|Part of a series on|
Aruni (fl. c. 8th century BCE), also referred to as Uddalaka or Uddalaka Aruni or Uddalaka Varuni, is a revered Vedic sage of Hinduism. He is mentioned in many Vedic era Sanskrit texts, and his philosophical teachings are among the center piece in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Chandogya Upanishad, two of the oldest Upanishadic scriptures. A famed Vedic teacher, Aruni lived a few centuries before the Buddha, and attracted students from far regions of the Indian subcontinent; some of his students such as Yajnavalkya are also highly revered in the Hindu traditions. Both Aruni and Yajnavalkya are among the most frequently mentioned Upanishadic teachers in Hinduism.
According to Ben-Ami Scharfstein, a professor emeritus of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, Uddalaka Aruni was one of the first philosophers in recorded history. In the Chandogya Upanishad Aruni asks metaphysical questions concerning the nature of reality and truth, observes constant change, and asks if there is something that is eternal and unchanging. From these questions, embedded in a dialogue with his son, he presents the concept of Ātman (soul, Self) and universal Self.
The name Aruni appears in many of the Principal Upanishads, in numerous verses. For example:
Sage Aruni is revered in the Hindu tradition, and like many of its revered ancient scholars, later era scholars from the earliest times attributed or named their texts after him. Some of these treatises include:
Uddalaka Aruni is said to have systematized the Vedic and Upanishadic thoughts. Many Mahavakyas are ascribed to sage Uddalaka Aruni. Among those, "Tat Tvam Asi" (That thou art) of the Chandogya Upanishad is an oft-quoted thought in Hinduism. Its teacher is Uddalaka Aruni and the student his son Svetaketu.
His teachings extend beyond metaphysical speculations and philosophy. Parts of his works contain the seeds of Indian atomism, because of his belief that "particles too small to be seen mass together into the substances and objects of experience". Some scholars such as Hermann Jacobi and Randall Collins have compared Aruni to Thales of Miletus in their scientific methodology, calling them both as "primitive physicists" or "proto-materialist thinkers".
The Adi Parva describes Aruni as a disciple of Sage Ayoda-Dhaumya. Once a flood took place in the fields of the ashram. A breach was formed in the embankment. Dhaumya sent Aruni to stop the water from entering the embankment. After a long time, Aruni had not returned. So, Dhaumya went out to find Aruni. The latter lying in the breach of the embankment to prevent the water from entering it. Because of his loyalty, Aruni is also known as Uddalaka Aruni as a mark of his preceptor's respect.