Parables of Rama

by Swami Rama Tirtha | 102,836 words

Stories in English used by Swami Rama to illustrate the highest teaching of Vedanta. The most difficult and intricate problems of philosophy and abstract truths, which may very well tax the brains of the most intellectual, are thus made not only simple and easy to understand but also brought home to us in a concrete form in such an interesting and ...

Story 221 - The King and two painters

A King wanted to test two experienced painters, Ravi and Kavi. To facilitate comparison, they were ordered to display their paintings on the two opposite parallel walls.

According to the order, curtains were put in between the two walls, so that one may not see the paintings of the other. They used to come every day and go away, after doing their daily work on their respective walls. After the prescribed period, the king with his courtiers came for inspection of their paintings. When the curtain from Ravi's wall was lifted, they were all stunned by his painting and cried out: Even the Chinese paintings cannot be better.

It was heard from all sides, “Ravi has won full marks. All the scenes of Mahabharata have been painted as real, as if the paintings are just going to speak. Nothing could be thought of better than this. Ravi should be given the reward, There is no necessity now to inspect the painting of Kavi. Wonderful! Wonderful!!”

The king also was so much impressed and satisfied that he too did not like to see the painting of Kavi. But Kavi himself lifted the curtain. As soon as the curtain was removed they were wonder-struck. The king and the courtiers were dumbfounded with admiration, as if they were breathless. They were standing agape. They were so much dazzled with the smooth cleanliness of Kavi's wall that they stood aghast. How could he do the painting two yards inside the wall. It has been well said: The poet (Kavi) can reach where the sun (Ravi) cannot.'

Dear Reader! Could you understand how Kavi defeated Ravi? The distance between the two walls was only about two yards. While Ravi was drawing painting on his wall, Kavi was busy in polishing and cleaning his own wall, so much so, that he made it so smooth as to look like a mirror. The result was as described above: Kavi simply got the entire painting of Ravi reflected on his own wall. According to the law of Reflection of light, the pictures were seen as much inside Kavi's wall, as was the distance between the two walls.

O my friend! You try to see only the exterior. How long will you be decorating your wall like Ravi? How long will you put colours on your exterior surface?

How long would the different colours of your crammed ideas stay in your mind? How could the confused ideas, stuffed into the mind from out-side, be useful to you? Education means to give out from

-within, and not to push in from without.

How long will you act against the very purport of education? Why do you not purifiy your own heart by proper education and let it be illumined like the wall of Kavi?

Vol. 5 (108-109)

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