Your Existence – In Gita Verse 13.13 I shall now explain the knowable, knowing which you will taste the eternal. Brahman, the spirit, beginningless and subordinate to Me, lies beyond the cause and effect of this material world.

Within the vibrant tapestry of life’s infinite lessons, Lord Krishna illuminates a critical truth – the existence of two realms of knowledge. The first is perceptible, pertaining to the external world, while the second is profound and intimate, connected to the observer – the self. The Upanishadic story of Svetaketu serves as a testament to this teaching, revealing the journey from intellectual accumulation to the sacred discovery of the boundless domain within.

When Svetaketu returns home, his scholarly triumphs are unexpectedly met with a pivotal question from his father, ‘Have you known that by knowing which everything is known?’ His father’s words cut to the core absence of self-knowledge, which renders all outward learning insubstantial.

Driven to uncover this transcendent knowing, Svetaketu seeks guidance from his master, who imparts a timeless wisdom: that the essence of self cannot be confined to words or traditional instruction. ‘Simply be available for it. Be receptive; in time, realisation will blossom within you,’ counsels his master. Instructed to reside in the forest with the cows, enigmatic beings of silent knowledge, Svetaketu steps into a world where his only pursuit is the profound understanding of the self.

In the purity of the forest, Svetaketu’s formerly clamorous intellect begins to still, mirroring the silent, timeless presence of the cows. Numbers, language, and the constructs of society dissolve, and his very essence merges with the tranquillity around him.

As the narrative unfolds, it reveals that the cows, devoid of intellectual burdens, remind Svetaketu when it is time to return. With profound gentleness, Svetaketu stands amidst the cattle, recognised by his master as ‘one thousand and one,’ a silent testament to the wisdom he has embodied – an integral part of existence, a silent witness to the entirety of life.

From this stirring chronicle, let us extract timeless principles to guide our own existence:

Your Existence: Seek stillness, becoming a watchful observer of your journey. As Svetaketu transcended thought through unity with the cows, release the incessant inner discourse to discover the sanctuary where your true self lies – pristine, immutable, and perpetual.

Detached Involvement: Like Svetaketu in the forest, engage dynamically with the world around you while maintaining a tranquil detachment from the fruits of action. Act not from a place of ego or identity but as a conduit for the expression of the vast existence.

Spiritual Awareness: Spiritual awareness manifests at the cessation of thought. Emulate the gradual dissolution of Svetaketu’s mental constructs and language, striving to unveil the radiant spirit within. Cultivate silence in your daily existence to meet with your truest self in the depths of contemplation.

Thus, a journey as Svetaketu did, where profound comprehension blossoms not from direct instruction but through the fertile silence of openness. In the absence of all external seeking, the inner knower awakens. In the wake of this divine clarity, you encounter the infinite scope of existence, and you become imbued with an all-encompassing presence – an essence that is undeniably eternal.

Krishna, through this verse, urges us to let our existence become a symphony of silent self-awareness. Engage in the dance of life with the composed detachment of an illuminated sage. Cultivate spiritual awareness and let your essence sing in harmony with the cosmic consciousness. In echoing the Upanishadic mantra of ‘Neti, Neti,’ discover your authentic self – a being beyond notions, beyond forms, beyond identity – the pure, observing self. Upon this sacred path, transform intellectual knowledge into wisdom, amass knowledge into enlightenment, and action into a revelation of existence.


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