Gandhiji’s Monkey

By Rakesh K Mittal IAS on 07-03-2015

I was posted as the Managing Director of the UP Spinning Company at Kanpur in September 1989. Soon after I took charge, I had a very interesting visitor from an eastern district of UP — Ghazipur. He was completely blind and reached my office with great difficulty. He was a stranger to me and, therefore, I received him with some surprise. I could not guess what the purpose of his visit was. After he settled down on a chair, I politely asked him what he wanted. He said he had no purpose except to meet me. He had heard of me when I was the Collector of his neighbouring district about five years back and had developed a wish to see me. He was very happy to have fulfilled his wish that day, though it had been quite difficult for him to travel from Ghazipur and then to reach my office.
Accepting what he said, I switched on to a general discussion and asked about the cause of his blindness. He told me that he had lost his eyesight in his early childhood during an attack of smallpox. The way he narrated his story gave an indication that he had accepted the reality gracefully and had no bitterness in his mind. This encouraged me to ask a few more personal questions. When I asked whether he missed seeing the world around, he gave a very philosophical reply, saying that there was not much to see in this transitory world which was full of evil. By not being able to see, he was saved from this evil. As a result he always contemplated on God, to see Whom no physical eyes were required. I was touched by his answer and respected his philosophy. After sometime, he left my office and we never met again.
This visitor left a great mark on my mind and I usually reflect on what he said. This also remind me of Gandhiji’s three monkeys, one of whom keeps his eyes shut, the other his ears closed and the third his mouth. The significance of this is that one should avoid seeing evil, listening to evil and speaking evil. This is a necessary condition for inner growth which is the main objective of life. After all, a child is born with a pure mind but as he grows and has interaction with the outer world, his mind entertains evil thoughts which ultimately cause disharmony in society in addition to his own downfall. If, therefore, by some act of God or by controlling the mind, the influence of evil can be kept away, inner growth is accelerated. By this, the inference should not be drawn that in order to grow internally, one has to be physically blind, deaf or dumb. This state is only symbolic. The ultimate requirement is to remain uninfluenced by evil either physically or mentally. The gentleman who met me had seen his disability in this light and made use of it for his inner growth. He was almost an illiterate person but had grown into a wise person by constant contemplation. To me he appeared to be a monkey of Gandhiji who kept his eyes closed in order to avert them from evil.¯Laughter is the jam on the toast of life. It adds flavour, keeps it from being too dry, and makes it easier to swallow ! Diane Johnson

About The Author

Rakesh K Mittal IAS

Sri Rakesh Kumar Mittal IAS (Retd.) had been an administrative officer in Uttar Pradesh state cadre for about 35 years. He is a spiritual man with high moral values and a selfless heart. He has founded 'Kabir Peace Mission'. He has also written several books on positive thinking.