19 May The Limitless Offspring of the Infinite – May 20 2019
The Upanishads are the great mine of strength. Therein lies strength enough to invigorate the whole world; the whole world can be vivified, made strong, energized through them. They will call with trumpet voice upon the weak, the miserable, and the downtrodden of all races, all creeds, and all sects to stand on their feet and be free.
Swami Vivekananda, Collected Works, Vol. 3
Swami Vivekananda was one of the first and most influential teachers to introduce the wisdom of the Veda to Western man. Before his teaching and that of others like him, the Upanishads were kept as “secret knowledge,” disseminated to only a few. Today, of course, they are available to anyone, in translation and commentary too numerous to count.
What is the message of the Upanishads? There is a peace chant at the beginning of the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad that states a basis for all that follows. In Sanskrit, it is:
Om. Purnamadah purnamidam purnatpurnamudacyate;
Purnasya purnamadaya purnamevavashishyate
Om shantih shantih shantihi–
The English translation is:
Om. That (Brahman) is infinite,
and this (universe) is infinite.
The infinite proceeds from the infinite.
(Then) taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe),
it remains as the infinite (Brahman) alone.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
The Message of the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad,by Swami Ranganathananda
The infinite is all that is. God is all that is. Just as stardust, pulled from our sun, became this world, and from this world arose man, so that man, too, is of stardust made; from the infinite Brahman is born this infinite universe, so that all that is in this universe, too, must be of the infinite Brahman.
We are made of star stuff. We are made of God-stuff. There is nothing else of which we could be made.
Today I will set aside my thoughts, feelings, and ideas of myself, all hatreds and prejudices, in order to find contact with this stuff of which I am made. I will remind myself that there is nothing, not even my resistance, that can limit God; and I will ask of this infinite universe what it is that limitless God would have me, his limitless offspring, do.