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"Yes ! " , " No ! " , "Very good !"

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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!”




by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada


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 maya,illusion, through such a

parrot-like verbiage.

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 maya.


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