Today, as I was preparing for a college interview, a well-wisher questioned the wisdom of me going to the US for my undergraduate studies due to the costs involved. That raised the age-old question: was I going to a different country to gain knowledge or to get a prestigious degree from a US University?
Hours later, I found my answer in an old story from Indian Mythology. Let me tell you that story:
There was once a priest who was very poor, there were constant quarrels in his house between his unhappy wife, his hungry children and his helpless parents. He begged the deity of his temple to help. So the deity gave him a pot of gold. The happy priest sold the gold and used the money to repay his debts, bought all the things money could buy, and even made investments to secure his future. But soon after the quarrels started again: between his greedy wife, his ambitious children and his neglected parents. Each one wanted a greater share of the treasure. Annoyed, the priest went to the deity and demanded a solution. Once again the deity gave him a pot of gold. “No, I don’t want another pot of gold. Give me something that solves the problem truly,” cried the priest. “Pot of gold!” exclaimed the deity, “But I never gave you a pot of gold. I gave you the nectar of wisdom. Did you not drink it? Or were you too distracted by the container?”
I thought this story resonates well with the scenario many students currently face. Those who go to college for a degree so they can get a good job and earn more are essentially selling a pot of gold while neglecting the nectar of wisdom within. However, someone who studies in college but does not get a degree is at a disadvantage as well as they cannot get a job without a degree just as if the priest had drunk the nectar of wisdom but not sold the pot of gold it came in, he would have been unable to use his newly found wisdom.
While knowledge is the nectar of wisdom, the pot of gold is the degree that puts you in a position to use your knowledge. Only if the priest drinks the nectar of wisdom and sells the pot of gold does he have the wealth to alleviate his poverty and the wisdom to bring happiness to his household.
Similarly, if a student gains knowledge at a University, the degree helps him/her get the opportunity to apply that knowledge.
I now have an answer: I am going to the States to acquire knowledge and to apply it for the betterment of the world.
I know this is not a usual type of post. Do let me know what you think and if I should do more of this kind!