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318. Complete Folly

We all heartily laugh at folly. It provides hilarious episodes. Folly is common. No one can escape its touch in one aspect of his life or another. But, complete folly is as rare as it is delightful. In innocent people, when folly reaches its completeness, their faith in their foolish ways will be delightfully sweet. In repeating a foolish thing for the tenth or nth time, unmindful of their personal experience, you can find them as inspired as they were in their first achievement. The urge of folly will possess them and compel them to instant action. Compelling folly is complete folly.

Their impatience is proverbial. One man withdrew his investment of Rs. 20,000 that yielded an annual profit of Rs. 27,000/- and invested it in another venture where a great expense gave 1/3 of it as results. Another man worked in a place for ten years and never knew that he alone was the subject of discussion in his absence. To crown his behaviour, he confided in a ‘friend' who was the source of all such organised gossip. In his epic poem ‘Savitri', Sri Aurobindo has a line, "We make of our own enemies our guests." People brought up in an atmosphere of organised falsehood come to believe in the effectivity of lies. When they move to another place where there is a fair amount of general truthfulness, they are unable to give up their ways of falsehood and are soon exposed. The atmosphere in its kindness labels their untruth a folly or complete folly, while it is deceit and organized untruth.

A professor's questionable behaviour irked the students who went on a prolonged strike to secure his dismissal. He at last resigned. The management after some years, in the hope that public memory would be short, appointed the same professor as the head of that institution temporarily. They hoped a formal elevation would absolve the culprit of his crime. Public life, particularly politics, is a copious recipient of such benefits. Sri Aurobindo says Ignorance is the greatest achievement of God in creation, as it issues out of knowledge. We can have the privilege of laughing at others' folly. But its spiritual significance reveals itself only when we discover it in ourselves. Complete folly is really COMPLETE when one comes to enjoy it.

story | by Dr. Radut