ignorance remain impervious even to this bestowal, because their minds have become stiff and unyielding due to the usual worldly habits of thought and feeling.
The world mostly fails to appreciate the value of the really important things. And even among those who appreciate it, most persons are held back from deriving any benefit from them. This may be illustrated by means of a story. A devotee of God spent much of his life in worship in one village. After years of worship, there arose in his mind a new longing to have the realization of God as Truth. He became so restless that he wanted to have the supreme experience instantaneously. One day he came to a Sage, who had just newly arrived at that village on a casual visit. Approaching the Sage with great respect, the man said, "I have wandered a pilgrim from one place to the other; and I have also visited many sages and saints to get their help and blessings. But I am nowhere nearer the fulfillment of my one desire; and I have waited long enough. Now I approach you in full surrenderance to get from you such light and help as I may."
The man said this in all sincerity, believing that he was really ready to receive the highest spiritual experience, not knowing that he was really thoroughly unprepared for the receiving of such a vast thing. He did not know what he was asking for. So, in order to bring home to him how he really needed much further preparation, the Sage first took out of his own robe a precious stone which looked like a marble. Then handing it over to man, said, "Take this stone; and bring from the market five pounds of vegetables." The devotee, who knew not the real value of the precious stone, took it for ordinary marble. And, in his ignorance, he began to hesitate, thinking that it was no use starting on an endeavor which, in his view, was doomed to fail. However, when the Sage asked him not to bring in his own considerations, but just to proceed about doing what he was asked to do, he decided to try.
When the devotee asked for five pounds of vegetables in exchange for the stone, every one laughed at him for expecting so much in barter for such an insignificant thing as a piece of marble. One, however, thought that is might be a nice thing for his child to play with, but he offered only four pounds of vegetables. The devotee returned to the Sage with account of what had happened. But the Sage now asked him to bring, in exchange, five pounds of sweets.
When he went to the market on this new errand, every one again laughed at him. But there was one, who wanted to set a precious stone in his ring; but he could not afford to purchase it from the market of precious stones. Now, though he believed that this stone was only a marble, he thought that he might set it in his ring as a false jewel. So he agreed to purchase it in barter but offered only four