The Infinite is Here (Purnamidam)

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most popular Sanskrit shlokas (verses) which is also one of the most profound and fundamental.

The Shloka

पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते
शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

Om Poornam-adah Poornam-idam
That (there) is complete/infinite, This (here) is complete/infinite

Poornaat Poornam-udachyate
Completeness arises from completeness

Poornasya Poornam-aadaaya
If completeness is taken away from completeness

Only completeness remains

Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
OM peace, peace, peace

poornam – infinity/completeness; adah – there; idam – here; poornaatfrom infinity/completeness; udachyatéarises; poornasyafrom infinity/completeness; aadaayaremove; eva – only; vashishyaté – remains

**Notes below

The repetitive sounds in the Vedic system of chanting are strung together in a scientific way to emanate certain rhythmic vibrations whose effect is perceived by the chanter/hearer even if the meaning of the words is not known. Take a listen to the shloka being chanted in the video below.

This ancient shloka from the Isha Upanishad describes the cosmic order. The Creation is Infinite/Absolute/ Complete by itself. Every piece of creation, arising from the Whole, from the Absolute, is also complete by itself. There is Completeness here (in us) and there (in the Creator and Creation).

Realising the meaning

Taking away infinity from infinity makes no difference to infinity. Just like taking a pail of water from the ocean makes no difference to the ocean or trapping some air in a jar makes no difference to the air/sky.

A human being is capable of realising his own infinite nature and the infinite nature of the cosmos. Contemplating this shloka helps one understand that. In fact, in deep meditation or samadhi, this shloka comes alive. The realisation that everything, including the piece of life that we are, is complete by itself and is Absolute. There is infinite space that allows everything to be and to happen. What we normally experience as the pain of uncertainty, is the spaciousness of possibilities.

This vast space has no characteristics of its own. It is formless and timeless. It is no-thing. Shi-va. Emptiness. We can call it infinity or zero. Zero times anything is zero. Just like infinity times anything is infinity. Or in other words, zero can bring everything to zero and infinity, to infinity. Silence can bring back everything to silence. [Ever wonder why when you listen to a spiritual master speaking, you become quiet/peaceful? It’s because his/her silence brings your own mind back into silence.]

The realisation of the completeness of life cannot come through the mind because the mind is always incomplete. That is its nature. The realisation can only come by setting the mind aside and looking at what really is here. Already here. Timelessly.

Recommended further reading: Living Being or Psychological Case – Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

You might also like to see this version of the chant on YouTube

**Notes:(1) Meaning of Om: The cosmic vibration made up of the three fundamental sounds in creation, “A”, “U” and “M”. These are the only sounds that a human being can make without using the tongue and these are considered to be the basic sounds from which all other sounds are born. The whole creation vibrates with the sound Om.

(2) Although it’s not common practice, French accents for English transliteration of Sanskrit are used here to convey correct pronunciations.

Read also: Ganga: the River of Heaven
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  1. intersting Shruti. I often think that the reason for being vegetarian is not to eat others, for which are one and the same and all part of the unified, infinite field of consciousness. We are infinite and we are all connected. Quite mind-blowing when you start looking at it like that.

    1. Thanks for the comment Scott, as always, adding a new angle to my post! That is indeed true too and def mind-blowing.
      When you start thinking about it, it seems crazy that people are spending their lives concerned with anything other than finding out about their true Infinite nature. Seems a kind of insanity as surely the only sensible thing to take seriously in life is such contemplation/spiritual effort…

      1. Yes that’s right, but people are only concerned with their perception of reality and the contamination that often results. Only through spiritual readings and endeavours do we realise the true nature of mind, spirit and nature. I try and read every day if I can. I think we need something to grasp and hold on to. Otherwise, we are always being led astray, unless we are super disciplined. This week I turned to Parmahansa Yogananda for his spiritual advice.

        1. So true. I read or listen to spiritual gurus everyday too. It is said that even just listening/reading in this way is sadhana in itself. Yogananda’s books were the primary inital impetus in my spiritual journey. Since then I’ve found that all thr masters say the same things- only we might find one or the other more suited to our temperament. I want to feature more from spiritual gurus’ books/videos on this site. Perhaps through podcasts…Let’s see!

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