Jayant is Not a Natural Scribe

Restless Activity


There was once a family who lived in a nearby village. They were well known to my family, as my father used to teach their son his scriptures. They would visit us each week, leave their son with us for two days and then take him back. All this was accomplished on horseback, as we had no vehicular transport in those days. The son's name was Jayant. He was a large bulky boy whose main interest was not the scriptures. He used to enjoy wrestling and fighting. I think his father thought a bit of scripture might calm him down a little. He was not stupid, this Jayant. He was much older than us children and seemed almost grown up to us. My sister was fascinated by the beginnings of a moustache, which had started to grow on his upper lip.

On one occasion he had come to stay with us and Father had been unable to attend to him because of some urgent business, which called him to the temple. Father asked Jayant to write out some sections of the Vedas and to illustrate the main paragraphs with beautiful lettering. Now Jayant was not usually in the mood for illuminating letters and on this day nothing could have been further from what his heart desired. He yearned to gallop the horse along the riverbank, with the wind blowing in his hair. Then he would meet up with friends, he hoped, and have a wrestle or two and maybe hunt some game that they could cook on a campfire on the riverbank. That was what he wanted to do, so he told me, and to my childish surprise that is what he did! Now I would never disobey my father like that, not at that young age, anyway, and I felt quite frightened for Jayant. I remember pacing around our house and round the grounds, unable to concentrate on the jobs I had been given to do, worrying about what Father would say on his return. Father could be very stern at times.

The day wore on. Father returned. He asked to see Jayant, but Jayant was nowhere to be seen. "Where is his work that I asked him to complete?" asked Father, surprised at the young man's absence. "I don't think he did it, Father," said I.

"Well, what did he do? He is not here and you seem to know something about it."

I explained what Jayant had told me and to my astonishment Father's face broke into a huge smile.

"Ah, my son," said he, "Young Jayant has a restless, active soul. He finds it very difficult to be calm, to sit still, to contemplate. His mind and heart are always churning, always active, never at peace. He is ruled by rajas. He finds it almost impossible to quieten himself. I am surprised he has returned to work and study with me as many times as he has. I think his father made a mistake sending him to me. The young man’s energies need to be directed into something more suitable for him. He should be travelling, training horses, delivering important news to neighbouring towns, or anything which would occupy his restless body and mind to productive advantage. I think I shall have to tell his father that he is wasting his time and money bringing Jayant to me. This young man needs to cool down a great deal before his mind will be fit for more sattwic activities."

And with that my father ruffled my hair and went off to find Mother.