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


vishesh said...

lovely shiva....

it is a wonderful story....

the unheard sounds....
play and mount....

Deepa said...

Simple verse with such loaded each juncture in out lifetime ( like childhood-adolecent-youthful days-middleage - senior citizen age).. the very same verse reveal a different and yet apt meaining...

Just as we come to understand that
seeing is different from looking
listening is diffrent from hearing
perciveing is different from understanding...

We always need to listen to the silent voices
So that we can percieve the unforseen.. and prepare accoringly

Kumar said...

Hearing the unheard, listening to the heart of people, seeing and hearing, being subtle....all these qualities elevate human interactions to a very high plane.

A leader who has mastered these will be worshipped his followers.

Today's targets, pressure of delivering on time and performance measurement methods are slowly killing the human touch in management...and has evolved people into egoistic 'result- is- all-that-matters' leaders. This is also true of our interactions with colleagues, family...almost everywhere. We are losing that human touch.

A powerful insight into simple sentences...Well written, Shiva.

starry nights said...

Beautiful stanza shiva..I think it is so true that we have to listen in order to be heard.

Shirsha said...

"Elevate the art of seeing and listening. "
make that, "Elevate the art of seeing to observing and the art of listening to learning. "

Aah, and I wish I could quote this to an old team lead of mine "Leadership is in being subtle." Bah!

Jeevan said...

Excellent story!

In hurry we miss so much unusual wonders everywhere. When we were prepared to listening and understand the slightest ones, then we have been learned to be endurance and a good listener.

I have been done a tag like this (A Tag on a book) before; will try to do ur tag.

Princess said...

wonderful story and worth lessons...

and a brilliant shot there....
after many days, I've read some good tale..

pria said...

Even if you see and hear, the art of listening is more important. What we peceive in our thoughts by mere listening, can be spread well enough.

Speaking cannot be considered as a learning faculty as, the moment we start speaking, the process of learning is blocked
- I disagree with you. Why do people attend lectures or confrences?? Don't they learn anything at all?? ( may be you interpreted in a different way)

Process of learning starts from inside and it should come out on what you want to do and acquire more. Knowledge is not just few pages of books or by reading articles alone. It increases you or anyone to know better, but practical knowledge comes only when you interact with others.

When you want to climb either a tree or anything, you only think of the reaching point. You don't see or hear what interruptions come in between. Its the intuition of what you listen to your heart that takes you to succeed.

Leadership is in being subtle.
- It depends on how well it is understood and reaches the concerned person. Not everybody becomes a leader. That doesn't mean others are unable to think. When someone take the role in order to perform an action, others follow it.

From your story, life what we see, hear and enjoy need not be far but somewhere within or inside us. We never try to connect it as we keep our thoughts wandering without control.

mystic rose said...

this is a wondeful story. really enjoyed reading it. :)

Keshi said...

Im no Upanisahd but this is a great start for me...ty for this encouraging post Shiva :)


nalam virumbi said...


Like to know your opinion about this post.Read the post and say your comments.


Dawn....सेहर said...

wow cool from Upanishad....reminds me my school days :)

nice pic too
Thanks for sharing

david santos said...

I come to desire good luck to the new first-I give of India. Congratulations

david santos said...

I come to desire good luck to the new first-I give of India. Congratulations

david santos said...

My desires of good luck Mrs. Pratibha Patil to govern the great Indina Nation.
Good luck

Meenu said...

Thanks !

And hey thats the truth !!! we always play the passing the parcel game !!!:(

Hey nice post !

Bharath S said...

Great lesson Shiva. Indeed the hidden message is that, listening is a true strength and it's a positive trait that has to be cultivated especially in this fast paced environment. At times I have felt that I did not spend enough time to listen to my inner voice!

priya said...

Is everything fine at your end?

Deepa said...

Hope to see you soon..back in action

Kiran said...

A cool post and just stumbled across your blog today when I came across arjun's blog.

Jeevan said...

Siva where are u and how doing? y no post... come back soon :)

iamnasra said...

as we are having at LIP ( honoring the voice of Mystic Rose..please join us and share your thoughts on Mystic Rose

Thanks ..Nasra

Dawn....सेहर said... updates!!?
I have tagged check out my post n update your post ;)