Da..Da..Da... The Eternal teaching
The Brahadaranyaka Upanishad mentions a story about the three descendants of the Creator, Prajapati ( Brahma- ब्रह्मा): Deva (Gods), Manushya (humans) and Asura( demons), who practised Brahmacharya ( ब्रह्मचर्य) under Prajapati's Guidance. On completion of their study years, the three descendants of Prajapati -Deva (देव - Gods), Manushya (मनुष्य- humans) and Asura (असुर- demons) approach Prajapati and request him for the final teaching (upadesha -उपदेश) to practice in their life.
First, the Gods approached and requested him for final teaching. Prajapati uttered "द -Da" and asked Gods if they understood. The Gods said yes and elaborated that the word "Da (द) "means Damayata (दाम्यत- self-control). Prajapati agreed that they have understood it right and blessed them.
Then approached the humans, and they requested for the final teaching. Prajapati said "द - Da" and asked if they understood. Humans said they understood, and it meant daata (दाता- do charity). Prajapati accepted their understanding and blessed them.
Last approached the demons, and they also requested for their teaching. Prajapati again repeated "द- Da ". Prajapati asked if the demons understood the meaning. The demons said that they understood the upadesh (teaching), and "द - Da" according to them, was "dayadhvam" (दयध्वम्- being compassionate)
Prajapati agreed that even demons understood their teaching and blessed them too.
This story unveils a deep philosophical thought. It shows that the meaning of any word or situation depends on our perception, understanding, past experiences and the environment. It also shows how the predominant Guna (sattva, rajas, tamas - सत्त्व, रजस, तमस्) guides our actions and mental disposition leading to varied perceptions.
The Gods are blessed with unlimited pleasures of all kinds in the Devlok. They have plenty of everything at their disposal with no disease and old age, so self-restraint is very important. Hence, for divinity to predominate and continue, Devas needed to practice self-control.
Humans tend to acquire and hoard. Even if we have plenty, the greed does not end, and we do not want to give away our acquisitions easily. So to keep our humanness in balance, we need to practice charity. Apart from material possessions, the charity could be cooperation, knowledge, forgiveness, love, care, and much more. In the broader connotation, Charity also implies not possessing what we don't need or what does not belong to us.
Demons have substantial physical strength, and they are cruel by nature. They are violent and destructive and cannot distinguish between good and evil easily. So they need to practice compassion to keep their negativity in control.
The knowledge of three different personality types is equally relevant for every single individual. As an individual, we all have divinity, humanness and demonic aspect in us. To maintain the divine element in us, we need to practice self-control, to keep humanness, we need to practice charity, and finally, to control the demonic aspect, we need to practice compassion.
Damyata (self-control), Daan (charity) and Dyadhvam (compassion) are three magical and spiritual teachings for every individual to keep progressing in life towards our final goal. For fuller and richer life experiences, we must practice all three—(self-control, charity and compassion -दमं, दानं, दयामिति).
Prajapati Brahma accepted the meaning as understood by each and did not give any fixed sense to his teaching. It was left open to interpretation, and the teacher wholeheartedly consented to it.
It indicates the subtle fact that each person interprets the same word, situation or relation in their own ways—a person's understanding functions as per his ability, experiences and requirements.
Prajapati knew that each category would understand wisdom only at the level of their cognizance and consciousness. It is practical and wise learning for all of us. As parents, teachers, mentors, friends, and trainers, we need to understand that each person will respond to the same teaching, situation, and relation differently as per their requirements, ability, and experiences. Expecting a similar outcome from everyone is a misleading expectation that will result in poor judgement and conflict. It is equally relevant in the field of corporates and administrations to be successful as a leader by being open and accommodative as per the qualities and efficiencies of the workforce associated with the task.
This famous line from Ramcharitamanas echoes a similar thought.
"जाकी रही भावना जैसी,प्रभु मूरत देखी तिन तैसी।"