“Yes, No, Very Good”- Srila Bhaktisidddhanta Saraswati

A Story by Srila Bhaktisidddhanta Saraswati Thakur about a simple villager picked up some English through listening. He memorized only a few English words, such as `Yes’ and `No’, and `Very good’.


“Yes, No, Very Good”- Srila Bhaktisidddhanta Saraswati

                                   “Yes, No, Very Good”


A simple villager picked up some English through listening. He memorized only a few English words, such as `Yes’ and `No’, and `Very good’. But he never attempted seriously to understand the application of these words in the proper context. He only knew that a sort of respect for an `English-speaking’ person could be attained by using those words in front of people.

Once a few dacoits made a plan to commit a murder and then escape making it look as if that villager had been the culprit.

When the villager was brought to the law court, the judge asked him in Bengali, “Did you commit the murder ?”

The foolish villager thought that if he could speak some English in front of the judge, then the judge might have great respect for him, considering him to be a follower of Western culture, and thus he may be relieved from the allegation of murder.

Contemplating thus, the villager replied to the judge, “Yes!”

The judge asked, “Was there anyone else with you?”

Promptly the villager replied, “No!”

Then the judge said, “Do you realise that you will have to go to jail?”

Now the villager thought that he should put forth his protest against such an injustice by applying his last resort. In order to confirm that he was a perfect gentleman, and that he did not commit the murder, and that he should never be thrown in prison, he replied to the judge’s question, saying, “Very good!”




Even in the field of devotional service, many people often deliver a lot of scriptural quotes in a parrot-like fashion, without proper understanding of the instructions, religious terminology and the injunctions that they receive from the pure devotees. They simply hanker for respect from the people in that manner.

But eventually their position becomes similar to that of this villager. In the case the scriptural quotes and authoritative injunctions are not properly assimilated and digested, the righteous community never appreciates them. It is also not possible to be released from the clutches of `maya’ or illusion through such a parrot-like verbiage.

It is often observed in pubic meetings, assemblies and popular mundane literature that many so-called “men-of-letters of modern civilisation deliver such ludicrous verbosity on the subjects of devotion, devotees, and the Supreme Godhead. Pure devotees simply consider those deliberations similar to those of the villager mentioned above, who did not realize anything beyond `Yes, No, Very good. ‘Those persons are ultimately destined to suffer imprisonment under the merciless clutches of `maya’.

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