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Uddalaka and Shvetaketu

A Story Told by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

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These stories are so wonderful! No words can express the feelings. When the forest was so quiet upon the father and son's return, it made me realize that even nature respected their plight. It was actually a spiritually solemn occasion. Nature understood what was happening. A lesson for us!

I love reading everyone's shares. I learn tremendously from their insights. As a result, I'm now paying more attention as I read, and I try to discern the teachings. I can "see" more. Otherwise it would pass me by.

California, USA

Reading and rereading the story of Uddalaka and Shvetaketu, I am profoundly moved, deeply humbled, filled with admiration: there is so much faith and trust between father and son, I can hear the true "call " of the true Guru.

Thank you, Baba; thank you, Gurumayi; thank you, Bade Baba, as your divine satsang around the globe gives us hope.

Washington, USA

I apreciated so much Shvetaketu’s story.

It has clear guidance about the qualities I should embody as a disciple in order to receive what the Guru has to teach me:

Longing for the Truth
Eagerness to learn
A golden mind
An open heart
And to remain still at the Guru’s feet.

As I sit in my meditation room, or at any time during the day, I have this thought: “Remain still at your Guru’s feet.” Immediately I am alert and quiet in a silent space. I know that I can receive the Guru’s guidance anywhere on earth if I stay in this space.

I would like to express my deep gratitude and love to Gurumayi, who guides me on the inner path in such a sweet and compassionate way.

Annecy le Vieux, France

At the end of this story a beautiful photo of a galaxy is to be seen and it reminds me of a dream that I had during a stay in Shree Muktananda Ashram years ago.

In that dream Gurumayi is giving darshan. The moment I stand in front of her she touches my arm and in that exact moment I hear her with a very firm voice say, "I have got so much more to give," and I can see the universe opening up in front of me – just like the galaxy picture at the end of the story. It is a breathtaking view! In that moment I woke up.

The message for me has been and still is to have firm dedication to my sadhana and to allow myself to have faith in the possibility of reaching the goal – there is so much more that Gurumayi has to give, always. Shvetaketu does become enlightened in the end.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for being our living master. 


I am inspired by Shvetaketu’s qualities of discipleship in this story and awed by the power of the Guru’s sankalpa. Shvetaketu leaves, returns, leaves, and returns again, all in response to his teachers’ instruction. Regardless of his personal qualities, or level or phase of learning, he is constant in his respect for and trust in his teachers. He trusts and accepts the instruction they give him. He applies himself to the practices and teachings offered. By his responsiveness to his Guru’s guidance and by his diligent application, Shvetaketu cultivates the capacity to experience the truth of his Guru’s words.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for your grace and guidance.

Hawaii, USA

In nature, humility and harmony exist whenever there is abundance, just as trees laden with fruit arch over and clouds with water shower rain. Similarly, humility arises with the knowledge of the Self.

While there is a possibility of arrogance that comes with the attainment of the scriptural knowledge (just like with gaining any professional degree or entitlements), there is no such possibility with the attainment of the knowledge of the Self. They are mutually exclusive.

For knowledge of the Self requires one to be humble, to be deserving, and the knowledge itself is humbling.

Ohio, USA

Thank you for this beautiful teaching story of humility, the love of the Guru, and the courage and longing of a disciple. Contemplating this story, I think of Baba's life. How he studied with many teachers and how these great teachers ultimately led him to his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda. I feel an upwelling of profound love, awe, and intense gratitude when I think of Baba finding Bade Baba and his experience, from his book Play of Conciousness, of his divya diksha and the amazing grace and blessings that followed and continue today through Gurumayi's, grace to us.

