Chapter XXXIX - 142 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"Balarama and Krishna, the divine brothers, grew like the sun towards the zenith, and shone with increasing splendour. The parents, Nanda and Yasoda were concerned about their future, since they were befogged by natural delusion; they decided that the children must be taught the arts and sciences, the skills and attainments appropriate to their status and condition. The family priest, Garga, was called in and in consultation with him, an auspicious day and hour were fixed for the necessary rites. They celebrated with great pomp and ceremonial, the rite of initiation into Brahmic wisdom, called Upa-nayana or 'the rite of leading the pupil to the preceptor'. That day, numerous acts of charity were done and many valuable things given away, according to Sastric injunctions. The people of Gokula were rendered happy by folk entertainments that were provided for them."

"Then the parents invited many Pundits and conferred with them and Garga to discover the preceptor who was most proficient and desirable for the education of the children. The family priest Garga thought for a while and declared that it is best to send the children to the great Sandeepani, a Pundit from Avanthi, living in Kasi, the holy city on the sacred Ganga."

"Sandeepani, he said, was a saintly person. The parents could not send their loved ones to such a distant place; but they were aware of the truth that learning without a preceptor is only blind learning; so they agreed, and themselves journeyed to Kasi with Balarama and Krishna; reaching the holy place, they entrusted the brothers to Sandeepani and made arrangements for their stay with the famous preceptor. They returned soon after, with a heavy heart to Gokula."

"From that day, Balarama and Krishna studied under Sandeepani, offering him the tribute of fear and reverence. O king, thousands, tens of thousands, millions of children there are, who study under teachers; but, students who behave in a manner that gives satisfaction and joy to the teacher are very rare, not even one in a hundred! Satisfying the teacher, studying well what has been taught, avoiding the pursuit of sensory pleasure and attaching oneself only to the pursuit of knowledge, ever in the consciousness that study is the task and study is the duty, - that is how a student should be. That is what Balarama and Krishna were."

"They never, on any single occasion, interrupted the discourse of the preceptor or interposed their will against his. They did not overstep his will or direction, in any instance. They never challenged his authority or dared disobey his instructions. Though they were the repositories of supreme authority over earth and heaven, they gave their preceptor the respect and obedience that was due to his eminence and position."

"They were full of earnestness and devotion; they did not allow anything to distract their lesson. Observing their discipline and their enthusiasm to learn, Sandeepani felt great joy surging up in his heart. When he saw them, he got an irrepressible yearning to train them in many more branches of learning. He made them masters of the four Vedas, the Vedanthas, the science of logic, grammar, jurisprudence and economics; he taught them all that he knew."