The Weekday Ramble is a daily dose of sports, music, culture, and more from Rambling On founder Erik Ritland. For more information check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
Thursday July 23, 2015
The final piece in our multi-part analysis of an ancient Indian proverb.
Read part I, part II, and part III.
He who purifies himself in the river of a subdued spirit, the waters of which are truth, its waves compassion, and its shores excellent temper and conduct, will be liberated from this world; but liberation cannot be obtained by just outward observances.
-Ancient Indian proverb
The last point of this proverb is something unequivocally similar with the teachings of Jesus: that outward appearances can't make up for what is lacking on the inside. As Jesus says:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! First cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
(Matt. 23:25-28, RSV)
The point of Jesus' harsh, somewhat cryptic words are the same as that of the proverb: “liberation cannot be obtained by just outward observances.” You can fool other people, you can even fool yourself, but you can't fool God. Who you are matters. Intentions matter. Why you do the things you do matters.
Gather at the river and throw yourself in
Ultimately, cleansing in the purifying river of this proverb means desiring to be the best version of yourself. It means searching earnestly for the truth, being compassionate, keeping anger in check, and doing what is right. We each have to make the journey ourselves, but wisdom from the greatest minds that have already made the journey, such as the people who created proverbs like this one, are an excellent guide.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.