Yajanvalkya, an ancient Vedic sage, was very popular for his philosophy and spiritual knowledge. He used to live through alms given (old Hindu practice for Brahmins) and rewards obtained in Vedic discussions. His wife Maitreyi was also a wise and spiritual lady respected everywhere.
One day after winning a debate on Vedic science , arranged in the court of King Janak of Mithila, which took ugly turn when lost Brahmin committed suicide due to guilty, Yajanvalkya came home lost in deep thoughts.
Deeply saddened by that incident, during dinner time, Yajanvalkya told her wives (2 wives) about his decision to renounce this world. He asks both his wives to share whatever he possessed ,to which other wife agrees after consolation , but Maitreyi refused as she knew material things don’t provide eternal joy. She asks her husband, what is the use of these things for me without you ? What joy I can get from them ? Why it is hard to leave your beloved ones behind in search of Self ? Please guide me with your spiritual knowledge, Share your ultimate knowledge with me to clear my doubts.
That famous conversation between Yajanvalkya and Maitreyi appears in many Hindu religious text like Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
स होवाच: न वा अरे पत्युः कामाय पतिः प्रियो भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय पतिः प्रियो भवति । न वा अरे जायायै कामाय जाया प्रिया भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय जाया प्रिया भवति । न वा अरे पूत्राणां कामाय पुत्राः प्रिया भवन्ति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय पुत्राः प्रिया भवन्ति । न वा अरे वित्तस्य कामाय वित्तं प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय वित्तं प्रियं भवति । न वा अरे ब्रह्मणः कामाय ब्रह्म प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय ब्रह्म प्रियं भवति । न वा अरे क्षत्रस्य कामाय क्षत्रं प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय क्षत्रं प्रियं भवति । न वा अरे लोकानां कामाय लोकाः प्रिया भवन्ति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय लोकाः प्रिया भवन्ति । न वा अरे देवानां कामाय देवाः प्रिया भवन्ति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय देवाः प्रिया भवन्ति । न वा अरे भूतानां कामाय भूतानि प्रियाणि भवन्ति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय भूतानि प्रियाणि भवन्ति । न वा अरे सर्वस्य कामाय सर्वं प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय सर्वं प्रियं भवति । आत्मा वा अरे द्रष्टव्यः श्रोतव्यो मन्तव्यो निदिध्यासितव्यो मैत्रेयि, आत्मनो वा अरे दर्शनेन श्रवणेन मत्या विज्ञानेनेदं सर्वं विदितम्
He said – husband is not loved because he is husband, he is loved for the sake of self. Wife is not loved because she is wife, she is loved for the sake of self. Sons are not dear since they are sons, they are dears for the sake of self. Money is not desired as it is money, it is desired for the sake of self. Brahmin is not loved since he is Brahmin, he is loved for the sake of self. Kshatriya is not loved since he is Kshatriya, he is loved for the sake of Self. World is not lovely since it’s world, it’s lovely for the sake of self. Gods are not loved since they are Gods, they are loved for the sake of self. People are loved not because they are people, they are loved for the sake of self. All are not loved because of them, they are loved for the sake of self. Self should be seen, listen, reflected and meditated my dear Maitreyi , All is known through seeing, listening and meditating the self.
ब्रह्म तं परादाद्योऽन्यत्रात्मनो ब्रह्म वेद, क्षत्रं तं परादाद्योऽन्यत्रात्मनः क्षत्रं वेद, लोकास्तं परादुर्योऽन्यत्रात्मनो लोकान्वेद, देवास्तं परादुर्योऽन्यत्रात्मनो देवान्वेद, भूतानि तं परादुर्योऽन्यत्रात्मनो भूतानि वेद, सर्वं तं परादाद्योऽन्यत्रात्मनः सर्वं वेद; इदं ब्रह्म, इदं क्षत्रम्, इमे लोकाः, इमे देवाः, इमामि भूतानि, इदं सर्वं यदयमात्मा
Brahma leaves him who seeks Brahma somewhere else, Kshhatriya leaves him who seeks Kshhatriya somewhere else, World abandons him who seeks world somewhere else, Gods leave him who seeks gods somewhere else, People leave him who seeks people somewhere else, everyone leave him who seeks everyone somewhere else. This is Brahma, This is Kshhatriya, This is world, This is god, This is people, This Soul is everything.
In short, everything is inside us. We just need to find out our real self. Any person is loved not because he is lovely it’s only because his company, dialogues and deeds give comfort to our soul. Thus what matters is Self only, who is the reflection of Supreme, just like moon shines in the reflection of Sun.