THE MEANING OF THE SLOKA
A learned Pundit was once giving discourses on the Geetha in the august presence of a Maharaja. One day the turn of this Sloka came:
Ye janaah paryupaasathe
The Pundit was explaining enthusiastically the many-sided implications of this Sloka, but the Maharaja shook his head and said: "This meaning is not correct." He continued to dispute the correctness of every one of the explanations the Pundit gave. The poor Pundit had won meritorious distinctions at the court of many a Maharaja and was honoured by them all with pompous titles. He felt as if he was stabbed when the Maharaja in the presence of the entire band of courtiers condemned his explanation of this Sloka a 'wrong'. He smarted under the insult; but plucking up courage, he again set upon his task, and marshalling all his scholarship, he plunged into an eloquent discourse on the multiple meaning of the words, "Yoga" and "Kshema." The Maharaja did not approve of even this; he ordered: "Find out the meaning of this Sloka and having understood it well, come to me again tomorrow." With this, the Maharaja rose from his throne and went into the inner apartments.
The Pundit lost even the few grains of courage left in him. He was weighed down by anxiety; he tottered under the insult; he reached home and, placing the copy of the Geetha aside, he dropped on his bed.
Surprised at this, the Pundit's wife asked, "Tell me why you came home from the palace today in such grief? What exactly did happen?" She rained one anxious question after another so that the Pundit was obliged to describe to her all hat had happened, the insults heaped on his head, the command with which the Maharaja sent him home, etc. The wife listened calmly to the account of what had happened and after pondering deeply over the incident, she said, "Yes; it is true. What the Maharaja said is right. The explanation you gave for the Sloka is not the correct one. How could the Maharaja approve it? The fault is yours." At this, the Pundit rose in anger from the cot, like a cobra whose tail is trodden hard. "What do you know, you silly woman? Am I inferior in intelligence to you? Do you, who are engaged in the kitchen all the time, cooking and serving, claim to know more than I? Shut your mouth and quit my presence," he roared.
But the lady stood her ground. She replied, "Lord! Why do you fly into such a rage at a statement of mere truth? Repeat the Sloka once again to yourself and ponder over its meaning. You will then arrive at the right answer yourself." Thus by her soft words the wife brought calm into the mind of her husband.
The Pundit started analysing the meaning of each individual word in the Sloka. Ananyaaschinthayantho maam, be began, deliberately and slowly, repeating aloud the various meanings. The wife intervened and said, "What use is it to learn and expound the meanings of words? Tell me what your intention was when you approached this Maharaja. What was the purpose?" At this, the Pundit got wild. "Should I not run this family, this home? How am I to meet the cost of food and drink, of clothes and things, for you and all the rest? It is for the sake of these that I went to him, of course; or else, what business have I with him?" he shouted.
The wife then replied. "If you had only understood what lord Krishna has declared in this Sloka, the urge to go to this Maharaja would not have arisen! If He is worshipped without any other thought, if one but surrenders to Him, if at all times the mind is fixed on him, then the Lord has declared in this Sloka that He would provide everything for the devotee. You have not done these three; you approach the Maharaja, believing that he would provide everything! That is where you have gone against the meaning of the verse. That is the reason why he did not accept your explanation."
Hearing this, that reputed scholar sat awhile, ruminating on her remarks. He realised his mistake. He did not proceed to the palace the next day. Instead, he got immersed in the worship of Krishna at home. When the king inquired why the Pundit had not appeared, courtiers said that he was staying at home and had not started out. The king sent a messenger, but the Pundit declined to move out. He said, "There is no need for me to go to any one; my Krishna will provide me with everything; He will bear my Yogakshema Himself. I suffered insult because I did not realise this so long, being blinded by eagerness to know the manifold meanings of mere words. Surrendering to Him, if I am ceaselessly engaged in worshipping Him, He will Himself provide me with all I need."
When the messenger took this message to the palace, the Maharaja proceeded to the dwelling of the Pundit on foot; he fell at the feet of the Pundit, saying "I thank you sincerely for explaining to me this day, out of your own experience, the meaning of the Sloka which you expounded yesterday." Thus, the king taught the Pundit that any propagation of spiritual matters, which does not come out of the crucible of experience, is mere glitter and show.
When the doctor said, apply this ointment at the place where the scorpion stung your son, the fond father asked the son, "Where did the scorpion sting?" The boy replied, "In that corner" and the father applied the ointment to that spot on the floor!