This story from the Chandogya Upanishad 5.3-10 states something very interesting:

Shvetaketu was distressed and felt very much humiliated at this. So he returned home and asked his father Uddalaka, “Revered father, you told me that you have instructed me well. But when prince Pravahana asked some five questions, believe me, I could not reply even one of those. How then did you say to me that I was sufficiently educated?” Saying this to his father, Shvetaketu then narrated the whole story about the five questions and his awkwardness in the assembly of the Panchalas.

Uddalaka, the loving father of Shvetaketu, listened everything carefully and replied: “Believe me my dear child. I myself do not know anything about any of these questions. If I had that knowledge, do you think that I have ever withheld it from you?” Saying this to his son, Uddalaka decided to go the assembly of Panchala to learn about this knowledge from prince Pravahana.

In the palace of Pravahana, Uddalaka was received with due respect. The next morning when he presented himself at the assembly, Pravahana told him respectfully, “Sir, I offer you wealth which is dear to all. You can demand as much as you please.” At this Uddalaka said, “O great prince, let the wealth remain with you. Tell me about the questions you have asked to my son. I am thirsting for the knowledge of the other world.”

The prince was perturbed and yet pleased with the attitude of the Brahmin sage. He then requested Uddalaka to stay with him for a long time. At the end of the period Pravahana said to Uddalaka, “O revered Gautama (another name of Uddalaka), prior to you this knowledge never went to any Brahmin. This knowledge has been traditionally known only to the Kshatriyas. It is only now and for the first time that a Brahmin is receiving it from a Kshatriya king.” Saying this, Pravahana started giving Uddalaka the answers to all the questions he had asked to Shvetaketu.

While the questions and their answers are interesting in their own right I want to know how did the Kshatriyas have this knowledge and Brahmins didnt?



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