ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णश्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
(Om Purnamade Purnamidam Purnat Purnamudachyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnameva Vashishyate)
As i write my final post of the 365-days-a-post-a-day-challenge, the mantra above comes to mind with a certain gratitude and humility. It is the invocation of peace and the opening verse of one of the ten most significant Upanishads. It is also spoken of as the most marvellously condensed description of the nature of the wonder that is the ‘ultimate’.
If one were to do a literal translation of the words, they seem quite obscure~
“This is perfect, that is perfect; the perfect emerges out of the perfect. even after taking the perfect out of the perfect, that which remains is still perfect.”
For me the verse is forever associated with the final ‘aahuti’ or oblation offered to the fire at the end of the small ‘havans’ we often do at home.
(Just to digress and add an explanatory note~there being no equivalent ritual in Western Culture, it is difficult to translate ‘havan’ into just one word in English. ‘Havan’ or ‘homa’ are derived from the Sanskrit word ‘hu’, which means to offer, to present and to eat. Usually in North India the word havan is prevalent while homa is used in South India. In either case the word refers to a sacred purifying ritual which is held in all Hindu households to mark births, marriages and other special occasions. It involves making offerings into a consecrated fire. Some may even call it a ritual of sacrifice made to the fire god Agni. After lighting the havan-kund (sacrificial fire), objects such as grains, ghee and sacred wood are put into the fire along with chanting of mantras. The belief is that all evil-spirits or negativity around you or your home gets burned off in this process and such ‘yajnas’~to use the Vedic term~usher in good fortune, health and happiness.)
If you call in a priest, a ‘havan’ can be an elaborate ceremony. The ‘havan’ we do on our own is a simpler affair. From her understanding of the scriptures, my mother-in-law had a ‘list’ of powerful-mantras that she would chant as our small family gathered together around the holy-fire and performed the ritual. And it would always end with the “purnam” mantra, an invocation to signify that the sacred task was done, complete, perfect.
It is with a similar sentiment that i invoke the mantra, for this process of tapping into the ‘creative force’ and penning down some thoughts every day has been no less than a sacred ritual for me. Some days the force was strong and the words would flow with greater ease, some days one struggled to find those creative sparks. And yet some inner strength kept one focussed, dedicated to the deed and not its outcome, immersed in the activity not the final goal, writing for its own intrinsic value, for the joy it gives! With gratitude i acknowledge this abundance i was blessed to tap into…the divine-energy that courses through us…an energy that is Poornam, Full, Perfect, Infinite.
And so i return to a limited understanding of the mantra…
Can our puny efforts either deduct or add to a vast cosmos that remains constant and infinite…
What you take is purnam, what you added is purnam and what remains after any deduction or addition is also purnam for purnam does not undergo any change!
What you take from infinity is infinity only, what remains is also infinity.
It’s a humbling reminder of one’s place in the universe; yet we persist with our life’s endeavours.
The task of day to day living, of some more action, of some more writing shall continue…