Śvetaketu

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Svetaketu, Zvetaketu, shvetaketu


Śvetaketu is one of the great sages we come across in the Upaniṣads and the Mahābhārata. He was the son of Gautama Āruṇi.[1] In his younger days he was proud and arrogant but had to taste defeat in the court of the king Pravāhaṇa Jaivali.[2] Later on his father taught him the science of Brahman. [3]

In course of time, he himself became a great teacher. Upakosala was his talented disciple.[4] Naciketa was his brother and Sujātā the wife of the sage Kahola, was his sister. He had married Suvarcalā, the daughter of the sage Devala. Śvetaketu is considered to have assigned proper duties to the priests performing sacrifices.

Annoyed at the loose sexual behavior of the people of his times, he is said to have systematized the institution of marriage. He also produced an abridged edition of the Kāmaśāstra[5] originally written by Nandi, Śiva’s famous mount. Another famous sage, Aṣṭāvakra, was his nephew.


References

  1. Gautama Āruṇi was also known as Uddālaka.
  2. Chāndogya Upanisad 5.3.1-5
  3. Chāndogya Upanisad 6
  4. Chāndogya Upanisad 4.10
  5. Kāmaśāstra means Science of Erotics.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore