10.26.2006

A spider's way to salvation












It was a calm morning while Srinivasan sat down to offer his puja to Lord Shiva. Having organized every thing for a morning abhishekam, he lit the lamps and settled down to a routine rhythm of mantras that had been assigned for the worship.

In a little copper cup by his side he kept a dwi-mukhi rudraksha, submerged in water as instructed. The hymns began in rhythmic motion, one rhythm following another in gentle flow repeating each verse at least 18 times. It was during this moment that Srinivasan happened to notice the copper cup.

A small black spider had fallen in and stayed still sinking into the water, with absolutely no attempt to swim to safety. He wondered where it had come from. He hastily picked up the spoon from the "panchapaatra udrini"(a traditional container with a spoon that carries water, found in every household.) and helped the spider to dry ground.

Srinivasan, watched the spider, crawl around with trouble, trying to free a few of its legs from the heavy drops of water that covered its abdomen. He stared back at the Linga, with calm, smiling to himself that he had helped the creature to safety. Srinivasan’s mind went places as he recited the Rudram, to all the shrines of Lord Shiva he had visited, to all the Garbha Grihas he had stood in front of, watching the Lord in all His finery and the intoxicating ambience of those silent rocky interiors that had withstood time.

He stared back at the Spatika linga after he bathed it in abhishekam. It glowed from within the chamber of the puja room. Its glow was strange, brighter light than what he had otherwise seen. Was it the light refracting differently or was it something else? He wondered as he carried on the hymns, loosing himself yet again. Srinivasan moved the taambaalam(a brass plate) to the side carefully so as not to spill the water that had bathed the Linga. It was now holy, with mantra concentrate, every word, every breath captured in every drop of water that had fallen on the Lingam. Potent water, of which he had taken three sips, a blessing from the Gods, a portion of life for the plants when he finally poured it into their roots.

There was silence in the room yet again and Srinivasan bowed down, the final namaskaram(bow in adoration) as he prayed for peace of mind and turned to clear the place. The taambaalam contained a mirror of water, a deathbed to some and life giver to others. In the water floated the spider, now lifeless. It lay upside down, its life taken by the heavy words of worship as it departed from what we call the realm of the living. Srinivasan stared speechless, thinking hard. The spider had always wanted to die, it had looked for water, water that was potent with the power of the Lord Himself and finally guided itself to its final destination.

Srinivasan found it very strange, that the spider seemed to know what lay within the taambaalam, for its walls were high enough to contain a volume of water, that was more a sheet of death that enveloped its very life within its surface. Srinivasan was overwhelmed. While his plants grew exceptionally wilder, the power of the mantra being visible in every pore of their leaves, making them look ever so fresh, the same life giving water was now the path to salvation for a small spider that had insisted to end its life within it.

Srinivasan sat back, a tear rolling down his eyes, as he stared at the lifeless spider float in the water. He had no idea how spiders end their lives, but this one looked very strange. Srinivasan picked up the spider from the water, went to the plants, dug into the mud and buried it. He poured the water into every plant reciting the mantra praying this time, not for himself but for the spider that had shown him that there is a mind in every creature, big and small and that the path to salvation opens up in strange ways.

13 comments:

JC Joshi said...

Continuing with the concept of ‘rudraksha’ as ‘Shiva’s third eye’, which, when opened, burnt ‘Kamadeva’ the demi-god concerned with fulfilment of the worldly desires in humans (that suggests it to mean earth and the ‘ozone layer’ in the earth’s atmosphere), and planet earth or Shiva as the perfect model of the limitless void of the universe , one could perhaps conclude from the aforesaid that the ancient Yogis indicated the innumerable active/ dormant volcanoes as the eyes (rudrakshas) of the Supreme form of Krishna, i.e., Vishnu, that was shown to Arjuna by Him, as referred in Gita…

And, as we have tried to visualize earlier also, Shiva as the perfect being in human form was realized to be formed of the essences of selected eight planets, or the members of the solar system up to Jupiter, the superior most among the demi-gods while Saturn, with its beautiful rings, acted as the non-playing captain…

And, among ‘lesser life-forms’, the eight-legged spider believably represented the Ashtabhujadhari or the eight handed Goddess Durga or Moon (represented by dwi-mukhi rudraksha), who combined with ‘Tiger’, i.e., earth, as Her vehicle was responsible for the drama in human life just as the spider spins the web!

