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A story from Mundaka Upanishad

Updated on October 7, 2011

I just read this ancient story from Mundaka Upanishada again and felt many on hubpages may enjoy it. Hope you do. It does give a feeling for basic idea of Advaita Vedanta philosophy mingled with ritualistic idea of Karma in a very colorful style.


Christ The Redeemer-Icon of Brazil
Christ The Redeemer-Icon of Brazil

Once in a tree there were two birds, one at the upper branch, serene, majestic and divine, and the other at a lower branch, restlessly pecking fruits, sometimes sweet sometimes bitter. Every time, when the restless bird ate a bitter fruit, it looked at the upper bird and climbed a branch up. This occurred a number of times and eventually the bird reached the topmost branch.


There it was not able to differentiate itself from the divine bird, and then it learned that there was only one bird in the tree.

(Standard Explanation: The upper bird, which is described as divine, the real form of the other restless bird. This is the thought of Vedanta. The fruits in the story are Karma, the restless bird denotes a human soul (self with the feeling of ahamkara (egotism)), and the majestic bird denotes the Absolute.

Though I feel one could also think of bitter fruits as right type of learning rather than Karma, then the story tells just the philosophy and one can avoid ritualistic talk of Karma.

It is your choice what ever you prefer. )





References

1. "Meditation and its Practices" by Vivekananda

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedanta

3 some sources for Mundaka upnishad
In original Sanskrit
sanskritdocuments.org/all_pdf/mundaka.pdf

English translations
www.hinduwebsite.com/mandukya.asp
www.atmajyoti.org/up_mundaka_upanishad_text.asp
swamij.com/upanishad-mandukya-karika.htm

http://www.san.beck.org/Upan4-Mundaka.html


4. http://www.icumi.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Chr

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    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Loved your example...what we reap is what we sow so, why fear and let's take it with open arms 'cause that is our destiny/karma.

      voted way way up!

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      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot Ruchira for the visit and interesting comment. I agree with you completely. Even a weakness becomes strength once we accept it as part of us and try to overcome it. I like your term "take it with open arms"

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 5 years ago from Philadelphia

      This is my simple definition of Karma"What goes around,comes around." You may be up today,tomorrow you down! Voted up useful.

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      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot mackyi for the visit and interesting comment! I quite agree with you. Even in stock market world -among perhaps the most lost one with effect of maya- they say quite similar thing- what goes up comes down.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I have read this story in Mundaka Upanishad. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed your enlightening interpretation.

    • profile image
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      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot Vinaya for the visit.

    • roc6 profile image

      roc6 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank You for putting it so beautifully and so simple to understand.

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      Author

      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot roc for the visit and appreciation.

    • profile image

      bisaria 5 years ago from Delhi, India

      nice one

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      Author

      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot bisaria for the visit.

    • raakachi profile image

      raakachi 5 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

      Nice explanation with simple logic. i like it. voted as useful.

    • profile image
      Author

      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot raakachi for visit and appreciation

    • profile image

      saisarannaga 5 years ago from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India.

      To day only, I have read your great hub on Mundakopanishad.Those who understand this intricate Truth will definitely progress in spirituality! Thank you for the nice treat. Also I thank you for following my hubs!

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      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot saisarannga. I enjoyed very much visiting your hub, I have to read more carefully again several articles by you, very interesting ones.

    • profile image

      Amit shaw_same on ST 5 years ago

      Your Researches of Vedantic philosophies are really selected and good to understand , nice reading the story and explainataion

    • profile image

      absolute1 5 years ago

      Your Researches of Vedantic philosophies are really selected and good to understand , nice reading the story and explainataion. Me Amit same as ST

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      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot Amit for appreciation. I become your follower here. Looking forward to your articles on both places.

    • profile image

      vandana 5 years ago

      nice !!! good way to make understand the way to upgrade one self

    • profile image
      Author

      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Hi! Vandana

      Yes story tells so nicely basic philosophies and method to understand one self. Thanks a lot for your visit.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Soumyasrajan, I really enjoyed this parable. In my religion, there is a concept of the oneness between mentor and disciple. In any bad situation, you ask yourself, what would the president of the organization do in this situation. Take the noble path. A number of motivational speakers now embrace the idea of role modelling. Eventually, it becomes a habit, where you too chant and pray for clarity to make the right decisions no matter what the situation is.

      Voted Up and interesting.

    • profile image
      Author

      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      I quite agree with the idea formosangirl. "Take a noblepath" is a very good philosophy. It is the right attitude.

      My wife always says and I like this idea "one should always keep in mind even if no one else that one is any way watching you (it does not matter that one is there or not but this idea helps you to make decisions better and live better)".

    • sheilanewton profile image

      sheilanewton 5 years ago from North Shields, UK

      What a wonderful story you tell. There's a great moral to the tale. I loved reading this. Thank you so much.

    • profile image
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      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot sheila. Yes these ancient ideas all over world have a sort of eternal teaching and enjoyment values.

    • ram_m profile image

      ram_m 5 years ago from India

      Hello soumya this is a wonderful hub. you have dmystefied the secret of mundaka upanishads in a very simple manner.what a pity much of the secrets of the upanishads seem remote and esoteric. great work

    • profile image
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      soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Hi! Ram

      Thanks for so nice comment. I quite agree with your view. We seem to have stopped taking our ideas which are so pleasing and so exact, seriously. I wish we do a lot more of reading and analyzing these ancient ideas. There is a lot to learn from them.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 3 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Wow this is very interesting.. I never knew that.. blessings to you and so nice to meet you

      Debbie

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      Author

      soumyasrajan 3 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot Deborah for the visit and appreciation. Thanks also for yr blessing, a treasure for me. I also feel happy to meet u.

    • denden mangubat profile image

      denden mangubat 3 years ago from liloan, cebu, philippines

      very interesting.this is the first time i know about this.

    • profile image
      Author

      soumyasrajan 3 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Thanks a lot for the visit denden and appreciating comment.

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