śāntaākāraṃ, Bhujaga śayanaṃ, Padma nābhaṃ, Sureśaṃ
Viśvā Dhāraṃ, Gagan Sadriśaṃ, Megh Varnaṃ, śubhāngaṃ
The above is from a very famous Lord Vishnu Stotram (listen to it here in the melodious voice of Swami Vidyananda ji) and is very dear to me. I sing it almost daily in my sadhana (meditation) room before starting with the morning meditation. As I sat today, my mind started reflecting on the name Gagan Sadriśaṃ in it for reasons known only to the universe.
Why is he called Gagan Sadriśaṃ (seen like the sky)? Is it because of his colour blue? But the very next word is Megh Varnaṃ (his colour is that of the cloud). So Gagan Sadriśaṃ should mean something else, I thought.
The lord is often referred as infinite (Ananta) like the sky. Sky has no boundaries (as far as eyes can see, empty space is also an extension to the Akash tattva only IMO).
The sky can carry clouds, gasses and other particles (pure or impure) but these things never moves the sky from its position or taint it in any way. As soon as these things are cleared (moved away or dissolved as in case of rain), the sky is again visible with its enchanting blue colour and the pure, empty expanse. It never lost these attributes; those things left no impression on the sky – the whole thing was only an illusion, a temporary play on our eyes from the nature.
The water loses its taste; the earth loses its solidity and the air loses its fragrance, when mixed with some appropriate element.
The fire dances around and burns whatever comes in its way and thus eventually runs out of the fuel that sustains it.
The sky does not mix with anything; does not move an inch from its place; does not rely on anything for its existence.
Similarly, the lord is carrying the world within himself (Viśvā Dhāraṃ) yet remains ever detached and unaffected like the sky.
But why should we bother about all these? There’s an important reason. In Sanatana Dharma, one reason of praising the lord with so many names and attributes is so we can also start realizing those attributes within ourselves. Singing glories of the lord in devotion for the sake of it is not insignificant in any way, but if we could also reflect and realize those attributes, it’s only going to help us reach to the state at which we can see and talk with him in-person. Who wouldn’t want to have that state?
Let the mind be like the sky, so when the clouds of Vikāras (afflictions) gather and roar, it remains detached and unaffected.
Let the rain of desires dissipates from where it arose without dragging the mind along.
Regardless of the odor of the air currents of emotions, let the mind remains free from any smell.
Let the mind be united with the atman within and thus become eternal, unchanging and self-existent.
Thank you Abhilash for reading draft of it and helping with the image.