JC Joshi said...

The ancient Hindus considered Earth as the central figure in our solar system/ universe, whereas due to ‘lack of knowledge’, in the words of the ancient ‘wise’ - in the present or Kaliyuga - our Sun is considered as the central, powerful most Heavenly Body. Whereas, the ancient Hindus delegated secondary status to Brahma or Sun (with just one temple in the country, at Pushkar, Rajasthan, dedicated to Brahma, and the temple at Konark, Orissa, dedicated to Sun), as compared to innumerable ones dedicated to Vishnu the centre of our galaxy and Shiva that is Earth, as Mahesh or the perfect form of God or the Formless Creator…

Also, it is known that out of the total surface of the earth, about two-third area is covered with water. And, if sage Agastya, as indicated in the mythological stories, were to drink the entire sea water again, maybe one would find earth in appearance to look like an apple, most of which is eaten away by Adam, as per the Christian belief!

JC Joshi said...

As a model of the universe, the material part believably is represented by earth while space is represented by air and water the universal solvent, with the dissolved elements present in it in ionic or in the form of charged particles while the inert matter remain in a state of suspension in these, both acting as carriers of non-living matter and micro 'life' forms...

The Hindu mythological stories also indicate the appearance of sun and other planets as once-upon-a-time parts of earth, which reached the sky or space away from it with the statement, viz., “Arjuna reached the heavens and acquired ‘divya’ or glittering clothes after reaching ‘swargaloka’ or the Heavens" - as moon is also believed to have once been the part of original earth-moon even by the ‘present day scientists’…

JC Joshi said...

As we have earlier also tried to see, the ancients believed Naadbindu or a Super Conscious Formless Supreme Being, i.e., a point source of sound energy to be the Creator of the innumerable physical forms - within the apparent infinite void of the universe - by converting a small part of its energy into matter in each form to result in the grand variety and hierarchy that one apparently perceives in the exterior of each living or non-living form…

Thus each physical form continues to retain some component of the formless super conscious being, united with the energy that is retained within the various components of the form, at the “Muladhar”, in an apparently dormant state although in Yoganidra’, or in a super conscious state, needing to be realized, or tuned in to by the individual concerned…

Each individual was realized by the ‘wise’ ancients to visualize the Creator according to one’s own belief and personal inclination, or not even bother about it, as per a grand design that apparently was related with time in terms of Yugas wherein each component of pure original energy is obliged to pass through 8.4 million animal forms to eventually obtain the human form, and only then to become eligible to seek and aspire to reach the “Truth” (as reflected in one starting from a low rung in an office hoping to reach the highest post one day – if lucky, or believably through hard work!)…

JC Joshi said...

I recall my Chemistry teacher in school one day explain while writing on the black-board a long equation indicating solutions of two colourless chemicals, which when mixed together would result in a green solution, because one of the end products after the reaction was supposed to be green in colour…

After the theory part, he prepared the two solutions in different test-tubes and poured some of those two into another test-tube. However, the solution remained colourless despite numerous shakes to the tube! He then picked up the bottles of the chemicals and read through his high powered glasses - obviously with great difficulty - the date of manufacture written in small letters on the label. He read out the dates - only to intimate that those two chemicals were almost 16-year-old, and perhaps therefore ineffective! Therefore, he concluded by asking us to accept that the colour would become green! And, fortunately or unfortunately, I never thereafter needed to perform that experiment again! Also, it is known that “Hindus” believed that only to be the “truth”, which remained unaffected by time!

Thus, when one performs certain rituals carried through generations - without knowing the fundamentals - one perhaps needs to be aware that one might reach the desired possible outcome (say, reaching ‘moksha’ or ‘salvation’ as the highest goal or some intermedicate stage) only if all factors accidentally or coincidentally happen to be as they existed originally in the long forgotten ‘past’…and therefore it is not surprising that today most of the “scientific” discoveries and inventions are reportedly found to be results of accident!

