This Chapter taken from The book ‘Crumbs from His Table’ by Ramanananda Swarnagiri
Earnestness or Faith (Sraddha) श्रद्धावाँल्लभते ज्ञानं
(Faith is essential for knowledge) -B. Gita Ch. VI, Sl. 39.
When the writer visited Sri Ramanasramam last July, he saw an annotation of Sri Ramana’s great work Ulladu Narpadu or Forty Verses on Reality, and desired to make a copy, but not having the leisure he left for home without doing so.
So, when he came back to the ashram this time, the first thing he did was to obtain this copy from Sri Bhagavan and write out a copy for himself. Seeing him doing this writing with earnestness (sraddha), though with a certain amount of difficulty and strain (due obviously to his not having been accustomed to squatting and doing continuous writing work), Bhagavan told a story of a sannyasi and his disciples, to two of the long-standing residents of the ashram and a few of the visitors who were then before Him, to illustrate what is called sraddha, i.e., earnestness of purpose.
There was once a Guru who had eight disciples. One day he desired them all to make a copy of his teachings from a notebook he had kept. One of them, who had lived an easy-going life before renouncing the world, could not make a copy for himself. He, therefore, paid a couple of rupees to a fellow disciple and requested him to make a copy for him also. The Guru examined the copy books one day and, noticing two books in the same handwriting, asked the disciples for an explanation. Both the writer and the one on whose behalf it was written told the truth about it. The Master commented that, though speaking the truth was an essential quality of a spiritual aspirant, yet that alone would not carry one to one’s goal but that sraddha (earnestness of purpose) was also necessary and since this had not been exhibited by the disciple who had entrusted his own labour to another he was disqualified from discipleship. Referring to his making payment for the work, the Guru sarcastically remarked that “Salvation” costs more than that and he was at liberty to purchase it rather than undergo training under him. So saying he dismissed that disciple.
The tediousness of the process of copying might have deflected the writer from completing the book, but this story gave him not a little impetus to copy it entirely by his own hand and to endeavour strenuously and ceaselessly towards the goal sketched out therein. The story is told here to encourage other aspirants.