Neti Neti - A Story from the Shiv Purana

This is a story from the Shiv Purana as related by Sant Maskeen Singh:

Brahma really wanted to describe everything that he knew for those who didn't understand.  He wanted to say and document everything in the vedas.  He desired to not just describe everything in the world, but everything that the world comes from. 

He came to a congregation of holy men, "devtaas".  His one condition was that he would only give his wisdom to ones who were ready to receive it. He was looking for listeners. If there were no listeners, he would not speak. 

One day he complained that he was not going to speak.  When Shiv asked him why that was, he said there were no listeners. All these folks only listened to their own desires. They were all mired in the conflicts of their minds. 

Brahma complained that there were only two listeners in this whole congregation -- Shiv and Vishnu.  And he didn't really want to tell them anything, because they already knew everything he had to tell. They knew about beauty, about divinity, about longing, about love, about purity, about knowledge. Shiv and Vishnu already knew everything he knew.  Brahma wanted to know that as well.  Vishnu blessed him that he would be successful. But Shiv didn't bless him.  He said I will bless you only when he himself knew everything.

After years of giving his wisdom, he said he was going to end his lectures.  I won't say with words. He said "Neti Neti."  Brahma ended the vedas with "Neti Neti."  Whatever I have said is not is not. My words are incomplete.  Then Shiv said, now that you understand that you are incomplete, you are complete.  The ocean does not have to say that I am the ocean. 

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