“Everywhere are His hands and legs, His eyes and faces, and He hears everything. In this way the Supersoul exists.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 13.14)
सर्वतः पाणि-पादं तत्
सर्वतः श्रुतिमल् लोके
सर्वम् आवृत्य तिष्ठति
sarvataḥ pāṇi-pādaṁ tat
sarvataḥ śrutimal loke
sarvam āvṛtya tiṣṭhati
Better than internet videos running the entire day, though educational they might be. Superior to racing toy cars back and forth across the living room floor. Avoiding the sugar rush and the subsequent crash and also the fixation on tiny screens with video games.
The new parent wants their child to learn to some degree. Put some books in their hands. As toddlers are known to tear things apart and even attempt to eat them, find the small picture books that are something like blocks. This way they can’t be torn apart and there is a chance they will be read.
One of the books you purchased is titled “Big and Little.” The book features animals drawn as cute cartoon characters. Each set of pages features an animal exhibiting one end of a particular duality. The corresponding page has a different animal showing the opposite condition.
Though intended for children, this serves as a great introduction into the science of self-realization. Spiritual life for the intelligent, going beyond basic faith and fear of eternal damnation, use the intelligence gifted from above to understand the most important concept.
1. Up and down
The bird is up on the tree. It sits there beside its nest. That is the preferred home. No GPS device is needed for returning after flying away. Somehow the bird just knows. The panda bear is down on the ground. Both conditions are relative. The bird is up in comparison to the panda. The bear is down with respect to the bird’s vision.
The Supreme Lord is available in both juxtapositions. He is above me in the spiritual realm of Vaikuntha. There He enjoys in the four-handed form of Narayana. There are dear associates close by. That realm never succumbs to the devastation brought on by time. It is considered both imperishable and unmanifest, avyakta.
Bhagavan Vishnu is also below. He can be found in any realm where the conditioned living entity, the jiva, travels. This is because Supersoul is always with the individual. This is a plenary expansion of the same Vishnu who eternally resides in Vaikuntha.
2. Small and large
The cat is small. It can be picked up by human beings. It is a pet in the home. No risk of severe damage, as the cat likely cannot cause large objects to fall. The elephant, on the other hand, is large. It would destroy an entire garden just by walking. It does not require intent to be a risk to others.
The Supreme Lord is small in the incarnation of Vamanadeva. He takes the form of a dwarf to beg from the charitably disposed king named Bali. The promise is to get as much as three steps will cover.
Vamanadeva then surprises everyone by expanding to the largest size. The first step is from heaven to earth. The next covers the netherworld. There is one step remaining and it gets placed on Bali’s head. This is both symbolic and literal in significance. The devotee Bali is fully surrendered at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. From this pastime Vishnu earns the name Trivikrama.
3. Inside and outside
The dog plays inside of the house. It runs from room to room, eagerly anticipating the return of the master of the house. The zebra lives outside. It is a jungle animal. Different physical appearances and habitats.
Lord Vishnu can be found inside of the temple. This is the established house of worship. The object receiving prayers, offerings, kind words, praises and the like is the archa-vigraha. This is the deity. Vishnu is kind enough to appear in this merciful incarnation.
He is also outside of the temple. In fact, at any place I can find Vishnu. One of His features is antaryami. This means “the all-pervading witness.” The advanced devotee sees God everywhere and inside of every person. God could never be limited to a single space, a single area, a single religion, a single name, or a single revered sacred text.
4. Dry and wet
The children’s book says that the giraffe on the grass is dry. Meanwhile, the alligator in the water is wet. Two different conditions which the human being can experience on a daily basis. One second I am wet from the pouring rain outside. The next moment I am dry, escaping into the comfort of a heated building.
The Supreme Lord can tolerate dryness to such a degree that a blazing fire enters His mouth without issue. This was one of the pastimes in Vrindavana for Shri Krishna, who is the same as Vishnu. The fire threatened to kill Krishna’s friends and there seemed to be no escape mechanism. Krishna swallowed the blaze to avert the crisis.
One of Vishnu’s avataras is known as Matsya. This is a fish, which shows that Bhagavan can be considered wet at the same time. Worshiping such avataras is as good as connecting with Vishnu directly.
From children’s book to read,
Spiritual knowledge to feed.
Though tiny pages in adult hand,
Range of perception to understand.
That God both inside and out,
Wet in water and moisture without.
Inside of the temple residing,
And in every sphere presiding.
Categories: the four