Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Of focus and well digging

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"If you lack focus, you will end up like Trishanku"

This is a short story I read a long time ago in Tinkle. The story starts off with a man who wants to dig a well. He starts digging at one spot. As hours roll by, the man who has dug up several metres of earth decides to catch a break. As he rests under the shade of a nearby tree, a zamindar who was walking nearby comes up to him and asks him what he's doing. The man tells him that water has always been a problem and he wanted to resolve the issue by digging a well there. The zamindar nods his head after listening to the man's words and then gives his piece of advice "Dear sir, your idea is very noble. But you have picked the wrong place. You see, this place is not suited for wells. What you need to do is go further towards that  side. Since it's closer to the river, you can get water there a lot faster. You are unnecessarily wasting energy here" and walks away

The man, on seeing value in the zamindar's words decides to take his advice. After finishing his lunch, he decides to start digging at the new location. As his limbs work tirelessly in the sweltering heat, along comes a priest from the village temple. "You shouldn't be digging a well here kind sir. This place is not vaastu compliant. What you should be doing is digging on a flat surface yonder by the banyan tree. Heed my advice and the gods shall be with you."

The young man with a renewed vigour begins digging in a new spot, for his resolve to dig a well is firm. As a few hours rolled by, the village headman comes sauntering with his cronies. And asks him to dig at a different place because it is closer to the fields. The poor man is exasperated. As he is digging in a new place, a learned pandit who was returning home comes up to him and asks him "Why have you started digging a well at such a late hour." Wiping his sweat off his forehead, the young man narrates his tale. At this, the learned pandit smiles and says "Instead of digging at four places, if you had continued digging in one place, no matter what the situation, by now you would have struck water"


In life, people around you are constantly giving you pearls of wisdom. One shouldn't blindly heed words and constantly change opinions. This is especially true while choosing streams during education, or career paths. The effort that gets wasted in vacillating could have been used up very well if it was focused instead. Otherwise, you will end up like Trishanku (or Jack ol' lantern) - neither here, nor there... With effort wasted instead of spent. One should always remember that a person who perseveres with focus will always win in the end. Which is why a sharp knife cuts better than a blunt one

You might also like to read:
Lessons in humility

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