VSN #10 – vishwaM(1)

by Sahadev Komaragiri

In the entire Hindu literature there are only a few instances in which the Lord grants the vision of His Universal form. In one such instance in vishva roopa saMdarshana yOga of the Bhagavad Gita,  Lord Krishna blesses Arjuna with a vision of His universal form. The description of what Arjuna sees is mentioned in several verses. There are two key things that stand out in the description. One, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that it is impossible to see the Universal form with his eyes that are made of flesh and that he would need divya or divine vision to view the universal form. It stands out that the Lords Universal form is beyond human cognitive powers. The second key element that I find very interesting is when Arjuna confesses that he is unable to see the beginning, the middle or the end of the magnificent form of Lord Vishnu. This is perhaps the most appropriate description of the Universe – it is impossible to identify its beginning, its center and its edge.

This post is part of the series on viShNu sahasra naamaM

The word vishwaM, the first name in the viShNu sahasra naamaM(VSN), means Universe. The One who is everything in the universe that is perceptible as well as that which is imperceptible. Lord Vishnu is addressed as the One who takes the form of the Universe.

According to science, the origin of the universe began with an extremely dense and very small object(called primeval atom). This object, as proposed in the Big Bang theory, exploded giving rise to the universe that we know today. The entire universe is expanding and will eventually contract to its smallest size. How wonderful and magnificent! We can hardly imagine a cotton candy being shrunk into a very small round ball of sugar beyond which it cannot shrink any further but can only melt on our tongues. Where do we even start to imagine how the entire universe came from a speck of dust and will eventually shrink back to its original size. An expansion and contraction of infinite proportions of this universe generates infinite life forms and countless forms of energy and mass. The same force that holds together the entire universe in a tiny object also holds together this screen and these words as well as our collective human thought and evolution. It is this human conscious state that is blessed with an intelligence and curiosity to know where it came from and where it will eventually go!

That now begs for an answer to several questions. What if the initial dense object from which the Universe emanated has an intelligence of its own? What if that intelligence is now spread across the entire Universe? What if this Universal cosmic consciousness is aware of itself and everything that came from it? What if this very consciousness manifests itself in its minutest form, say a sub atomic particle, as well as the gigantic stars and everything in between? Is it even possible to imagine the power behind such cosmic consciousness with a brain whose power in itself is a tiny gift of this magnificent omnipresence and omniscience?

Hindu scriptures say that Lord Vishnu created the entire universe and placed Himself in it. Hence the name viSwam. Viswatma(225), meaning the soul of the universe, is another name in the VSN that refers to same vastness. Taking these two names in context we can infer that Lord Vishnu is not only everything that is in the universe but also the Consciousness behind everything seen and unseen. It is up to the reader to reconcile what the scriptures say with what the science says!

The entire universe has been created out of the Will of God. God creates the universe and sustains it. The universe ultimately merges in God, the source of its origin. The universe is known as vishwaM. The correct meaning of vishwaM is that which is self-expansive and full of bliss. vishwaM is not merely a manifestation of physical matter; it is a direct manifestation of God. It is the very embodiment of the Cosmic Personality, with all His limbs. God is the primal cause behind the universe. The universe is the reflection of God. Vishwam and Vishnu (God) are not different from each other. This can be understood only through Viveka (discrimination)
– Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sneha August 1, 2013 at 12:11 am

Totally loved the article!! I love the parallels you draw between science and scriptures!! Thank you so much for sharing.


Sahadev Komaragiri August 11, 2013 at 3:34 am

Thanks for your kind words of appreciation!


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