The myth of Gandhiji’s three monkeys

Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur

One day, on their way to a village, two monks had to cross a river. A young damsel, who had hurt herself, was waiting for some help to cross that same river. The elder monk carried her on his back and crossed the river. He dropped her off at the other bank.

As the two monks continued their journey, the younger one’s mind was restless, “How could my senior commit such a blasphemous act – touch a girl?” he wondered. After a long time, when the young monk could not contain himself any further, he finally asked the senior monk, “You touched that girl, how could you break our sacred vow?”

The elder monk remarked quietly, “I left that girl at the river, you are still carrying her!”

As teachers and parents we are quite sensitized to Gandhiji’s mantra of “See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil”. We get worried when our children are exposed to violence on TV, or are witness to immoral behaviour in real life, or when they use inappropriate language in the school bus. Therefore we try and shield them constantly. Think about how you would react if children are around and

  • Somebody uses foul language
  • Some children are bullying a younger child
  • The cover of a magazine carries an indecent photograph
  • You speak angrily and rudely to another person.

The authors are part of a Bengaluru-based child development and parent/teacher training center:

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