A Poor Farmer from a Village Bought a Baby Goat in the City
By Ravi Vilkhu
A poor farmer from a village bought a baby goat in the city. As he started walking towards his village with the baby goat, a few of the city hooligans thought that if they could somehow manage to seize the baby goat, they would be able to enjoy a good meal and also a celebration. They could invite some friends and make a feast. But how to get it?
The illiterate villager seemed to be a very strong and healthy man and the hooligans of the city were a little weak. To take the goat directly from him could lead to a fight and there could be trouble, so they had to be very careful and trick him somehow. They decided on a trick. When the villager was about to leave the city, one of those four or five people met him on the road and said, “Hello! Good morning!”
He replied, “Good morning!”
Then the hooligan looked up and said, “Why are you carrying this dog on your shoulders?” — in fact he was carrying the baby goat on his shoulders — “From where did you buy this dog? It is a very good dog!”
The farmer laughed. He said, “Have you gone mad? It is not a dog! I have bought a goat, it is a baby goat!”
The man said, “Don’t enter your village carrying a dog, otherwise people will think you are mad. Do you think this is a goat?”
And the man went on his way. The farmer laughed and thought that this was very strange, but he touched the goat’s legs to see whether it is was a goat or a dog. That was the hooligan’s motive.
The farmer found that it really was a goat and feeling reassured he went on walking.
In the next lane a second hooligan met him. He said, “Hello, you have bought a very good dog. I also want to buy a dog. From where did you buy it?” Now the villager could not say with the same confidence that this was not a dog because now a second man was saying the same thing and two people cannot be mistaken.
Still he laughed and said, “This is not a dog, sir, it is a goat.”
The man said, “Who told you that it is a goat? It seems that somebody has cheated you — is this a goat?” And he went away. The villager took the goat down from his shoulders to see what the matter was but it was definitely a goat. Both of those people were mistaken! But a fear arose within him that perhaps he was suffering from a delusion.
Now he felt rather afraid as he continued walking down the road — and then he met the third person who said, “Hello! From where have you bought this dog?” This time he did not have the courage to say that this was a goat.
He answered, “I bought it in the city.” It was very difficult for him to say that this was a goat and he started to think that maybe he shouldn’t take it to the village. He has wasted the money and he will be condemned in the village. People will think that he has gone mad. While he was thinking this, the fourth man met him.
He said, “This is strange! I have never seen anybody carrying a dog on his shoulders. Do you think that this a goat?”
The villager looked around and saw that he was alone, nobody was around — so he dropped the goat and ran quickly to his village. His five rupees had been wasted but at least he wouldn’t be called mad.
And the four hooligans took the goat away.
Because four people repeated something again and again, it became difficult for the farmer to believe that what they were saying could be wrong. And when the ‘custodians’ of our religions tell you something, you find it difficult not to believe. And when those people are models of truth and sincerity, it becomes even more difficult. And when they are sincere renouncers of the world, it becomes much more difficult — because there is no reason to disbelieve what they are saying. It is not necessarily that they are deceiving you — ninety-nine times out of a hundred they are people who have a wrong conception themselves and they themselves have been deceived. It is not necessarily that they are deceivers, but they are in the same rut as you are.
One thing is certain: as long as man is told to believe, he will continue to be exploited. As long as man is asked to believe, he cannot be free of exploitation.
What am I trying to say?
I want to tell you that if we want to get rid of the entanglement of thoughts which has been formed within us, to which thousands of centuries have contributed, in which impressions of hundreds of years are collected, then one thing must be fully understood: there is nothing more suicidal than belief. One thing we have to definitely understand is that to believe, to believe blindly, to accept silently with closed eyes, has been the basic cause of the crippling our lives until now.
But everybody asks you to believe them — they tell you to believe them, not to believe others. They say, “Do not believe other people because they are wrong. I am right, believe me.”
Whoever makes a belief system a basis for his life is entering into a world of blindness — and no light to see with can ever enter into his life. He can never attain light in his life. One who believes in others will never be able to know himself.
So am I asking you to disbelieve? No! There is no need to disbelieve either. But we think that if we don’t believe something then we inevitably disbelieve it. There is a state of mind which neither believes nor disbelieves…. Disbelief is a form of belief. When we say that we don’t believe in god, what are we saying? We are saying that we believe in the non-existence of god. When we say, “I don’t believe in the soul,” then we are saying that we believe in the non-existence of the soul. Belief and disbelief are similar things, there is no difference between them. Belief is positive and disbelief is negative. Belief is a positive trust and disbelief is a negative trust, but both are trusts.
When a man dies, four people carry his dead body to the funeral ground on a bier on their shoulders. When one shoulder starts aching then they change to another shoulder. For a while they get relief for the tired shoulder.
Then the second shoulder gets tired and they change to the other shoulder again. One who changes his beliefs is only changing from one shoulder to another, the weight is always present, it makes no difference. One gets relief only for a while.
If a Hindu becomes a Mohammedan, if a Mohammedan becomes a Sikh, if a Sikh becomes a Christian, if someone drops all religions and becomes a communist or something else, if he is just dropping one belief system and catching hold of another, there is no change in the burden on his mind. He gets relief for a while but it is only a change in the weight on the shoulders — there is no meaning in that kind of relief.
As long as one believes, one puts oneself in bondage, one puts oneself in prison and one is tied in some way or other, somewhere or other.
How can an imprisoned person, an imprisoned mind, become free from thoughts? How can he become free from the thoughts which he is holding on to with his whole being and which he believes in? How can he get rid of them?
People who believe are unable to reach any understanding. People who accept silently are unable have any experience of their own. The journey of those who are blind and hold on to the fact that if the others say that there is light then certainly there must be light, ends right there. The journey only continues when the restlessness stays and stays and stays and never disappears. Restlessness comes only when you feel there is something which people say is there, but you don’t see it so you cannot accept it. You can accept it only when you see it. This kind of restlessness: “I will accept only when I see with my own eyes,” needs to be there in the mind.
Man is very lazy. If he can attain knowledge without making any effort, why should he make the effort, why should he do any work? If enlightenment can be attained just by believing, without seeking, then why should he try to make the journey to enlightenment on his own? And when someone says, “Believe in me, I will take you to enlightenment,” why should he make a huge effort by himself? When somebody says, “Sit in my boat. I will take you to the other shore and then the matter is over,” he would prefer to sit silently in the boat and go to sleep.
But nobody can reach anywhere in somebody else’s boat. And nobody can see with another’s eye — nobody ever has and nobody ever will.
One has to walk on one’s own feet, one has to see with one’s own eyes,
one has to live by one’s own heart beat.
One has to live by oneself and one has to die by oneself.
Nobody can live in another’s place; nobody can die in another’s place. Nobody can take another’s place; neither can one take anybody else’s place. If there is anything totally impossible in this world, it is the fact that no one can take anyone else’s place. The first thing for an intelligent person to do is to say goodbye to all his contradictory thoughts and decide, “I will not believe. I want to know. This does not mean that you are rejecting something; it simply means that you are standing aloof from both acceptance and rejection. You are saying, “I do not agree nor disagree”.
Can you gather the courage and strength to take your being to this middle point?
If you can, then this castle of thoughts can fall down immediately –
Life changes by fighting and by struggling. Life changes by the effort of facing it and changing it. Life does not change by keeping your eyes closed and just accepting scriptures. Meditation is the way of waking up the consciousness deep inside you, not making it go to sleep. That which is hiding deep inside you should wake up, and become so aware that not a single part inside remains asleep. Your whole being should wake up.
Meditation is the name of that state of awareness.
By Ravi Vilkhu