What is Big?

Lord Muruga asks, What is big?

Auvaiyar answers (in a poetic verse), “Oh, the Lord with Vel (Divine weapon of Lord Muruga), if you ask what is big, world is big. But the world was created by Brahma. Brahma was born in the navel of Vishnu. Vishnu sleeps in the ocean. The ocean was drunk by Agasthya. Agasthya was born from a pot. Pot is a small grain (in size) in this earth. But this earth is hold by the serpent in just one head. But that serpent is a small ring in UmA’s finger. UmA is there in one part of Siva, Siva is in the heart of the devotee. So the greatness of the devotee is great to explain.”

Auvaiyar takes the notion of big in a form aspect in the beginning and concludes in a formless aspect. With this eye, one can conclude that this world is big. But, this world is created by BrahmA, so he is bigger. Even BrahmA was born out of the navel of Lord Vishnu, so he is bigger still.
Since Lord Vishnu sleeps on the ocean of milk, it must be bigger than Lord Vishnu. All the oceans were just one sip for the great sage, Agastya, so he is larger still. But, Agastya was born out of an earthen pot.

(Here I must tell the origin and story of sage Agastya. Once fearing the power of the austerities being performed by Lord Vishnu, Indra sought to distract Lord Vishnu with nymphs. Vishnu responded by producing from his own thigh an exquisite beauty called Urvasi. Seeing her, both Mitra (Sun) and Varuna (Waters) became excited and cast their seed into a pot of water. Out of this spawning pot both Agastya and Vasistha were born. Later, once the demons had taken refuge in the ocean and it was difficult for the gods to vanquish them, so they went to Sage Agastya for help. Then, after hearing the gods, the sage drank the entire ocean water and held it within him until the demons were destroyed.)

Since, a pot is but a small piece of earthen clay, the earth must be bigger than Agastya. The earth is carried by Adi Sesa., the large serpent on which Lord Vishnu sleeps, so Adi Sesa must be larger than earth. (I need quote another story: Adi Sesa is portrayed as a great being who has become a penance-practicing ascetic. His austere penances have brought him to an exalted state and the attention of the Creator BrahmA. Sesa wants to rise above the jealously and envy. BrahmA is pleased with Sesa’s penances and offers him a boon. Adi Sesa asks only that his ‘heart always delight in virtue and in blessed penances.’ BrahmA is delighted by this request of ‘self-denial and love of peace’ and commands Sesa to go underneath the earth and ‘steady’ her by holding the earth on his head.)

Adi Sesa is but a tiny ring on the finger of Mother Parvathi. (I did not find any direct reference to support this statement, my hunch is – the incident of Parvathi holding Lord Siva’s throat when Siva consumes the poison emitted by Adi Sesa from ocean churning. That might be symbolized as ring of Paravathi.)

But Parvathi always merges herself into Lord Siva. (The image of Ardhanarishwara – in which the left half of Shiva’s body is female, represents the Shiva and Parvathi fusion. The word ‘Ardhanarishwara’ translates to ‘lord who is half-woman’ (Ardha ~ half, nari ~ woman, ishwara ~ lord). So Lord Siva is greater.)

But Lord Siva is contained in the heart of a devotee, so a true devotee must be greatest of all. This exactly signifies the person who sees love in all the beings is the true devotee. In Tamil it described as ‘Anbe Sivam’ (Love is God), who perceives everything Sivam; then such a person’s glory is indescribable.

Hence, size does not matter, it is the characteristics determines the true size.

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