Many many years ago . . . Somewhere in the forests of India.
Guruji started his first class on scriptures like this.
He inverted his kamandal & asked.
“Is the kamandal full?”
“No, it’s empty” came a unified chorus.
He then put some mangoes into it. About 4 of them went in & no more could be added.
“Is it full now?” he asked again.
“Yes” came the reply from everyone.
The Guruji just smiled & put some berries into it. The berries took up empty spaces around the mangoes.
Some shishyas started laughing realizing their mistake.
“Is it full now?” he repeated the question.
“Yes,” only half the shishyas answered.
The Guruji then put handfuls of seeds into it shaking the kamandal. The seeds took space left around mangoes & berries.
“What about now? Is it full now?” He asked.
The shishyas started staring at each other. They had been proved wrong 2 times already.
The Guruji’s smile broadened seeing that his students were learning fast.
He then poured a dish full of water into it till it overflowed.
“Now,” he said, “the kamandal is full.”
He then put the kamandal aside & asked. “Tell me now, what have you learnt?”
“We can be wrong even when we are most confident.” said a student in the front row.
Another shishya stood up with joined hands, “We must always think twice before reaching conclusion”.
The guru was smiling at them seeing different viewpoints of his pupils. He waited patiently till everyone reviewed his lesson.
Then he continued “I am very happy to see you learn your lessons fast. Now I’ll tell you why I showed you this demonstration.” everyone was silent listening. After all, the Guruji was not dealing with them.
“The kamandal represents our mind. Its contents represent what our mind understands. What did I put in it first?” he asked.
“The mangoes”, everyone shouted.
“Hmm…” Guruji continued “the mangoes represent the Vedas. They are the basis of all the knowledge. So the most important scriptures are the Vedas.”
He waited for the students to soak in the information.
“The berries represent Upanishads. They are the discourses between the learned beings. They are arguments which help us understand the Vedas in a better way.”
“The seeds represent Puranas. They give a form to the formless knowledge in Vedas which is discussed in the Upanishads. Puranas contain all those stories love hearing about. Their importance in next to the Upanishads.”, he said.
Everyone kept gaping at the Guruji.
“Can you guess what the water represents?”, he asked.
“The customs & rituals”, one of the sishyas answered after thinking for a while.
“Very good Gyan”, he said motioning him to sit. “If at any time there’s a doubt about a custom we look up towards the Puranas to clarify our doubts.”
“The Puranas resolve their contradiction in Upanishads. But if a question is raised on the Upanishads, Vedas must be used to clarify it.”
The Mangoes, Berries & seeds also represent the three stages of existence which together is captured in the symbol ॐ.
“Do you remember those stages from our previous class?” he enquired.
Vidya stood up with enthusiasm, “The 1st stage is ‘aaaa’, which is the beginning, the 2nd is ‘uuuu’ the life span & 3rd & final ‘mmmm’ represents end.”
“Very well Vidya. In every age, you are the 1 to answer.” continued Guruji, then he closed his eyes & with joined hands uttered “‘aaaaauuuuummmm'”.
His sound resonated through all of them. He opened his eyes with an eternal smile on his face.
“ॐ is this cycle of everything & everyone.”
“The mangoes represent ‘aaaa'”, he said “A good beginning is half done. If you know the Vedas you have understood more than half of all there is to know.”
“The berries represent ‘uuuuu’. The Upanishad fill up half of the knowledge left around the Vedas.”
“The seeds represent ‘mmmm’ – the end. The Puranas help you understand all that knowledge.” He concluded.
“Also, everything in nature goes through the cycles of ॐ. A leaf sprouts on the branch of a tree. Lives there for some time. When it’s purpose is over it goes back to earth.”
“The tree itself goes through a cycle that is much much bigger. That has cycles of so many leaves, flowers & fruits.”
“So it is with us humans, we are born, we live & we die completing the cycle.”
“What represents the water Guruji“, it was Gyan.
“Just like every time, Gyan”, said Guruji his eternal smile blooming much more with blissfulness.
“Every cycle follows a period of silence. A period, when the leaf gets digested. A period which prepares the leaf to be born as leaf again. It’s the period which prepares for the next cycle.”
The Guruji walked closer to Gyan. He looked into Gyan’s eyes.
“We are meant to meet in many more cycles to come, Gyan. In every age, we’ll have different purposes, different forms of knowledge & different experiences to deal with. But the message we’ll end up giving to the world . . . Will always be the same.”
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