Symbolism of Bubble in Hinduism

bubbles

by Jayaram V

The archetypal meaning, cultural significance and symbolism of bubble (budbuda, jalabuda, or phenapinda) in Hinduism


A bubble (budbuda, phenapinda, bhindu, or phenagra) is a temporary formation and contains within itself air (prana). From this perspective the body of a living being is comparable to an air bubble since it holds air (prana) within itself. Like the air bubbles each being is swayed by the winds of fate or karma in the mortal world. Just like the human beings, each bubble has a brief existence at the end of which it simply vanishes without leaving any trace. In the waters of life beings rise to the surface as bubbles and disappear after their brief existence.

Life not only ends like a bubble but also begins as a bubble. A verse from the Bhagavatham (3.31.2) states that life arises from a bubble in the womb when the sperm and ovum combine and ferment into a bubble. Creation is often described in the Hindu literature as the froth that floats upon the waters of existence and disappears when its time is due.

The fragile nature of bubble denotes the impermanence of the mortal world. Over exuberance of anything, such as wealth, happiness or good fortune, is also compared to a bubble because of its impermanence. Emotions and feelings well up in the waters of consciousness like bubbles.

A bubble also gives the illusion of form and color, just as the body. As it floats in space pushed by the winds, one is reminded of the embodied souls that are caught in the cycle of births and deaths and pushed around by the winds of fate.

A dream is also like a bubble, which freely floats in the space of the mind and disappears when one wakes up or falls into deep sleep. Like the bubble, each mortal appears in the mortal world for a short time, radiating the light of life and disappears into the mysterious nothingness.

Thus symbolically a bubble denotes many things, life, creation, the body, soul, illusion, form, impermanence, freedom, vulnerability, subtle world, and a dream.

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