Friday, July 06, 2007

Hear! See!, Only the Auspicious

Mundaka Upanishad has always been considered as a treasure of knowledge. I present here, the following invocation stanza from Mundaka Upanishad that I feel is very significant, profound and beautiful and which represents the entire nectar of this upanishad.

"May we hear the auspicous things
with our ears;
May we see the auspicious things
with our eyes."

You may wonder, what significance this stanza has! I have heard in a discourse, a story that helped me comprehend the stanza. There lived an old king, who wanted to renunciate and enthrone the Prince as the King. Unfortunately, the prince was naughty, irresponsible and callous and hence was not worthy to be a king. The King took the Prince to his Master (Guru) who lived in a hermitage in the forest and told the master, "Master, Make him a good King".

The Master said, " Don't worry my dear King. I'll take care". Then, the King left to his capital.

The master told the Prince, " My dear Prince, Just go and wander around the forest and come to me after one year and then, answer the question, "What is the sound of the forest all about?"

The prince wanders around the forest hearing all sorts of sounds and wondering why he has been asked such a simple question. Exactly after one year, the Prince goes to the hermitage and tells the master, " Master, here is the answer. The sound of the forest is the chirping of the birds, roaring of the elephats and the lions, buzzing of the beetles, creaking of the trees, rustling of dry leaves, splashing of the water falls and so on."

The master says, " My dear prince, you have not found it. Wander around for another year and tell me the sound of the forest. Confused, the prince wanders around the forest, hearing exactly the same set of sounds he had heard the previous year. One year passed and the prinns to the returns to the hermitage and answers the master with the same set of sounds. The master again, asked the prince wander for another year to find the sound of the forest.

The prince started to wander again. The Prince thought that, as long as I keep hearing the same things and tell the same answer, I am just going to wandering around this forest all my life and hence, I should hear something new. One day, tired and exhausted, he lay down on a bed of grass below a tree and went into a state of complete relaxation. His mind was placid, the body was relaxed, eyes closed and was almost in a sleepy, but conscious. Suddenly, he hears the sound of a seed sprouting into a small plant, the sound of a bud blossoming into a flower, the sound a spider projecting and sucking its threads, the sound of a honeybee sucking nectar from a flower and a lot more unheard sounds.

After one year, he goes to the master and says, " Master, I have found the answer, The sound of the forest is, "the sound of a seed sprouting into a small plant, the sound of a bud blossoming into a flower, the sound of spider projecting forth and sucking back its threads, the sound of a honeybee sucking nectar from a flower and so on". The master said, " Prince, now that, you are ready to be a worthy king".

Lessons Learnt -

1. In order to be a leader, it is essential to hear the unheard voices and to listen to the heart of your people.

2. Elevate the art of seeing and listening. I need to mention that, we as human beings have only two faculties to learn. One is seeing and the other is hearing. Speaking cannot be considered as a learning faculty as, the moment we start speaking, the process of learning is blocked.

3. Leadership is in being subtle.

Feel free to add if you have discovered more from the stanza and the story.

Picture : Shot at a garden in Tirumala last month