Thursday, September 13, 2007

The One & the Many

Walking down Central Park West tonite, on my way to shop at Whole Foods, i remembered one of Srila Prabhupada's favorite verses.
nityo nityanam, cetanas cetananam, eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. Anyone who has heard half a dozen classes given by Prabhupada has heard this verse, maybe more than once. Prabhupada loved it. I also love it, probably because it reminds me of Prabhupada.

The verse itself is an axiom, seemingly quite simple, yet containing the nutshell of the entire Absolute Truth.

There is One eternal being who is the chief of all eternal beings, and one consciousness who is the chief of all conscious beings. That One (eko) is fulfilling the Desires of the unlimited Many (us). As i was walking i was thinking of the magnitude of this vedic statement. That One is so greatly powerful, he is able to fulfill the unlimited desires of all Others. I looked up and could see an electronic billboard for CNN flashing on the top of a midtown skyscraper. So many jivas, i thought, with so many desires. And that One is somehow acting as a friend to help these jivas achieve their goals. Of course, there is also karma involved-- interest to be collected or debt to be paid-- but behind the karmic bank there is the hand of that One. Ultimately it is He who controls the game.

Then i arrived at Whole Foods and my moment of philosophical awe transformed into a more mundane concern, shopping for organic carrots, conventional tomatoes, a ripe avocado and some lettuce for my dinner. eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman.

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