Reflections...              G Venkataraman
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We all know that babies smile, and smile most beautifully. But do you know that babies smile even while in the womb? I did not, until recently, when I heard a BBC interview with a London doctor who has been doing some research on this subject. Apparently, this doctor has been researching the behaviour of unborn babies by ultra sound, and he was startled to find that they smile from somewhere around 26 weeks.

The BBC interviewer naturally asked many questions and in reply the doctor said that babies for example wink their eyes. Why should they, when it is absolutely dark in the womb ? The doctor said it was reflex action, in preparation for what the baby would have to do once it comes into the world. The babies also go through muscle movements connected with breathing. They do not have to breathe within the womb since the mother supplies all the oxygen. Yet, they go through this movement, apparently as practice for what they would have to do when they come out and are on their own as far as oxygen is concerned.

What about smiling, which apparently the babies did many times in the womb? Was that also a part of reflex action? The doctor did not think so. In fact, said the doctor, babies do not generally smile after birth for about six weeks. Why? Because of the trauma of birth, said the London doctor. But what about smiling inside the womb? What was the reason? The doctor did not know.

Now, why am I bringing up all this? Because Swami has given the answer as to why babies smile even without any apparent reason. They smile because they are close to God! In fact, Swami has gone much farther and even explained how the baby changes in its attitude as it grows up. In brief, the facts are as follows.

In the beginning, the baby knows only God, especially when in the womb [where it has not yet seen its physical mother in the birth that is to take place]. Since God is Bliss or Ananda, the baby too experiences Pure Bliss. Once the baby is born, it continues to seek Bliss, but looks for it in the wrong place and soon gets lost. Where does the baby look for Bliss? In the world, of course. Why does the baby look around in the world? Because the world is full of attractive things. For example, the baby looks at toys and imagines toys would confer happiness. So it starts looking for toys. And when it gets them, it becomes fiercely attached to them and would fight to keep them - we have all seen that and perhaps have ourselves fought when young!

In short, after birth, man starts looking for Bliss in the wrong place: the world. Anityam asukham lokam. This is what Krishna says in the Gita, and Swami reminds us of this very often. It means that world is transient and full of misery. Swami asks: "How can something that is transient confer permanent happiness?" Remember, Bliss means permanent happiness. So where does one find Bliss and how to look for it? Swami has the answer [as always!]. He says, Bliss can be found only inside, that is in the Heart. Why there? Because, the Heart is the permanent residence of God, that is why. True Bliss is union with God, and that is why Swami recommends an Inward Journey to the Heart.

This journey has no hassles. No problems about bookings, reservations, etc. Only, we must have no 'reservations' about the journey, that's all! And no cost either! All it calls for is determination!!

Good luck!



Volume 01: PDS / 04 Date : OCT 15 2003