Saturday, January 7, 2012

Amrita from the Churning of the Cosmic Ocean of Milk - Man is Forgetful and God Owns All of us!

Sufis whirling. Or as the Hindus may say, churning the cosmic Ocean of Milk.
Bless them!
My brother was describing to me the fascinating story about the Churning of the Ocean of Milk motif at Angkor Wat and other temples. The story came from the Bhagavada-Purana, it pertains to the origin of creation and how the 'good' (as represented by the gods, the devas) were reacting with 'evil' (proxied by the demons, the asuras) and churning the Ocean of Milk by pulling to and fro the serpent / dragon Vasuki whose coils were wrapped around this Mount Mandara which is situated in the centre of the cosmic Ocean of Milk to produce amrita, the elixir of immortality.

No, not Angkor Wat. But the depiction is clearer here.
I found this analogy about the purpose of good and evil as both beautiful and epic. For my brother is suggesting that this story embodies the constant struggle, the constant pull between our heavenly 'good' spirit and our baser 'evil' desires. We have inside us the serpent, and the ocean of divine knowledge, but just like milk to butter, in order to attain some spiritual wisdom, our selves must face the constant churning of good and evil as it is reflected in our daily words and action.

"How I wish I found this story in the mystical lore of Islam and not Hinduism..." I mused in one unguarded moment. It is after all, a very beautiful story (I think I mentioned that already). But then someone tapped me on my head and said, "Oy! You forgetful one. All that is good and beautiful comes from God. You can drink from the fountain of knowledge, but God owns it. If He chooses to pour His blessings indiscriminately across all of humanity, who are you to oppose Him? Did you not earlier write this... "

1. Indiscriminate Mercy
They come with the clouds
And ride the falling raindrops,
Each sparkling pearl,
That feed the earth
And fill the sea,
Heralds of a Lord
Whose Bounty falls
On the heads of the Muslims,
Jews, Christians, Atheists,
Agnostics, Buddhists and Hindus alike.

Ah. He is right and I am wrong. I was right when I wrote this prose some 8 years ago, but then I forgot and I became wrong again, albeit temporarily. Is this the butter churned from my own tug of war between good and evil, between knowledge and ignorance? I guess it must be so! And lo, we have found a nugget of amrita in this little corner of the cosmic Ocean of Milk... And one that is simple really - that mankind are often forgetful. 

Why do we forget? Because we would LIKE to own God, and say that our perception of God is the only right one, and everyone else can suck candy. Well, that is just bad manners, I think, bad manners for a Christian, a Hindu, a Jew, a Buddhist or a Muslim. But happily, we are not without guidance. And sometimes it just needs a nudge from someone for us to recall Love and the Truth of the Divine State - that we do not 'own' God or His infinite Attributes. That God owns us. All of us, all of our good and bad, all our guidance and misguidance, however deep our reflection, however shallow our introspection. This is one of the most obvious of truths, but a truth often forgotten. 

May God bless the Hindus, may God bless the Muslims. May God bless everyone! And may God bless you too, my sunshine. And finally, may God forgive me for my indiscriminate forgetfulness to His Indiscriminate Blessings.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way.

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