Uddalaka and Swetaketu
This poem is inspired from a story from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Hope you enjoy it!
Uddalaka was a renowned wise sage
With a son Swetaketu, seven years in age
Who was sent to Gurukul as per the tradition
To study well and realize his ambition.
Years of diligent studies under the Master
Swetaketu learnt the scriptures a bit faster
And back he came bursting with pride
With his achievements, he was satisfied.
Glad and yet saddened to see his son
Uddalaka wanted his son’s ego to be undone.
True knowledge brings humility, not pride
And with subdued ego, in Lord’s love satisfied.
The education was done but still incomplete
Without humility, it was all obsolete.
Swetaketu was eager to tell the praises he received
But was asked a question to test what he achieved.
“What makes one hear what cannot be heard,
And by what one can see what cannot be seen,
And by what one can know what cannot be known?”
Swetaketu was stunned as if hit by a stone.
Realizing his ignorance with ego shattered
He requested his father for the answers that mattered.
Uddalaka started with how the creation began
There was only ‘Sat’ before he created his angelic clan.
Then came Tejas (Fire), Apas (Water) and Annam (Food)
Entering them as Jivatama (Soul), he started his brood.
Different names and forms yet bound as one
‘Sat’ the all powerful rules and we are none.
It is from ‘Sat’ that we are born
And in Him we merge while the world lies forlorn.
He is the Absolute, the only perfect One
In front of Him, my son, you are none.
Like the different rivers merging into the sea
We arise from the same source and go back to thee.
Just like from a tiny seed sprouts a mighty tree
The Absolute brought forth the entire universe.
As the salty water tastes salty yet salt cannot be seen
The Supreme pervades every atom yet cannot be seen.
Understanding the ‘Sat’, the magnitude of the Absolute
Swetaketu was grateful realizing humility has no substitute.
© 2016 Shaloo Walia