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Story by Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji

Once Sri Sri shared a beautiful story from the Upanishads, that shows us who is eligible to receive the Highest Knowledge, and to whom this knowledge is given... Feel free to share it with others as well! Story: "Once a gentleman was doing some sacrificial ceremonies, his name was Gautama. He was giving gifts and doing lot of charity, hoping he would receive all of them back in the future, in the heaven. Often people think that if they do good deeds here on earth, they will get a better seat in heaven. It's like charity is an investment. Doing good karma and lot of charity, then in heaven you will get a comfortable room, a better bed, and nice food, and good company, and many servants will be there to take care of you. Gautama did this charity as a future investment in the next world. Often when someone wants to do charity, they give away something they really don't want anymore. Gautama was giving away the cows which were not good for anything. They were skinny, and they were not yielding milk anymore, just old, lean, dry cows he was giving away as gifts. A man commits acts of greed not just for himself, but for his children and family. People who do wrong things are often not doing them just for themselves. What would a single person need? His needs can easily be taken care of. The greed is because of one's progeny. For the children's sake people become greedy and do all sorts of things which they don't want to do. Or for fame. Fame is because they just want to be known and have a sense of security. Gautama had a young son just eight years old, who saw what his father was giving away and said ''Oh, what is my father doing? He is doing a charity and he is giving things which are good for nothing!'' He could not question his father right away because so many people were there. He kept interrupting in the middle and said, ''To whom will you give me, to whom will you give me?'' When the son came and asked, ''To whom are you going to give me?'', he wanted to bring his father's attention to what he was doing, but in a nice way. The father was just annoyed. He said, ''To the God of death I'm going to give you.'' The story goes that upon hearing this the boy pondered on life, what is life? We are born here, we drink, eat, have the pleasures and die. If death is ultimate, I want to know what it is. And where do we go after death? If that is the final destination of all this play or drama in life, where do we go from there? What is beyond death? Because of the sincerity of the boy's questioning, the Lord of Death was compelled to respond and told him, ''No, no, don't ask me! This is a highly guarded secret.

You can ask me any other boon, and I will give you. I'm very pleased at your focused attention and total dispassion and centeredness. You look so bright and brilliant. Though you are so young, you are so mature! You have understood life like that, without having to undergo all the gymnastics. Ask me anything you want, all the pleasures in the world. I'll make you king of a place, plenty of wealth, fame, many yielding cows, but don't ask me the highest knowledge, the highly guarded secret.'' The boy would not budge. This has been the tradition of knowledge. A wayfarer will never be given the highest knowledge. For someone who wants to know the truth, the reality, there needs to be a powerful urge to know. A superficial curiosity will not be sufficient. A deep inquiry should start in oneself, questioning what is the purpose of life, what do I want, who am I, where am I, what is this all about? An inquiry of that kind which is so deep and authentic only can give rise to the highest knowledge. The Lord of Death put him off just to find out whether his inquisitiveness was authentic and deep enough, but the boy wouldn't budge. He had to tell him, he had to lead him to the highest knowledge of life. Knowledge of death gives the knowledge of life. The Lord of Death gave Nachiketa, the boy, the knowledge of what life is, how life is beyond death." - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The Five Secrets There are five secrets which are sacred and are guarded by the subtle beings and angels in this creation. They are: Jananarahasya (the secret of birth): Birth is a secret. How a soul takes a body, the criteria for selecting the place of birth, time of birth, type of body, parents, etc are all a secret. Maranarahasya (the secret of death): Death is a highly guarded secret. Death remains a mystery. The process of separation of spirit from matter and its journey from then on is a secret. Rajarahasya (the royal secret, the secret of ruling): The principles of governing; the principles of maintaining the orderliness in creation are a secret. Prakritirahasya (the secret of nature): Nature is a mystery. The more you know about nature, the mystery deepens. The more a scientist knows, the more he feels there is much more to know. Science, though appearing to resolve the mystery in creation, has deepened it. The knowledge of particles, wave functions, black holes, the vacuum state, etc have only deepened the mystery. Mantrarahasya (secret of mantras): The mantras and their effect, influence, method and mode of working are all a mystery. Mantras are the impulses or rhythms of consciousness, which itself are a mystery. Usually in the West, a secret is shameful and dishonest. But in the East, it is honored and regarded as sacred.