Sacrifice offered divinity manifested1

There was a great sage named Yagnavalka. He had two wives: Maitreyi and Katyayani. In his ripe old age Yagnavalka wanted to enter into the forest and dedicate his life to Brahman, the Absolute.

Now Yagnavalka happened to be rich in the outer life as well as in the inner life. Although he was a sage of the highest magnitude, he was very rich because, in those days, the scholars used to have competitions. If one lost, immediately he had to give all his wealth and property to the winner. Since Yagnavalka always won, he had plenty of money and every other kind of wealth.

This wealth he wanted to divide into two halves; one half for his wife Katyayani and the other half for Maitreyi. Katyayani was extremely happy that she would have half of the property. Although she knew she would miss her husband when he entered into the forest to dedicate his life to God, she felt that since it was his life, he had to have freedom to do as he wanted.

When Yagnavalka approached his wife Maitreyi, he said, “I am leaving for the forest. I will spend the rest of my life there. Now I wish to divide my property into two halves. Tell me what you want - how many cows and what other wealth.”

Maitreyi said, “My Lord, tell me, if I get this wealth from you, will it help me in any way to realise God, the Brahman?”

“It is impossible. If you have wealth, it will help you to be a little comfortable in the earthly life. But spiritual happiness, God-realisation, it will not give you. You cannot get God-realisation from material wealth. It is impossible. Your earthly wealth may be multiplied into infinite wealth if it is God’s Will. But it will never bring you spiritual realisation, self-knowledge.”

“Of what use to me are things that will not bring me immortality?” voiced forth Maitreyi. “Yagnavalka, my Lord, I don’t want or need your earthly possessions. Take them. Tell me about Brahman.”

Yagnavalka was highly pleased with his wife Maitreyi and said, “I will teach you about Brahman. Remain on earth and listen to my divine advice. God is your dearest. No human being, nobody else, is your dearest.”

“The husband, should be dearest to his wife, not because he is the husband, but because the Self is inside the husband. The wife should be dearest to the husband, not because she is the wife, but because inside the wife is the Self. The son should be dearest to the parents, not because the son is their own creation, but because inside him is the living presence of God. Whomever you call your dearest must be dearest because inside him is the shining living presence of the Brahman. Brahman is everywhere. It is Brahman who is inside each creature, inside all creation. ”

“From now on if you can think or meditate on the dearest inside you, inside human beings, then you will be able to realise God while you are on the earthly plane. The dearest is deep within you. It is the living presence of God inside each individual that is the only dearest.”

Indeed, it was a woman whose heart pined for immortality’s skies on earth. It was a woman who had the loftiest aspiration: “Of what use to me are things that will not bring me immortality?” This is the most significant message which we get from Maitreyi. Immortality is the only thing that the seeker must cry for. Immortality does hot mean to stay on earth two hundred or four hundred or six hundred years. No, immortality means the transformation of human consciousness, finite consciousness, into the infinite consciousness, where the individual consciousness is in perfect tune with the Highest in life.

In India there are farmers and ordinary people who are enjoying the earthly existence for more than one hundred years, but they are in no way better than animals. There is no aspiration in them; there is only desire, or you could say ignorance, the reign of ignorance. Ignorance can never give us the real treasure. The real treasure is in our conscious oneness with God.

The Song of Immortality we can hear. Even in death we can hear this Song of Immortality. It is inside us, in our transformed and divinised consciousness and this consciousness we get only after self-realisation.

A spiritual Master leaves the body, but he remains consciously and inseparably one with the highest Absolute. Aspirants are trying to do the same. It is the conscious oneness, the inseparable oneness, eternal oneness, an unbroken chain of oneness with the Highest, which is called immortality in life.

  1. AUM 759. from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad