"When the Devas were Humbled"

Source: http://www.freeindia.org/ack/Upanishads/
(downloaded Nov. 1999)

In this dramatic cover picture, Agni discovers that without the will of Brahman, his power does not suffice to burn up even the single blade of grass he holds in his hand. From an Amar Chitra Katha story, "When the Devas were Humbled."


"Brahman won the victory [over the asuras] for the gods. Although it was won by Brahman, the gods were jubilant at the victory, telling themselves, 'Ours alone is this victory! Ours alone is this greatness!'
Brahman read their minds and made itself visible to them. But they did not recognize it, as they wondered, 'What is this strange apparition?'
So they told Fire, 'Jatavedas, find out what this strange apparition is.' He said, 'Very well', and scurried to it. It asked him: 'Who are you?' And he replied: 'I? Why, I am Fire! I am Jatavedas!'
'I see! And what sort of power do you have?'
'I can burn up this whole world, yes, everything on earth!'
So he placed a blade of grass in front of him and said, 'Burn this.' He went at it at full speed but could not burn it."

--Upanisads, trans. Patrick Olivelle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 229. [From the Kena Upanishad.]

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