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This story teaches us that God exists in everything.

Keywords: knowledge, wisdom, truth of life

Story of Svetaketu


Once upon a time, there was a great sage named Uddalaka. He had a 12-year-old son named Svetaketu. Svetaketu spent most of his time playing and having fun with his friends. His father was worried about his education, so he sent Svetaketu to a capable guru to get educated.

After completing his education, Svetaketu returned home. His father sensed that Svetaketu had become proud of his knowledge. Knowing that such arrogance would stop him from understanding the truth of life, his father decided to teach him a valuable lesson.

One day, the father called Svetaketu and asked, "Dear son, have you gained knowledge that enables you to hear what is unheard, think what is unthinkable, and know what is unknowable?"

Svetaketu couldn't answer his father's questions. His father explained, "Look at this piece of clay. When a potter shapes it into a pot, its form and appearance change, but fundamentally, it is still clay. In the same way, all things in this world are the various forms, colours, and shapes of the same ONE God. God is at the core of everything. Just as a pot cannot exist without clay, neither can this world nor anything in it exist without God. You too are a form of God, Svetaketu - Tat Tvam Asi." (Rishi Uddalaka told Svetaketu that by understanding the lump of clay, we can know about everything made from it because the essence of everything made from clay is ultimately clay itself. To explain this to the children, we have made some modifications to this statement.)

Svetaketu understood his father's words, but he wanted his father to prove that God is in everything. To illustrate, his father gave him a fruit from a banyan tree and asked him to cut it open. Svetaketu did as instructed.

The father asked, "What is inside the fruit?" Svetaketu replied, "It contains seeds, father." Then his father said, "Now, cut one of those seeds." Svetaketu did so and replied, "There is nothing inside, father." His father explained, "What you cannot see is the power (God) that will grow into a large banyan tree."

To further explain the concept, the father asked Svetaketu to mix a little salt in a vessel filled with water. Then, his father asked Svetaketu, "Can you see salt in the water?"

"No, Father," Svetaketu replied.

"But the taste of salt is present in every drop of water. In the same way, there is God in every small and large thing in the world. He is in me, and He is in you too, Svetaketu."

This story teaches us that God exists in every aspect of the world, and though we may not see Him, we can feel His presence in everything. As the Chandogya Upanishad says, "Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma" - everything is indeed divine.

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Source: Chandogya Upanishad

सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म

Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma

Everything is indeed divine

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Story type: Mythological

Age: 9+ years; Class: 4+

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