entity that is beyond physical attributes”?
In the two videos we saw how the spider creates a web. The Spider in-fact is a great teacher and a living example of the creation process adopted by God/Brahman/The Ultimate Reality. What does the spider teach about? It teaches about īśvaraḥ.
Spider is the intelligent cause behind the web; and most interestingly, spider never goes after any raw material; the raw material is found within itself. spider is nimittam and upādānam.
यथोर्णनाभिः सृजते गृह्णते च यथा पृथिव्यामोषधयः संभवन्ति |
यथा सतः पुरुषात् केशलोमानि तथाक्षरात्संभवतीह विश्वम् || 1.1.7 ||
yathā- as, just like; ūrṇanābhi- spider; sṛjate- emits;
gṛhṇate- take back; ca- and; pṛthivyām- on the earth;
oṣadhayaḥ- herbs; saṃbhavanti- spring up;
sataḥ puruṣāt – from living person; keśalomāni- hairs (on head and body); tathā- so, in that manner;
akṣarāt- from the imperishable; saṃbhavati- arises, happens; iha- here, this; viśvam- universe.
As a spider emits threads (and makes its web) and takes them back (at his will), as herbs spring up on earth and as hairs grow from living persons, so does the universe arise from the Imperishable (entity).
We must note that the spider is unaffected by the emission of thread and also outlives the thread; moreover, it also sustains the thread and also withdraws it at its will.
In the same way, Mundaka upanishad points out that Brahman the paramātma is the intelligent and the material cause of the universe and therefore, before creation, there was only non-dual Brahman, which served both as the intelligent cause as well as the raw material to produce the universe. And therefore, paramātma is said to be jagat abinna nimitta upādāna kāraṇam. And the world is the kāryam.
Whenever this subject of the Spider comes, my mind goes immediately to the Discourse by the legendary Sengalipuram Anantharama Dikshithar around the year 1960 at Matunga in Mumbai (I don’t know the exact year and date) while explaining the significance of Vishnu Sahasranama. Here is that rare audio clip. This is in Tamil. செங்காலிபுரம் அனந்தராம தீட்சிதர் உபன்யாசம்
So, the Creator is the Ultimate Reality, “an undefinable something which is everything”. We call Him as GOD.
A doubt can arise in the mind of the seeker. “Ok. Understood that God is the Creator. How does He create the world? What materials does He use? How does He present his creation? Why is He creating?
Adi Sankaracharya answers these questions in Sloka 2 with two examples, which we will see in the next blog.
When a flower predominantly grown in South of India and a Hindustani Classical Raga of the North India merges, you get nothing but pure Nectar (madhu).
No wonder, I saw these Jasmine flower plants in the apartment of a Delhi based “Madarasi” (a typical name given to people from South India living in North India), now settled in Bangalore. Being a very close relative of mine, I didn’t waste much time to pull out my iPhone, open the Camera and iTunes.
Music Courtesy: Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia
After 15 months stay at the East Coast of USA, we are back at the base in Namma Bengaluru. Within two weeks of arrival, here we are ! under “Total Lock Down for 14 days” due to the second wave of the epidemic.
Heart goes out to the people suffering and affected by the virus. Lucky & fortunate elders like me should have no issues at all to stay at home in an apartment complex.
It is no big deal. Simple formula – Just lock down and look up. You will see what you want to see and not the barrage of negativity around. When you lock down negativity and look up for positives, you will see HOPE.
Here are some images of what I saw:
These iPhone images taken by me, reinforce my belief that Nature can present its best side even under stressful living.
I sincerely pray that this good side of Nature soon help us overcome its other side and presents a smile on us, the suffering Indians.
World ! Please Pray for Indians. This also will pass.
Pandemic may come and hopefully go; but there is no doubt that if it is early April, you will see the Central Park at the Newyork city springing up to life, providing happiness, cheer and hope.
Time to sign off from the USA for the year 2021.
Sankey Tank at Malleswaram, Bangalore is ready for me.
au revoir; abiento.
“It is an oft-quoted saying that philosophy begins in wonder. The mystery of the world with all its changes strikes the reflective temper. The Vedic philosophy grew out of a demand for the explanation of actual experience. Philosophy bade men seek beneath all change, which is the law of life, unity and persistency. All things are passing; what remains? Anything or nothing? The Vedic age raised the problem of philosophy and offered a solution. It was then that attempts to reflect upon the world of experience were made for the first time. When we reflect upon the world of experience, the word illusion (“Maya”) comes to the foreground.
The doctrine of Maya is consideredby many thinkers,to be an integral part of the Vedanta philosophy. The Vedanta system is supposed to be an acosmic pantheism, holding that the Absolute called Brahman alone is real and the finite manifestations are illusory. There is one absolute undifferentiated reality, the nature of which is constitutedby knowledge. The entire empirical world, with its distinction of finite minds and the objects of their thought,is an illusion. Subjects and objects are like the fleeting images which encompass the dreaming soul and melt away into nothingness at the momentof waking.
The term Maya signifies the illusory character of the finite world.” ( Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Eminent Indian Philosopher)
Wait a minute; does this statement strike a chord in us – in today’s COVID-19 environment?
