Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Art of Communication: What's the right question?

Jeevan and Mahesh are on the way to a religious service. Jeevan wonders whether it would be all right to smoke while praying.

Mahesh replies, "Why don't you ask the Pujari Ji?"

So Jeevan goes up to the Pujari Ji and asks," Pujari Ji , may I smoke while I pray?"
But the Pujari Ji says, "No, my son, you may not. That's utter disrespect to our religion."

Jeevan goes back to his friend and tells him what the good Pujari Ji told him. Mahesh says, "I'm not surprised. You asked the wrong question. Let me try."

And so Mahesh goes up to the Pujari Ji and asks, "Pujari Ji , may I pray while I smoke?"
To which the Pujari Ji eagerly replies, "By all means, my son. By all means."

Moral: The reply we get depends on the question we ask.
For example: Can I work on this project while I'm on Holidays?

[Ed: This joke is based on an actual incident involving Swami Vivekananda's guru Ramakrishna Paramhans. Ramakrishna used to chant his prayers all through the day, except when, every morning, he would go to the woods to relieve himself. As he grew old, he used to need a disciple's help in walking to the latrine.

The disciple asked, "Swamiji, why do you stop praying while you are relieving yourself?"
Ramakrishna, obviously, said, "Because it is not good to be defecating while I pray."

And the disciple said, "But swamiji, why do you pray at all other times?"
Ramakrishna replied, "Because I want the Lord's name to be on my lips when I die."

The devoted disciple reasoned, "Swamiji, death can come at any time, even when you are relieving yourself. You think defecating while you pray is bad, but it can't be bad to pray while you defecate."

Thereafter, Ramakrishna was praying every waking minute.]

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