Monday, January 27, 2014

The soul and the sea

A little wave was bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He's enjoying the wind and the fresh air--until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.
"My God, this is terrible," the wave says. "Look what's going to happen to me!"
Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, "Why do you look so sad?"
The first wave says, "You don't understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't this terrible?"
The second wave says, "No, YOU don't understand. You're not a wave; you're part of the ocean."
The spiritual message in this short story by Mitch Albom is compelling. I could not resist comparing the waves to life in any form and human life in particular. Some waves are short-lived and some last a little longer depending on its size but all of them get broken and dissolved in the ocean in a few moments. New waves arise to meet the same fate with an endless cycle of waves erupting and vanishing somewhat like human lives being born and getting immersed in earth eventually.
The admonition to the first wave that it is not a wave but a part of the mighty ocean has a familiar ring. The soul in human body has no separate existence and like the wave it is a part of mighty ocean that we call as God or the Ultimate. It is this Ultimate or the God that underlies and animates all living things. We all live under the illusion that we are distinct from the Supreme till we realize the true nature of our soul while we pass through the cycle of births and deaths. The human body is a sheath or bag that houses the Unseen power or the soul and once it exits the body perishes. The soul is a part of the Central Soul or the only Reality that is Omni present. Once the true identity of the soul that it is but a fragment of the Universal Soul is realized and the knowledge that it is the same as the Supreme is understood, we are said to be liberated or evolved. When such a gyan dawns, the man is freed from the fetters of body and mind and sees in every living being the same Supreme Consciousness. Such men/women are  present as a human being like any one of us but what would strike of such saints free from bondage is their ‘sprite-like in freedom, gentle in regard and the cold fire of eternity with a far-away look’.
The end of human endeavour should be to know its real identity as part of the Supreme. Once he realizes this, he sees the same identity of his in all forms of life and knows they are all same, the same God within and without. From this awakening arises Universal love seeing no difference amongst the different constituents..
Our religions tell this universal truth in different ways like ‘Look inwards to realize who you are or the Kingdom of God is within you.’ Once you see the unity of soul with god, the liberation takes place just like the wave losing its separate identity and becoming part of ocean.


  1. only if we could accept it...

  2. Good this time it is the Parmatma realization :)

  3. It is an interesting comparison, I didn't think of it before especially since I weave all sorts of stories around waves in my paintings. For me Ramanuja's vishistadvaita is easier to accept than Sri Sankara's advaita.

  4. Yes we are limitless like the ocean, since we are not defined by any boundaries, everything can flow through us and manifest through us.
    Paula horan explains this beautifully in a book on Reiki: "I am the vast ocean of consciousness who once thought "I" was a wave, separate from other "waves" and not part of the same ocean that I AM."
    Beautiful thoughts penned by you, forces us to think deeper and ask the question, "Who am I"?
    Only to experience the deep silence within us, which gently reminds us the truth of the no-thing that I AM, for I AM the nothing through which everything flows.

  5. Very interesting comparison! Though we know this in our heart, would we be able to follow them...tell our mind that we are not individual souls at all!

  6. I used to initially think that it is the soul that defines whether a person is alive or dead. But as you say, the concept of Advaita, tells us that there is no difference between the self and the supreme. I really liked your analogy and the simple way you have put this concept forward.

  7. I loved this!!!! Mitch albom the genius!!

  8. A good one of wisdom. Conscious Bliss is most elusive. You say, we are a part of mighty ocean that we call as God or the Ultimate, then why all the tribulations? maybe my understanding is incorrect and my view is limited or i fail to perceive. hope realisation in small proportion will least dawn on me

  9. ah.....
    all the individual parts makes up the whole.
    We are all one, the "we" not the "I" although often times we don't see or feel the support of the "we" and the notion of the "I" isolated, alone and longing is affirmed by the invisibility of the "we".