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Shvetaketu (IAST: Śvetaketu), also spelt Svetaketu, is a character from the Upanishadas. He was the son of sage Uddalaka, the grandson of sage Aruni, and represents the quintessential seeker of knowledge. The Upanishads entail the journey of Shvetaketu from ignorance to knowledge of the self and truth (sat).

In the Mahabharata, Shvetaketu is credited for creating the practice of the "woman being confined to one husband for life" after observing a brahmana catching his mother's hand (unintentionally) in front of his father.[1]

The case of Shvetaketu appears in three principal (mukhya) Upanishads, namely, the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad S. 6.2.1 to 6.2.8, Chandogya Upanishad S.5.3 and in the Kausitaki S.1. Shvetaketu is the recipient of the knowledge enshrined in the mahavakya which appears in the sixteen chapters of the 6th section (Prapathaka) of the Chandogya Upanishad.


  1. ^ Paul Thomas (1960). Kama Kalpa, or The Hindu Ritual of Love. D.B. Taraporevala. p. 3.

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