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The Ancestral Well
A village pandita was very much devoted to his departed father. The pandita used to say, “The father is the God incarnate, we are enjoying all earthly pleasures simply by his mercy only. So I do not accept any other creator or Godhead except my father.”
pita svarga pita dharma
pita hi paraman tapa
priyante sarva devata
This was the favourite verse that the pandita used to chant all the time. To chant the name of his father, to meditate on the image of his father, and to give offerings to his ancestral forefathers were his daily rituals.
The great-grandfather of this pandita had built a draw-well for his family’s use. In the past, the water drawn from this well happened to be widely known as the sweetest and clearest of all the wells in the village. However, in due course of time, after three or four generations of the family covering one hundred and fifty years or so, the stagnant water of the well became extremely putrid. It was no longer suitable for drinking or general use as a huge mass of filth, mud and all types of plants had decomposed in it. One or two dead frogs also added to the decomposition of the well. As such it became smelly and completely infested with deadly bacteria.
The pandita, being devoted to his father used to drink water from the draw-well dug by his great-grandfather. Actually his father had never taken water from any other tank or river in the village so the pandita would never allow his family members to drink any other water except from the ancestral draw-well.
The pandita, so loyal to his father, had a number of sons and grandsons, all of whom died from various diseases. Eventually, even his wife died of a contagious disease. The pandita himself also suffered from many ailments. There were quite a number of tubewells in the village and the river Ganges was flowing only a few miles away from there. Everyone was repeatedly advising the pandita to stop using the water from that contaminated well and to drink water from other tubewells or the Ganges.
By this time the pandita, due to his fanatical attachment to his ancestral father and forefathers, and had totally destroyed all his family members as a result of his obstinacy and die hard attitude. At last the local authorities came to destroy the well to ensure good health in the village. When the pandita saw them approaching, he squatted on the well in such an obstinate mood to his ancestral forefathers, that it appeared to the authorities that not even royal power could destroy it.
Persons who are adamant in getting initiated from a particular ancestral gosvami, also demonstrate such an obstinate attitude. Anyone claiming himself to be one’s ancestral spiritual master may not be truly qualified through continued derogation of dignity and position.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada used to say, “A doctor’s son may not necessarily be a true doctor.” Those who are careless about their own welfare, extremely lazy and guided by the pleasure principle, never take the pain to search out their true bona-fide spiritual master.