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By Swami Harshananda

Āruṇi, son of Aruṇa Aupaveśi, is one of the most important teachers mentioned in the Upaniṣads. When he was undergoing training in Vedic studies, his guru Dhaumya once commanded him to stop the water that was leaking out of his fields. Āruṇi lay across the breach and stopped it. Hence, he came to be known as Uddālaka (‘One who bound or fastened the bund’). Gautama is an another appellation used for him. Svetaketu was his son.

He once went to the king Pravāhaṇa Jaivali and was humble enough to learn about the Pañcāgnividyā or the ‘doctrine of five fires’ from him.

When he discovered that his son Svetaketu was puffed up with pride after returning from his teacher’s house, due to Vedic learning, he put him a fundamental question : ‘Have you known that by knowing which, all the unknown becomes known?’ Since Svetaketu did not knew the answer he requested him to teach it, Āruṇi taught him this esoteric wisdom.[1]


  1. Chāndogya Upanisad, chapter 6
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore