“For the ordinary person it is almost inconceivable how the huge material creation is resting in Him. But the Lord is giving an example which may help us to understand. Space is the biggest manifestation we can conceive. The cosmic manifestation rests in space. Space permits the movement of even the atoms and on up to the greatest planets, the sun and the moon. Although the sky (or wind or air) is great, still it is situated within space. Space is not beyond the sky.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 9.6 Purport)
1. The planets
Through analogy Goswami Tulsidas helps us to understand the real meaning of dharma. The Sanskrit word sort of transforms based on the context in which it is used. There is a dharma tied to an occupation. Duties change based on the stage of life a person is in, such as celibate study at a school or living at home with a wife.
There may be a different dharma based on the time period within the timeline of creation. At present, we are in the age known as Kali. This is dark due to the overwhelming power of ignorance. There is constant quarrel and hypocrisy. Argue over anything and everything. If there is nothing to fight over, choose something trivial, like whether or not a specific condiment should be applied on a food item sold at a sporting event.
Tulsidas says that the process is very simple. All dharma is found in the holy name of Rama. This is one way to address the Almighty. More than an abstract. More than a figment of the imagination. More than a formless, attributeless concept. He is both nirguna and saguna, and there are features, but on the transcendental side.
जथा भूमि सब बीजमय नखत निवास अकास |
राम नाम सब धरममय जानत तुलसीदास ||
jathā bhūmi saba bījamaya nakhata nivāsa akāsa |
rāma nāma saba dharamamaya jānata tulasīdāsa ||
“Just as within the earth is found every kind of seed and within the sky live all the stars, Tulsidas knows that Shri Rama’s holy name is the reservoir of all dharma.” (Dohavali, 29)
To understand how every distinction in dharma merges into the devotional practice of chanting the holy name, the poet gives the comparison to the earth. Every seed necessary for continuing life already exists within the ground. Nothing special needs to be created. In fact, you don’t have to go anywhere else.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada often uses the comparison to the one hundred dollar bill. If I am in need of five dollars, getting a one hundred should be fine. There is no reason for me to object. The five dollars is already included.
If you get space, you get so many other objects. One of them is the planets. We know of a certain number for what we refer to as this universe, but there are many beyond the realm of perception, as it stands today.
2. The stars
Tulsidas makes reference to this. If you get space, you also get stars. Large and small, close by and far away – however many you can count, up to infinity, exists in space. Even smaller objects that float in that giant area, they are included.
3. The sun
The origin of the planets. The original one, if thinking in terms of past, present and future. Beaming a seemingly endless amount of heat and light, the sun is everything. Without it, living entities in this world would not be able to survive.
Space is also a concept on the macro level. We cannot conceive of anything greater than it. Thus it serves as a vehicle for understanding the Absolute. He is space and more. Since He is the complete everything, He is also the various component parts. Everything within space is also God.
Another way to understand is the expansion known as Supersoul. The Supreme Lord is the complete, but He is also the fragment. He expands to reside within the heart of every living being. He is omnipresent; the all-pervading witness.
These are simply ways for understanding, as connecting with the Divine is the human being’s birthright. The same understanding arrives through the devotional process, like the connection to the holy name recommended by the acharyas: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Like all seeds in the ground,
And planets in outer space found.
Dharmas counting many,
But difference to bhakti not any.
Just choosing name the one,
And devotional chanting done.
Macro and micro both accounted for,
To break through understanding’s door.
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