The Greatest Story on Self Realisation

Hey there, I'm Sri Vishwanath, and welcome to episode 16 of the Ask Sri Vishwanath Vedanta Show. Today's question is from Joshua in New York. He's curious about something many ponder: "What is Vedanta?" He's been with us for a while now.

Vedanta is the wellspring of all spiritual teachings – imagine it as the vast ocean. Here's the catch: where all other teachings conclude, that's precisely where Vedanta starts.

According to Vedanta, you can pursue whatever you desire under the sun; if you haven't encountered Vedanta, your journey has just begun.

So, every teaching from every religion, any form of yoga or meditation, stems from Vedanta.

It's said that where all teachings end, Vedanta begins.

The Story of the Washerman and the Donkey

Let me share a simple story with you.

You might have heard it from other teachers.

But listen again, as I'll give the story a unique twist.

It's about an ancient washerman from a village in India, back in ancient times.

He earned his living by collecting clothes from people, loading them onto his donkey, and taking them to a river four hours away. There, he would tie the donkey to a tree, wash the clothes, dry them, and then load them back onto the donkey before returning them to the owners.

One day, upon reaching the river, he realized he had forgotten the rope to secure the donkey. Without it, the donkey might escape, leaving him in quite a predicament.

His biggest issue was finding a rope without a nearby shop.

Returning meant failing the task, so he had to produce a rope somehow.

Seeking assistance, he encountered a spiritual teacher. He pleaded, "Help me manifest a rope to tie my donkey."

The teacher replied, "No problem."

"Follow these three visualizations," he instructed, demonstrating them. The washerman did as advised, and, amazingly, the donkey stayed put.

He washed his clothes.

The Donkey's Mistake and False Visualization

What do you think are the three visualizations the spiritual teacher shared with the donkey?

It's the same donkey, the same tree, every day.

Each day, you used a physical rope. Today, there is no rope. What would he do?

How would you make the donkey believe it's tied to the tree?

Here's what the teacher said: do exactly as you would if you had a rope.

Place the rope around the donkey's neck, lead it to the tree, and pretend to tie it.

Three steps were taken, and just like that, the donkey stood still. He washed the clothes and dried them. In the evening, he redressed the donkey and said, "Let's go."

But the donkey wouldn't budge.

It thought it was still tied to the tree.

Now there was a bigger issue. There was no rope, yet the donkey believed it was bound and wouldn't move.

Facing an even greater challenge, he sought help again. The same teacher returned from his evening class and assured him, "That's not a problem."

Do these three visualizations.

What did he do?

The untying.

He unties and the donkey begins to move.

Take note.

The donkey stands for our brain, and the tree stands for people, events, and memories.

The Non-Existent Rope and Illusory Perceptions

Self-realization, according to Vedanta, isn't about recognizing that you're in bondage and need liberation. It's about realising that you were never in bondage at all.

So, what was the donkey's mistake?

Vedanta gives us two deep Words: false visualization, Avidya.

The donkey thought it was tied to a tree.

So, in its efforts to be free, it meditated and tried various things, both good and bad.

Vedanta, however, points out that regardless of what you do, the bigger issue remains unsolved.

The truth is, the donkey isn't tied to the tree at all. What does this mean?

Jeevan Mukti: Freedom and Liberation

Pay attention now.

Doubt is one of the last things to leave a person's psyche, yet doubt itself doesn’t really exist.

It's not an emotion.

Instead, doubt triggers countless emotions within your subtle body.

Vedanta teaches that the problems you face stem from something nonexistent, yet its effects are visible.

Your task is to eliminate a non-existent thing that's making you uneasy.

You see, the main issue is that in the story, although the donkey isn't tied to the tree, it still believes it's trapped.

What's the real problem here? It's something nonexistent.

The donkey thinks it's bound. Pay attention to this part.

Every teaching across the globe, regardless of the religion or meditation practice, focuses on releasing a rope that isn't there. I'll repeat that.

They're all about loosening a non-existent rope.

There is no rope to begin with.

In all teachings, they suggest that you can untie the knot because you're the one who tied it, and this realization feels good. The rope itself is an illusion. Vedanta focuses on the non-existence of this rope. Understanding this is what leads to liberation.

The Power of Vedanta and its Focus on the Non-Existence of the Rope

Jeevan Mukti is about freedom, the truest form of liberation. No other teaching worldwide emphasizes the concept of illusory perceptions as Vedanta does. By concentrating solely on this, you achieve freedom.

This knowledge was understood by Krishna, Jesus, and founders of major religions. However, for various reasons, it was communicated through metaphors of tying and untying knots.

The power of Vedanta lies in its focus on the non-existence of the rope. If I asked you to advise a donkey, what would you say?

Why does the donkey feel bound when there's no rope? It can't see it. Why can't the donkey see such an obvious thing? Because it's part of the subtle body. In our waking state, you and I are in our subtle bodies, composed of mind, intellect, memory, and ego. I encourage you to visit to learn about the four-second effect.

Understanding Doubt and Avidya in Vedanta

A day consists of these four-second moments, yet without studying them, one remains unaware of what transpires over 24 hours or a lifetime. This study is crucial because it reveals a profound truth about the rope—it doesn't exist. And this wisdom spans over 5,000 years.

Indeed, 5,000 years. Most teachings view doubt as just another problem to tackle. Vedanta teaches that false visualization is the core issue; solve this, and everything else falls into place.

Doubt isn't about questioning a person, your past, or your abilities. It's about the mind's struggle to focus solely on God.

Avidya as the Core Issue in Vedanta

Your mind struggles to focus solely on God because of Avidya, which Vedanta describes as a false perception. So the real doubt isn't about self-doubt or your past; it's why you can't direct your mind to God at this moment. That's the question to ponder. According to Vedanta, after 5000 years of reflection, the answer is this Avidya.

In my book "The Magic of God," I've thoroughly documented this misconception. It's an extensive study that could save you thirty years if you embrace it fully. Vedanta's strength lies here. There are many aspects to this false perception, but addressing just this one can transform everything.

Embracing the Wisdom of Vedanta to Discover Freedom

No other teaching offers this insight – only Vedanta. So that's your quick yet profound response, Joshua. Visit to fast-track your journey by thirty years and dive into Vedanta's wisdom to find freedom. Thank you, and may God bless you.