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Satyakama Jabala

Updated on May 30, 2016
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Shaloo Walia is an astrologer and tarot reader. She is an Art of Living teacher and also an ardent Krishna devotee and a follower of ISKCON.

This poem is inspired by the story of Satyakama Jabala from the Chandogya Upanishad. The life of Satyakama Jabala teaches us that following the order of our spiritual master, adherence to truth and sincere performance of our duties are the only paths towards gaining the highest knowledge.

The young Satyakama approached the master

To be initiated and gain knowledge faster.

Gautama asked for his ‘gotra’(family name),

Teary eyed Satyakama looked down in shame.

He went back to his mother forlorn and dejected

“I don’t know my father and so I was rejected.”

“Dear son! Our family name to me sadly is unknown

Tell the truth and use my name Jabala after your own.”

Bowing to the great sage, Satyakama spoke the truth

Gautama was pleased with this simple, truthful youth.

Accepting him as disciple and starting his education,

Satyakama was initiated and taught meditation.

Then taking him to pasture, Gautama did something unusual

Giving him four hundred cows –lean, weak and not beautiful,

He ordered Satyakama to take the cows and go to the mountains

Only to return when the cows multiply to a thousand.

Without a doubt in heart, Satyakama obeyed the order

Taking the cows to a meadow, he built a small quarter.

Lovingly tending the cows, he was so calm and content

That he neither noticed the growing herd nor the years spent

“The cows have become thousand, it’s time to head home” said the bull with a nod

“But first I’ll teach you one-fourth of the sacred truth about Brahman or God!”

“Brahman shines from North and the South and from the East and the West,

For He is universal. This is one-fourth and Agni (fire) will teach the rest.”

Starting the journey home with his herd and a heart full of gratitude,

Satyakama stopped at night for the cows to rest and lit a fire in solitude.

“Brahman is the Earth and the atmosphere and the sky and the ocean.”

Thus spoke Agni “For Brahman is endless. Now wait for a swan in motion.”

A swan came gliding by as he sat by riverside and hummed a tune,

“Brahman is the fire and the Sun and the lightning and the moon

For Brahman is the light of life. The rest will be told by a sunbird.”

And the journey continued while contemplating on what he had heard.

“Brahman is the breath and the eye and the ear and also the mind

For Brahman is the seat, the resting place. And this is all one has to find.”

Completing the puzzle of the Absolute Brahman, the sunbird flew away

And after the long journey, Satyakama reached his master the next day.

Sage Gautama noticed the settled senses, the content and the shining face

And he knew that Satyakama had learnt the secret by the Almighty’s grace.

Yet Satyakama humbly requested his master to instruct him further

For the knowledge gained through the master is the mark of a true learner.

Gautama replied “Performing your duties well with sincerity,

Serving your spiritual master with loyalty and integrity,

Thus gaining ultimate knowledge because you are blessed,

Nothing more to learn, you have fulfilled your quest.”

Satya kama Jabala ( story told in Chhandogya Upanishad)

© 2016 Shaloo Walia


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    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      Well said Deb!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sincerity is one of the finest qualities that one can have. It will carry the bearer to a full life of dignity in amplitude.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      @Manatita Hahaha...Sri Chinmoy has said it so well!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      Alas! Alas! Shaloo, I know what you mean. Perhaps Guruji did.

      "My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme!

      Do give me forty-eight hours a day, to accomplish,

      Everything that I need to accomplish,

      Every single day." - Sri Chinmoy's song.

      Some lessons there, I'm sure. Om Shanti!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      Thank you Manatita for the link! Our ancient scriptures indeed has so much wisdom and knowledge. I am reading Bhagwad Gita at the moment. And also 'Teachings of Lord Chaitanya'.

      So much to little time :)

    • profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago

      This is a database from the British Library of books sold by the Ramakrishna Library: I counted at least 12 Upanishads in the list. Read it slowly.

      One way is to obtain the e-mail of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, UK and ask for a catalog of their books. I used to do Seva there, they have many Upanishads. Having said that, a lot depends on where we are as individual Souls.

      The Upanishads are great at story-telling, wisdom and discrimation; The Srimad Bagavatam has Sri krishna pulling the one of Devotion, very swiftly to the Goal. Both have their merits.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      Welcome Dana! Our ancient scriptures are full of such interesting stories.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 19 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Very interesting story, thanks for sharing.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      Thank you Missy!

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 19 months ago from Florida

      I loved the story. Very well written and super interesting to read! Good Job!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      I couldn't find anything on Upanishads by Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre. But books by Eknath Iswaran are available on Amazon. As for Srimad Bhagvatam, I want to read the one with Srila Prabhupada's commentaries. It is 18 volumes set and needs a lot of patience, dedication and commitment.

      You are right about service. Guruji says that with satsang, sadhana and seva, our faith becomes very strong. He considers all three to be eequally important on spiritual path.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      I was thinking, while you were writing, that you should read some with very little purports. Consciousness differs from one scholar to another and can colour what you read.

      Anyway, Eknath Iswaran was a great Soul and may have something. Also Raja Gopalacharia, Kamala Subramaniam ..both of whom wrote beautiful versions of Srimad Bagavatam by the way. The great Western Savant Professor Max Muller as well as Swami Prabhavananda, may have something.

      The Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre have many versions of the Upanishads. Simply look up the English site to order. Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, Bourne End, UK. Still, I'll be surprised if you cannot find them in India.

      Seva, exercise, diet, service and meditation, cannot be over-emphasized. Selfless service expands the Heart and will increase your receptivity, to the Higher Forces coming down. Gratitude to the inner Pilot is a supreme blessing. Hari Om!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      Thank you Manatita! So much wisdom in our ancient scriptures...Upnishads are next on my list. But my master has given commentaries only on Katha, Keno and ishawasya upnishad. I have read Sri Isopnisad with commentaries by Srila Prabhupada. If you could suggest me, whose commentaries are available for the rest of Upanishads ?

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      Beautifully written; powerful messages. You're sprinting to the Goal! Remember me behind. he he.

      Cute, charming video. Succint and full of wisdom.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      Thank you Bill !

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 19 months ago

      That was quick! Thank you Hari for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very well-written and beautiful!

    • shprd74 profile image

      Hari Prasad S 19 months ago from Bangalore

      Wow!! Shaloo.

      Poetry with a beautiful spiritual learning on how to achieve knowledge by being sincere to guru is no less than excellent job.

      Loved it. Kudos.

      - hari