Steve Finds an Unusual Map in the Upanishads

2024-06-11 00:00:00 / episode: 390


Hi. This is English listening practice. I’m gonna give you some questions before I tell the story. Then I’ll tell the story. At the end I’ll answer the questions. Try to answer the questions yourself for fun. The story is about Tom and his troubles, his struggle and his discovery .


  1. What was troubling Tom?
  2. What did he do about it?
  3. Why did he travel to India?
  4. Why did he learn Sanskrit?
  5. What did he find?

Tom was Troubled

When Tom was a boy, he was happy. He grew up in a middle class family, with lots of toys, good food and a very comfortable house to live in. By the time he got into high school, however, he began to feel concerned. He felt his comfort was unfair. He saw other people with less than him, but they were sometimes better people in his mind. After high school, he went to university, but he was too distracted by his problems and he could not focus on his studies. He quit university, got a job, and volunteered to help homeless people in his city.

Started Meditation

At the volunteer organisation, he met a girl called Sandy. They talked about the unfairness they saw. She told him that she meditated a lot to help her understand the unfairness in the world. Tom decided he would try this. He began to meditate. It was a good experience for him and he started meditating more and more. Then there came a point when his meditation teacher said he could not help Tom anymore. If Tom wanted to learn more, he had to go to India to find a more advanced teacher.

Travelled to India

Tom packed his few things and travelled to India to find a teacher. When he got there, he looked for a few weeks and then found a teacher. Tom's meditation became deeper and deeper. Finally the teacher said he could not help Tom anymore. If Tom wanted to learn more, then he had to read the ancient scripts. They were called the Upanishads.

Learned to Read Sanskrit

The problem was, the Upanishads were originally written in Sanskrit, and the translated versions did not make sense to Tom. He decided he had to learn Sanskrit, and he started right away. It took him years to learn but finally he was able to read the ancient Upanishads in Sanskrit.

Came Home To Understand

What Tom discovered in the scripts was like a map. Tom realised that it was a map inside him. He did not need to be in India. Using the map he discovered in the Upanishads, he could continue his meditation back home in Philadelphia. He went home, and his father welcomed him back. Before long Tom found the answers he was looking for and decided to return to his studies in University with a much clearer mind.


  1. What was troubling Tom? He felt guilty. He was from an upper middle class family, and he was comfortable but he saw people in trouble around him. It bothered him.
  2. What did he do about it?
    At first he volunteered to help the homeless people. He met a girl who taught him about meditation.
  3. Why did he travel to India? He found that meditation was helpful but he wanted to go deeper.
  4. Why did he learn Sanskrit? He learned about ancient texts about meditation. They were the Upanishads. He wanted to read them in the original language which was Sanskrit.
  5. What did he find?
    When he read the texts, he realised some of them were describing a map inside himself. If he just followed the map, he could find the answers he was looking for.