Bridges to be crossed
Throughout our lives we have bridges to cross, changes to make, learning to complete.
Brahman, however, is one and unchanging. It does nothing. It is through Maya Shakti that Brahman manifests the universe in all its beauty and logic, and intelligent order in great detail that is cohesive and functioning.
One order, a pattern by which we can analyze the universe, is that of the gunas. The three gunas - sattva, rajas and tamas – respectively comprise knowledge, movement and that which is static (devoid of knowledge or movement). All three are essential and omnipresent in the universe. Another constant structure is the physical form of the body and the universe, which also has a subtle form, which is intellectual-mental, as well as an unmanifest form, which manifests itself in physical and subtle constantly. How many things are hidden before manifest; and many more manifest before disappearing, like the fading day, giving way to the night, like a desire that quiets down. In the body we talk about vata, pitta and kapha. In the mind, there are many expressions: clarity, desire, joy, anger, tiredness, sleep. All of which are in constant motion! And in each of our lives, there are bridges to be crossed, learning that must be done at various stages of life, which is yet another order that structures our universe – human life. The phases are mentioned in the Vedas as: student, married, retired and renunciant. In each phase there is a specific purpose, but all of them are permeated by the objective of reaching maturity for self-knowledge, and surrendering to it, which is the most meaningful purpose of a lifetime.
Sama Veda has a beautiful and meaningful text.
Setun tara. Dustaran.
Akrodhena krodham tara.
Shraddhaya ashraddham tara.
Danena adanam tara.
Satyena anrtam tara.
Esha gatih. Etad amrtam. Iti Sama-vedah.
Cross the bridges. They are difficult to cross.
Cross the anger with the absence of the anger without being angry because you were angry.
Cross the lack of trust by trying to trust by giving it a try.
Cross the inability to give, by offering, by donating, through the attempt of giving, the exercise of giving.
Cross the false by bringing the truth, the transparency, the clarity.
This is the way. This is immortality (the way to discover immortality).
Our bridges are always difficult to cross. The bridges of others seem easy to us!
To cross our bridges, we have to find out where they are. Our bridges are not only difficult to cross, they need to be recognized. They are hidden from us; they are part of our personality and we identify them as part of us. Therefore, we cannot see them as objects, as non-self, in order to cross them. They are part of a hidden side that is dark and invisible to us. This concealment can be compared to the hidden world of snakes, underground, where they are invisible, but then they surface. In the Vedic tradition, the snake represents the ahamkara, the ego, with all its illusions. The golden eagle, Garuda, represents knowledge, clarity, attacking the snake, but then releasing it, leaving it be.
In the story of cobra and Garuda, we have the wise Kashyapa married to two wives: Kadru, mother of 1,000 snakes, and Vinita, the mother of Garuda. The snakes and their mother deceive Garuda's mother into serving them. But Garuda, after a long story, frees his mother from the snake curse, naga-dosha, by obtaining the nectar of Vishnu's immortality, amrtam. Garuda finally forgives the snakes, for they are his brothers.
Snakes live underground in holes and care for the area where they live. They appear wrapped around Shiva's neck and body, symbolizing the ego, personality, which for Shiva is nothing more than a decoration, an ornament. They also represent samsara, the endless cycles of birth and death of living beings, since snakes change skin and continue their lives.
Clarity of knowledge can destroy the ego, which is the illusory self, but then bring it to life in a free, illusion-free way. The ego returns in its beauty, unique and original, but now without the illusion of considering itself perfect. It takes its form without the illusion that it is the reality of the Self.
With the knowledge of Brahman, we understand the form of the ego – with gunas, with beauty and ugliness, dynamic, changing, with all doshas, the defects of limitation – and we can then welcome it as it is with its imperfections.
The bridges to be crossed are those that blind and imprison us to personality, to ego. In crossing over them, we remain as we are, with different expressions, but always complete and satisfied by the eternity that we are.
Om tat sat