The Universes Within


“I remain fixed, whereas innumerable universes, becoming concepts within my mind, rotate within me.”– The highest pradakshina

I stumbled upon this quote yesterday.  It’s one of those “gems” that sparks something deep in me.  It moves currents I can’t name but I know it’s left me changed.

If you’re not familiar, a pradakshina is a ritual done when visiting a Hindu temple.  It’s customary to walk in slow circles around the altar after offering prayers.  It’s a symbolic act.  One can’t draw, or walk, a circle without a center point.  This center point is considered the Source, or God, or the Lord, or whatever you label the target of your devotion.  It’s symbolic that our existence cannot be without it.  Also, considering every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant to the center, this is symbolic that all things in creation are also equidistant to its Source or Creator.  All are equal.  Verses are often repeated while circumambulating the altar and the above quote is one of them.

I am not Hindu, but a person doesn’t have to belong to a faith, philosophy or belief system to find value or understanding.  These words fell like a perfectly polished stone into my being, rippling gently and sinking exquisitely into the depths of my core.  My interpretation may not be its exact intended meaning, but as with all abstractions, the mind and soul recognize the shape that makes the most sense.

“I” always remains fixed; unmoving.  By “I” it’s referring to consciousness, or that part of your being which observes every thought and deed.  It’s been present in you, unchanging, since birth.  It’s not the mind but that which observes the mind.  Although you have physically, it has never aged.  All your thoughts, all your actions and emotions are in movement.  They swirl, ebb and flow but the “I” sits motionless in its constant and unfailing observation.  It is the point around which the circle of our existence is drawn.

“Innumerable universes, becoming concepts within in my mind, rotate within me” hints that the thoughts we have about anything and everything become real things, alternate universes, or realities, that we carry within us, within that circle; forever spinning.   They become the fiber of our being.  They define how we perceive ourselves and how we perceive our life.  If not for these tiny universes, we would be nothing more than an empty shell with no dimension; just a plastic bag in the wind.

This leads to the notion that mindfulness is critical to understanding and molding our character.  It’s the reminder that the thoughts we project into our being are important.  Not being mindful, or being unaware of our thoughts and what creates them, would be akin to building a high-rise without a blueprint.

There is more I could probably say about this, but the little voice in me says, “Stop here.  It’s enough.”

This is where I fall into quiescence where words begin to fail but understanding blooms.  I’m content to watch all these little universes rotate and ponder the blue print I’ve been using and what changes I’d like to make.

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