The Great Brahma Who Knows (Almost) Everything

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During the Buddha’s time, there was a monk who strived to develop his mind such that he could enter the realms of the gods.  He wanted to meet the gods, hoping that they can give him an answer to his question.

“Where does the four great elements cease without remainder?”

He worked hard and managed to reach the Heaven of the Four Great Kings. He happily posed his question to the gods there but none of them could answer it. They suggested that he should try to go to the higher heavens where the gods there had greater merit and wisdom.

Heeding their advice, he worked ever harder at his meditation. After some time, he managed to reach the next higher heaven – Heaven of the 32 Gods. Again, he posed his questions to the gods there. However they too could not answer him and gave the same advice – go to the higher heavens where the gods there had greater merit and wisdom.

He returned to earth and worked even harder. After some time, he managed to reach the next higher heaven – Heavens of the Yammas. However it was the same outcome. The gods there could not answer him and suggested that he should go to the higher heavens where the gods there had greater merit and wisdom.

This cycle continued for several times until he finally was able to reach the highest Heaven of all – Heavens of the Brahma. He went before the most supreme god – the Great Brahma – and posed his question. He had great expectations as the Great Brahma was known to be the wisest of all the gods.

The Great Brahma listened to the monk’s question and spoke.

“I am the Great Brahma, the Creator, the Uncreated, the Knower of All. There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not know”

The monk was thrilled and repeated his question once again.

“Where does the four great elements cease without remainder?”

The Great Brahma did not answer and instead repeated his words.

“I am the Great Brahma, the Creator, the Uncreated, the Knower of All. There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not know”

By then, the monk was frustrated. He asked his question for the 3rd time.

This time, the Great Brahma merely asked the monk to come close. He whispered in the monk’s ears.

“Venerable monk, do not embarrass me. The gods that you see around us all think the world of me. They believe that I know everything.”

“I do not know the answer to your question. So stop asking!”

The monk was taken aback. He was shocked beyond words and could only managed to utter a weak response.

“If even the Great Brahma does not know the answer, then who would?”

“Foolish monk! The Buddha is on earth and he definitely knows everything. Why don’t you ask him?”

The monk returned to earth and reported to the Buddha about what had happened. The Buddha comforted the monk and gave him the answer to his question.

“Nirvarna is where the four great elements cease without remainder”.

 

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