Rishi Ayoda-Dhaumya Tests His Pupil Aruni

Note: At about the same time as Janamejaya went to Takshashila to bring the region under his control, a rishi called Ayoda-Dhaumya decided to test his disciples. This post describes how he tested his disciple, Aruni.

Rishi Ayoda-Dhaumya had three disciples called Upamanyu, Aruni, and Veda. 

There was a water-course that brought water to the nearby fields. However, an opening in the water-course near a certain field caused problems for the farmers. Rishi Ayoda-Dhaumya asked his disciple, Aruni, to fix the problem.

Aruni went immediately to the place pointed out by his teacher. However, he soon realized that the problem could not be fixed by ordinary means. Aruni felt dejected because he could not succeed in the task his teacher had asked him to do.

Aruni stayed there for a long time, observing the problem. After much observation, he was able to think of a solution. He entered the water and placed himself in the location where the breach had developed, thus stopping the water from leaking. 

When Ayoda-Dhaumya did not see Aruni in his hermitage, he asked his disciples where Aruni had gone. His disciples told him that he had gone to fix the breach in the water-course in a nearby field. Ayoda-Dhaumya, remembered his instructions to Aruni, and immediately went to that field along with the other disciples.

At the field, he shouted out to Aruni saying: “Ho Aruni of Panchala! Where are you?”

Aruni, upon hearing his teacher, rushed out of the water-course and stood before Ayoda-Dhaumya. Aruni explained to his teacher how he had placed himself in the breach to prevent the water from leaking. Thus standing there, he asked his teacher for further instructions.

Rishi Ayoda-Dhaumya looked at his disciple and said: “Because, in getting out of the breach, you caused it to open up, you shall henceforth be known as Uddalaka. And because you obeyed my words, you will obtain good fortune. All the Vedas and Dharmashastras will shine in you.”

Aruni had completed his education under the rishi. This was the last test. Having completed it and received the blessings of his teacher, Aruni (now known as Uddalaka) left for the country that was dear to his heart (most likely Panchala). 

Note: The name, Uddalaka, means “burnt open”. It also refers to a kind of honey. This name refers to a person who others can depend upon.