Enlightenment can happen now, at this moment. It is only a matter of being receptive. The Master is a gateway to eternal consciousness. It is up to the seeker to have the courage, determination and intelligence to take the first step in the right direction. Thousands of parables exist in the vedic texts about the lives of seekers and the paths they must travel to reach the ultimate goal – that is, moksha or liberation. One such story is that of Satyakama, from the Chandogya Upanishad.
Satyakama was a boy who lived in the dense forests of India with his mother Jabala. He had an intense desire to learn meditation and know the nature of the brahman. His search for a guru took him to the sage Gautama. The sage asked him, “Of what family are you, my boy?” Satyakama fearlessly answered, “My mother said that I should tell you that her name is Jabala and my name is Satyakama – and I know nothing more about my family. So I am Satyakama Jabala.” Appreciating his honesty and courage to speak the truth, the sage accepted him as a student.
The next day, sage Gautama initiated Satyakama into a meditation to quiet his mind. This was the first step to the knowledge of the Brahman, brahma vidya – knowing the self. After teaching Satyakama to meditate, Gautama did something that was very unusual. He took Satyakama to the pasture where hundreds of cows were grazing. To Satyakama’s surprise, Gautama separated out four hundred thin, weak cows. He then told Satyakama that he was about to enter a different type of journey. He instructed Satyakama to take the cows to another part of the forest and to tend to them carefully. He was to return after the cows had multiplied to a thousand. Satyakama had many doubts in his heart, but in deference to the guruvaak (His Guru’s words), he left the gurukul with the cows for the deepest part of the forest.
Deep in the forest, Satyakama lost all sense of time. At first he felt lonely, but soon he sought companionship in his cows and the surrounding nature and forgot even the human language. His mind had become completely silent and even the very goal of his journey was forgotten. He began enjoying his life in the forest. He became one with the nature around him and completely alive in the moment, lost in ecstasy and joy. He carefully tended the cows. His cows ate fresh grass and drank pure water from the streams and soon became very healthy. Satyakama stayed in the deep forest for many years, living a peaceful and happy life, so much so that he even forgot his goal of returning to his guru with a thousand cows. Satyakama never felt alone. Every living creature became a part of his family. When the time had come to return, a cow approached Satyakama to inform him that they were now a thousand in number, and that they should return to the Master.
Satyakama traveled back to the gurukul with the cows, and upon seeing them all, the Master exclaimed that now one thousand and one cows had returned. In other words, Satyakama himself had lost all sense of his former identity, and had simply become one of the cows. The Master simply pronounced the Vedic declaration for enlightenment – ‘Tat Tvam Asi’, or ‘Thou art that’. Satyakama was so empty of identity, and in a state of such pure listening, that the Master’s words just penetrated his being and became a reality in him. In that moment, Satyakama got enlightened.
The Master has the power to create the right situation in which a disciple can flower. It is through the guidance and instruction of an enlightened master that a seeker can reach the state of the ultimate bliss. Satyakama also had doubts, like any spiritual seeker, but he had the intelligence to listen to his Master’s words and the courage to practice the Guru’s instruction. In this way, Satyakama was able to transcend the plane of the mundane and reach a higher level of consciousness. The Master is a vessel for our own transformation, but the disciple must take the first step. Once that step is taken, then the possibility towards enlightenment, eternal bliss, becomes a reality.
Taken from Nithyananda’s teachings. The story is from the Chandogya Upanishad.