Pearls of Wisdom : The Inner Beauty – H.H. Srimajjagadguru Shankaracharya SriSri Raghaveshwara Bharathi Mahaswamiji

Sri Samsthana


Once Janaka, the wise king, called a meeting of  all scholars, saints and wise men of his kingdom. He asked them-
“Who among you can expound on  Self- Knowledge, within a very short time? I invite such a person to occupy the seat of honour on the dais.”

There was  pin drop silence in the court. Not a single person came forward to answer the king.

At that juncture Ashtavakra, a deformed person entered the hall. The gathering of scholars  laughed at his uncouth appearance. When they stopped laughing, Ashtavakra began to laugh loudly.


The  King asked the reason for his laughter.

Ashtavakra replied-
“I thought there were scholars and jnanis in this gathering. But I find only leather merchants and pimps  here.

The leather merchants feel happy when they look at beautiful skin. They are not interested in what is inside.  Similarly, those who engage in prostitution attach great significance to external appearance.
But inner beauty and strength are more important than the external form.”


The king was happy with Ashtavakra’s explanation and invited him to occupy the seat of honour on the dais.


Translated by : Dr. Sharada Jayagovind

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