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That Light which is residing in the Sun and which illumines
the whole world, and that which is in the moon and in the fire-
know that Light to be Mine
One of the standard mantras that is repeated when we wave the lighted Arti before the Lord at the end of ritual worship, says: (SvetASvatara-Upanishad: 6-14)
tameva bhAntam anubhAti sarvaM
tasya bhAsA sarvam-idam vibhAti
Everything owes its existence to His Existence;
all that shines shines because of His Light.
The same idea is expressed in the thought that the Self is the Light within and it is because of that Light we see what we see and we feel what we feel. The illuminating analogy for this is a lamp placed within a covered basket (or pot) with several holes in it. The light from within the enclosure of the pot passes through the holes and lights up the outside. We are told by the scriptures that the physical universe that we see is the manifestation of the Light within us, namely the Self. For more on this thought process, go to the Hymn to the Guru, particularly the fourth verse in that hymn.
The Ultimate Supreme is the only one that gives the sanction for the expression of anything in the world, whether animate or inanimate. By itself the Supreme has no name or form. But since it is immanent in everything, it appears as the diverse objects of the universe. Fire shows itself in various forms, depending on the size and shape of the object which burns . So also the Lord appears now as this and now as that depending on what object we are looking at. cf. katha-Upanishad: (II - ii - 9):
agnir-yathaiko bhuvanaM pratishTo
rUpaM rUpaM prati-rUpo babhUva /
rUpam rUpaM prati-rUpo bahiSca //
Just as fire, though one, having entered the world,
assumes separate forms in respect of different shapes,
similarly, the Self, inside all beings, though one,
assumes a form in respect of each shape; and (yet) it is outside.
The Upanishads do not tire in giving analogies. For more analogies on how this Universe has brahman immanent in it, without brahman undergoing any changes by itself or in itself, go to Absolute As It is.
© Copyright V. Krishnamurthy July 15, '99 Home Contents NEXT