Chinna Katha


In the Upanishads, we have the story of one individual who was very learned man who was himself a guru. His name is Uddalaka. He had a son by the name Swetaketu. Made several attempts to get his education at the feet of his own father Uddalaka. But the father did not agree to such a procedure. The reason for this is, for a son who moves freely with his father, it is rather difficult for both himself and the father to deal with and abide by the right disciple -and-guru relationship. The son will always have the idea that the teacher is his father and the concept of father and son will persist. This is because of the affection that obtains between the father and son. Here you will also have the justification for calling the son a 'Kama Putra', a son who was born out of affection. Where there is attachment, where there is affection and where there is a feeling of belonging to, and then there will be lenience and it is not possible to impart education in its fullest measure and with the right disciple. Because Uddalaka understood and realized the situation that education cannot be complete and proper when there is a relationship of attachment, he sent his son Swetaketu to another guru and desired that his son be taught and given proper education.

Looking at this situation, Swetaketu being young and experienced, mistook and interpreted if to himself wrongly and got the feeling that perhaps his father is not quite learned and hence sent to another guru for studies. For some years Swetaketu stayed in the Guru's house and completed his education and came back to his father's house with some conceit of high learning. Noticing this, the father asked the son, "What is it that you have learnt? What are the various systems that you have learnt? Have you learnt about Brahman? Have you learnt that particular branch of education which if one has learnt, one needs not have to learn anything else and will be knowing all?" Such were the questions by the father. While the father was asking these questions, the son was behaving in a rather queer and funny way. He was still showing superior airs and conceit as if he was far more educated and learned than his father and that the latter would not understand at all if he started telling what he had learnt over those few years. The father could easily understand the false vanity and the immature state of his son. The son was trying to show off; replying to his father that God is like this, God is like that, and so on.

Uddalata felt that his son would not be able to grasp anything at all if he tried to tell him the Truth about Brahman in words. He thought it better to teach the truth him by example. So he brought a pot filled with water. He brought also some sugar in his hand and he showed the sugar to his son. After showing him the sugar, he put all that sugar into the water in the pot. Then he stirred the sugar till it was completely dissolved in the water and then looked at the son and asked in him; " I brought the sugar with me and you have seen the sugar yourself, I have put it into the vessel. Can you tell me where in this vessel does that sugar lie now?' The sons looked into the vessel and of course did not find any sugar remaining as such in the vessel. The father put a few drops of the contents of the vessel from the bottom on the tongue of the son and asked, "how do you find the taste? You can take a drop from anywhere within the vessel and taste it," The son had to agree that the sugar was there now in every drop of the contents of the vessel and that it was present everywhere in that vessel. Then the father explained saying: "Just as you have now seen this sugar being present everywhere, so also the Brahman assumes the form of 'Saguna' or One who has the attributes and comes into the world and resides in every thing in everything that we see around you in this world. It is not possible to see Him separately with your eyes; it is not possible to get hold of Him separately with your eyes, it I s not possible to get hold of Him separately with your hands, but it is only possible to cognize him by experiencing Him in the state of the world. You cannot do anything more with your gross body than to experience Brahman who is omnipresent and all pervading ". It is only after you have attained this rich experience that you will be in a position to talk of Adwaita and give expressions to the nature of God. His omnipresence etc. It is only after such an experience wills you have any claim, right and authority to talk about the omnipresence of God. Otherwise, with more book-knowledge, prating like a parrot about God and His omnipresence, as if you truly know all, are all untruths? Only after the non-dual experience of Divinity can you talk of Adwaita or nondualism.