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Yes, No, Very Good

By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur

A simple villager picked up some English through listening. He memorized only a few English words, such as `Yes' and `No', and `Very good'. But he never attempted seriously to understand the application of these words in the proper context. He only knew that a sort of respect for an `English-speaking' person could be attained by using those words in front of people.

Once a few dacoits made a plan to commit a murder and then escape making it look as if that 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 foolish villager thought that if he could speak some English in front of the judge, then the judge might have great respect for him, considering him to be a follower of Western culture, and thus he may be relieved from 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 realise that you will have to go to jail?"

Now the villager thought that he should put forth his protest against such an injustice by applying his last resort. In order to confirm that he was a perfect gentleman, and that he did not commit the murder, and that he should never be thrown in prison, he replied to the judge's question, saying, "Very good!"


Even in the field of devotional service, many people often deliver a lot of scriptural quotes in a parrot-like fashion, without proper understanding of the instructions, religious terminology and the injunctions that they receive from the pure devotees. They simply hanker for respect from the people in that manner.
But eventually their position becomes similar to that of this villager. In the case the scriptural quotes and authoritative injunctions are not properly assimilated and digested, the righteous community never appreciates them. It is also not possible to be released from the clutches of `maya' or illusion through such a parrot-like verbiage.
It is often observed in pubic meetings, assemblies and popular mundane literature that many so-called "men-of-letters of modern civilisation deliver such ludicrous verbosity on the subjects of devotion, devotees, and the Supreme Godhead. Pure devotees simply consider those deliberations similar to those of the villager mentioned above, who did not realize anything beyond `Yes, No, Very good. Those persons are ultimately destined to suffer imprisonment under the merciless clutches of `maya'.

 No Newspaper!

                                                    His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

I have heard one story from a gentleman, how newspaper is important in Western country. We have seen also big, big bunch of newspaper thrown in every door. They subscribe. So one priest was preaching among the miners in Sheffield, where there are many coal mines, in England. So he was speaking that "You become devotee, followers of Jesus Christ," and in this way he's preaching Bible. So one of the miners, he never heard of Bible nor Jesus Christ. So he inquired, "What is his number?" That means he thought Christ may be one of the miners, and they have got specific number. So he said, "No, you are mistaking. Jesus Christ is Lord. He is not one of you, like worker, no. He's Lord. So if you don't appreciate him, don't worship him, then you will go to hell." Then another man asked, "What is hell?" And he described that "Hell is very dark. It is very moist," and so on. "There is no air there, no light, and..." So they are living always in the mine. There was no response, because they are habituated with this hellish life. (laughing) So the description of hell did not appeal. Then the priest was intelligent, said, "You know, there is no newspaper." Then they said, "Oh, horrible!" (laughter) "It is horrible."


   The Cobbler and the Brahmana

His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

 There is a story of Nārada Muni, who was once asked by a brāhmaṇa: "Oh, you are going to meet the Lord? Will you please ask Him when I'm going to get my salvation?"

"All right," Nārada agreed. "I shall ask Him."
As Nārada proceeded, he met a cobbler who was sitting under a tree mending shoes, and the cobbler similarly asked Nārada, "Oh, you are going to see God? Will you please inquire of Him when my salvation will come?"
When Nārada Muni went to the Vaikuṇṭha planets, he fulfilled their request and asked Nārāyaṇa (God) about the salvation of the brāhmaṇa and the cobbler, and Nārāyaṇa replied, "After leaving this body, the cobbler shall come here to me."
"What about the brāhmaṇa?" Nārada asked.
"He will have to remain there for a number of births. I do not know when he is coming."
Nārada Muni was astonished, and he finally said, "I can't understand the mystery of this."
"That you will see," Nārāyaṇa said. "When they ask you what I am doing in My abode, tell them that I am threading the eye of a needle with an elephant."
When Nārada returned to earth and approached the brāhmaṇa, the brāhmaṇa said, "Oh, you have seen the Lord? What was He doing?"
"He was threading an elephant through the eye of a needle," Nārada answered.
"I don't believe such nonsense," the brāhmaṇa replied. Nārada could immediately understand that the man had no faith and that he was simply a reader of books.
Nārada then left and went on to the cobbler, who asked him, "Oh, you have seen the Lord? Tell me, what was He doing?"
"He was threading an elephant through the eye of a needle," Nārada replied.
The cobbler began to weep, "Oh, my Lord is so wonderful, He can do anything."
"Do you really believe that the Lord can push an elephant through the hole of a needle?" Nārada asked.
"Why not?" the cobbler said, "Of course I believe it."
"How is that?"
"You can see that I am sitting under this banyan tree," the cobbler answered, "and you can see that so many fruits are falling daily, and in each seed there is a banyan tree like this one. If, within a small seed there can be a big tree like this, is it difficult to accept that the Lord is pushing an elephant through the eye of a needle?"
So this is called faith. It is not a question of blindly believing. There is reason behind the belief. If Kṛṣṇa can put a large tree within so many little seeds, is it so astounding that He is keeping all the planetary systems floating in space through His energy?


