Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Uddalaka Aruni

Long ago, there lived a great scholar called Ayodh Daumya. Daumya was great teacher and had plenty of students. One of his students was Aruni.

As was the practice in those days the students stayed with the teacher in the gurukul. The students helped the teacher out by doing the daily chores and also learnt scriptures and vedas from the teacher.

Daumya called Aruni one day, 'Aruni! I want you to bring some more firewood for the gurukul.' Aruni nodded his head. He was already looking after the farms of the gurukul. Aruni did not bother much about the extra work. If his teacher asked him to do something, that just meant his teacher trusted him that he was capable of handling it.

That day he went to the forests and was collecting the firewood. As he returning home, he saw that dark clouds were gathering in the sky. Alarmed he rushed back when he saw the banks between the farms were crumbling. Oh Lord! If the banks break, the water will flood the field and all the crops would be washed away...I will have to be back before the rain..As Aruni was about to proceed forward, the clouds burst open and he was drenched in the showers. Aruni dropped the firewood and ran to the banks. He tried to make the banks stronger by plastering it with more mud...However the elements were against him. As he tried making the banks stronger, the rains kept washing the mud away. The water threatened to enter into the fields...

Oh Lord what am I to do....Aruni thought...

In the gurukul, that evening, all the students finished their studies and were watching the increasing rain from inside their ashrama rooms, when they saw a very worried teacher coming and checking the rooms of all the students.

'Where is Aruni?' He asked as he entered the room of the last of the students.

The students looked at each other and shook their heads. 'Last we saw him was when you had sent him to collect the firewood sir!' One of them spoke, after thinking for some time.

Dhaumya was aghast. 'That was in the morning....He would not be gone for that much time...' Daumya looked out looking at the torrential rains with worry, '...It is raining...What if he is hurt...'

Daumya resolutely shook his head. Nothing like that would happen to his student...He looked at the students inside the room. He called out five of his eldest students, 'You five come with me...We will go out looking for him...'

'Stay safe inside the ashrama...' Daumya told the others as he shivered in the cold rain, 'I am going to look for Aruni...'

Daumya and his students set about looking for Aruni in the cold rain. As Daumya went towards the forest, he grew more and more apprehensive..What had happened...Aruni was usually very careful and responsible...

Daumya walked about as the rain eased a little. It made Daumya's search a little easy. Daumya was listening above the slight drizzle as his students called out for Aruni. He strained his ears to hear any sound from Aruni..Nothing...

Daumya neared his field...He suddenly realized that the rains would have washed away the crops...He sighed, he would have to...That was when Daumya's keen eyes spotted something, the water had not entered the field...Daumya called his students and asked them to follow him as he went to the banks of the field of crops.

'Aruni!' Daumya shouted in the cold night. He strained his ears as he heard a faint reply, ''

Daumya ran towards the sound. He knew it was Aruni and also knew that Aruni sounded stiff in the cold and the rain...Daumya ran forward and saw something lying near the bank. The water was being stopped by...Daumya blinked as his eyes adjusted to the darkness.

He saw Aruni lying on the crumbling bank. Aruni was acting as the bank preventing the water from washing away the crops..Astonished Daumya ran forward and came near Aruni. Aruni looked faint from hunger and cold. He was constantly muttering, 'Bank breaking...crops washed away...' Daumya picked up Aruni and asked his other students to mend the bank. The students quickly got to work as Daumya carried Aruni back to the ashrama.

Aruni was given fresh clothes and some food. After the food, some colour returned to Aruni's face as Daumya watched his student with pride. The other students returned and told the teacher that the bank had been mended and that no damage had been caused to the crops.

Daumya nodded his head and looked at Aruni with pride in his eyes.

Aruni finished his food as all the students of the ashrama watched him. After dinner Daumya came and stood beside Aruni.

'How are you feeling Aruni?' Daumya asked gently. Aruni nodded. 'A little tired sir! Otherwise...'

Daumya smiled, 'You laid down on the boundary to prevent the crops from being washed away...'

Aruni shuddered, 'I tried building the bank sir! But the rain was too strong then and besides I was only one...I could not...So I did the only thing...'

Daumya smiled again, 'Son! I am proud of you...You have done a great service to the ashrama....You will be a great man, Aruni!' Daumya said simply, 'Today, I raised you from the boundary...Henceforth you will be known as Uddalaka [In sanskrit, Uddalaka means, the one who was raised from the boundary].

Aruni blushed as he heard his teachers words looking at the other students looking at him with admiration.

True to the teacher's words, Uddalaka Aruni after completing his studies became a guru and became a great teacher...Uddalaka is the grandfather of Ashtavakra...A great scholar, who was the teacher of King Janaka, the father of Sita in the Ramayana.


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  2. Krishna!

    Very fine re-telling of the story! Please keep up the noble work,

  3. Hi Krishnan maam,

    Now a days it has become a habit to read daily one post of your blog :). The way you narrate these stories and present them in front of my eyes is worth appreciating. This is a very awesome post on student teacher relationship. Nice to know about Uddalaka, I only knew Ashtavakra who taught Janaka mahaaraaja.

    Thank you



  4. It was awesome to read to my daughter and wife. I read Astavakra story and now got to know about his grandfather Uddalaka.

  5. liked the way the great story was written.

  6. Writing such our past makes younger generation the nobility our ancestors and the life in amidst nature. Also the pupil teacher relationship.
    Thank you.

  7. Great story as usual. Your blog is one single stop for me for any mythology related stories.