Story No. 96 – An aged student
Sikaki was a skilled artist an artisan. With great expertise and interest, he made such a nice and
beautiful ink pot that it could be presented to the king. He expected that, appreciating his artistic
skill, the king would encourage him as far as possible. So, with countless hopes and thousand of
desires, he presented that ink pot to the king. In the beginning the king was very impressed by his
artistic skill but afterwards an unpleasant event occurred that caused an extraordinary change in
Sikaki’ s life and way of thinking.
When the king was observing the skilled artistry of the beautiful inkpot and Sikaki was lost in the
world of thoughts, the people informed that a scholar-literary person or jury is about to enter the
court. As soon as the scholar entered, the king got so much absorbed in welcoming and talking to
him that he forgot Sikaki and his skilled artistry. This incident caused an adverse and deep effect
on the heart of Sikaki.
He realized that now he would not receive the encouragement he had expected and all his desires
and hopes are useless now. But Sikaki’s high spirited mind did not allow him to be in peace, so he
started thinking as to what should he do. He decided to do what the others have done and go on the
same way that the others have gone (up till now). Therefore, he decided to search for his lost hopes
in the world of knowledge, literature and books. Although for a wise man who has passed the days
of his young age, it was not easy to study with young children and to start right from the
preliminary stage. But he did not have a choice After all whenever the fish is taken out of water,
it is fresh.
Worse than that, in the beginning he did not find any sort of interest in himself regarding reading
and writing. Perhaps spending a long time in artistic works and handicraft was the reason for
stagnancy in his scientific and literary talent. But neither his advanced age nor lack of capability,
none of these could change his decision. With great enthusiasm and zeal for attaining knowledge,
he strictly got busy with his studies, until another incident occurred:
The teacher who was teaching him Shafi’e jurisprudence (fiqh Shafi’e), taught him this lesson:
“The teacher believes that the skin of a dog becomes clean (tahir) after tanning.” Sikaki repeated
this sentence a lot of times so that at the time of examination he should be able to succeed. But
when he was asked to answer this question, he said: “The dog believes that the skin of a teacher
becomes clean after tanning.”
The audience upon hearing this answer started laughing. It was clear for everybody that this old
man is absolutely incapable of reading and writing. After this incident Sikaki not only left the
school , but he left the town and went towards the Jungle. By chance, he reached the
foot of a mountain, where he saw that the water is falling drop by drop from the top
and due to the continuous falling of water, a hole had been formed in that hard stone.
He reflected for sometime, a good idea crossed his mind like lightning. And he said:
“Maybe my heart is not ready to accept (knowledge) but it is not harder than this
stone. It is impossible that continuous studying and hard work would be ineffective.”
Therefore, he came back and with hard work, he got busy in the attainment of
knowledge. As a result he was reckoned as one of the popular scholars of his time.
You never be too old to learn something new.