Beliefnet
'Now, take the bees, son. They prepare the honey by gathering nectar from avariety of trees and by reducing that nectar to a homogeneous whole. Inthat state the nectar from each different tree is not able to differentiate:"I am the nectar of that tree", and "I am the nectar of this tree". Inexactly the same way, son, when all these creatures merge into theexistent." No matter what they are in this world--whether it is a tiger, alion, a wolf, a boar, a worm, a moth, a gnat, or a mosquito--they all mergerinto that.

'The finest essence here-that constitutes the self of this whole world; thatis the truth; that is the self (atman). And that's how you are,Svetaketu.'

'Sir, teach me more.'

'Very well, son.

Now, take these rivers, son. The easterly ones flow towards the east, and the westerly ones flow towards the west. From the ocean,they merge into the very ocean; they become just the ocean. In that statethey are not aware that: "I am that river", and "I am this river". Inexactly the same way, son, when all these creatures reach the existent, theyare not aware that: "We are reaching the existent". No matter what they arein this world--whether it is a tiger, a lion, a wolf, a boar, a worm, a moth,a gnat, or a mosquito--they all merge into that.

'The finest essence here--that constitutes the self of this whole world; thatis the truth; that is the self (atman). And that's how you are,Svetaketu.'

'Sir, teach me more.'

'Very well, son.

'Now, take this huge tree here, son. If someone were to hack it at thebottom, its living sap would flow. Likewise, if someone were to hack it inthe middle, its living sap would flow; and if someone were to hack it at thetop, its living sap would flow. Pervaded by the living (jiva) essence(atman), this tree stands here ceaselessly drinking water and flourishing.When, however, life leaves one of its branches, that branch withersaway. When it leaves a second branch, that likewise withers away, and whenit leaves a third branch, that also withers away. When it leaves the entiretree, the whole tree withers away.

'In exactly the same way,' he continued, 'know that this, of course, dieswhen it is bereft of life; but life itself does not die.

'The finest essence here--that constitutes the self of this whole world; thatis the truth; that is the self. And that's how you are, Svetaketu.'

'Sir, teach me more.'

'Very well, son.

'Bring a banyan fruit.'

'Here it is, sir.'

'Cut it up.'

'What do you see there?'

'These quite tiny seeds, sir.'

'Now, take one of them and cut it up.'

'I've cut one up, sir.'

'What do you see there?'

'Nothing, sir.'

Then he told him: 'This finest essence here, son, that you can't evensee--look how on account of that finest essence this huge banyan tree standshere.

'Believe, my son: the finest essence here-that constitutes the self of thiswhole world; that is the truth; that is the self. And that's howyou are, Svetaketu.'

'Sir, teach more.'

'Very well, son.

'Put this chunk of salt in a container of water and come back tomorrow.' Theson did as he was told, and the father said to him: 'The chunk of salt youput in the water last evening-bring it here.' He groped for it but could notfind it, as it had dissolved completely.

'Now, take a sip from this corner,' said the father. 'How does it taste?'

'Salty.'

'Take a sip from the center. How does it taste?'

'Salty.'

'Take a sip from that corner. How does it taste?'

'Salty.'

'Throw it out and come back later.' He did as he was told and found that thesalt was always there. The father told him: 'You, of course, did not see itthere, son; it was always right there.

'The finest essence here-that constitutes the self of this whole world; thatis the truth; that is the self. And that's how you are,Svetaketu.'

'Sir, teach me more.'

'Very well, son.

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