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Chapter 25: You Are What You Are Seeking

There were many disciples - princes, rich people’s sons. They all started laughing.

But the old master said, “I will accept you. It does not matter who your father is. What matters is that you are authentic, sincere, unafraid - capable of saying the truth without feeling embarrassed. Your mother has given you the right name, Satyakam. Satyakam means one whose only desire is truth. You have a beautiful mother, and you will be known as Satyakam Jabal. And the tradition is that only brahmins can be accepted as disciples. I declare you a brahmin - because only a brahmin can have the courage of such truth.”

Those were beautiful days. The old seer’s name was Uddalak. Satyakam became his most loved disciple. He deserved it; he was so pure and so innocent.

But Uddalak had his own limitations. Although he was a man of great learning, he was not an enlightened master. So he taught Satyakam all the scriptures, he taught him everything that he was capable of, but he could not deceive Satyakam as he had been deceiving everybody else. Not that Satyakam was raising any doubts; it was just that his innocence had such power that the old man had to confess, “Whatever I have been telling you is knowledge gathered from the scriptures. It is not my own. I have not experienced it; I have not lived it. I suggest that you go deeper into the forest. I know a man who has realized, who has become an embodiment of truth, love, compassion. Go to him.”

Uddalak had heard about the man, but did not know the man personally. Uddalak was far more famous; he was a great scholar.

Satyakam went to the other man. This man taught him many new scriptures, and all the Vedas: the most ancient scriptures of the world. And after years he told him, “Now you know everything; there is nothing more to know. You can go back home.”

First he went to see Uddalak. From his window, Uddalak saw Satyakam coming on the footpath through the forest. He was shocked. Satyakam’s innocence was lost; in place of innocence there was pride - naturally, because now he thought he knew everything in the world that is worth knowing. The very idea was so ego fulfilling.

He came in. As he started to touch the feet of Uddalak, Uddalak said, “Don’t touch my feet! First, I want to know where you have lost your innocence. It seems I have sent you to the wrong man.”

Satyakam said, “To the wrong man? He has taught me everything that is worth knowing.”

Uddalak said, “Before you touch my feet, I would like to ask you: have you experienced anything or it is just information? Has any transformation happened? Can you say that whatever you know is your knowledge?”

Satyakam said, “I cannot say that. What I know is written in the scriptures; I have not experienced anything.”

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