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Da Da Da – Damam Daanam Dayaam - Teaching from Upanishads

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Prajapati the cosmic father of devas (gods), humans and asuras (demons) was imparting lessons to them. After successfully completing the lessons gods, humans and demons assembled for a final lesson.

First the devas asked: ‘Please teach us’. Prajapati simply uttered the syllable ‘Da’. Then he asked them: ‘Have you understood?’ ‘Yes, Father, we have. You have told us daamyath, control yourselves’. Prajapati was pleased, ‘Yes, you have understood’.

Next it was the turn of the humans. They too made the request: ‘Please teach us’. Again Prajapati said just ‘Da.’ Then he asked: ‘Have you understood?’ ‘Yes, Father, we have. What you have told us is daana, be charitable’. Prajapati responded: ‘You have understood’.

Next, it was the turn of the demons. They asked: ‘Please teach us’ and they too heard Prajapati utter the sound: ‘Da’. ‘Have you understood?’ ‘We have, Father. You have instructed us: daya-dhvam, be merciful’. Prajapati nodded, ‘Yes, you have understood’.

The thundercloud from time to time repeats his message to all: ‘Da, Da, Da’. Damam, Daanam, Dayaam – self-control, charity and mercy.

The same instruction or advice yields different meanings in different states or different people. When inertia overpowers the mind, one is a demon. When activity is predominated, one is a man. When purity, serenity and harmony prevail, one is divine.

Truth is one, but is expressed and interpreted differently in different stages of one’s progress. Therefore, thoughtful person should never bring about conflict and dissension in the name of the religion and in the interpretation of scriptures. The wise just seek to know Brahman.