However, it is interesting to know that the believably ‘lesser life forms’ (through which each man also believably had passed some day in the past, and perhaps had acted as inspiration to some ‘seeker of Truth’) apparently continue to perform ‘naturally’ through Yugas. For example, a genuine ‘rudraksha mala or garland’, besides serving as counting beads, was reportedly used by Yogis or ancient ‘scientists’ to test the quality of food/ water – whether they were positive, negative, or neutral or zero ‘pranic’ (perhaps as helpful, harmful or neutral characteristic to humans) depending on the rotation of the garland clockwise, or anti-clockwise, or swinging like a pendulum, respectively, which the present day beads reportedly do even today (like copying their ancestors) and thus help in knowing about their genuineness or otherwise in the present days of apparently, relatively low moral character in humans!

jc said...

In short, the ancients expressed the “Truth” of the “Maya” or illusion in just three words (in Sanskrit), “Satyam Shivam Sunderam”, where “Satya” indicated ‘essence’ (‘image’ or apparent physical model of the Formless universe!)’, Shivam indicated Earth, and ‘sunderam’ stood for “beautiful”…that is Earth, the ‘mithya jagat’ or the beautiful though ‘illusory world’ was understood as the “Truth” that every model of the “Absolute Truth” is believed to seek during one’s stay on earth irrespective of time and its spatial location!

Revathi said...

WOW! Simply great.

JC Joshi said...

I am glad, Revathi, you feel so. It is said that it is virtually impossible to communicate a realization in words!

During the last over two decades, as the ‘truth” of their thoughts I believed were/ is being revealed to me part by part, almost like drop by drop, although cryptically communicated through mythological stories etc, I too have - at each step over the years - felt our ‘wise’ ancients (or the ‘images’ of the one and only Supreme Knowledge, as also communicated by some amongst them) to have been great!

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, Revathi...

Some more on “Maya” that is illusion: I first read the translated version in Gita (Chapter XI, verses 26,27) over two decades ago that Krishna showed through ‘divya chakshu’ (which some “outward oriented scientists” even in the 'present day India', because of their mindset due to ignorance of ‘India’s advanced past’, interpret as ‘through a telescope’) His Supreme or 'Virat' form, Vishnu, as having eyes, and also mouths, and so on, in all directions…Seeing which Arjuna reportedly said, “All those sons of Dhritarashtra with hosts of kings are entering you. Bhisma, Drona and yonder Karna, with the principal warriors on our side as well, are rushing headlong into Your fearful mouths looking all the more terrible on account of their teeth; some are seen even stuck up in the gaps between Your teeth with their heads crushed.”

The above read with the background knowledge of Swayambhu Shiva - or the one who appeared on His Own - as the destroyer and Earth as the “mrityulok” or the stage where death of all life forms is inevitable (“gaps between the teeth” perhaps referring to the graves where some “non Hindus”, and also some born Hindu bodies that remain uncremated, are interred as seen even today according to the age-old customs) - it should have been clear then itself to me that our earth was being cryptically referred as the physical form of the Formless Vishnu!

JC Joshi said...

And, Sant Tulsidas in Ramayana depicts Rama the Suryavanshi King (that is, belonging to the family of sun) - like a golfer today asks his cabby for a particular club depending on the particular situation - ask brother Lakshamana to hand him over the arrow that could dry up the sea, (thus indicating Lakshamana to represent earth with the ozone layer intact to keep the inhabitants of earth protected against the harmful effects of direct sunrays, which would otherwise evaporate the entire seawater, a phenomenon which is presently more or less regulated till now with the interaction between the “two brothers” - our earth and sun, believably one of the eyes of Shiva!), so that Sugriva’s army could cross over to Lanka. For, Varuna the demi-god responsible for the seawaters hadn’t obliged him even after praying to him for three days or so…

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JC Joshi said...

While thanking Shri Anonymous for finding the information useful and perhaps an invitation to visit their Internet sites, I would like to point out once again that I found the “two brothers” as referred in the earlier comment, Earth & Sun, represented in human forms in “Hindu” mythological stories by Shiva & Brahma in Satyuga (All members of Shiva-Parvati family remain highlighted as seen in the present (Kaliyuga) also with all or one of the family members being worshipped by the majority of “born Hindus” in some region or the other, and also perhaps reflected in the so-called “dynastic rule (s)” (!); Lakshamana & Rama in Tretayuga; Yudhister & Arjuna in the Dwaperyuga…

Kalpana said...

Wow.