Yes, No, Very Good




A villager picked up a little English by overhearing others speak in that language. He memorized the words he heard most often: “Yes”, “No” and “Very good.” Though he did not understand the meaning of these words, he liked to use them in his speech because it made him appear erudite.

People gave him respect as soon as they heard him uttering English words. A murder was committed in the village. During the police investigation, the villagers were questioned one by one. When our dabbler in English was brought before the chief of criminal investigation, he thought he would impress him by demonstrating the few English words he knew. The detective was an imposing man and saw little need to waste time on niceties with country yokels, so he asked (in Bengali), “Did you commit this murder?”

“Yes”, replied the villager proudly. “Did you have help in this crime from anyone else?” the detective asked again. “No”, came the prompt reply. “You are under arrest. Handcuff him and take him to jail.”

As the police closed in around him, the villager excitedly protested: “Very good! Very good!”


This story illustrates the foolishness of persons who pretend, without qualification, to be authorities in bhakti and who parrot stock phrases from the scriptures about which they have no factual realization. Despite their self-satisfied babbling of pious platitudes, they suffer imprisonment in the merciless clutches of illusion.


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