Lord Brahma’s first experience with meditation

In Vaishnava theology, Lord Vishnu manifests Lord Brahma from His navel so that Brahma may create the universe. According to the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, the first day of Brahma, which he experiences in the ‘latent universe’, or whatever you call it, is not a smooth day. Following his birth on a lotus, floating on water, connected by a stem to Lord Vishnu’s navel, Brahma sees only a few things around himself: the lotus, water, space, and air. Brahma, who is born with the knowledge of the Vedas, starts introspecting, “Who am I, sitting on this lotus?” He begins the day by searching for the origin of the stem that supports his lotus but is unsuccessful; the stem beneath the water is just too long.

Finally, he opts for meditation – the solution of all problems for seekers of knowledge. After a hundred years of yoga (his ‘year’ is apparently longer than ours), Brahma, in his mind, sees Lord Vishnu lying on his eternal serpent bed, perceives the origin of the stem that connects his lotus, and gains knowledge about the Lord.

With some uncertainty still present, Brahma sings praise for the Lord. Vishnu appears and instructs him to meditate again so that all the necessary information for getting started on universal creation can be transferred. As Brahma follows this instruction, he sees the sketch of the universe in his mind and then observes the Lord pervading all the worlds and his own self as well. Similarly, he perceives his own presence, along with that of the universe, within Lord Vishnu. This is all that he needs to manifest the universe. And in the process of introducing the universe, he launches the tradition of meditation.

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