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A story from Mundaka Upanishad
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.
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. )
1. "Meditation and its Practices" by Vivekananda
3 some sources for Mundaka upnishad
In original Sanskrit