Coming from a Catholic background it is hard to conceptualize the Great Beyond as not a place where “I” go when “I” die and “I” enjoy everything “I” enjoyed in life forever and ever amen, etc. Over the years I have gotten really good at it though, to a point where the scenario I’ve just described actually reads very foreign as I read it back to myself.
What really complicated it was when another idea was chucked into the mix. That everything is Brahman. Certainly not just people, not even just people and animals, and not just people, animals or plants either. Rocks! Rocks and other elements are Brahman! That stumped me for a while because I thought “rocks are nothing but dead plant material. Plants have at least some level of consciousness. Rocks don’t. They certainly don’t transmigrate. The plants themselves die and the physical makeup of the plant becomes the rock after a billion years or so. But the Brahman-stuff, the life force within it, goes away and comes back as a….squirrel and then when he dies the life force goes away and comes back as a lion and then a guy like me, etcetera etcetera ad infinitum amen as it were.”
But rocks, and all elements, all precious metals and whatnot, are all made up of “life” on a cellular level. A lump of iron is teeming with subatomic particles which, even though they are 99.9999999999996% empty space, are “alive”. If they stopped functioning as we’ve grown accustomed to them functioning, as little as we really know about how the hell quantum physics really works, every inanimate object would fall into a zillion pieces and cease to “be” whatever it is. There is dharma in being a damn rock!
Not that Brahman has to be a living thing, in retrospect, but it just helps to visualize when you can think of it as something that is “alive” and therefore floating down the stream toward Moksha. And anyway if you subscribe to the “We are all stardust” theory, we are all made up of the same elemental junk that the rocks are made up of anyway.
I don’t know. Maybe that is just me.