It looks like it happened “just recently”. A year and a quarter has passed since the virus silently spread across the world. Millions of lives lost. Inter and intra relationships & transactions among and within individuals and society have been completely turned around leaving one to wonder whether it is all a dream and whether we all are waking up to a new state after a deep sleep. Yes, all the three basic states of our Consciousness (awake, dream and deep sleep) have come to play in this crucial time in each one of us thanks to Maya (She, The Big M,I call it).
Well, to me it appears like that; so I woke up after my second vaccination, with a new found determination to explore Maya and her origin, the Vedanta. True to its nature, the Big M treated me like a kid (which I am) and presented me with an exclusive giant Mall with infinite toy stores. No wonder I am lost. Not to disappoint me, the Big M presented me with three books titled Tattva Bodha, Isavasya Upanishad and Dakshinamurthy Stothram.
The last 2 weeks have been fairly severe in terms of the weather; temperatures dropping to single digits (deg F) and snow storms lashing cities forcing kids like me to seek the comfort of our cozy home – that means the Big M has given me an opportunity to deep dive into the books that I got from Her. Each Sloka (Verse) and each word in the three books, is sending me into “space walks” in search of the Self . Holding each Sloka as my life line, I venture into the space of contemplation. Whenever I return back to my home base, I stare through the window at the vast white carpet of snow all around and tried to relate my space walk with the “ground reality”.
In one such “stare” in the early morning after I went on my 18th space walk (corresponding to the 18th Sloka of the Isavasya Upanishad) , the day after the snow storm I did have a direct response from the principal character of that Sloka. Here is that Sloka, its meaning in English and Tamil and the response of the character .
A word of caution here – Millions of pages have been written over centuries by “Subject” – “Matter” – Specialists to provide commentaries for the Slokas in these books. Summing them up into few lines is absolutely immature and childish; yet as a child I have started by scribblings on Vedanta. Pardon me for that.
But Children have the right to enquire and ask questions. The child I am, I am asking questions to myself with the fond hope that someday I will find answers.
अग्ने नय सुपथा राये अस्मान्विश्वानि देव वयुनानि विद्वान् ।
युयोध्यस्मज्जुहुराणमेनो भूयिष्ठां ते नम उक्तिं विधेम ॥ १८ ॥
agne naya supathā rāye asmānviśvāni deva vayunāni vidvān |
yuyodhyasmajjuhurāṇameno bhūyiṣṭhāṃ te nama uktiṃ vidhema || 18 ||
Meaning in Tamil
அழல் தெய்வமே ! புரிவினை யாவுமறிந்திட்டு – யாம்
நல்வினைப் பயனை துய்த்திட நல்வழியே நடத்திடு
உள் உறை தீவினை வஞ்சம்தனை விடுத்திடு
அளித்திட்டேன் பக்தியுடன் எம் வணங்குதலை
Meaning in English
O god of fire, lead us by the good path
To eternal joy. You know all our deeds.
Deliver us from evil, we who bow
And pray again and again.
(From The Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran)
Music Courtesy: Jagruthi an awakening by Music India. (No commercial interests for me).
The dark days of COVID-19 combined with the cold winter could force anyone to be tugged under the comforter and lie down on the bed even when awake particularly on a Sunday. Well, I have a different story to tell.
Sunday 24th January 2021 – It was the day after I got “moderna-ized”. Wondering about the new English word coined here ! Yes, the previous day I got the first doze of the much anticipated COVID vaccine from Moderna, making me feel that sometimes getting old is helpful (Got the appointment because I was more than 65 years old – physically).
As typical of an old timer, I got up at 0600 hrs on a cold and frigid Sunday morning with temperature smoothly gliding down to 12 deg F (Remember that I am guy who spent all his life at around 32 deg C. !). I had a choice to make – a choice about how I feel.
In my life, whenever I had to make choices, I had the luck of having someone close to me to lean my shoulders on and pause before making the choice. This Sunday is no exception. As my “close someone” unfolded himself to me, I made my choice.
THERE IS HOPE; THERE IS A BRIGHTER SIDE TO LIFE. LOOK AT THAT AND START THE DAY.
I did. Here is what I looked at from my windows.
From around 8 pm on Christmas Eve, till 5 pm on Christmas Day, the thunderstorm that swept through left us at Southampton, Long Islands without Internet. When the storm left, there was a brief period of 10 mts when the sky opened up. I rushed outside to catch a glimpse. Here are some unedited shots from my iPhone. Message is clear – you can be without power or you can be unconnected with others socially; but you cannot disconnect yourselves from Nature.
I was amazed and wondering at the skill and passion for iPhone photography (in Facebook) of one gentleman Viorel who posted a photo of a snow flake using his iPhone 11 + macro lens ❄️
Recently we had huge amount of snow shower with gutsy winds. After the snow, I was wondering how such a tiny flake in a Star form can take shapes that one can only see and enjoy. I was reminded of the term “Powder metallurgy”, describing the wide range of ways in which components are made from metal powders. Well, Mother Nature knows this technology very well even for non metallic applications. Here are some shapes that the snow powder “star flake” takes.
Nature is simply beyond and yet within anyone’s understanding like God is. The problem for us is “You only have to see it”.