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Friday, November 17, 2006

The spider and its web


The spider and its web

From Kānupriya Gosvāmī's 'Jīvera Svarūpa o svadharma'

'Through his own energy the spider expands his web and withdraws it again. Though the spider is not fixed in one place (and not always present on the web, ed.) he is not false or unreal. Similarly, although the universe is temporary it is not false like a dream; it is simply a transformation of the Lord's energy, called maya or matter. Just as the spider's offspring can freely traverse the web without getting entangled in it, because they are of the same substance as the spider, but its enemies, like flies and other insects, get bound by it and die, liberated souls can freely traverse the Lord's material creation without getting entangled, while those who identify with the body and who are opposed to Him get bound to it. The srutis (Upanisads, that are usually considered 'impersonalist' scriptures, ed.) accept the reality of the world and have also clearly described the creation as a particular energy of the Lord:

yathornaṇābhih sṛjate gṛhnate ca yathā pṛthivyām oṣadhayaḥ sambhavanti
yathā sataṁ puruṣāt keśa-lomāni tathākṣarāt sambhavatīha viśvam

(Mundaka Upanisad)

"Just as a spider spreads a web from its own body and withdraws it again, the earth brings forth herbs and a living being sprouts hairs from its pores, so also this universe is born from the akṣara (the imperishable)."
Ref.: S.B. 2.9.26-27, 3.21.19 and 11.9.21

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