A prahasana-- "Like
question like answer"
(A guru is seated on the teacher's
chair with several pupils around.)
Guru: Are all the pupils
First: Yes, all here.
Guru: In that case, start
reciting ".ti.d .dhaa.na~n dvayasaj..."
(The students contract their noses and brows) [grimace]
Second: Sir! We have headaches
today from yelling the sutras.
Third: It's true, sir. We cannot
concentrate on repeating sutras any more.
Fourth: We would all like to hear a
Another: Yes, yes; we want to hear
Guru: (smiling) You want to hear
First: Yes! We want to hear a
Guru: Very well. In that
case I will tell a story to delight your minds. But which one of
you will be the listener?
Second: Sir! We will all be listeners.
Guru: That's true; however
in this story the chief listener has to go "hum hum".
(they all laugh)
Third: Well, among us Murari
Bhai is best at his lessons. He can be the chief listener.
Guru: Right, Murari, come
here in front of me. Now, I'll start the story. Listen carefully.
All: We are!
Guru: Once there was a
certain village called Soloka in Marusthali (in the country of Maravada).
And many lunatics (worshippers of ghosts and spirits) used to live there.
But they were all quite illiterate. One day they all went to the house
of a certain sacrificer in order to get the worship. And one person, even
though he was wise, went with them. Are you following?
All: Yes, we are
Guru: In this way, as they
were going to the sacrificer's house, the middle of the day came and they
got very hungry. They looked everywhere for something to eat, but could
find nothing. Neither food nor fruit. They were all falling about with
Guru: Then, by working
together, their gaze fell on a cornfield. A forest fire had burned that
cornfield, and for that reason some crows had been burnt in the field as
well. So all those loonies broke the necks of those crows and started to
What! They started to eat the crows? Ugh!
Fifth: They were big demons!
Guru: Seeing this, the
wise one said, "Hey phooey, you villains, what are you doing? First of
all one should not eat meat anyway, but especially not in the form of crows!
How could you do this thing?"
Murari: Hum. Then what did they
Guru: Listen. They answered
the wise man, "Hey Mr. Wise man. Why are you criticizing us? After all,
crows are edible when they are written."
The wise man said, "written where?"
They answered "in an alphabet."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, when the alphabet is written it goes, ka, kha, ga, gha, na.
And the ka stands for "crows [kaaka]", the kha for "are edible
[khaadya]", ga [gala] stands for "throat", and gha [ghana]
for "lots". Lastly,
na is for having bent it like the letter na."
All: They laugh again
Sixth: The meaning was very crafty.
Second: We never recited this
Guru: Are you listening?
The wise man then thought to himself, These are fools. Just as they made
up a reason for me, so I will make up a reason to give to them as well.
When he had decided this, the wise man said "Hey, you loonies. Do you only
know the letters ka kha ga gha in the alphabet, or do you know the
They answered, "We know the rest too!"
Then the wise man said, "Listen: the next bit of the alphabet is written
, ta, tha da, dha, na. Ta and tha stand for "however
[tathaapi]," da and dha [dagdha] stand for "burnt ones",
and na here means "are not to be eaten," so after the meaning "crows
are edible," it goes on to say, "not, however, when burnt"!
First: Like question like answer.
Second: The wise man was very clever.
Guru: Then, hearing what
the wise man said, all the loonies stopped eating the crows, so the story
ended, and they all went home.
One: Sir! What is
the moral of the story?
Guru: The moral is; he
who understands in one way can be understood in the very same way. If someone
understands like that, then a wise man can understand him the same way.
Now, get along. We shall have to recite the lesson some other time.
(They all bow with
peaceful minds and go.)