Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Of "the whole and the part"

Received this comment from Meenal on my post Time travel, space time and the works; it is so thought provoking that I had to post it in full. Here goes...

In your posting on Time travel, space time and the works dated Wednesday, August 08, 2007 you have mentioned: "... purnasya purnamadaya purnamevava shishyate...Purna can be roughly translated as 'the whole', the translation being a far cry from the true meaning. Purna is the whole, the all encompassing ... the everything. In that sense, purna is nothing but the universe, because the universe is the whole, the all encompassing, the everything. Now, a translation of the verse would be: "if you remove the whole from the whole, the whole remains!" That is, if you remove the universe from the universe, you are left with the universe!"

There is another interpretation to this. Krsna has used this sloka in the Gita to describe to Arjuna how we all are united with the God in spirit. That our soul, that we, are nothing but Him. The Whole, the all encompassing, the everything, is God! The human soul has been formed out of Him, the Supreme. Therefore, applying the above sloka, we are HIM.

Let me make this simpler with an example. Consider an Apple. For the time being, the Apple (we’ll call it Apple1) is the Whole. Now, cut a portion out of this Whole Apple (say 1/4th) (we'll call this portion Apple2). Now what happens??? If you ignore the quantitative aspect (whereby you are left with 2 apple pieces) and concentrate ONLY on the qualitative aspect, you will see that the Apple1 is still, in essence, an Apple though a portion has been removed from it; whereas now Apple2 as also become an Apple (as it now has the standalone essence of an Apple in itself). Thus, when you removed a part from the Whole (ie our Apple) the Whole still remains the Whole and the part also has become the Whole. Once again, I urge you to concentrate only on the qualitative aspect of this.

Apply this example to the human soul. Let God be the Whole. The human soul is formed out of Him. While a part of Him has been transformed into the human soul, He still remains the Whole; and by virtue of having a part of his essence in us, we too have become the Whole – Him!

Let’s take this to the next level now. And let's take our Apple1 again – the Whole. Beat it into a pulp. What happens? It becomes Apple pulp. What if instead of pulp, you decided to make juice out of it? Then it becomes Apple juice. How about a milk shake? Or tarts? Then we'd end up with Apple milkshake or Apple tart. No matter what you do to the Apple, it always retains its basic essence; that of being an apple! The Whole! An apple seed will always sprout only into an apple tree – never into a coconut tree!

Now consider the processes we performed on the Apple (viz beating into pulp, making juice, milkshake, tarts, etc). The Apple has to bear the brunt of the process performed on it and will hence take the next external form accordingly (as pulp, liquid, solid, etc). But no matter what process is performed, the Apple NEVER EVER loses its essence (that of being an Apple)! Akin the processes performed on the Apple to the actions performed by us, humans – our Karma. Our soul too has to bear the brunt of our actions, our Karma, and in the next birth it will take form accordingly. Hence, depending on our actions, we will be born as higher mortals or lower mortals (such as animals). But, alike the Apple, our soul never ever loses the essence of being Him!

This leads to the most conclusive proof that we all are indeed truly and closely attached to God! We ARE Him! And He IS us!

Krsna has beautifully summarized into a few words the greatest knowledge that a man can ever aspire to learn!!!! May this knowledge be with us and lead us to realizing our true selves!

Om shantih shantih shantih!!!

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