THE SMALL CLAY POT

(An Excerpt from “Talks and Essays of Swami Dayananda”)

When unfolding the Sastra , Swami Pujya Swamiji makes the examples come alive with his inimitable style and wit and brings the points home with uncanny precision. Swamiji says “Examples have no meaning without making them human.”

While unfolding the Chandogya Upanishad, on one particular day Swamiji donned his ventriloquist’s hat and got engaged in a dialogue with a couple of clay pots:

Swamiji: (Holding a small clay pot in his hand): Who are you?
Small Pot: I am a pot.
Swamiji: What kind of a pot are you?
Small Pot: I am a small clay pot.
Swamiji: Where did you come from?
Small Pot: From Khaziabad.
Swamiji: When were you born?
Small Pot: I was born in 1996.
Swamiji: So you are one year old. How long do you think that you will live?
Small Pot: I may die any minute.
Swamiji: Why?
Small Pot: Because you are balancing me precariously with two fingers. I don’t trust you. You may drop me. Put me down.
Swamiji: Are you happy sitting down?
Small Pot: No.
Swamiji: Why?
Small Pot: Nobody looks at me.
Swamiji: And suppose people look at you, will you be happy?
Small Pot: Hope so.
Swamiji: (From a menagerie of props kept under his desk, Swamiji brings out a big clay pot and holding it in his other hand says to the small pot): Are you happy now?
Small Pot: No.
Swamiji: Why?
Small Pot: They are looking at that fellow also (meaning the big pot).
Swamiji: They look at you also. Why should you be unhappy when they look at this fellow?
Small Pot: Look at him, he is so big and I am so small.
Swamiji: So you want to be big?
Small Pot: Yes
Swamiji: How big?
Small Pot: B – I – G!
Swamiji: Why don’t you ask this fellow if he is happy?
Small Pot: (to the big pot) – Are you happy?
Big Pot: No. I am not.
Small pot: You should be. You are big.
Big Pot: Big! What does big mean? Nothing. I have no job satisfaction. I sit under the desk in the darkness all the time. Once in a while the Swami decides to bring me out. No one looks at me otherwise.
Small Pot: I look at you. I’m under the table too.
Big Pot: You are a midget, a Lilliput, a nobody. You looking at me means nothing. (At this small pot becomes very sad).
Swamiji: Do you want to be out of this sadness?
Small Pot: How can you do that? Maybe, I should go to America.
Swamiji: What will you do there?
Small Pot: There will be more opportunities.
Swamiji: Do you know your problem?
Small Pot: Yes. I know my problem.
Swamiji: What is it?
Small Pot: I am sad.
Swamiji: Is that the only problem? Perhaps it is different.
Small Pot: No I know. I am small and I am sad.
Swamiji: Do you know YOURSELF?
Small Pot: Don’t talk to me like a Vedantin. I am pot. What a question!
Swamiji: Who are you?
Small Pot: Who am I?
Swamiji: You should know your reality.
Small Pot: What reality? I am pot, that is real. I am small, that is real. I may fall out any moment and break, that is real. Before this happens I want to make it.
Swamiji: You are immortal. That is your reality. Know that.
Small Pot: What is immortal? What is this reality? (The small fellow yielded a little bit. So far he was denying and rejecting. Now he wants to know. This is desire, Iccha.)
Swamiji: Listen, do you sleep?
Small Pot: Generally I sleep all the time. It is so dark under the desk.
Swamiji: In sleep do you feel you are a pot?
Small Pot: No. That is why I like sleep.
Swamiji: In sleep do you exist?
Small Pot: Yeah.
Swamiji: How do you know?
Small Pot: Because I am there, I can say I slept.
Swamiji: All right. That means without thinking you are a small pot, you can exist.
Small Pot: Yes, that is true. In fact, whenever I think I am not a small pot, I am happy.
Swamiji: Maybe that is what you are – not small. That is why you can forget it. If it was real you couldn’t get rid of it.
Small Pot: So who am I?
Swamiji: You are clay.
Small Pot: What?
Swamiji: Clay.
Small Pot: For our world, clay is God.
Swamiji: Clay is God? How do you know?
Small Pot: That is what they say. I am born of clay, sustained by clay and go back to clay. Therefore clay is God.
Swamiji: Are you born of clay?
Small Pot: Yes.
Swamiji: Are you sustained by clay? And go back to it?
Small Pot: Yes.
Swamiji: Then you are clay.
Small Pot: Can you repeat that?
Swamiji: Tell me, before you were born, what were you?
Small Pot: I was clay.
Swamiji: If you are born of clay and sustained by it, are you clay or not?
Small Pot: Yes. I am clay.
Swamiji: Suppose this beg fellow goes, where will he go?
Small Pot: He’ll go back to clay.
Swamiji: Was he separate from clay in order to go back to clay?
Small Pot: No.
Swamiji: Then what is he?
Small Pot: He is clay.
Swamiji: Who are you?
Small Pot: I am a small clay pot. That is my reality.
Swamiji: Are you sad now?
Small Pot: No.
Swamiji: How come?
Small Pot: Because I know I am clay. He is also clay like me.
Swamiji: Are you jealous of him now?
Small Pot: How can I be? He is me.
Swamiji: How many of you are there in the clay world?
Small Pot: Only one. (To the big pot): You and I are the same. We are clay.
Big Pot: What did you say? You are clay? That makes you God.
Small Pot: Yes.
Big Pot: Look at this Lilliput! He is not even two inches and he says he is God.
Swamiji: (Referring to the big pot and putting him back under the table): This fellow cannot be taught.

RISHIKESH, INDIA, 1997. An excerpt from “Talks and Essays of Swami Dayananda – A collection”

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2 Responses to THE SMALL CLAY POT

  1. Subbamma says:

    OM
    I am so happy to read this beautiful talk.
    Where can I get the original MP3 of Swamiji’s talk.
    Many thanks.
    Subbamma

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