The Story of Sakshi Gopal
His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


I'll cite one story. It is very interesting story. If you go to India, you'll find one nice temple in Orissa. It is called the temple of "Witness-Gopāla," Sākṣī-Gopāla, Witness-Gopāla. This Gopāla was situated in a temple at Vṛndāvana. Now, two brāhmaṇas, one young and one old, they went to visit Vṛndāvana, the place of pilgrimage, and the old man... Because at that time there was no railway, the journey was very hardship. The old man felt very obliged, and he began to say to the young man, "My dear boy, you have done so much nice service to me. I am obliged to you. So I must return that service. I must give you some reward." So the young man said, "Oh, my dear sir, you are old man. You are just like my father. So it is my duty to serve you, to give you all comforts. I don't require any reward." Formerly, the boys were so gentle. And still, there are many boys like that. So the old man also thought that "No, I am obliged to you. I must reward you." So he promised that "I shall get you married with my youngest daughter." Now, the old man was very rich man, and the young man was not rich. He was poor. Although he was brāhmaṇa, learned. So he said that "You are promising. You don't promise this because your kinsmen, your family men will not agree. I am poor man, and you are rich man. You are aristocratic. So it will be not. This marriage will not take place. Don't promise in that way before the Deity. It is not good because Deity is there." But he was firm faith that "Kṛṣṇa is hearing," because the talks were going on in the temple. "So it will not be fulfilled." "No." The old man became still more persistent. "No, my daughter I shall offer you. Who can forbid me?"
So in this way, when they came back, one day the old man proposed to his eldest son that "Your youngest sister should be married with that boy. That I have promised." Oh, the eldest son of that old man become very angry: "Oh, how you have selected that boy to be husband of my sister? He's unfit. He's poor man. He's not so educated. Oh, this cannot take place." He did not agree. Then the mother of the girl, he(she) came to the old man: "Oh, if you get my daughter married with that boy, then I shall commit suicide." Now the old man is perplexed. Then, one day, the boy was anxious that "The old man promised before the Deity. Now he is not coming." So he... One day he came to his house: "Well, my dear sir, you promised before the Lord, Kṛṣṇa, and you are not fulfilling your promise? How is that?" The old man was silent because he was praying to Kṛṣṇa that "I am now perplexed. If I persist in offering this daughter to this boy, now there will be great trouble in my family." So he was silent. So, in the meantime, the eldest son came out and he began to quarrel with: "Oh, you, you plundered my father in the place of pilgrimage. You gave him some LSD or something, (laughter) intoxication. You took all the money from my father. Now you say that he has promised to offer you my youngest sister. You fool!" He began to say like that.
Then all the neighboring gentlemen, they: "Oh, what is the trouble? Here there is so much howling." "This is the... Do you think, sir, that this boy is fit for my sister? We are aristocratic family and this and that...," so on. So the young man said... Young man could understand the old man is still agreeable, but these, his sons and family members, as he suggested, they are not agreeable. So he explained the whole thing before all the gentlemen who came, that "This is the fact. Now, he promised. Now, for the sake of his son and wife, he cannot fulfill his promise. This was a promise before the Lord." In the meantime, the old man's eldest son... He was atheist. He voluntarily says, "Well, if your God comes and gives witness, then I shall offer my sister to you." But he was confident that God will come. He said, "Yes. I shall ask God. I shall ask Kṛṣṇa to come and give witness." So... Now, before all gentlemen this was done. Then the young man said, "All right, let us now come to agreement that I shall call Kṛṣṇa from Vṛndāvana to give witness in this matter, and when He comes, you'll have to." All the other gentlemen, they also persisted. So there was some agreement. So this boy went again to Vṛndāvana to his Gopāla, and he prayed that "Sir, You have to go with me." He was so staunch devotee, just like talking with friend. He did not think that He's a statue; it is image. He knew God. That was his conviction. So God said, "How do you think that a statue can go with you? I am a statue. I cannot go." Then this boy replied, "Well, if a statue can speak, He can go also." (laughter) Then Kṛṣṇa said, "All right, I shall go with you." Then there was some arrangement that "You will not see Me, but I will go with you. I'll go with you, and you hear, you'll hear the sound of My nūpura." A nūpura is an instrument which is fixed up in the leg of Kṛṣṇa. It sounds like "Ching, ching, ching, ching," just like that. So He was going with him, and daily he was offering some foodstuff, taking alms from the village. In this way he was coming, but when he came in the precincts of the village, of his own village, he could not hear the sound of the nūpura. So he saw back: "Oh, where is Kṛṣṇa?" He saw that statue there, the statue standing.
So he informed all the villagers that Lord has come to be witness, and... It is about some thousands years before this thing happened. People were convincing: "Yes. There was no... Such a big statue, this boy could not bring." So they believed, and there was a temple constructed by the king of that country. And still that temple is there, and it is named, the Lord is named, as Sākṣī-Gopāla. Sākṣī-Gopāla. Gopāla means... Gopāla is the name of Kṛṣṇa's boyhood. So because He came to give witness in that controversy, so that temple is still there. So the whole idea is the statue, statue... Because God is everywhere. So He's also in statue. God is everywhere. How can you say that He's not in statue? He's also in statue. So it is my devotion, it is my qualification, that I can induce that statue to speak with me. Just like the same way—if I am electrician, then I can fit any electrical instrument or machine or light from the electric energy which is all over—similarly, God's energy, He is present everywhere...