Colorado, USA

The detailed description of Uddalaka’s Ashram was an absolute joy to read and visualize. Never have I read a text that so adequately described my experience of the Siddha Yoga Ashram in India, Gurudev Siddha Peeth. When I first laid eyes on the grandeur of the Ashram grounds, my experience of being a human being was transported to that of being a saint who had earned the merit to abide in such a paradise. Just as the story detailed, Gurumayi’s Ashram in Ganeshpuri is the most exquisitely beautiful shakti peeth, an abode of spiritual power whose natural beauty invokes devotion and sublime peace. As in Uddalaka’s Ashram, Gurudev Siddha Peeth is pervaded with gentle breezes that offer the fragrant scent of flowers with each and every breath. The Guru’s love is so palpable and sweet in this paradise. The Ashram images that were created in the story of Uddalaka and Shevetaketu have filled me with a strong re-connection to our mother Ashram in India. The beautiful images of the ashram campus dance delightfully in my meditation.

Thank you, beloved Gurumayi, for this boon to my sadhana. It is my prayer, that every Siddha Yoga devotee experiences the power, the beauty, the grandeur, and the grace of Gurudev Siddha Peeth.

Georgia, USA

What hit me about this story was how important timing is; a person may be right next to his/her Guru, but only when the timing is right, when the person has gone through a process, will he/she be open to receive the highest Knowledge and understand its significance.

Toronto, Canada

I was struck while reading the story of Uddalaka and Shvetaketu how much Shree Muktananda Ashram resembles the Ashram in the story. The beauty and stillness of the forests and the magnificence of Lake Nityananda come to mind. It is like the gurukula of ancient days has been created right in upstate New York! We have also been blessed to "sit down near a teacher" right from the screens of our computers.

Thank you to the sevites at the SYDA Foundation for creating this amazing learning tool for us to engage with every day.

California, USA

Thank you SO much for the sweet and profound story of Shvetaketu! As I embark upon a teaching career at a university, I am often feeling pressure to "know it all," or to "fake it till you make it." I recognize through this beautiful story that the most perfect sort of knowledge I can offer my students is humility, and to maintain that attitude throughout my life as an academic is the absolute key to my success.

Kentucky, USA

What struck me immediately in the story of Uddalaka and Shvetaketu was how rapidly and thoroughly the crust of arrogance and ego was pierced by the power of love. Love appeared this time in the form of a relentless longing, mumukshutva.

California, USA

Reading the story, I became quiet. Still. The flow of thoughts settled, they simply dissolved as one phrase from the story, humility was the doorway to receiving That, kept flowing inside me as a silent echo. It was as though my Guru, Gurumayi, had revealed the golden key to That. Humility is the doorway.

Then, when thoughts did start to ripple softly, I returned to the chapter on “Humility” in Gurumayi’s book My Lord Loves a Pure Heart. My being experienced a renewed commitment to study and engage with the chapter once again in a fresh new light. I am deeply touched by the sage Uddalaka’s compassion and gentleness. Although Shvetaketu demonstrated arrogant behavior, the sage was utterly compassionate and had such a gentle way to bring his disciple back. Above all, so unfathomable was the compassion with which the Guru imparted his own inner state to his disciple. The Guru is compassion incarnate.

I carry with me these nuggets from this story:

  • Humility is the doorway to realizing That.
  • There may be many, many teachers who can teach us the theory of the scriptures, but it is only the Siddha Guru who can actually impart to us the direct experience of That.

It is my great, divine fortune to have a living Siddha Guru in my life. Thank you, Gurumayi. Thank you, Baba. Thank you, Bade Baba.

Ganeshpuri, India

I offered seva doing web production for this story. I was doing research to find a manuscript that we could use as one of the design elements for the story. While I was conducting the research, the moment in the story in which Shvetaketu returns to his father’s Ashram with a transformed attitude—the attitude of discipleship—kept reverberating in my mind. Shvetaketu had become open to receiving the great teaching from his Guru. I tried to keep the same openness in my awareness during the research.

As I was looking through the digital library of the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute, which has hundreds, if not thousands, of Sanskrit texts, I remained open to finding what I was looking for. After a while I found exactly what was needed! All during the research, I was amazed that I had access to such an immense collection of Indian scriptures and texts. If this digital library didn’t exist I would never have found EXACTLY what we needed.

Thank you Gurumayi for showing us the wisdom of the scriptural tradition of India, thank you for keeping it so alive.