The monk and the ignorant sages

This poem is based on a story of two great sages and a monk from Chandogya Upanishad. Reading scriptures is futile till the time the lessons learnt are put into practice. Only when we apply the knowledge in daily life, it serves its true purpose.

Long, long ago there lived two great sages

Worshipping Vayu (Wind God) in their hermitage.

One day as they sat down to begin their meal

There appeared a monk with an humble appeal.

Pleading to the sages with his begging bowl

He asked for some food to nourish his soul.

Plainly refusing saying there’s no food to spare

The sages asked him to go and ask elsewhere.

Not to be deterred, taking the path of least resistance

“Which God you worship?” asked the monk with persistence.

“We worship Vayu, the Wind God” said the sage with pride

“Also known as Prana, the breath of life which can’t be denied.”

“Then you must know that Prana pervades the whole universe.”

Agreeing the impatient sages asked the monk to disperse.

“O honorable sages! To whom you made this food-offering?

Irritated sage answered “Prana who is present in everything.”

“If life pervades the universe, it pervades me too, isn’t it?

Am I not a part of the universe?” said the monk with gentle wit.

“Yes, that’s right.” Now the sages were genuinely puzzled.

The humility and aura of the monk left them baffled.

“It is the Prana or life that pulsates in me

As this hungry body stands and speaks in front of thee.

O revered sages! You’re offending Prana in denying me food

To whom you worship day and night in gratitude.”

Speechless and ashamed at their foolish ignorance

Sharing the food with the monk radiating with innocence

The sages learnt a valuable lesson of significance

Merely reading scriptures will not guarantee their deliverance.


© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved



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