INFINITE DIVIDED BY INFINITE?
Inspired by the Questions of Śaunaka, Suta Continues
Suta looked deeply within himself. He reflected for a moment, cleared his throat, and began:
“Mahārāja Parīkṣit began his life as the son of Uttarā burned in the womb by the fire weapon of the envious Aśvatthama. That weapon would have burned him to death if Kṛṣṇa Himself had not intervened. Now, after hearing atma-tattva from the esteemed Śukadeva that king meditated fully upon Lord Kṛṣṇa.
At the time of death, most men do their best to enjoy every last moment with their adoring wife and family. But Mahārāja Parīkṣit was moved by transcendental knowledge and divine love. So inspired, he left behind his love for all things of this world, including even his own body. His affection for his wife, his children, and his family evaporated. Inspired by divine love, he had no interest in his royal opulence, his wealth, his palace and army, or even his favorite horses and elephants. He no longer had any interest in friends and relatives, or even his throne of empire.
Suta said, “Esteemed friends: the king on the cusp of death was deep in the rapture of divine love. He left behind all mundane forms of dharma, artha, kāma, and even “salvation.” In this way he became firmly fixed in divine love for Kṛṣṇa. So absorbed, he put his questions to Śukadeva, much in the same way as Śaunaka here has put his questions to me.”
Suta continued, “And that great king actually attained perfection through listening. He had great respect for Śukadeva. Sitting before that sixteen-year-old boy, Mahārāja Parīkṣit spoke as follows.”
“King Parīkṣita said, ‘My dear brāhmaṇa, as a pure soul you know past, present, and future. Your words are true. Your speech enlightens the dark night of my soul, for you speak of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, reality the beautiful. I feel enlightened just by listening to you. Your speech is food for my hungry soul. Please continue. Tell me of the creation, of the origin of these worlds. Even the gods cannot conceive of the unlimited cosmos. How does the Godhead, by His personal energies, create all these universes?
“I am curious,” the King said. “How does the Absolute, who is By Himself and For Himself, unfold and unwind these worlds through his energies? How does he dissolve the phenomenal worlds and again manifest them? It seems to me that He plays with the universe as a child plays with toys. How does He engage different personal expansions and mystical powers in the creation and expansion of the physical cosmos?”
“I know this is all beyond my ability to understand, but I wonder at these supernatural acts of God. It think it must be inconceivable because even the best minds fail to understand them. And yet, you seem supremely qualified and divinely inspired.
|Infinite from Infinite leaves Infinite|
“I understand that The Infinite is always Infinite, whether He exists beyond this creation or interacts with the modes of material nature.
“If the infinite is subtracted from the infinite, it remains infinite. This is difficult for me to understand.
“And if the infinite is divided and simultaneously expands in myriads of forms and avatars, He still remains transcendentally situated in His Original Form as the Personality of Godhead. This is inconceivable.
“’Then again, even if the Infinite Absolute expands again and again to conduct the the physical manifestation through the modes of nature, He is still Infinite. I’m not sure I know how to explain all this properly. ‘
“Mahārāja Parīkṣita said, “’The ways of God are inconceivable even to highly learned scholars. I am only a king, a mere politician, condemned to spend time with warriors, with women and with weapons. Your weapons are knowledge, and you are well-armed. Please explain these things to me clearly. Not only are you the son of Vyāsa himself, not only are you trained in the inner meaning of the Vedas by their very author, not only are you self-realized in transcendence: but you are also a great devotee of the Lord. For me, you are as good as the Personality of Godhead Himself, for you are blessed with all divine mercy to explain such conclusions, and I am eager to hear from you.’”
Sūta Gosvāmī said: “When the King asked Śukadeva to explain the divine creative power of God, he fell silent for a while. He knew that the power of speech was given to him only by God. If his words were to have any meaning he would need to become His instrument. He prayed deeply to God, as “Controller of the Senses,” and concentrated on Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He prayed for the mercy to speak correctly and spoke as follows.
नमः परस्मै पुरुषाय भूयसे सदुद्भवस्थाननिरोधलीलया
गृहीतशक्तित्रितयाय देहिनाम् अन्तर्भवायानुपलक्ष्यवर्त्मने
namaḥ parasmai puruṣāya bhūyase