“Everything is infinite; infinity and finiteness are indeed the same. In a garland the thread is one, but there are gaps between the flowers. It is the gaps that cause want and sorrow. To fill them is to be free from want.”
Sri Ananda Mayi Ma - Painting by Samuel Edelstein
I have had many mystical experiences with Sri Anandamayi Ma who lived from 1896 to 1985. I never knew her physical presence, yet it has been made clear to me that she is one of my guiding lights. This morning I opened my facebook page and found this beautiful painting of her by Samuel Edelstein, who has given me permission to share it with you. The subject of how a seed contains the past, present and future has been one of my meditations for some time. It seems to be both a reality and a metaphor, yet one that we do not acknowledge in everyday life. The following passage offers Ma’s perspective.
Ananda Mayi Ma was asked: “I have heard you say that one individual may have many bodies. If this be so, a man may simultaneously practise yoga with one body and experience the pleasures and pains of life with another. For a yogi this may be practicable; but how can this happen in the case of an ordinary person, who is still in ignorance?”
Mataji: Yes, quite so. This can be done for means of yogic power; for the ordinary person it seems impossible.
Look! When you see the bud of a flower, you perceive the bud only; whereas actually the full blown flower, the fruit, the seed, and the whole plant, are contained in that little bud. Manifestation is universal and unlimited, but your vision of it is partial, from one angle, dependent upon what, at a certain time, appears before your eyes. Look with an allround, comprehensive vision and try to find out who a particular yogi, a particular individual, in reality is!
Your body was first a child’s body, then became a young man’s, and later will grow aged. Childhood, youth, and old age are contained within you. If it were otherwise, from where could they arise? You hear people say that as a child your face was such and such. This proves that your face as a child is present at this moment as well; otherwise, how could it be described? In a similar manner, our body in every one of its phases is always present: as it was in the past, is now, and will be in the future. This is so where past, present and future are experienced as being ever-present.
Time devours ceaselessly. No sooner is childhood over than youth takes it place. No sooner is childhood over than youth takes its place; the one swallows up the other. This cannot be grasped by ordinary perception. Change is observed only to a very slight degree. Actually, appearance, continuance, and disappearance occur simultaneously in one place. Everything is infinite; infinity and finiteness are indeed the same. In a garland the thread is one, but there are gaps between the flowers. It is the gaps that cause want and sorrow. To fill them is to be free from want.”
from Words of Sri Anandamayi Ma, Translated and Compiled by Atmananda, Shree Shree Anandamayee Sangha, Varnasi, 1971