Thursday, January 14, 2010


A boy in ancient India (4th century B.C.) was eager to study under a reputed teacher (Guru). He approached the Guru with a humble request to admit him as a student. The Guru examined the boy’s palm and declared that he had no line of education on his palm and hence he could not be expected to excel in education. The Guru rejected his request as the boy lacked the sign that he believed was the birth-mark of a successful student.
The boy was very determined to learn under the Guru. So he took a sharp knife and made a deep cut on his palm between his middle finger (Saturn) and ring finger (Apollo) where the ‘line of education’ (Vidya rekha) is found in some people. He went to the master and showed the scar on his palm. He requested the Guru to reconsider his decision as he has now made a line of education on his palm. The wise master was impressed by the determination of the boy. He embraced the boy and enrolled him as a student immediately. The boy learned with exceptional brilliance and dedication and became a great scholar. The boy was Panini, who later systematized grammar in the Sanskrit language. His masterpiece is a major treatise entitled, ‘Ashtadhyayi’. His logical rules and techniques have influenced modern linguistics considerably. Thus Panini could challenge and change his fate by etching the mark on his palm by a painful cut.
Determination is essential for the successful execution of any decision. Saints had the determination to avoid even minor sins even if their action would cause pain or loss to them. Our confession becomes fruitful only if we have the determination to avoid the people, places, scenes, situations and circumstances that may tempt us to repeat the sinful actions. As the first step we may take bold decisions such as absolute determination not to tell even a minor lie, not to make a derogatory remark about any one and not to watch a sinful scene, picture or video. With the powerful grace of God we can march towards the higher levels of sanctity if we are determined to avoid all tempting situations. After praying to ‘Our Father’ to lead us not into temptations, we should not lead ourselves into temptations.
St. Paul advises, “Build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of His mighty power. Put on all the armour that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks” {Ephesians 6: 10, 11}.

© By Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.
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