Day 20 – Om Purnam – Unpuzzling a Riddle


Until recently, this Sanskrit verse always seemed like a mystical riddle to me, something not directly relevant in my life:

Om purnam adah purnam idam
Purnat purnam udacyate
Purnasya purnam adaya
Purnam eva vashishyate

One translation:
That is infinite, this is infinite.
From That infinite this infinite comes.
From That infinite, this infinite removed or added; Infinite remains infinite.

??? Right???

Prabhupada’s translation:
The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.

More literally:
This is the whole. That is the whole.
From wholeness springs wholeness.
Take all away from wholeness,
wholeness still remains.

Like I said, it’s been a big riddle to me, kind off like talking in circles. But when I heard the Kirtaniyas sing this at Shakti-fest this spring, something just clicked; I was singing with them at the top of my lungs. Having my husband’s loving arms wrapped around me added to my joyfulness. All I could hear was purnam, purnam, fullness, complete, whole. He is full and complete, I am full and complete. From his fullness, all fullness comes. No matter how much is taken from that source, it is always full. All separate parts are full and complete as well, ie, little me!

This speaks very deeply to me. This verse soothes me quite a lot these days. I’m in wonder of the idea that I can be all I want to be, without that negatively impacting someone else. My success is not another’s failure. There is room for us all. Each of us can be full and complete.

I’m just beginning my thinking about this dance, and Vis composed this tune for me:


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