Faith

Analogy of two birds

The Upanishads affirm that meditation on the inner Self is the highest form of spiritual practice. This Self remains concealed in the innermost depths of the heart and soul, is immortal, subtle and not recognised by the senses or the mind. Many techniques for meditation on the Self, ranging from the easy to the tough to suit the varying levels of individual endowments, are suggested. The analogy of the two birds mentioned in the Katopanishad, and also in the Mundaka and Svetasvatara, unfolds many nuances about the jivatma who is essentially a unique blend of the human and the divine, pointed out Sri Goda Venkateswara Sastrigal in a discourse. Two birds are shown to dwell on the same tree as inseparable companions. One tastes the fruits in the tree while the other merely watches. The former represents the individual self and the latter the Supreme soul. The entire gamut of the bitter-sweet human experience in a jivatma’s life is represented by the bird that is involved in tasting the fruit. The onlooker, the Paramatma, represents the fact that the same jivatma can also view the experience as an outsider and not get affected by the joy and sorrow which are temporary experiences.

It is possible to distance oneself from the grief or happiness in worldly experiences and seek instead the immortal experience by choosing to align with the on-looking Self that does not eat the fruit. He then comes closer to God and by His grace the soul is lifted to the higher plane. When the object of devout meditation and the devotee abide together the process of meditation is easily performed.

This analogy vividly captures the value of the wonderful in-built capacity that places a jivatma in dual roles as both a participant and a witness.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:47:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/Analogy-of-two-birds/article14633384.ece

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