Symbolic quest

Beyond the narratives in the Bhagavata Purana, there are many useful pointers for those keen on spiritual quest. First of all, these instil bhakti as most of them talk of the lives of devoted saints, rishis, and people who seek God through devotion. There are also many echoes of the Upanishad teachings that reiterate the importance of realising the Supreme Brahman in one’s own inner self.

For instance, the section that deals with the way in which Brahma tries to understand his own self and presence when he finds himself on the lotus bud is symbolic of the quest for realisation, pointed out Sri R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a discourse. It is said that at the time when Srishti takes place according to the Lord’s Divine Will, Brahma is the first created being. He is called the Swayambu, the self-born, who is the embodiment of the Vedas. When he appears in the lotus bud that emerges from the Lord’s navel, the Lord Himself enters the lotus. But then Brahma is unable to understand who he is. He enters the hollow of the lotus stalk and it seems to have no end at all. He comes back to the lotus and begins to meditate for a hundred years. After such arduous meditation, the truth of the Lord, who is the indwelling spirit of all, dawns on him. This only shows that no amount of looking for the truth in the external world can have any bearing.

The analogy of the two birds living together in a tree quoted in the Upanishads also teaches the important truth that the Lord is the abiding spirit and soul in each and every aspect of creation. He dwells in each being as a witness of all what each one does. It is for us to understand His presence and seek His grace instead of chasing the attractions of the world.

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