Satyakama Jabala

This story is from Chandogya Upanishad, one of the primary Upanishad associated with Sama Veda.

Satyakama was born to a prostitute named Jabala, and was raised outside the city limits. From very young age he was very interested in spiritual knowledge and wanted study under a teacher/Guru. But given that he was a son of a prostitute, no local teacher was taking him as a student.

One day, while seating at river bank, he saw Rishi Gautam arriving in the city, so he hurriedly went and put his head on Gautama Rishi’s feet and requested him to take as a student. 

Gautam Rishi told him to come back with the information about Gotra (family lineage). Given that Satyakama didn’t know his gotra, he went back home to ask his mother about it. 

While Jabala could have lied to hide her uncomfortable past, or told him to forget about his pursuit of knowledge, instead she told him the truth, and also asked him to tell the truth to Rishi Gautam too, even though it meant he might be rejected. 

As suggested by his mother, Satyakama told Rishi Gautam that he is a son of a prostitute Jabala, and beyond that he does not know anything and he has no knowledge of his Gotra. 

Seeing that Satyakama decided to speak truth, even if it would cost him being rejected, impressed Rishi Gautama who accepted him as a student. 

Satyakama went on being a great sage by himself, and has written Jabala Upanishad, which enabled Sanyasin as a way of self realization. 

All the credit of this goes to the mother who showed the right path of her child. We owe a lot to Jabala!

With this story, lets salute:
1. The mother, who imbibed importance of doing right things, to her child, even if there were cost to be paid for being truthful.
2. The teacher, who cared more about the qualities than the Gotra or family lineage.
3. Finally, the Vedic traditions, where anyone who was capable could follow their aspirations. Nothing stopped Satyakama from being a Brahmin, that too a celebrated one, with an Upanishad on his name.