Chapter 42: Learning by Listening
eyes closed in meditation, a man sits with arms crossed in disdain for the riches that lie before him. The clouds around him represent his guru‚Äôs oral teachings, which he is listening to. The bundles of rupee notes and coins are slowly fading from sight. Parts of them have already disappeared as he clings to his guru‚Äôs wisdom.
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The most precious wealth is the wealth acquired by the ear.
Indeed, of all wealth, that wealth is paramount.
Only when no fare can be found for the ear
is it time to offer the stomach a morsel.
In Heaven, Deities feed from sacrificial fires.
On Earth, men who feast on listening are their equal.
Though he has no learning, if a man listens to the learned,
that will serve as his staff of strength in adversity.
Words from the lips of upright men
are like a steadying staff in a slippery place.
Let a man listen to good things, however little.
Even that little will enlarge his greatness.
Those who have studied deeply and listened diligently never speak
foolish words, even when they have misunderstood a matter.
If not pierced by acute listening,
ears may hear and yet remain deaf.
Unless he has listened to learning’s subtlety,
it is rare indeed for a man to speak with humility.
There are those whose tongues taste but whose ears savor nothing.
What does it matter whether they live or die?
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