In olden times, physical skills like archery, horse-riding, war training etc. were held in high esteem. Men dexterous in such activities, held a place of pride in the society. However, things have changed a lot since then. These days it is the brain power that holds the key. Anyone lacking in brain power is likely to be left behind in the race of progress.

It is necessary to strengthen the brain power for progress of the self as well as the country. Physical skills are now limited to display and sports only. This does not mean that physical strength is not important. It is important since it can be helpful in enhancing your brain power. Therefore if you want to be great, you must sharpen your brain through studies. At the same time strengthen yourself physically, through regular exercise, games and sports etc., so as to equip your brain with power to study more and better.

Children, never disappoint yourself by thinking that you are weak in studies or that you have a weak memory. Such weak thinking is the biggest obstacles in your progress. Always think on a positive note –I have to move forward, and indeed I can- With this thought sincerely in your mind, you brain power will be fortified so much so that you will find your studies not only easy but also enjoyable.

We have a story to tell in this context. Listen carefully.

It is a story of olden times, when the parents used to send their children to gurukuls, far away from their homes, for their education. The children used to live in gurukuls for years, studying, learning and also serving their gurus. Often they would return only after passing the tough examinations, emerging as great scholars, their faces beaming with the glow of knowledge. Such scholars were held in high esteem by the society.

There was a child named Bopdev. Like most children, he also wanted to study in a gurukul and be a great man. Bopdev’s parents sent him to a reputed gurukul. Guruji would teach him with great sincerity. Bopdev also worked hard. But he had a problem. Despite all the hard work, he could not learn his lessons. He would spend nights, studying and trying to learn his lessons, but in the morning he would be all blank, as if he had read nothing. His classmates passed the exams and were promoted to next classes, but Bopdev had to remain in the same class, along with new students who joined the gurukul later. In the course of time, the new students also went on the next class, but Bopdev could not pass the exams this time too. He was dejected and disappointed. He still tried hard to study, but to no avail. This went on for a few years.

“May be I am not destined to study”, he thought.

His Guru tried to teach him sincerely, but seeing no progress despite years of effort, even he gave up. One morning he called Bopdev and said, “Bopdev, you are a hardworking boy and have been trying to study earnestly, but it seems that all this education is beyond your reach. I would suggest that you should go back home and take up some work there to earn your livelihood. This was the last straw. A dejected Bopdev left the gurukul and headed homewards, his desire to be a great man buried deep in his heart. Since there was long way to walk before he reached home, he decided to relax under the shade of trees near a well.

His disappointed mind was crowded with varied thoughts, arising and fading into some obscure point. His sight was affixed on the stones paving the rim of the well. The hard stone pavement had a depression, meant for placing the pitchers, a smooth pit perfectly fitting the shape of the pitchers’ bottom. What a perfect holder for placing the pitchers; deep and smooth. The soft pitchers must have taken years to shape up such a perfect pit on the stones so hard. It was simple. Women coming to fetch water must have been placing their pitchers on the same spot, while relaxing and chatting with each other. This must have continued for years and years. Thousands of days, thousands of pitchers. Result – A smooth perfect pit to hold the pitchers.

Suddenly a thought flashed in his mind. “I am sure my brain is not as hard as these stones.” The thought was thrilling and filled him with a new zeal. “I can do it. If the soft pitchers can dent the stones so hard, I too can be a scholar.”

“Yes I will”, he said to himself, his mind filled with determined hope. I will go back and be a scholar, come what may.”

His dejection and despair had vanished. Bopdev returned to the gurukul, brimming with renewed hope and determination.

The Guru’s discerning inward eye could clearly see the transformation in Bopdev, as he bowed before him, in reverence.

Bopdev studied hard and rose to become a celebrated scholar, whose fame spread far and wide.

Children, do you see that only the determined ones succeed. Resolve to study more and more. Leave no room for doubt or frailty. Keep yourself physically fit, so that your brain does not get tired.

Do not panic if you find it difficult to answer a question or solve a sum. Go all out to solve it with total concentration and determination. Do not worry if you are still not able to solve it. Keep thinking about it as you go to sleep. You will see a solution emerging even while you are still in bed.

Try and try again. Just remember – you have to enhance your brain power. Bracing yourself up with practice, determination and zeal, you are bound to succeed.