Aaruni said, “O Shvetaketu! When a person is accused of theft, the soldiers of the king take him to court for his trial. There he is asked to touch a hot iron rod as a part of his trial. If he has committed the theft then he gets burnt by the hot iron rod which proves his crime. But if he is really not guilty then he does not get burnt as he is covered by the truth. In that case they set him free of the charge.”
“Just like the person in that trial who does not get burnt because he has got covered by the truth, similarly the self-realized person also does not come back to this objective world having got covered by the truth.”
That truth –
“That subtle formless existence is the soul of all these things. That formless existence is the truth, that is the soul and O Shvetaketu! You are that!”
After this, Shvetaketu understood the wisdom completely.
Here a doubt may arise that if we are that formless existence then whom is this wisdom being told for?
The wisdom is for the one who takes himself as an individual with name and form and thereby thinks that he is a part and parcel of the objective world. This misunderstanding about the self is called as ‘ignorance’, which is the principle cause of the sorrows and sufferings.
In this whole story, Shvetaketu was reminded of his true formless nature nine times by the statement “You are that!”. After that, Shvetaketu managed to comprehend the truth and realized his true self, the formless existence.
This statement “You are that!” is considered as one of the four principal statements of Vedanta. The other three are “I am that”, “Conscious being is Brahman” and “This soul is Brahman”.
(Photo via Visual Hunt)