You can read the previous post in this series here: Part 5
tā etā devatāḥ sṛṣṭā asmin mahatyarṇave prāpatan
naḥ prajānīhi yasminpratiṣṭhitā
annamadāmeti ॥ 1॥
All of those demigods fell into the vast ocean.
The Divine had subjected humans to hunger and thirst.
So, they pleaded with the Divine, “Please provide us with an abode. Staying there, we can eat food.”
Quick Summary of Previous Verses:
- The Aiteraya Upanishad describes Rig Veda’s creation theory.
- At first, there was the Formless Divine, and from that emerged two parts – masculine and feminine.
- The masculine got personified as Purusha or The Person. The feminine is Prakriti, Mother Nature, or Vaak, the power of expression.
- Then, the Ananda Thandav, the Dance of Creation began. Various aspects of Nature emerged. Those got personified as the eight Vasus.
The Current Verse:
With this verse, Sage Aiteraya moves on to the next topic. When we cross the stage of creation, we face the issue of sustenance.
The previous verse of this Upanishad personified the human senses as demigods. With time, those demigods fell prey to sense gratification.
Some of those gratifications are necessities. That included food and water that were bestowed upon us by Divine grace. However, excepting the bare essentials, most of our cravings are merely for pleasure. In seeking entertainment, humans fell into the ocean of life called Samsara.
We’re all Divine
There is one common theme that repeats across many scriptures of Sanatana Dharma. That is the idea that – We’re all Divine.
According to the saints of yore, every man can be Harihara, the combined form of Vishnu and Shiva. Both the terms Hari and Hara mean the one who can ‘take away’ something.
If a man works towards taking away or removing the sorrow of others, he can be Hari or Vishnu. Like Lord Vishnu, he becomes the sustainer of his family and the world if he can be a generous giver. When a man retreats into his inner world, he can be Hara or Shiva. That is, he can be a Yogi or spiritual practitioner who can take away his mind from the world at will. Any man who can incorporate these “taking aways” can become Harihara.
Likewise, as per the scriptures, every woman can be Sri Devi. The word Sri has many meanings. A few of them are welfare, beautiful, graceful, prosperous, and auspicious. Devi represents the feminine.
Devi can be a nurturing mother. The same Devi can become the terrorizing Maha Kali if someone hurts her children. She, who’s the Lakshmi of her household, can also be a Yogini or spiritual practitioner. By inspiring her family and the world to walk the path of wisdom, she can be Sarasvati. Any woman who can realize Parvati, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati in her, can become Sri Devi.
The Ocean of Samsara
We’re all Divine, but there’s a tragic story here. Most of us are unaware of the fact that we can become Harihara or Sri Devi. Only a handful overcome their challenges and experience themselves as the Divine. Everyone else remains lost in the world of insecurity, jealousy, dishonesty, and so on.
Sadly, those who don’t experience their inner Divine brand the ones who do as insane. Ironically, they overlook their insanity in searching outside for the Divine that resides in them! That’s the illusion of this ocean called Samsara.
Typically, most of us have seen more suffering than happiness in our lives. As a matter of habit, many people have started feeling a strange sense of comfort in sadness. Some may train themselves to be happy externally. Still, they may have bottled up their afflictions in their subconscious mind.
Whichever the case, what stops us from experiencing our inner Divine? Our upbringing, circumstances, and insecurities. Due to these, our minds get conditioned. We lose our identity and remain tangled in the world of emotions.
One fine day, Nature gives us a wake-up call. It could be anything – inner void, depression, worldly losses, or any other type of suffering. Those who respond to this wake-up call by working on self-transformation get liberated. They escape this ocean of Samsara forever. Others stay caught in the cycle of birth and death.
You can read the next part in this series here: Part 7