Thursday, May 3, 2012

Uddalaka and Pen-drive

Sage Dhaumya was a very learned scholar and one of the best teachers of his times.  He was running a Gurukula (School or University) in a forest.   His Gurukula was a place where the students were treated like his own children.  Once admitted to the Gurukula, entire responsibility for their well being was with the Guru.  The students were required to do all the work of the Gurukula like cleaning the place, grazing cattle, bringing firewood and other similar chores.  Each one was taught different subjects according to their own taste and potential to learn.  Guru decided what should be taught to a student and how much, depending upon his capacity to receive and retain knowledge.

One young boy wanted to join the Gurukula and study with other students.  He approached the Guru and put forth his request.  Guru declined to take him in for reason that the Gurukula was already full.  The boy went away without a murmur only to reappear after some days.  The request was the same and the answer was also the same.  This repeated for several rounds but the boy did not give up.  Guru tested him long enough to see if the boy was really keen on learning.  The boy passed the test.  Finally Guru gave in and admitted him as a student.

This boy was of average intelligence and not among the brightest of students.  But his devotion to the Guru was unparalleled.  He carried out all of Guru's orders with utmost dedication and accomplished all the tasks assigned to him dutifully. He appeared to have only one goal in life; to carry out every single order of the Guru to his satisfaction.  Though he did not make much progress in his studies, he continued in the Gurukula unmindful of other things.

It started raining heavily one morning and it looked like the entire surroundings would be flooded.  The Guru was worried about the standing crop in a small field nearby.  Any breach in the tank located just above the fields would wash away the crop.  The crop was the main source to feed the students during the next year. He wanted somebody to go over there and inspect the tank and do anything required to prevent the tank from breaching and washing away the crops.  As usual it was this boy who was available immediately and the Guru commissioned him on the job.  The boy dutifully left on the assignment. The pouring rain and physical difficulty did not bother him and his mind was occupied by only one thing; save the tank and protect the crops.

Once his daily routine started Guru forgot about the boy and remembered him only late in the evening.  Worried about the boy not returning till then he went in search of the boy, taking other students with him.  The boy was nowhere to be seen.  When the Guru called the boy's name loudly there was a feeble voice heard from the tank bed.  The boy was lying along the tank bed to prevent it from breaching.  Unable to control the flow of water singly, he deemed it fit to cover the breach with his body.  His body had become cold due to continuous rains and lying in the tank water.  With the help of other students, Guru filled the breach and dragged the boy out of the mess.  Moved by the devotion and dedication of the boy he embraced him and brought him to Gurukula.

When the boy appeared before him on the next morning,  Guru asked the boy to come and sit before him.  He placed his right hand on the boy's head and by invoking all his spiritual powers transferred  all of his own knowledge to the boy.  And now the boy of average intelligence suddenly became as knowledgeable as the Guru himself!

This is the story of Aruni, who was later known as Uddalaka.  Uddalaka, meaning the one who came out of water.  His name is mentioned with utmost respect in Chandogya and Kathopanisahads.

After all,  Pen-drives are not an invention of 20th century.  Sage Dhaumya was already having it with him.  He and Aruni both had USB ports as well and that is why transfer of knowledge, all of it that was there, was possible instantaneously and effortlessly!      


  1. Good comparison of transfer of knowledge
    nicely narrated in this. I wouldn't have
    thought to make this kind of comparison.
    The old things still exist in a new
    technologically transfer devices.

  2. Sir,

    This Technopanishad story is too good to read with apt comparision. Nice.

    K Basava Raju

  3. Awesome...wish all teachers could work the same would have saved some of us school hating students a old of trouble so we could get on with playing....Sunada