Sage Bhrigu, son of Brahma, wanted to test Trinity and see who is superior. When he met his father and did not greet him properly, Brahma was angry. Then he went to Shiva. Though he did not greet Shiva, Shiva got up and embraced him lovingly like a child. When Bhrigu insulted him, “you are so dirty. Why do you embrace me and make me also dirty? Get off me”, then Shiva was upset.

Then Bhrigu went to Vaikuntha and, ignored by Vishnu in yoganidra, kicked hard on his chest. Vishnu woke up and said with much concern, “my child, I hope your foot was not hurt!” Bhrigu asked for forgiveness and declared Vishnu as the best.

Now, what does it all mean?

The word “Bhrigu” comes from the root “bhraj” (to shine or beam). As Self manifests as various objects in the field of duality, Bhrigu is a personification of the quality of Self to shine a bright light on objects so they can be seen and understood.

Trimurtis stand for the subtlest forms of gunas. The subtlest Rajas (Brahma) creates distinction in Self, the subtlest Sattwa (Vishnu) sustains distinction in Self and the subtlest Tamas destroys it.

Throwing up light on things (and making them perceptible and understandable) is a by-product of the principle of creating variety and differentiation, represented by Rajas. So Bhrigu came from Brahma.

Naturally, shining bright light on things is accompanied by an interest to discriminate and judge. No wonder young Bhrigu had a judgmental instinct.

Creation is of rajasik nature and structure, hierarchy, rules and protocols are important. No wonder Brahma was upset when Bhrigu disobeyed protocol.

Shiva stands for the subtlest Tamas that destroys any differentiation in mind. No wonder Shiva did not care about protocols and embraced Bhrigu. The quality of throwing light on things and differentiating them (Bhrigu) no wonder frowns upon (and considers dirty) the quality of destroying distinctions and absorption in Oneness (Shiva).

Shiva being angry is not the same as you and I being angry. If the quality of shining bright light to differentiate things considers seeing all as one dirty, the spirit of eliminating differentiation is no wonder not pleased.

This is just a matter of clash between different principles operating within consciousness.

Vishnu stands for the subtlest Sattwa, who sustains the Creation. Sustaining distinction in Self involves the quality of masterfully maintaining a delicate and complex equilibrium between various objects and forces in the field of duality!

Despite seeming inactive, this quality is ever active and alert. Vishnu in Yoganidra is active and sustains balance between various forces and objects.

The spirit of shining light on things and understanding them (Bhrigu) is ignored by Sattwa guna (Vishnu), which seems inert (asleep) and yet understands every object and force perfectly and actively balances their play.

Chest is shown by 4th house in Jyotish, which also shows peace, contentment and sense of direction. Vishnu’s chest is what gives a sense of direction and contentment to Sattwa Guna, i.e. the spirit that masterfully maintains a balance between various beings and forces in this Creation. That is extremely strong and nothing or nobody can hurt it!

Also the spirit of maintaining sustainable balance between various forces is impassionate and perfectly understands how various forces work the way they do. If the spirit of shining light and understanding things is upset that it is not paid attention and misbehaves, that is its nature and the spirit of maintaining sustainable balance does not get upset. Instead, it is concerned about the well-being of latter.

In fact, the spirit of maintaining sustainable balance utilizes the spirit of shining light and understanding things, without the latter even realizing it!

As I keep saying, Puranic stories are metaphorical representations of the play between various forces - some gross, some subtle, some too subtle - that are present within one’s consciousness. Deities and ethereal beings are personifications of various aspects of our consciousness. Not that they do not exist outside of us, but what is outside resonates with what is inside. As is the macrocosm outside of us, so is the microcosm inside us.