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Upanishad Stories - A collection of Stories from the Upanishads

This is a collection of stories from the Upanishads. 

A Story From Chandogya Upanishad Which Explains The One Behind The Many

After studying for twelve years, Svetaketu returned home conceited and arrogant about the knowledge he had acquired. Seeing, this his father Aruni asked him if he had been taught about the ONE behind the many, seeing which one sees all, hearing which one hears all, and knowing which one knows everything.



When Svetaketu confessed his ignorance, the father explained how knowing one sample of clay one knows all its modifications. Aruni then ordered his son to bring a fruit of the banyan tree and cut it open. ‘What do you see?’ asked the father.

‘Atom-like seeds’, said the son

Aruni then asked the son to break one of the seeds and again asked ‘What do you see now?’ ‘Nothing whatever, said the son.

‘From this atom-like seed sprouts the huge banyan tree,’ Aruni explained. ‘In the same manner, from the atom-like subtle essence of Pure Being the whole gross material universe characterized by name and form Becomes. Have faith and your mind will realize the Truth and grasp the meaning.’

(Source: Page 42, Big Bang and the Bhagavad Gita by R.A.S. Kocha)

Story of True Knower of Brahman – King Janak and Yajnavalkya

During the Vedic period, King Janak used to go to the forest to study under his Guru, the great seer Yajnavalkya. The sage always had a seat in front reserved for the King. The other disciples of Yajnavalkya, which included several hardcore ascetics, used to feel jealous of the king. They thought that their Guru was either afraid of the King or partial to the King. Yajnavalkya who knew about the discontent among his disciples said nothing and continued to reserve a special seat for the King.

One day, while the students and the Guru was discussing the truth of Brahman, the reality of existence. Suddenly a messenger came running with the message that the Kingdom of Janaka is burning and fire is spreading into the forest. All the students started running to save their belongings. Only King Janak Maharaj stayed seated and quiet and continued his discussion.

Yajnavalkya turned to the students who were running and said, ‘This is the difference between him and you. His whole kingdom is burning but his attention is on Brahman, whereas you are running after meager possessions! You think you have given up the world but in reality you have not!’