“Whom are you lamenting for when you yourself are pitiable? Why do you pity the poor when you yourself have now been made poor? While in this body that is like a bubble, how can anyone look at anyone else as being worthy of lamentation?” (Hanuman speaking to Tara, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 21.3)
शोच्या शोचसि कं शोच्यं दीनं दीनाऽनुकम्पसे।
कस्य कोवाऽनुशोच्योऽस्ति देहेऽस्मिन् बुद्बुदोपमे।।
śocyā śocasi kaṃ śocyaṃ dīnaṃ dīnā’nukampase।
kasya kovā’nuśocyo’sti dehe’smin budbudopame
Parenting is not easy. It seems the older the children get, the more challenging it becomes to watch over them, to keep them happy, to make sure they avoid harmful behavior. Having many helpers around is not exactly practical in the modern day, as compared to life for our parents and grandparents.
You hate to do it, but sometimes the only way is to buy new toys. Keep the toddler active and happy, if only for a few hours. The latest one you got seems like a home run. They are playing with it constantly. They involve you in the fun sometimes.
Not a toy in the classic sense, but here you dip a plastic rod of sorts into a long and deep bottle of fluid. After quickly taking the rod out, you can wave it around or simply blow through one of the holes. The result is many bubbles, floating through the air.
The child is so happy. They sometimes try to catch the bubbles. Other times they want to burst them. The bubbles do not retain shape for long. They dissipate a few seconds after being produced. Playing this game long enough you can’t help but notice the correlation to principles of genuine spiritual life.
1. Lord Vishnu lying down
What sane person wouldn’t be enamored at the wonders of the creation? A single glance out the window aboard an airplane flying high in the sky gives a vivid picture of the complexity and the depth of nuance embedded within this amazing place we know to be the creation.
Yet if we abstract out further, we have the image of earth as a globe. This is similar to how we see the sun and the moon. They are too far in the distance to get any sort of clear picture, of how the scene changes upon a closer look.
From the tradition of spirituality descending from the Vedas, which passes forward through both word of mouth and written pages, we learn that not only this universe, but countless others manifest through the breathing of a single individual.
Lord Vishnu, the personal side of the Divine, lies down in rest in the spiritual world of Vaikuntha. Every time He exhales, we get countless universes. They are something like bubbles; at least to Him. When He inhales, everything gets destroyed. Returning to the sender, back in the original place.
Within each of those universes Vishnu expands several times over, to the point that He is never absent from any space. He is the all-pervading witness through the feature known as Paramatma, or Supersoul.
2. The body of the living entity
Not only is a universe like a bubble, but so are the varieties of living quarters produced for the sparks of spirit to temporarily inhabit. In other words, my body right now is like a bubble. Shri Hanuman confirms this in the Ramayana. He explains that no person can really be considered poor, since how rich can anyone be if they live in something that is like a bubble, which can burst at any moment?
Within this bubble is both atma and Paramatma. The individual soul and the expansion of the Almighty. He is so kind that He will stay with me wherever I go. This bubble-like body gets destroyed at a future date in time, after which I travel to another place. This is the process known as transmigration of the soul, or reincarnation.
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरो ऽपराणि
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्य्
अन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही
vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ‘parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī
“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.22)
The comparison to bubbles helps to put things in the proper perspective. While a game to a child, the short duration of time draws an appropriate comparison to the length of stay within these temporary dwellings. Even one hundred years is not long in comparison to the vast timeline of existence.
My priority should be on returning to that origin, to being by His side, to staying immune from the breathing that creates and destroys the innumerable universes. I have that opportunity in this very lifetime. If I am able to remember Him while quitting the body, in a measurable consciousness, then I will attain a nature similar to His.
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यम्
एवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर् जन्म
नैति माम् एति सो ऽर्जुन
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)
Another option is to simply know the transcendental nature to Vishnu’s appearance and activities. Such knowledge carries the same benefits. An end to punar janma. No more rebirth. No more vulnerability to the fragile bubble consisting of the eight elements of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego.
Game of bubbles playing,
Correlation to life displaying.
How fragile in this body found,
To it not permanently bound.
Quickly like magic to appear,
Then like that to disappear.
To Vishnu with universes equating,
How through breathing creating.
Categories: the two