“YES”, “NO”, “VERY GOOD”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada
Upākhyāne Upadeśa is a collection of short stories with explanations that were commonly used by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Compiled by Sri Sundarananda
Prabhu, a prominent disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, it was first published in 1940.
A simple villager once picked up some English through listening. He memorized only three English phrases, “Yes!” and “No!” and “Very good!” However, he never seriously attempted to understand the application of these words in the proper context. He only knew that by using the words in front of people one could obtain some respect.
Once a few dacoits murdered someone and then escaped making it look like that villager had committed the crime. When the villager was brought to the court of law, 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 might be relieved from the allegation of murder.
Contemplating thus, the villager replied to the judge, “Yes!”
The judge then asked, “Was there anyone else with you?”
The villager replied promptly, “No!”
Then the judge said, “Do you realize that you will have to go to jail?”
Hearing this, 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, 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, there are many persons who cite many scriptural quotes in a parrot-like fashion, without proper understanding of the instructions, religious terminology, and injunctions of the pure devotees. They are simply hankering to receive respect from people for their show of “knowledge”. But eventually their position becomes similar to that of this villager. If 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 māyā, illusion, through such a
It is often observed in public meetings, assemblies, and popular mundane literature that many so-called “men of letters” of modern civilization 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 māyā.
– An expert from Sri Krishna-kathamrta Bindu, a free bi-monthly magazine service provided by Gopal Jiu Publications.