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The Twenty-four Teachers




From  the Uddhava Gita of the Bhagavantam


The blessed Lord said, "The destruction of the Yadavas has begun.  When it is finished I shall return to My region." Uddhava noticed the evil portents and heard what Sri Krishna had said. He implored Krishna, "O Lord! You shall leave this earth soon. I cannot bear to leave Your Lotus Feet even for a moment. Take me also to your abode."


Sri Krishna replied, "I accomplished the purpose for which I have incarnated. As soon as I leave this earth, Kali will overtake it and men will become unrighteous.. Do not dwell in any given place here. Free yourself from all your attachments. Give up your affection for your friends, family and wealth. Fix your mind firmly on Me and roam over this earth, seeing Me in all beings, looking on all beings with equal eyes.


"Know that everything you see or grasp with the senses, or understand with your mind is unreal. It is all the creation of your mind and Maya. Therefore, control your mind and behold everything in the universe as your own Self. Realize the essence of your own nature, which is bliss and in harmony with the entire universe.  See the whole universe in your Self and yourself in Me, the Supreme Lord.


"When you have detached yourself from the things of the world, when you have destroyed all egoism and risen above good and bad, the laws of the world will no longer affect you. The sense of right and wrong will then be natural to you, not dictated by something outside of you, whether scriptural  or man-made. Karma cannot touch you then; you will have risen above it. For the good of the world, for the instruction of others you may perform or refrain from forbidden acts, but you will not be affected."


Uddhava, eager to be instructed by the blessed Lord, asked, "How is it possible to renounce desire and see the world as transitory for people like me who are still so immersed in worldliness.?"


Krishna replied by giving him a story. "In olden times, there once was a conversation between an Avadhuta and a king, who was sincere in his search for spiritual knowledge. The king saw the young Sanyasin, full of wisdom, wandering about fearlessly and put to him the following question:


'O Sage. How did you get this clear wisdom and light by which you were able to give up all attachments and roam fearlessly like a child, in perfect bliss? Generally in this world people exert themselves greatly for acquiring virtue or wealth or other desires, and will exert themselves to gain spiritual knowledge in order to free themselves from pain or obtain some personal gain. You are of sound body and mind, your speech is sweet and full of wisdom, and yet you neither work nor exert yourself in the least. People in this world are scorched by the fire of lust and greed. You seem to want nothing and are not affected by that fire. You live a solitary life, free of the objects of the world; you have neither family nor sensual enjoyment. What is the source of your joy?'


The young Sanyasin said, "Many are my preceptors. With the wisdom I have imbibed from them I roam about on this earth free from attachments. Listen who they are:


The earth, the wind, the sky, the water, the fire, the moon, the sun, the pigeon, the python, the sea, the moth, the bee, the elephant, the honey-gatherer, the deer, the fish, the prostitute, the crow, the child, the maiden, the arrow-maker, the serpent, the spider and the beetle... all these are my gurus whom I have resorted to. I have learned all my lessons from their characteristic traits. Let me narrate to you what I have learned from each of them.



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