Authentic Seeker – In Gita Verse 9.32 O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth – women, vaiśyas [merchants] and śūdras [workers] – can attain the supreme destination.

Krishna is saying that it is not that in which family and gender you took birth. It is how you live your life that makes the difference.

The Chandogya Upanishad has a beautiful story. Let us begin with it.

Satyakam asked his mother, Jabala, “Mother, I want to live the life of a student of supreme knowledge. What is my family name? Who is my father?”

“My son,” replied the mother, “I don’t know. In my youth when I went about a great deal as a maidservant I conceived you. I do not know who your father is. I am Jabala and you are Satyakam, so call yourself Satyakam Jabala.”

Then the boy went to Gautama, a great seer of those days, and asked to be accepted as a student. “Of what family are you, my dear?” inquired the sage.

Satyakam replied, “I asked my mother what my family name was, and she answered, ‘I don’t know. In my youth when I went about a great deal as a maidservant I conceived you. I do not know who your father is. I am Jabala and you are Satyakam, so call yourself Satyakam Jabal.’ Sir, I am therefore Satyakama Jabala.” The sage then said to him, “None but a true brahmin, a true seeker of truth, would have spoken thus. You have not swerved from the truth, my dear. I will teach you that supreme knowledge.” 

Krishna says – The first quality of the seeker is to be authentic, not to swerve from truth, not to deceive in any way. Because if you deceive others, eventually you are deceived by your own deceptions. If you tell a lie too many times, it almost starts looking like a truth to you.

You are born in a society which believes that we are bodies. Everybody reacts as a body; nobody responds as a soul.

And remember the difference between reaction and response: reaction is mechanical; response is alert, aware, conscious. When you push a button and the fan starts moving, it is a reaction. When you push a button, the fan does not start thinking, “Am I to move or not?” When you put the light on, the electricity does not respond; it reacts. It is mechanical. There is not any gap between your pushing of the button and the electricity’s functioning. There is not a little gap of thought, of awareness, of consciousness.

If you go on reacting in your life – somebody insults you and you become angry, somebody says something and you become sad, somebody says something, you become very happy – if it is a reaction, a push-button reaction, then by and by you will start believing that you are the body.

The body is a mechanism. It is not you. You live in it, it is your abode, but you are not it.

You are totally different.

This is the first lie that cripples life. Then there is another lie: that I am the mind. And this is deeper than the first, obviously, because the mind is closer to you than the body.

You go on thinking thoughts, dreaming dreams, and they move so close to you, almost touching your being, just surrounding you; you start believing in them also. Then you become the mind. The mind also reacts.

You become a soul the moment you start responding. Response means now you are not reacting mechanically. You contemplate, you meditate, you give a gap to your consciousness to decide. You are the deciding factor. Somebody insults you: in reaction he is the deciding factor. You simply react; he manipulates you. In response you are the deciding factor: somebody insults you – that is not primary, that is secondary. You think over it. You decide whether to do this or that. You are not overwhelmed by it. You remain untouched, you remain aloof, you remain a watcher.

These two lies have to be broken. These are fundamental lies. I am not counting the millions of lies that are not fundamental. You go on identifying yourself with a name. A name is just a label, utilitarian. You don’t come with a name, and you don’t go with a name. A name is just used by the society; it will be difficult to exist in a society without a name. Otherwise you are nameless. Then you think you belong to a certain religion, to a certain caste. You think that you belong to a certain man who is your father, a certain woman who is your mother. Yes, you come through them, but you don’t belong to them.

They have been passages, you have travelled through them, but you are different.

Why did Gautama the great sage accept Satyakam Jabala? He was true. He could have deceived; the temptation is easy. To move in the world, saying to people, “I don’t know who my father is,” is very humiliating. And the mother was also true. It is easy to deceive the child because the child has no means to discover whether you are deceiving or not.

Jabala was a rare mother. She said, “I don’t know who your father is.” She accepted that when she was young she was moving with many men. She loved many men and was being loved by many men, so she doesn’t know who the father is. A true mother. And the child was also brave. He told it to the Master; he repeated exactly the words that the mother had said.

This truth appealed to Gautama; and he said, “You are a true brahmin.”

According to Krishna – This is the definition of being a brahmin; a true man is a brahmin. A brahmin has nothing to do with any caste. The very word comes from “Brahman;” it means “a seeker of God,” a true authentic seeker.


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