Welcome to another week of interesting blogs. It is a pleasure to share these topics with you all on this platform.
This week I will be presenting a short story told and commented on by a guadiya Vaisnava mentor, he had a style of telling short stories and then deciphering moral lessons from them especially as regards spirituality. So once, there was a simple villager who had picked up some English through listening. He memorized a few words such as ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Very good”, however he never attempted to actually understand the application of these words in the proper context.
The only thing he knew was that a sort of respect was accorded to those who could speak the English language in front of others.
Once some bandits committed a murder and then while escaping made it look as if the so-called English speaking villager had been the culprit. When the villager was brought to the law court, the judge asked him in Bengali, “Did you commit the murder?” The villager felt if he spoke some English in front of the Judge then the judge might accord him some respect, considering him to be a follower of the western culture and thus may be relieved of the allegation of murder.
Contemplating thus, the Villager replied to the judge, “Yes!”. The judge asked “was there anyone else with you?” Promptly the villager replied “No!”. Then the Judge said, “Do you realize that you will have to go to Jail? Now the villager thought that in order to really prove he was a gentleman he needed to put forward his best protest. He replied “Very good”. From this story one can deduce certain salient points about spirituality, and the first is on the issue of giving scriptural quotes in a parrot-like fashion, without proper understanding of the instructions, religious terminologies or injunctions. In a bid to draw respect and admiration from people, and those who listen to them these pseudo spiritualist are quick to quote various verses from scripture without actually having a realized perspective of whatever they are quoting.
The general mood is to portray erudition or spirituality by making a show of been well versed in the scriptures. However if these pseudo spiritualists are not put to test like the villager in our short story then no one knows for sure what they are made of. It is one thing to quote references from religious texts backing whatever we profess but it is another to actually have realized these words in our daily lives. That is, be a living testimony to these words from the scriptures by actually internalizing the message, living it and being an example to others who seek to build faith in such words. The position of the preacher or the cleric is to be one of realized knowledge and not mere parrot-erudition.
Anyone with a good memory can also regurgitate verses from any scripture but it takes one who has tried and tested these words to have implicit faith in them. This faith doesn’t only come from having seen physical proves to what he reads but from having the grace of a spiritual mentor who guides him on the path of real spirituality. Often times we see men who are so-called “lettered” with big degrees try to give commentaries on scriptural matters or even give delineations on esoteric and spiritual subjects on the mere basis of their degrees. Those who are true spiritual practitioners see these delineations as words like those of the villager; ludicrous verbosity. They pay no heed to them because they know that the inner imports of the sacred texts are only revealed to those who have the mercy of a genuine and bonafide spiritual mentor, who is also part of an unbroken line of spiritual mentors.
Thus it is imperative that we do not become like our villager here who is ignorant and doesn’t even try to dispel this ignorance by seeking out a true teacher. We all know for certain that picking up a Medical text book and memorizing a few medical jargon doesn’t make one a medical Doctor. Sooner or later when we are put to test in a real life situation then we would have to prove our competence. The only way to get true realizations about spiritual topics and sacred texts is to learn from those who have actually realized their meaning from deep study, sacrifice, prayers and total surrender to a mentor or guide.
Another interesting point is that just like the Villager many pseudo lettered Men do not even know that they are not literate in matters of spirituality, they feel that by conjuring up a few big words to impress their audience they can get past the details of real spirituality. They also feel that whatever they lack in spirituality they can make up for it in their educational accomplishments and thus see no need to surrender to a real guide The topic of surrendering to a guide becomes imperative to anyone who has a real desire to advance in spirituality The problem most of the so-called scholars have is that they find it difficult to have to submit to the tutelage of someone who maybe materially less educated but spiritually very advanced. Not only is humility a requirement for approaching a guide it is also a very important aspect of spirituality.
I hope this short story and delineation sheds some light on this subject, till next week keep reading and sharing. Do follow for more.