Yesterday on the way to work, I listened to the “Thought for the day” on Radio 4. This program allows people with a variety of beliefs to give a three or four minute talk on a subject of their choosing. This particular talk was by the Rabbi Lionel Blue, and he talked about what a Kabbalist had told him about his view of God. The image he used was of God being nothing in the beginning, then withdrawing part of himself to leave a void. Into this void he sent divine sparks of himself.
According to the Kabbalist, the purpose of our creation is to allow these divine sparks to find their way back to God, to make him whole again.
It struck me how similar this is to the symbolism of the Mundaka Upanishad:
“This is the truth:
as from a blazing fire
thousands of flaming sparks come forth,
so from the imperishable, my friend,
various beings come forth and return there also.
There are many things that we would see differently, I certainly have trouble with the idea that God needs to be made whole. Even so this seems to be one of the occasions when truth is expressed by two ancient religions using the same picture and metaphore.