“Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.41)
यद् यद् विभूतिमत् सत्त्वं
श्रीमद् ऊर्जितम् एव वा
तत् तद् एवावगच्छ त्वं
yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ
śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ
This is the Vedic contribution to the discussion on the origins of the universe. It can be considered an entry to be compared with others, but in truth parampara does not speculate. The information gets passed down in a chain of teachers. No one could conjure up such an image, regardless, and it is corroborated by many seers of the truth and also many sacred texts of value.
The image is of Padmanabha. This is God, the Almighty, the Supreme Lord, the one without a beginning, “working” at starting the creation. It is a still image, but there are hints of the before and after.
1. Not angry
Padmanabha is one name for the person most often addressed as Vishnu. He is lotus-like in many features, including the navel. As He is the source of the material and spiritual worlds, naturally He is ultimately responsible for everything that we see around us.
The mountains, the trees, the blue sky, the rainclouds, the rivers, the valleys, and not to forget the entire population of creatures, moving and nonmoving. Everything and everyone has their origin in Padmanabha. We are in a sense all related to one another.
In this image, Vishnu is lying down. Notably, He is not angry. He is not upset in the least. This confirms a suspicion many of us have had. If God is an old man, with a long white beard, doesn’t that make Him susceptible to time? Isn’t He flawed to a degree, especially if He is upset at what He sees occurring on earth? If that were truly the image of God, wouldn’t He be able to remedy the situation without much effort?
Padmanabha lies down in complete rest. He is entirely comfortable in contact with that bed created by Ananta Shesha Naga, who is something like the first expansion from the Divine. One is the object served and the other is the person offering the service.
2. Not looking down at anyone
Padmanabha is not looking down at anyone, spying on their activities. The acharyas explain that the eyewitness capability is accomplished through the plenary expansion known as Paramatma. This is Supersoul. Without this expansion of the Almighty, no result we see would manifest. I am reading these printed words at the moment only because Paramatma sanctions the activity. I am hearing these words because of the material nature and its laws sourced in Vishnu.
In His resting place in the spiritual world, there is nothing to worry over. Everything will arrive to the proper conclusion in due course. Karma already accounts for this. The fruits may not manifest immediately, but give it some time, like with the trees blossoming flowers.
अवश्यं लभते जन्तुः फलं पापस्य कर्मणः।
घोरं पर्यागते काले द्रुमाः पुष्पमिवार्तवम्।।
avaśyaṃ labhate jantuḥ phalaṃ pāpasya karmaṇaḥ।
ghoraṃ paryāgate kāle drumāḥ puṣpamivārtavam।।
“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
3. Completely at rest
Padmanabha is not agitated in the slightest. This is not like my last night of sleep, where I was constantly stressed out. The blaring ambulance signals from the street nearby, the incessant walking from the neighbors living upstairs, the baby intermittently crying in the adjacent room – it’s a wonder I got any sleep at all!
No one is disturbing Bhagavan. Depending on how detailed the image gets, we may even see others offering personal service. Lakshmi Devi, the goddess of fortune, is massaging her husband’s feet. The demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, are humbly offering prayers.
4. Lotus flower from the lotus navel
There is a stem of a lotus flower that emerges from Padmanabha’s navel. This stem is the source of birth for Lord Brahma. He is often referred to as Svayambhu, which means “self-born.” He lacks the mother and father in the typical sense, but Vishnu is the actual origin.
Brahma then takes ingredients that already exist. These are the modes of nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. Brahma is the creator in the sense that he crafts the body types, which are like the playing field. Small and large, at the local level and at the grandest scale, Brahma is like the architect with the most intelligence at their disposal.
The residents, the people appearing on the playing field, are out of Brahma’s scope. Just as the child produced by the union of the mother and father may appear to have an origin in the parents, the actual spark of spirit is eternal in its existence. For the soul there is no birth or death.
Another name for Padmanabha is Atmarama. He is completely satisfied in the self. Though He has many associates close by, He does not require anyone’s association. Even the work of the world gets accomplished without any stress. All that we see around us represents but a spark of His splendor. This is confirmed to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita.
The image is inspiration for us. We should serve in the same way as the demigods. There is nothing to ask in return, as even the greatest success in material life cannot compare to an ounce of nectar of pure devotional life.
Not aged and gray,
Nor of angry way.
Where disapprovingly to look,
In revenge the planets shook.
Rather in rest lying down,
Ananta of resting ground.
The creator from the stem emerging,
Devoted souls at His feet converging.
Categories: the five