The First God – A story from the Chhandogya Upanishad/Inspirational

Isabelle V. Lim
Isabelle V. Lim

What if you gave someone a beautiful gift, and they neglected to thank you for it, would you ever give them another?  Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, we must truly appreciate what we already have. For God is in everything. Food comes from God. In fact food is our first God, although we often forget. Here’s a story about that. 🙂


In the Upanishads there is a beautiful story. Shvetketu, a young man, came back from the university full of knowledge. He was a brilliant student, he had topped the university with all the medals and all the degrees that were possible, available. He came back home with great pride.

His old father, Uddalak, looked at him and asked him a single question. He said to him, “You have come full of knowledge, but do you know the knower? You have accumulated much information, your consciousness is full of borrowed wisdom — but what is this consciousness? Do you know who you are?”

Shvetketu said, “But this question was never raised in the university. I have learned the Vedas, I have learned language, philosophy, poetry, literature, history, geography. I have learned all that was available in the university, but this was not a subject at all. You are asking a very strange question; nobody ever asked me in the university. It was not on the syllabus, it was not in my course.”

Uddalak said, “You do one thing: be on a fast for two weeks, then I will ask you something.”

He wanted to show his knowledge, just a young man’s desire. He must have dreamed that his father would be very happy. Although the father was saying, “Wait for two weeks and fast,” he started talking about the ultimate, the absolute, the Brahman.

The father said, “You wait two weeks, then we will discuss about Brahman.”

artwork Isabelle V. Lim
artwork
Isabelle V. Lim

Two days’ fast, three days’ fast, four days’ fast, and the father started asking him, “What is Brahman?” In the beginning he answered a little bit, recited what he had crammed, displayed. But by the end of the week he was so tired, so exhausted, so hungry, that when the father asked, “What is Brahman?” he said, “Stop all this nonsense! I am hungry, I think only of food and you are asking me what Brahman is. Right now, except food nothing is Brahman.”

The father said, “So your whole knowledge is just because you were not starved. Because you were taken care of, your body was nourished, it was easy for you to talk about great philosophy. Now is the real question. Now bring your knowledge!”

Shvetketu said, “I have forgotten all. Only one thing haunts me: hunger, hunger – day in, day out. I cannot sleep, I cannot rest. There is fire in my belly, I am burning, and I don’t know anything at all. I have forgotten all that I have learned.”

The father said, “My son, food is the first step towards Brahman. Food is Brahman — ANNAM BRAHMA.” A tremendously significant statement. India has forgotten it completely. ANNAM BRAHMA: food is God, the first God.

OSHO

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