The Mother Divine
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Haridas Chatterjee
Now it is time for you to adopt Brahmacharyya, to follow the Divine Path, and acquire spiritual knowledge by studying the Vedas with our Guru", so said Aruni to his son Svetaketu.

In obedience to his father's command, Svetaketu, then a lad of only twelve, left for the Ashram of the Guru. There for twelve long years he sat at the feet of his Guru studying all the Vedas, and eventually became well-versed in them.

When he returned home, Aruni felt rather distressed to find that humility, which is the fruit of true education and knowledge, was sadly lacking in his son, and that instead he had developed a sense of unbecoming pride for his scholarship. The father wondered how that could be and thought that possibly his son had not learnt the most essential thing that he should have learnt.

So thinking, one day he asked Svetaketu: "Did you seek to be instructed in that one thing, which is the essence of all things, and the knowledge whereof furnishes the clue to all things unknown?" "It is like this, my boy," he went on, "When a lump of clay is known, all objects made of it come to be known. The different objects made of clay differ only in shape and name; the real substance of them all is clay and nothing else. Again, a lump of gold reveals the nature of all objects made of gold. The objects differ only in name and form; the real substance of them all is gold. So it is in the case of the particular thing I am asking you about."

Taken aback at this strange question, Svetakstu confessed that he had not asked his Guru about it. "Possibly", said he, "it was a thing beyond the range of my Guru's knowledge, or else he would certainly have enlightened me about it. However, do thou instruct me, O Father, on the subject."

So be it", said the father and continued: "Before this universe with its myriads of names and forms became manifest there was one and only One in existence. That One merely willed it and became many. All things that you see in this universe have emanated from that One, and He is Brahman. If you know Brahman, you know everything.”

"But Brahman is not visible to us", put in Svetaketu.

"May be, but nothing is more certain than that He does exist."

There was a, big peepul tree standing in front of them, laden with ripe limits. Pointing to it, Aruni asked his son to fetch one fruit. Svetaketu did so.

"Just break it up, will you? What do you find inside?"

"A lot of tiny needs", came the reply.

"Now break up one of these tiny seeds. What do you find?"

"Why, nothing at all", replied Svetaketu.

"Know it for certain", thereupon said the father, "In that seed lies embedded a germ no bigger than an atom, and yet in that atom-like germ lies concealed a mighty tree. This germ is not visible to the eye, but there is no doubt that it is there. Given congenial soil and conditions, from it will spring forth a shoot which will in the fullness of time grow into a big tree. In the same way, this vast universe has come into existence from Brahman. You cannot see Him, but believe me, my boy, He does exist.''

In order to drive the point further home, Aruni gave his son a lump of salt and asked him to put it in a pot of water and let it lie there for the night. Next morning the father asked him to fetch that lump of salt. Svetaketu came and reported that he could not find it.

"And why can't you find it?" said Aruni, "Because it has melted into the water. But you cannot say that it is not there. It no longer exists in its original form, but it is there all the same. It has only changed form, that is all. If you want to test it, take some water from the top of the pot and taste it."

"What is the taste like?"


"Now taste some water from the middle of the pot. How does it taste?"


"Now taste some water from the bottom of the pot. What is the taste like?"

"It also is salty".

"You see then", said Aruni, "although you cannot see the lump of salt any more with the eye, nor can you feel it with the touch, its taste reveals its presence in the water. The salt is there in its minutest form. It has permeated every drop of that water in the pot. So also with Brahman. The existence of Brahman cannot be realized by the external senses. His existence is nevertheless a stern reality. He abides in this body in the form of an infinite atom. He pervades the whole universe. There are means whereby it is possible to realise His existence within this body." "It is this infinite atom which is the Truth. It is the SELF. Oh Svetaketa. THOU ART THAT." His thirst for knowledge thus quickened, Svetaketu implored his father to tell him.

Something more on the subject. The father agreed and said. "By what means this ever-existent; SELF can be realised in this body I shall tell you now."

"If a person is brought away from Gandhar blindfolded and is left to shift for himself in a deserted place, what will he do? Sightless and helpless that he is, he will stray now to the north, now to the south, now to the east, new to the west, and then cry out in despair: "Oh, I cannot find the right road to go back to Gandhar." Now, supposing a kind-hearted man, attracted by his cry, comes forward, removes the bandage from his eyes and tells him "Look hers, this, this is the road that leads to Gandhar", what happens? If he is an intelligent man, following the directions given and making enquiries of people on the way, onwards and onwards he will proceed, leaving village after village behind, and ultimately one fine morning will reach his destination."

In the same way, if a person, who has lost his way in this Sansar-forest, is lucky enough to enlist the compassion of a Master with divine knowledge, the latter removes his bandage of ignorance, and by the light of the awakening which from the word of the Master he may find the clue to the SELF. The realisation also may dawn upon him that the moment he is released from the coils of his own Karma, that very moment he will be one with the SELF, and then for him there will be no more coming back in flesh. And, THOU ART THAT SELF, 0 Svetaketu, THOU ART THAT BRAHMAN."