Guru (Teacher of Men)

THE PHYSICIAN WITH HIS JARS OF MOLASSES

A PHYSICIAN prescribed medicine for a patient and said to him, "Come another day and I'll give you directions about diet," The physician had several jars of molasses in his room that day. The patient lived very far away. He visited the physician later and the physician said to him, "Be careful about your food. It is not good for you to eat molasses." After the patient left, another person who was there said to the physician, "Why did you give him all the trouble of coming here again? You could very well have given him the instructions the first day." The physician replied with a smile: "There is a reason. I had several jars of molasses in my room that day. If I had asked the patient then to give up molasses, he would not have had faith in my words. He would have thought; 'He has so many jars of molasses in his room, he must eat some of it. Then molasses can't be so bad.' Today I have hidden the jars. Now he will have faith in my words."

Renunciation of the world is needful for those whom God wants to be teachers of men. One who is an acharya should give up 'woman and gold'; otherwise people will not take his advice. It is not enough for him to renounce only mentally; he should also renounce outwardly. Only then will his teaching bear fruit. Otherwise people will think, "Though he asks us to give up 'woman and gold', he enjoys them himself in secret." (163)