Maitreyi’s quest

Sage Yajnavalkya had two wives — Maitreyi and Katyayani.

When Yajnavalkya wanted to renounce the world, he said

to Maitreyi: “I shall divide my property between you and

Katyayani.” Maitreyi then asked him: “Will I become

immortal if you place all the wealth of the world at my

disposal?” Yajnavalkya clarified that immortality could not

be had through wealth, said M.K. Srinivasan in a discourse.

Maitreyi told her husband that she did not want anything

that would not confer immortality. Instead she wanted to

know the means to immortality.

Yajnavalkya was pleased with Maitreyi’s response and

began to tell her about Paramatma: “It is not because of the

husband’s will that he becomes dear to his wife. It is not

because of the wife’s will that she becomes dear to her

husband. Children do not become dear to their parents

through their will. All of this happens because of the

Paramatma. So to gain the afection of any person,

Paramatma’s grace is necessary. The Paramatma alone is to

be meditated upon and it is through such meditation that

all of this will be understood.” So the sage taught Maitreyi

the means to liberation.

The Paramatma dwells in all entities. It has all entities as

its body. So when Paramatma is known, everything that

constitutes Paramatma’s body also is known.

To understand Paramatma, we have to control the sense

organs. But when sense organs come into contact with

sense objects, how can we prevent the experience of the

objects? The best thing to do is to take away the objects.

To keep a man from blowing a conch, it is best to take it

away from him.

Likewise to control the sense organs, it is best to keep

sense objects away