Picture illustration by Ruchika Kawlra Motwani for the book 'It's easy to be YOU' published by Bloomsbury India.
‘Hindu mythology draws a similitude between the most enlightened supreme-being ‘Narayan’ asleep in the water on the coils of a serpent with many hoods, with the human fetus unborn in the womb of the mother. The twin metaphysical realities do not exist just yet, both are devoid of thoughts of the material or spirit. ‘Narayana’ the word originates from the Sanskrit word ‘Nara’ meaning water and ‘Ayana’ meaning resting place. Literally, the word ‘Narayana’ becomes the first being's residence. The serpent whose coils he rests upon is called ‘Adi- Ananta-Sesha’, which semantically represents the cycle of time. Therefore, the first being ‘Narayana’s first sign of being awake, beckons the idea and the flow of time.’ - Abstract from page fourteen of my first published book ‘It’s Easy To Be YOU’
How, should we understand our state of being awakened? Are we to interpret it as being a mere state of responsive alertness? Are we to accept it as unquestioned consciousness - that just is? Is it a state of mind with a simple ability to feel, perceive, and experience subjectivity, with every engagement therein - requiring only a limited cognizance? Or, is it merely a passage toward the unknown?
Our subconscious begins to filter the process of thinking, from the first moment we wake up. The daily workings of the human being awakening each day can be seen as an analogy for the universe becoming conscious of itself. The foremost human premonition of bringing new experiences to being is thus seen as being symbolic of the notion of ‘one’; in Sanskrit termed as ‘Adi’. At this stage of awakening the symbolism of the avatar of ‘Brahma’ is known to be triggered; representing the transition of the Universe from its state of ‘absolute reality’ or ‘Advaita’ (A = not, dvaita = two} into its ‘relative state of reality’ through birthing and experiencing human mindfulness.
This state of the universe being in ‘responsive alertness’ experiencing successive and simultaneous waking states of subjective realities, is akin to the ‘dream state’ that humans experience in their sleep; as the mind dreams it weaves parts of the subjective reality successively and simultaneously through its delusional pursuit.
Upon awakening from sleep, even in the absence of a new stimulus, the human mind may be impacted by a subconscious trigger; creating both good and joyful feelings, or bad and sorrowful feelings, within milliseconds. The mind responds with effortless ease to its own known perceptiveness, to its expectations from the next few moments, and to the expectations of its own responses. And that is because, through its previous experiences, the mind has stored its journey as memories, it’s feelings as emotions, remaining facilitated by stealth to operate on its ingrained beliefs.
Equipped with a wealth of learning, it finds its own appropriation with a chosen state of mindfulness, to meet its individual need on its personal trajectory. Even so, one truth binds all of mankind and that is, each one sustains their quest for seeking divine countenance. It is also this conundrum that initiates mankind’s search for answers - from other people’s travels through time. It is because we do not have all the answers, that we engage with another’s experiences and perceptiveness, seeking their approval so as to modify the results of our own understanding.
Symbolism teaches us to trust the actions that we repetitively partake in, by invoking a routine that engenders us to continue onwards thereby helping us live by faith and in our recognition of our greater purpose. The individual soul or ‘Atmah’ comes into existence to creatively live through its varied expressions so it may realize itself as being homologous with the Supreme ultimate reality or ‘Brahman’. In order for these experiences to be ignited, as we rise from our daily slumber, our responses exponentially bespeak our actions. At times, we may be so unaware that an unprecedented response may surprise us, and at other times we may be so present that an action may result effortlessly - although consciously. The Avtar of ‘Vishnu’ actively encourages a play with all of the universal consciousness such that—through each manifestation, every individual soul may partake in the journey of the ‘infinite’; termed in Sanskrit as ‘Ananta’.
Floating on the ocean, amidst a changing world - the symbolism of ‘Narayan’ on the snake ‘Sesha’ indicates the ‘remainder’ of our experiences. As we fall asleep, the stage is indicated by ‘zero’ or is non-existent. It is here that all episodes collate back to nothing but the joining of all experiences with the consciousness of the experience. The clay that remains intact once the clay pot breaks—loses nothing but the illusion of itself a pot; it continues to be clay. In that manner, all of the stages of awakening as ‘adi’, ‘anata’ and ‘sesha’ are solely stages of realization that take the universe back to the one experience of the absolute.
As each human dismisses his apprehensions so as to recollect with his wisdom, understanding that the separation from his higher self was nothing but his own delusion, this self-knowledge starts to disintegrate the symbolism for integrating the greater good. To enable collective change today, as each one discovers a perfect state of resonance enlightened with ‘Vishnuism’ or a state of ‘expanding consciousness’, they are collectively celebrating the birthing and purpose of each of the three Avatars; Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva for collective gain. Their individual pockets of ‘Krishna consciousness’ use the human mind to access their own ability to come into themselves. Just as a spider, creates his own web and consumes it after the need for its existence, when human souls are fulfilled by their travels, they find their end in death. If self-knowledge is acquired before death, they will be eliminated as ‘souls’ but remain emboldened to the one ‘absolute spirit’ now ubiquitous; omnipresent. If they remain unfulfilled, full of desire, and apprehension at death; they will find another reason to awaken to the circle of life.
Today the human spirit celebrates the idea of awakening fully, adoring the image of ‘Krishna and his collective wakefulness with flowers, fruit, and a mind bursting with spiritedness and truth. ‘Janamashtami’ calibrates its odyssey with a salute to all of the collective realizations—for it celebrates the birth of ‘absolute consciousness’, amidst the space and time of a ‘relative awakening’ with the re-birthing of ‘Krishna’.