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.

© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved

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