Rowing Along the Wind – Story

Rowing Along the Wind – Story

A rich landlord had a flattering servant, a “yes man” who  was always most deferential to his master only because he desired reward.

The master asked the servant one day, “What is your opinion of potatoes?”

The servant was hesitant in his reply.  “Oh, my dear sir, I suppose I’ve never thought about potatoes much, really.  But it  would be most edifying for me to hear your opinion of potatoes.”

The landlord said, “Well, as far as I have experienced, the potato is the most delicious of all  the vegetables one can get at the market.”

But even before the words had left the landlord’s mouth, his YES man was already praising potatoes to the sky: “Oh yes, yes my lord, it’s true, potatoes are the best, the absolute best vegetable  in the marketplace.  Really delicious!  Excellently  delicious, pleasantly delicious, highly tasteful and dainty.  It is said:’ “this round potato–boil it in rice, boil it in water, fry it in ghee, mix it in curry, put it in soup or salad, or make a pickle from it, or serve it with sauce, or make it into kofta– whatever recipe you may choose, this round potato is omnipresent.’  Is there any other vegetable comparable to it?  None whatsoever.  The potato is second to none–unparalleled!”

The landlord then observed, “What you say is all very well, but as much as we might like them, potatoes do tax our health if  we eat them too often.  It’s a rather passionate kind of vegetable.”

“Oh yes, yes, yes, how true, how true”, the servant spoke up immediately.  “It is really a passionately passionate vegetable.  Causes the body to heat up, it does, excessively passionate.  Very difficult to cool it down.  Oh, and what health problems it  will cause if we’re not careful.  Flatulence, cholera, diarrhoea, diabetes, phthisis–all these spring from that round potato!”

The landlord put another question to the servant.  “Tell me, what do you think about eggplant?”

The servant folded his hands humbly and replied, “My lord, I was just thinking of asking you the same question.  Let me hear  your opinion first, please.  How is the eggplant?”

“Well, I have nothing bad to say at all about it.  The  eggplant is a nice vegetable, as far as I know.”

“Oh, that’s true, true, true!  So true!  Even if you just  look at it, you see immediately that the eggplant is the most  beautiful of vegetables.  And it makes a complete meal!  If we  get two pieces of fried eggplant on our plate, what else do we  need?  It tastes better than butter.  If a man had nothing at all in his pantry except one eggplant, he’d still be considered by  others as well off!  You can roast it, fry it, cook it in curry, make a chutney out of it–whatever way you like, eggplant proves itself extraordinary among vegetables.  And among the different  kinds of eggplants, the laaphaa eggplant stands out as supreme.  It is an excellent creation of the Supreme Lord.”

The landlord then added, “All that may be true enough, but  eggplants are not very nutritious.”   “Phew!” exclaimed the YES man.  “And that’s why it is called vegun, because ve (no) gun (quality), it has no qualification at  all as nourishment.  Simply like cow dung, like cow dung–even  cow dung has some potential value, but vegun, that eggplant has  no value whatsoever.  It is troublesome, most troublesome!  It  makes the mouth itch worse than wild turnip or esculant root!   Not only that, eggplant brings bad luck!  That’s why it should be roasted before serving.”

The landlord retorted, “I see you are a very strange fellow. When I say, ‘potato is good’, you elaborate, ‘potato is very  good.’  And when I say, ‘potato is bad’, you plead that it is  very, very bad.  When I say, ‘eggplant is good’, you glorify it  to the heavens.  But if I then say, ‘eggplant is bad’, you reject it from the category of foodstuffs.  Don’t you posses any  personal integrity?”

Bowing and scraping, the servant replied with this torrent  of deference: “Oh my lord!  Please have mercy and condone my  offenses.  Now I’ll speak the truth.  Lord, I am not the servant of a potato.  I am not the servant of an eggplant.  I am your  servant!  So whatever you say, I must say likewise.  A potato  will not provide me with an earning, and an eggplant will not  give me work that I may have a purpose to my life.  I am only  your servant, so your your voice should be my voice.”


This story illustrates the attitude of a class of pseudo-religionists called the syncretists.  Syncretists are impersonalists who adhere to no particular devotional practice or  philosophy.  They are ready to pay lip service to the tenets of any  and all religions should it suit their purposes of garnering acclaim in society.  They can hop, skip and jump from mouthing  the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Sankaracarya, Kapila,  Mahavir, Kumarila Bhatta, etc.  And they will finally conclude that “all taught the same truth.”  It makes no difference to the syncretist that one doctrine is atheistic and another is  theistic.  It makes no different that Krsna has declared that all dharmas are to be rejected by His devotee.  The syncretist, like the landlord’s yes man, performs the most amazing verbal acrobatics in order to show himself a pious follower of all the  world’s scriptures and teachers.  But his real purpose, like the yes man, is to simply insure his material prosperity through flattery.

(ALSO READ THIS STORY:  Everything is Krishna’s Mercy – Story)

Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

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