Hello and welcome to episode 72 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today is part two on the topic of Vedanta, the greatest wisdom bar none.
I highly encourage you to watch episode 71 where we talk about the power of Vedanta which is a universal consciousness and of Brahman which is both good and evil. It is difficult to absorb which is why only a few people practice it. Krishna says “all works without exception culminate in the knowledge of Brahman.”
Today I want to share a wonderful story with you. It will highlight some important aspects of the power of Vedanta.
The king and the sage
There was a king, and these earlier kings all had sages who would advise them on how to rule. This king told his sage that he wanted to learn Vedanta from him. The sage explained that God had given him the position of king so he must practise karma yoga to become detached. He needed to practise withdrawing the gunas.
The sage thought he was doing well but the king was not happy. He was determined to learn Vedanta at any cost. He begged the sage to teach him. The sage finally agreed and for the next 21 days he taught him Vedanta. He taught him the ways of the great men such as Krishna, Christ and Buddha. He taught the king about how they lived and every other aspect of their lives.
The king was incredibly happy and told himself that he was going to practice everything he learned. He was going to apply everything he learned to his kingdom so he could make his subjects happier.
That evening he went back to his palace and his queen was there. She was there along with her servant. The king queried saying if everything was god then was the queen’s servant god too? Is there no difference between the servant and the queen? He said from that day the servant will become the queen and the queen will become the servant. He explained that titles and positions do not really matter as God is in everyone and everything.
On hearing this the queen became very confused and afraid. She as determined to find out who the king had studied under and who had poisoned his mind in such a terrible way. She eventually found out that the king had met with a holy guru. She challenged the guru and demanded to know why her husband was suddenly speaking such nonsense.
The sage simply smiled at her. He knew that the king had vomited all of this knew knowledge in the complete wrong way. He leaned in towards the queen and shared a secret with her. On hearing what the guru had planned she smiled back and agreed to carry out the plan.
The next day the queen followed the plan. The plan was for her to invite the sage to lunch at the palace. The king, queen and the sage all sat around the large dining table. The food was served to them on large banana leaves. When the king’s plate was put in front of him he was horrified to see what was on his plate. His plate was filled with rotten food and garbage. It was foul smelling and barley suitable for a pig never mind a king.
The king was disgusted and became red with anger. He couldn’t believe anyone would dare to serve him this. He exploded at everyone around him he could not believe that a king would be so disrespected, especially in front of such a holy sage. The king demanded to know who had done this.
At this point the sage spoke and explained to the king that during the 21 days he had taught the king that everything is Brahman. He told him to eat the food because it too, was Brahman. The king became even angrier. He demanded to know why the sage was talking such foolish nonsense. Why should he, a king ordained by god have to eat such foul garbage? He asked the sage if he truly wanted him to each food that was not even fit for a pig.
The sage smiled and said that yes, he did want him to eat it. He told him he must eat it because everything is Brahman. The king, thinking he was smarter said “Ok then you must eat it.” The sage agreed saying that, that would be fine, he would eat it.
At that moment the sage transformed into a pig and devoured everything on the king’s plate. The king was stunned. He could not move. His eyes could not believe what he had seen. When the last bite was swallowed the sage resumed his normal form.
The sage explained that this is how he practiced Vedanta. The sage explained that you cannot pick and choose which parts to follow. When you follow Vedanta you must follow it to a T. You must know that everything is god. Every human being, every plant and every animal. The king should not have differentiated between good and bad food because god resides in everything.
And this, my friends is why Vedanta is so difficult to follow! Now you know why so few people can master it. It takes incredible power and knowledge.
In this moment the king understood. He had realised the mistake he made by saying the servant was queen and the queen was servant. He then realised why the sage was so reluctant to teach him Vedanta. The secrets of Vedanta are precious and if they are revealed before the person is ready then the practice will not be in alignment with the knowledge.
This story is important because it teaches us about eligibility. Eligibility has a close relationship with knowledge. Most people think that all good knowledge should be shared but that is not true because knowledge, when shared is often misused. People take the scripts and misuse them.
A good example for this would be terrorism. The take what knowledge they think they have of the scriptures and misuse them in attempt to support their terrible crimes.
This is why knowledge should only be shared by those who are eligible for it. Krishna said to Arjun “Do not impart this transcendent secret to a non-ascetic to a non-devotee, to one who seeks it not and to one who reviles in me”
Think of when you apply for a job in a company. Not just anyone can walk in from the street and apply. There will be a criteria set out and you must be eligible for that job. Knowledge and spirituality works the same way. Eligibility is the key. You must move in steps in order to become enlightened. You cannot decide tomorrow that you are going to be the next Christ or Krishna. There are steps you must take. It can take many many years.
Desire and gunas
The king had many desires to rule and he had an abundance of gunas. He had power, pleasure and everything else that he wanted. He wanted to implement Brahman but the gunas was getting in the way. Unless you are withdrawn and detached you cannot practice Vedanta. This is why the king advised the sage to practise karma yoga so he could become detached.
You need to practice drawing yourself in and detaching from the script. You also need to relinquish the desire for fruits when working without surrendering from that work. Those desires will only produce more work and you’ll end up in a never ending cycle. You will never get in touch with your consciousness because it will be blocked.
If you successfully do this, and it may take many years, only then can you merge into the knowledge of Brahman. When you get to this stage you will see god in everything, both the good and the evil.
This is an ongoing process. Krishna says “Nothing in this world of manifestations exists, as purifying as knowledge of Brahman. Perfected in yoga, in course of time one wins knowledge. Winning knowledge one attains to Brahman. The man of faith having mastered his senses and intent on it, wins knowledge. Winning knowledge he attains to Brahman.
The ignorant, the unfaithful and the doubting self-perishes. Neither in this world nor the other does happiness come to him. Thus with the sword of knowledge slay the doubt in your heart. Stand up and resort to yoga.”
Knowledge is so important and all knowledge cultivates in the knowledge of Brahman, the consciousness of the universe. Every path will lead there no matter which one you take. This yoga takes a lot of time to perfect. It starts with the jiva and eventually you will see the jiva in everyone and everything. This is Vedanta.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.